Rules For How To Apply For An SEC Whistleblower Award
When an SEC whistleblower case results in a settlement, order, or judgment exceeding $1 million, an SEC whistleblower award will become available. However, just because whistleblowers provide information to the SEC, or even speak with or have meetings with SEC Staff, they will not automatically receive SEC whistleblower awards. One of the requirements of the SEC whistleblower program is that a whistleblower must separately apply for an SEC whistleblower award.
The SEC whistleblower rules contain several steps that a whistleblower must take in order to receive an award. Failing to follow those rules could bar otherwise eligible whistleblowers from receiving their SEC whistleblower awards.
The Deadline To Apply For An SEC Whistleblower Award
After a final judgment or order exceeding $1 million is entered in an SEC case, the SEC posts a notice on its website (https://www.sec.gov/about/offices/owb/owb-awards.shtml). That notice is called a “Notice of Covered Action” or “NoCA”.
Anyone who thinks they are entitled to receive an SEC whistleblower reward has ninety (90) calendar days from the date of the NoCA for that case to file a claim for a reward.
An individual who fails to apply for an SEC whistleblower award within that 90-day window “will be barred” from receiving a reward in that case. (Rule 21F-10(a).)
Applying For An SEC Whistleblower Award
Those wishing to apply for an SEC whistleblower award must file a written claim on a form called an “Application for Award for Original Information Provided Pursuant to Section 21F of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934”. This form is also called a “Form WB-APP”.
The SEC whistleblower must personally sign the Form WB-APP. The Form WB-APP and any supporting attachments must be sent to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower by mail or by fax. (Rule 21F-10(b).)
“In order to be considered for an award”, the Form WB-APP and any supporting attachments must be received by the Office of the Whistleblower within 90 calendar days of the date of the NoCA. (Rule 21F-10(b).)
How An Anonymous Whistleblower Can Apply For An SEC Whistleblower Award
Under the SEC whistleblower rules, an anonymous whistleblower must be represented by an SEC whistleblower lawyer. The SEC whistleblower attorney interacts with the SEC Staff on behalf of his or her anonymous client, and the SEC Staff does not know the client’s identity. (For more information about the differences between “anonymity” and “confidentiality”, see the SEC whistleblower protections page.) However, that anonymity ends when a whistleblower files a claim for an SEC whistleblower reward.
Anonymous whistleblowers must disclose their identities on their Forms WB-APP when they file their claims for SEC whistleblower awards. In addition, an SEC whistleblower who had been proceeding anonymously must verify his or her identity “in a form and manner that is acceptable to the Office of the Whistleblower prior to the payment of any award.” (Rule 21F-10(c).)
For more information about applying for SEC whistleblower awards, click on the links below:
- Untimely application bars SEC whistleblower award.
- Whistleblowers must check the NoCA list – the SEC is not required to notify them directly.