The SEC’s whistleblower program paid out a record $57 million to whistleblowers in Fiscal Year 2016. That figure is higher than all previous awards issued through the SEC whistleblower program combined.
According to the agency’s 2016 annual report to Congress, available here, the Office of the Whistleblower received over 4,200 tips and enforcement actions led to $584 million in financial sanctions. The number of tips the office received reflects a 40% increase over FY 2012, the first year the office recorded full-year data. According to the report, the increase in tips is due in large part to the growing awareness of the whistleblower program.
“We believe that the continued payment of significant awards, like those made this past year, will continue to incentivize company insiders, market participants, and others with knowledge of potential securities law violations to come forward and report their information to the agency,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower.
The report also noted that combating retaliation against whistleblowers and limiting confidentiality, severance and other kinds of agreements that may silence a would-be whistleblower are top priorities for the agency.
Stephen M. Kohn, the executive director of National Whistleblower Center, praised the program, noting that the “SEC whistleblower program is vital to the health of U.S. markets,” and that the “SEC Whistleblower Office is a model for other agencies to follow.”
We congratulate the work of the whistleblowers and the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower and look forward to additional record breaking years ahead.