Project banana : a bank’s restricted list and private/public side

If you know what a restricted list is, you’re one-up on us a year ago – until one of our banking clients came to us and asked if SafeScribe might solve their problem. Let’s start with what one is …


Banks can be split in two : the private side (where they do all the corporate finance stuff, like mergers and acquisitions) and the public side (where they do all the trading of shares and so on).

Although they’re often housed in the same building the folks on the public side (the traders etc.) must absolutely not know anything that the private side are doing. Often they’ll give companies and projects codenames to help obfuscate  their identity. This makes a lot of sense : if the traders knew that Company A was going to buy Company B ahead of the rest of the market that’d be wrong. Banks invest all sorts of efforts into physical and IT separators between the private and public side and these separators are collectively referred to as the ‘Chinese Wall’.

Part of this Chinese Wall is the restricted list, maintained by the bank’s control room. This comprises a list of companies who are doing something with the bank on the private side and therefore the folks on the trading floor cannot proactively evaluate these stocks with clients via phone/email/chat, lest they be seen to have a conflict of interest. Getting this wrong could result in a regulatory breach, fine or most likely a furious private side client who’ll take you off the deal and see you forfeit millions of dollars in revenue.


Sounds simple enough then : just don’t mention anything on the list. However … this list has hundreds of entries and it updates, constantly. Who can possibly stay on top of that? Certainly not 100% of employees, 100% of the time.

Our solution was pretty simple : we hooked SafeScribe up to their watchlist and gave folks a little reminder when they were typing a watchlisted stock:

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Did it work? Yes. Overnight.


OK, we’ll level with you : there are all sorts of intricacies to this (and the method we developed is patent-pending) but sometimes complicated and expensive human problems can be solved quite intuitively and without huge fuss.

That’s basically SafeScribe’s method : we do all the difficult statistical stuff in the background and present you with an easy-to-install and user-friendly solution that actually works. From day one.

If you’d like to see how SafeScribe can help you with your ecomms or watchlist or project codename compliance issues, please just get in touch!