The SEC Office of the Whistleblower has just released its annual report to Congress, revealing the program’s growth and providing powerful evidence that we are truly living in the age of the whistleblower.
This year, the SEC received a record number of tips — nearly 4,000 — an increase of more than 8% from fiscal year 2014 and over 20% compared to fiscal year 2013.
Tips came in from every state and Washington, DC, as well as 61 foreign countries, including a significant number of submissions from the UK, Canada, China, India and Australia.
The SEC awarded over $37 million in whistleblower awards in fiscal 2015 and at the close of the year, the Investor Protection Fund had a remarkable balance of over $400 million.
The report also highlighted many recent accomplishments, including a case where our firm represented the whistleblower, in which the agency issued the maximum award in the SEC’s first retaliation case.
This year also witnessed a landmark action against a company for the use of confidentiality agreements to impede communication between whistleblowers and the SEC.
As longtime advocates for whistleblowers, we are encouraged by the impact of the program. There is still much work to do, but these results offer cause for optimism in our ongoing quest to reestablish a culture of integrity within the financial services industry.
Jordan A. Thomas is the Chair of the Whistleblower Representation Practice at Labaton Sucharow. He served as an assistant director and, previously, as an assistant chief litigation counsel in the Division of Enforcement at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He had a leadership role in the development of the SEC Whistleblower Program. Follow him on Twitter at @SECReporter.