WhatsApp Snafu Earns Jefferies MD, Christoper Niehaus $46k Fine from FCA

Christoper Niehaus was fined $46,000 from the FCA for improperly sharing sensitive client information over WhatsApp.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the country’s paramount regulatory authority, has fined former investment banker Christoper Niehaus over $46,000 (£37,000) for improperly sharing confidential client information over WhatsApp, an instant messaging mobile service, according to a regulatory filing.

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Banks, regulators, and companies are cracking down on the illicit transfer of secure data, information, and other confidential material in 2017 as organizations try to shore up any vulnerabilities to incoming cybertheft or hacks. A byproduct of this is also a more secure environment for information flowing out of these entities.


According to an FCA manifest, Mr. Niehaus, who worked as a former managing director in the investment banking division at Jefferies International, had on multiple occasions shared sensitive information with third parties, wanting to impress his friends and other personal acquaintances.

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This information included identity of a client, details relating to the respective client’s mandate and the fee that Jefferies would charge for his involvement in the transaction. The FCA fined him a total of £37,198 for his lapses in judgement.

Furthermore, Mr. Niehaus also received client confidential information between 24 January and 16 May 2016 and also shared that information with multiple third parties, one of which was also a client of the firm, via WhatsApp.

It is important to note that the fine dealt specifically with Mr. Niehaus’ actions, and that none of the individuals he shared the information with dealt in any securities relating to these disclosures. Following the disciplinary action, Mr. Niehaus was suspended from Jefferies for the time being.

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