SEC Launches Whistleblower Program and Website with FAQs and Submission Form
The SEC officially launched its whistleblower program including a new web site that includes frequently asked questions and a user-friendly form for submitting complaints. The program allows the SEC to pay 10%-30% of any award in excess of $1 Million to a whistleblower whose information leads to a successful enforcement action. The new website includes a user-friendly “check-the-box” form that simplifies the submission process. The Office of the Whistleblower has also released a series of FAQs. Responding to industry concerns, the FAQs indicate that awards may be larger if a whistleblower first reports information through a company’s internal compliance program. The FAQs also make clear that whistleblowers would have a private right of action in the event that he/she suffered employment retaliation as a result of submitting information.
OUR TAKE: While the intake form appears more focused on investor complaints, we’re not sure that reporting securities law violations can be reduced to a “check-the-box” form. Also, if the SEC makes it too easy to submit complaints, it may undermine its ultimate goal of leveraging limited resources because it will have to sift through thousands of irrelevant submissions.