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January 1, 2003

Goldman, Deutsche Go to E-Mail Hell

By Gregory Bresiger

E-mail saves time and money, but it also recently became a big headache for five firms, including Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities. These firms, along with three others, were recently slapped with a fine of $8.25 million for not keeping adequate e-mail records.

"If you use e-mail as part of doing business, then you treat e-mails the same way as any other records," said Linda C. Thomsen, deputy director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. The SEC, which conducted the investigation along with the New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers, said the firms failed to preserve all relevant e-mails from 1999 to 2001. They also failed, the regulators claimed, to keep all records in an accessible place, a violations of NASD, NYSE and SEC rules.

"If transactions are recorded or business is conducted through e-mail, then there is no question that we expect these e-mail records to be kept," Thomsen said.