The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has made headlines with its recent announcement of a substantial $104 million whistleblower award, ranking as the fourth largest in its history.
However, amidst the figures, another significant number emerges—11. This represents the count of claimants who stepped forward to vie for a portion of the award, a detail outlined in the agency's release on Friday. Ultimately, the reward was distributed among seven whistleblowers, underscoring the heightened stakes in today's whistleblower landscape.
While the notion that whistleblowers are primarily driven by financial gain has been acknowledged before, it becomes hard to overlook the impact of substantial monetary incentives. This is particularly evident in cases such as the earlier $279 million SEC bounty disclosed this year, where a single individual's life was significantly transformed. Notably, the agency is currently facing legal action from one of the claimants denied a share of that remarkable record-breaking award.
Despite limited specifics shared by the SEC about the recent payout, a glimpse of diversity among the claimants is discernible. Among them were pairs of joint whistleblowers, along with three individuals who were recognized for their contributions, which encompassed providing supporting documents, participating in interviews, and identifying potential witnesses, according to the agency's statements. Noteworthy among the claimants was a foreign lawyer affiliated with a subsidiary, while another asserted their role as the "lead/organizing whistleblower," revealing a complex interplay of elements, including legal representation.
While many details of the case remain confidential to protect the identities of the whistleblowers, it's evident that a multitude of factors are at play—each striving to bring allegations of misconduct by one or more entities to the attention of the SEC.
Recent data underscores the increasing confidence of whistleblowers in stepping forward. Yet, this surge in willingness to report is, in part, fueled by the tangible incentives presented by successful award programs like that of the SEC. This puts the onus on companies to foster a culture that encourages internal reporting, as the risk of regulatory disclosure looms prominently. Furthermore, the significance of the fact that nearly a dozen individuals pursued a stake in the recent SEC award serves as a compelling reminder to businesses that a robust speak-up culture is not just beneficial, but increasingly imperative.
By fLEXI tEAM