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June 28, 2018

Contrary to Congressional Mandate, SEC Votes to Give Itself Inappropriate Control Over Whistleblower Rewards

Thursday, June28, 2018
Contact: Nick Jacobs, 202-618-6430 or

Washington, D.C. – Lev Bagramian, Senior Securities Policy Advisor for Better Markets issued this statement following a vote by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to give itself discretion to determine whistleblower program rewards:

“Today, the SEC voted to give itself authority that Congress expressly denied the agency when it created the Whistleblower Rewards Program.  Congress, in law, set the hugely successful Program’s award levels, and allowed no discretion to the Commission to put a dollar limit on them.  The SEC proposed to set exactly such a limit, in breach of Congress’s intent and the law.

“Having returned $1.4 billion to investors that they would have otherwise not received, the Program encourages whistleblowers to come forward which enables the SEC to find fraudsters it would never otherwise even know about.

“Not only does the SEC lack the authority to limit the awards, this is also bad public policy.   Congress created this program to maximally incentivize whistleblowers, who take tremendous, potentially career-ending risks, to come to the Commission by amply and predictably rewarding them.  This change would introduce unpredictability and uncertainty exactly in situations where it shouldn’t.”


Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit

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