Wachovia Compliance Stuck in 20th Century ?

Those of you at Wachovia may have had hard time lately accessing the blog. (You are probably reading this via RSS). Numerous readers from the firm have written in to say they could access The Big Picture but not post comments. Several readers said they can no longer access the site.

Apparently, [some offices at] Wachovia have determined that because this site (and others like it) allow comments, it should be banned from access for all Wachovia reps lest they post a message. The theory of the compliance department is that an anonymous or named post would constitute a mass Broker/Dealer communication. Therefore, the communication must go through their compliance department.

This means that blog readers who work at Wachovia can no longer access the site from their Wachovia workstation.  [UPDATE: Some readers at Wells Fargo/Wachovia can access the site, some cannot. It seems to be on an office by office basis]

By that same logic, however, the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, both of which allow comments on stories, should also no longer be accessible.

That is, in a word, bizarre. Not only is Wachovia an exception on this issue on Wall Street –our blog traffic logs regularly show readers from Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, UBS, etc. come here — but it is a heavy handed way to police behavior. (I personally think it misstates what a mass communication from a brokerage firm or employee is, but that’s my opinion. )

An email from the compliance department to reps telling them not to post blog comments from the office seems less draconian;

Perhaps FINRA can issue a clarification this . . . ?

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