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Financial institutions should make sure they’re equipped to handle the next challenge of communications compliance: Interpreting emojis. 

Regulators have indicated that financial firms should be able to monitor and flag potentially problematic emojis in workers’ business communications. 

Wall Street was hammered with fines by US regulators over the past year over employee use of unmonitored chat apps like WhatsApp, prompting many to extend their communication surveillance software to new platforms. In the wake of that crackdown, FinServs should also make sure they’re properly tracking emoji use, based on recent comments from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) leader at a conference. 

Banks’ communication surveillance technology should be able to interpret and flag suspicious emoji use, the leader implied.  

“Let’s face it, emojis are not going anywhere: In fact, they are becoming more deeply woven into our cultural fabric every day,” Ananth Siva, CEO of mobile communication software firm Movius, told Insights Distilled. FinServs need to ensure their communication monitoring ecosystems “empower users to communicate the way they choose, but in a secure, compliant fashion,” he added.  

However, emoji monitoring is challenging given the sheer number and the vast subtext for their use. To help FinServs appropriately flag suspicious chats, vendors will have to make sure they integrate more contextual understanding of emojis into their technology.