No rewards for whistleblowers
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Montréal – Further to a thorough and rigorous analysis, the Autorité des marchés financiers (the “AMF”) does not intend to offer financial rewards to whistleblowers who report violations of the laws administered by the AMF.
The AMF closely monitored the whistleblower programs set up by other organizations and carefully observed the quantitative and qualitative data. Its analysis focused on the rewards-based whistleblower programs offered by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Ontario Securities Commission and the non-rewards whistleblower programs offered by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. The study’s findings showed that it cannot be established with certainty, based on specific data, that a financial incentive generates more quality whistleblowing.
Instead, the AMF’s research and analysis highlight that the protection of confidentiality is what primarily motivates whistleblowers to report incidents. “We are convinced that this protection, combined with anti-retaliation measures, as part of a structured, well-publicized program, will have a definite impact on the quantity and quality of wrongdoing reports made to the AMF, without the need for a reward,” said Jean-François Fortin, Executive Director, AMF Enforcement. “Our no-rewards approach also corresponds to that adopted by other regulators and organizations around the world and in Québec that have set up whistleblower lines,” he added.
Reports of wrongdoing by industry participants and their families and friends have long been a source of information leading to AMF investigations. Such reports are already protected and are made freely, without retribution, and come through various channels. They are handled meticulously, discreetly and confidentially by AMF staff, with guaranteed anonymity when requested by the whistleblower.
Over the coming months, the AMF wishes to promote a whistleblower program that builds on existing measures. The program will enhance the framework for communication of information related to violations of the laws administered by the AMF via, in particular, the implementation of a secure channel.
The information will be referred to and handled directly by a dedicated team trained to address the special issues associated with whistleblowing.
Lastly, the AMF believes that anti-retaliation protection for whistleblowers in financial sector legislation will eventually strengthen the effectiveness of its whistleblower program.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (the “AMF”) is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.
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