Whistleblowers who expose bank scandals to get better protection
Companies that fail to deal properly with concerns raised by staff to face fines
Banks that fail to protect whistleblowers could face heavy fines under measures being considered by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The watchdog could begin consultations on the measure within weeks, having identified the issue as a priority for the new year.
The move follows a demand from the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (PCBS), which highlighted improving protection for whistleblowers as a key measure to prevent future wrongdoing at banks and excessive risk-taking by them.
Both the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority are also due to make a statement on providing financial incentives for people to come forward.
It comes amid concern that people could still be put off from raising issues because of the risk of retribution from employers, and the difficulties they could face with potential future employers afterwards.
One of the most high-profile whistleblowers in Britain is Paul Moore, who voiced concerns about excessive risk-taking at HBOS to the bank’s board years before its near-collapse. He lost his job as a result.
In an interview with the Financial Times last year he said whistleblowers in the UK and been “ignored, demeaned, dismissed, publicly rubbished and treated like outcasts”. He spoke out shortly after the charity Public Concern at Work had warned that 75 per cent of employees in financial services were ignored when they first raised concerns.
Teams from both watchdogs visited the US last year to investigate the approach taken there with regulators, government, support groups and lawyers. In the US informants can receive between 10 and 30 per cent of any penalties regulators or courts levy on miscreants. However, this can lead to the creation of millionaire whistleblowers, a situation that makes policymakers and watchdogs in Britain queasy, even though proponents say that it could eliminate one of the barriers to whistleblowers acting – severe detriment to their careers.
The FCA does usually seek to protect the identity of an informant, but this isn’t always possible if their information leads to court action against a bank. Watchdogs can, however, appear as a witness during employment tribunals.
Despite the lack of incentives the FCA says it has dealt with more than 5,000 calls from informants over the past 12 months, with a 350 per cent increase between 2007 and 2012. The third quarter of 2013 saw a 72 per cent increase in contacts. The watchdog said it had “conducted a detailed review of our whistleblowing procedures and have increased resources to track and analyse whistleblowing information”.
In September it introduced processes to establish where risks are emerging as well as areas where intelligence gaps exist, besides responding to specific whistleblowing concerns.
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 3 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
- 5 Lady Gaga has struggled with eating disorders in the past, so it's indefensible that she's glamourising bulimia in her SXSW set
iJobs Money & Business
£35000 - £43000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A global lea...
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Linux Systems Administrator - UNI...
£32000 - £36000 per annum + generous benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: * TAX * ...
£37000 - £40000 per annum + £20000 benefits package: Pro-Recruitment Group: **...