Christine Hawes

In November, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued its 2015 annual report to Congress on the agency’s Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program. The report notes an increased number of tips made by whistleblowers to the SEC — up 8% from last year and 30% since 2012.  The statistics in the report also provide an interesting profile of the successful whistleblowers.  Nearly half of the whistleblowers who received awards were current or former employees of the company they reported.  About 80% of the whistleblowers had either raised their complaint internally or knew that the company was aware of the alleged violations before the SEC complaint was initiated, and approximately 20% of the whistleblowers submitted their tips anonymously.

The SEC’s report also discusses the agency’s future goals and objectives for the program. The SEC will hire two new attorneys to handle the increasing number of whistleblower tips .  Additionally, the SEC has made clear that, going forward, it will continue to place stronger emphasis on certain aspects of the whistleblower program, including investigating whistleblower retaliation claims and claims regarding confidentiality agreements that may stifle a whistleblower’s ability to raise concerns with the SEC.