SEC Chair Commits To SEC Whistleblower Reward Program

SEC Chair Mary Jo White gave a speech at New York University School of Law in which she commented on the SEC whistleblower reward program.

As part of her remarks, Chair White discussed both the performance of the SEC whistleblower reward program and the SEC’s efforts to enforce SEC whistleblower protections.

The Impact Of The SEC Whistleblower Reward Program

The SEC Chair stated that SEC whistleblowers have become “key sources of very significant cases.”  In her words, the SEC whistleblower reward program “has had a transformative impact on enforcement” of the securities laws.

According to the Chair, the SEC whistleblower reward program received more than 4,200 whistleblower tips in fiscal year 2016.  This was an increase of over 40% from fiscal year 2012.

During 2016, the program surpassed the $100 million mark for SEC whistleblower rewards granted.

SEC whistleblower reward program

Transcript of the SEC Chair’s speech

SEC Whistleblower Protections

Chair White also summarized the efforts undertaken with regard to SEC enforcement of SEC whistleblower protection rules.

As the Chair explained, the SEC whistleblower rules prohibit employers from impeding whistleblowers’ ability to communicate with the SEC.

As of the date of the Chair’s speech, the SEC had brought seven actions against companies for violations of SEC whistleblower protections.  Two of those cases were for violating SEC whistleblower anti-retaliation rights.  Five were for impeding whistleblowers’ communications with the SEC.

Expanding on this, the Chair noted that SEC whistleblower cases had been brought against companies whose severance agreements tried to prevent employees from receiving SEC whistleblower awards.

The Future Of The SEC Whistleblower Reward Program

During her speech, the Chair predicted that the transformative impact of the SEC whistleblower reward program “will only increase in the coming years as the program becomes more well-known and the significant rewards of participating in it become clearer to whistleblowers.”

“The SEC intends to stay on the whistleblower beat to ensure protection of whistleblowers and that tips on corporate wrongdoing continue to flow to us unimpeded,” she said.

Additional Information

For more information about the SEC’s commitment to its SEC whistleblower reward program, click on the links below:

  • Speech by the SEC Chair.  (External link to the SEC’s website.)
  • Article about the SEC Chair’s commitment to stay on the SEC whistleblower beat.  (Note:  external link to The Pickholz Law Offices website.)