Last year the Financial Conduct Authority announced a new package of rules on whistleblowing in the financial sector. The firms affected (referred to as "relevant firms") are:-
- UK deposit-takers with assets of £250m or greater (including banks, building societies and credit unions);
- PRA-designated investment firms; and
- insurance and reinsurance firms within the scope of Solvency II, the Society of Lloyd’s and managing agents.
The purpose of the rules is to encourage a culture where individuals can raise concerns and challenge poor practice and behaviour. While compliance is mandatory for relevant firms, the rules are also intended to be treated as non-binding guidance by all FCA regulated businesses.
The first stage of the rules - the requirement to appoint a whistleblowers' champion, took effect on 6 March 2016, giving the champion 6 months to oversee any arrangements needed to comply with the new regime. The key rules taking effect from 7 September require firms to:-
- put in place internal whistleblowing arrangements able to handle all types of disclosure from all types of person;
- put text in settlement agreements explaining that workers have a legal right to blow the whistle;
- tell UK-based employees about the FCA and PRA whistleblowing services;
- present a report on whistleblowing to the board at least annually;
- inform the FCA if it loses an employment tribunal with a whistleblower; and
- require its appointed representatives and tied agents to tell their UK-based employees about the FCA whistleblowing service.
The FCA policy statement can be found here.