The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a campaign to encourage individuals working in financial services to report potential wrongdoing at their firms to the regulator.
It follows high profile collapses at firms such as mini-bond provider London Capital & Finance where the City watchdog has been accused of ignoring tipoffs.
The campaign, ‘In confidence, with confidence,’ aims to encourage whistleblowers to report wrongdoing and reminds them of the confidentiality processes in place including a dedicated case manager and regular report updates.
Every report the FCA receives is reviewed and the regulator will protect individual whistleblowers’ identities, the City watchdog said.
The FCA’s website has been updated to provide more comprehensive information for potential whistleblowers and it is developing a confidential web form, increasing the ways in which whistleblowers can make disclosures.
“We want all whistleblowers to feel welcomed by us and to feel safe because of us,” Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said.
“We listen to all whistleblowers and, if they shine a light on serious misconduct, we want to make sure we act responsibly. When whistleblowing works well it helps consumers, markets and firms and keeps everyone safe and that is our aim.”
Simon Morris, a financial services Partner with law firm CMS, suggested this shows the FCA has learned its lessons from recent collapses of firms such as LCF that have left investors with huge losses.
“From a firm’s perspective a whistleblower can be lethal; they don’t always possess the full facts and can be pursuing a personal agenda,” he said.
“Many recent FCA investigations have been kicked off by an anonymous whistleblower and it is difficult for a firm to extract itself from the FCA’s clutches once its interest has been excited by a whistleblower’s sometimes lurid allegations.”