What America says about whistleblower ?
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
of the United States came up with a whistleblower program to be overseen by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2010 post Enron and many other shocks the american corporate world went through.
The relevant norms, inter alia, make it a violation of law to take any action to impede an individual from communicating directly with the SEC about a possible securities law violation, including enforcing, or threatening to enforce, a confidentiality agreement.
The SEC’s whistleblower program envisages paying awards to whistleblowers that provide the SEC with credible information about a securities law violation that leads to a successful SEC enforcement action resulting in monetary sanctions over $1 million – the award can range between 10% and 30% of the amount recovered in the enforcement
The SEC Annual Report 2016 states that SEC has, since the inception of its whistleblower program, levied over $500 million worth of enforcement actions based on information received from whistleblowers, and
awarded over $100 million to credible whistleblowers.
During FY 2017, acting on recommendations by enforcement staff, the Commission authorized 446 stand-alone enforcement actions, 196 follow-on proceedings and 112 delinquent filing proceedings.
The SEC obtained judgments and orders for over $3.8 billion in penalties and disgorgement, returned a record $1.0 billion to harmed investors, ordered over $50 million in payments to12 individual whistleblowers, suspended trading in the securities of 309 issuers to combat market manipulation and microcap fraud, and obtained favorable verdicts in federal district court. The SEC’s enforcement actions during the year spanned the entire spectrum of the securities industry.
In FY 2017, SEC received over 4,400 tips, an increase of nearly 50 percent since FY 2012, the first year for which we have full-year data.
Since the agency issued its first award in 2012 through the end of September 2017, the program has awarded approximately $160 million in whistleblower awards to 46 individuals whose information and cooperation assisted the agency in bringing successful Commission enforcement actions and related actions brought by non-SEC enforcement authorities.
Clearly, Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the United States, said something which appears to resonate with the SEC:
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”