GWM views protecting its customers’ private information as a top priority and, pursuant to the requirements of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (the “GLBA”), GWM has instituted the following policies and procedures to ensure that customer information is kept private and secure.
This policy serves as formal documentation of GWM’s ongoing commitment to the privacy of its customers. All employees will be expected to read, understand, and abide by this policy and to follow all related procedures to uphold the standards of privacy and security set forth by GWM. This Policy, and the related procedures contained herein, is designed to comply with applicable privacy laws, including the GLBA, and to protect nonpublic personal information of GWM’s customers.
Scope of Policy
Overview of the Guidelines for Protecting Customer Information
In Regulation S-P, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) published guidelines, pursuant to section 501(b) of the GLBA, which address the steps a financial institution should take in order to protect customer information. The overall security standards that must be upheld are:
- Ensure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information;
- Protect against any anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of customer records and information; and
- Protect against unauthorized access to or use of customer records or information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to any customer.
- Each employee has a duty to protect the nonpublic personal information of customers collected by GWM.
- No employee is authorized to disclose or use the nonpublic information of customers on behalf of GWM.
- Each employee has a duty to ensure that nonpublic personal information of GWM’s customers is shared only with employees and others in a way that is consistent with GWM’s Privacy Notice and the procedures contained in this Policy.
- Each employee has a duty to ensure that access to nonpublic personal information of GWM’s customers is limited as provided in the Privacy Notice and this Policy.
- No employee is authorized to sell, on behalf of GWM or otherwise, nonpublic information of GWM’s customers.
- Employees with questions concerning the collection and sharing of, or access to, nonpublic personal information of GWM’s customers must look to GWM’s CCO for guidance.
Violations of these policies and procedures will be addressed in a manner consistent with other Company disciplinary guidelines.
Types of Permitted Disclosures – The Exceptions
Regulation S-P contains several exceptions, which permit GWM to disclose customer information (the “Exceptions”). For example, GWM is permitted under certain circumstances to provide information to non-affiliated third parties to perform services on GWM’s behalf. In addition, there are several “ordinary course” exceptions, which allow GWM to disclose information that is necessary to effect, administer, or enforce a transaction that a customer has requested or authorized. A more detailed description of these Exceptions is set forth below.
- Service Providers. GWM may from time to time have relationships with nonaffiliated third parties that require it to share customer information in order for the third party to carry out services for GWM. These nonaffiliated third parties would typically represent situations where GWM or its employees offer products or services jointly with another financial institution, thereby requiring GWM to disclose customer information to that third party. Every nonaffiliated third party that falls under this exception is required to enter into an agreement that will include the confidentiality provisions required by Regulation S-P, which ensure that each such nonaffiliated third party uses and re-discloses customer nonpublic personal information only for the purpose(s) for which it was originally disclosed.
- Processing and Servicing Transactions. GWM may also share information when it is necessary to effect, administer, or enforce a transaction for our customers or pursuant to written customer requests. In this context, “Necessary to effect, administer, or enforce a transaction” means that the disclosure is required, or is a usual, appropriate, or acceptable method.
- To carry out the transaction or the product or service business of which the transaction is a part, and record, service, or maintain the consumer’s account in the ordinary course of providing the financial service or financial product.
- To administer or service benefits or claims relating to the transaction or the product or service of which it is a part.
- To provide a confirmation, statement, or other record of the transaction, or information on the status or value of the financial service or financial product to the consumer or the consumer’s agent or broker; or
- To accrue or recognize incentives or bonuses associated with the transaction that is provided by GWM or any other party.
Sharing as Permitted or Required by Law
GWM may disclose information to nonaffiliated third parties as required or allowed by law. This may include, for example, disclosures in connection with a subpoena or similar legal process, a fraud investigation, recording of deeds of trust and mortgages in public records, an audit, or examination, or the sale of an account to another financial institution.
GWM has taken the appropriate steps to ensure that it is sharing customer data only within the above noted Exceptions. GWM has achieved this by understanding how GWM shares data with its customers, their agents, service providers, parties related to transactions in the ordinary course or joint marketers.
Safeguarding of Client Records and Information
GWM has implemented internal controls and procedures designed to maintain accurate records concerning customers’ personal information. GWM’s customers have the right to contact GWM if they believe that Company records contain inaccurate, incomplete, or stale information about them. GWM will respond in a timely manner to requests to correct information. To protect this information, GWM maintains appropriate security measures for its computer and information systems, including the use of passwords and firewalls.
Additionally, GWM will use shredding machines, locks and other appropriate physical security measure to safeguard client information stored in paper format. For example, employees are expected to discard documents not required to be kept by placing them in the appropriate bin for shredding.
GWM protects confidential client information including but not limited to consumer report or any compilation of consumer report information derived from a consumer report by maintaining some information in locked areas and shredding such information when then information is no longer needed by GWM.
GWM maintains physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to protect the integrity and confidentiality of customer information. Internally, GWM limits access to customers’ nonpublic personal information to those employees who need to know such information in order to provide products and services to customers. All employees are trained to understand and comply with these information principles.
GWM has developed a Privacy Notice, as required under Regulation S-P, to be delivered to customers initially and on an annual basis. The notice discloses GWM’s information collection and sharing practices and other required information and has been formatted and drafted to be clear and conspicuous. The notice will be revised as necessary any time information practices change. A copy of GWM’s Privacy Notice is available on GWM’s website.
- Privacy Notice Delivery
- Initial Privacy Notice – As regulations require, all new customers receive an initial Privacy Notice at the time when the customer relationship is established, for example on execution of the agreement for services.