Culture and governance remains a key focus for the FCA and line with this, the FCA has today launched a new whistleblowing campaign called ‘In confidence, with confidence’ to encourage more reporting of potential misconduct to the FCA by those working in financial services.
To support the campaign the FCA has produced:
- materials for firms to share with their employees – this includes an employee leaflet and a number of different posters (for example, see here).
- a toolkit for industry bodies and consumer groups to encourage people to whistleblow, including a whistleblowing infographic regarding how to report concerns.
The FCA has also updated its website with further information for potential whistleblowers and increased its internal resourcing around whistleblowing. Every report will be reviewed and whistleblowers will have a dedicated case manager and can meet with the FCA. In addition, the FCA is looking to expand the ways in which individuals can whistleblow by developing an online confidential form for use. In its materials the FCA emphasises the confidentiality processes that exist around whistleblowing reports, explaining that whistleblowers can remain anonymous and that protecting the identity of whistleblowers is at the heart of what the FCA does.
The FCA already receives hundreds of whistleblowing reports each year about a number of different issues including money laundering, mis-selling and systems and controls. Before contacting the FCA, potential whistleblowers are advised by the FCA to consider various steps including raising concerns internally but are not encouraged to proactively seek further information themselves.
Firms should already have in place effective systems for employees to report potential wrongdoing in a confidential manner, as well as a whistleblowing champion with oversight of these arrangements. With this renewed focus on whistleblowing, firms should ensure their policies and procedures are up to the required standard in this area and consider whether they are adequately prepared to deal with any reports they receive from whistleblowers or enquiries from the FCA prompted by whistleblower contact.
We will be releasing a podcast discussing further thoughts on the FCA’s campaign soon.