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FCA unveils extra rules to protect financial whistleblowers

by: Joanna Faith
  • 06/10/2015
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FCA unveils extra rules to protect financial whistleblowers
The City regulator has published new rules to protect whistleblowers in financial services firms.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it wanted to encourage “a culture where individuals feel able to raise concerns and challenge poor practice and behaviour”.

The rules, which take full effect in September 2016, apply to deposit-takers such as banks, building societies and credit unions.

They will require a firm to:

•appoint a senior manager as their whistleblowers’ champion;
•put in place internal whistleblowing arrangements able to handle all types of disclosure from all types of person;
•put text in settlement agreements explaining that workers have a legal right to blow the whistle;
•tell UK-based employees about the FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) whistleblowing services;
•present a report on whistleblowing to the board at least annually;
•inform the FCA if it loses an employment tribunal with a whistleblower;
•require its appointed representatives and tied agents to tell their UK-based employees about the FCA whistleblowing service.

Tracey McDermott, acting FCA chief executive, said: “Whistleblowers play an important role in exposing poor practice in firms and they have in the past few years contributed intelligence crucial to action taken against firms and individuals. It is in the interests of the industry and regulators alike that wrongdoing is identified and addressed promptly.

“For individuals to have the confidence to come forward, it is vital that firms have in place adequate policies on dealing with whistleblowers and that a senior manager takes responsibility for overseeing these policies.

“These rules are designed to build on and formalise examples of good practice already found in parts of the financial services industry and aim to encourage a culture in which individuals working in the industry feel comfortable raising concerns and challenge poor practice and behaviour.”

The FCA said it has seen an increase in the number of whistleblowing reports it receives in recent year.

There were 1,340 whistleblowing disclosures recorded for financial year 2014/15 against 1040 in 2013/14, a 28% increase. In the financial year 2007/08 the then Financial Services Authority received only 138.

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