Financial Conduct Authority  

FCA to review guidance on whistleblowing

FCA to review guidance on whistleblowing

The financial regulator has confirmed it will review its whistleblowing guidance following a recommendation from the Complaints Commissioner. 

The commissioner recommended the Financial Conduct Authority reviewed the guidance published on its website, and in particular to set out clearly who meets the standard definition of a whistleblower.

The recommendation followed a complaint upheld last month, and published on the commissioner's website today (June 4), in which an oversees financial adviser tried to alert the regulator to concerns regarding a company which has since been declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. 

Guidance first published on the FCA's website in May 2016 reads: "If you think a firm or individual is involved in wrongdoing within an area we regulate, and you want to report it confidentially, contact our whistleblowing team."

However, when the adviser attempted to report his concerns to the regulator's whistleblowing team he was told "on several occasions" his concerns were "nothing to do with whistle-blowing" and he was instead referred to the FCA's customer contact centre. 

The FCA told the adviser whistle-blowing only applied to employees or former employees of an authorised firm and, as an adviser reporting on behalf of mutual clients who had been impacted by issues at the firm in question, he did not qualify as such. 

But the commissioner disagreed with this decision, stating it did not "accord" with the whistleblowing information published on the FCA's website at the time, and recommended the guidance be reviewed.

In a response published today the FCA stated: "We will review the whistleblowing page on our website and will take the Commissioner’s recommendation into consideration during this process."

Last year the FCA increased the resources it allocates to managing and handling whistleblowing, hailing whistleblowers has providing "some of the best intelligence we get as an organisation". 

There has also been speculation the arrival of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime to the advice sector later this year could see a rise in the number of whistleblowing complaints made to the City-watchdog, under regulation designed to stop individuals in a company from "brushing issues under the carpet".

rachel.addison@ft.com

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