WASHINGTON, D.C.— Stephen Hall, Legal Director and Securities Specialist at Better Markets, issued the following statement in response to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) adoption of a final whistleblower rule reversing two flawed provisions written under the prior administration:
“The SEC’s whistleblower program has been an extraordinarily effective enforcement tool in fighting against fraud and other illegal behavior. It has encouraged and protected insiders who blow the whistle on often complex and hard-to-uncover corporate schemes, and that has helped the SEC catch the lawbreakers. The facts speak for themselves: The program has awarded well over $1 billion dollars to hundreds of individuals in return for information that has resulted in $5 billion in monetary sanctions and over $3 billion in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, of which more than $1.3 billion has been, or is scheduled to be, returned to investors.
“The whistleblower rule dating back to 2011 was working admirably, but the prior administration foolishly weakened it, making awards less certain and potentially lower. That reduced the incentives for insiders with knowledge of securities fraud to come forward in the face of potentially ruinous personal and financial consequences. The SEC has rightly responded with an effective fix, and we applaud them for doing so.
“As we urged in our comment letter, the new provisions make clear that the Commission may consider the dollar amount of an award only for purposes of increasing, not decreasing, the amount. In addition, they allow the Commission to make an award for a related action that might otherwise be covered by an alternative whistleblower program, even where the alternative whistleblower program has the more direct or relevant connection to the related action in certain circumstances.
“These changes will encourage more insiders to blow the whistle on corporate crime, and they will help protect the investments and retirement savings of Main Street consumers, investors, and families against crooks, fraudsters, and rip-off artists.”
Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded 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 www.bettermarkets.org.