The Glorious Days before Email - for Some Still Here

Actress Rosalind Russell as secretary Kendal Browning and actor Brian Aherne as advertising executive Stephen Dexter in the 1940 comedy Hired Wife

On Wall Street, a high-ranking few still avoid email


In an age when most bankers use keyboards to communicate with each other, a small group of the Wall Street elite refuses to say anything substantive in an email, text or chat, and some will not communicate digitally at all.

This group, which includes top bankers like JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon and powerful investors like Carl Icahn and Berkshire Hathaway Inc's Warren Buffett, were eschewing electronic communications long before the probe of U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's emails and the recent hacks of her campaign manager's account made headlines.

Some on Wall Street are nostalgic for a time when in-person conversations or phone calls were the norm, but others believe the words they type and send can come back to haunt them.

Prosecutors have built insider trading, mortgage fraud and rate-rigging cases on embarrassing emails over the past several years, and they are often the most memorable part. ...

Ariel Investments chief John W. Rogers also shuns email, which he has described to associates as a "distraction." His staff filters important messages, prints them out and puts them on his chair for review, according to spokeswoman Merrillyn Kosier. He prefers to speak with employees in person or over the phone.

"I do think there is certain cautiousness today around email," said Virginia Healy-Tangney, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management who focuses on managerial communication. "Since the financial crisis, executives really have to be prepared for anything they say to potentially end up on the front page of the New York Times."
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