If you need advice on whistleblowing in the financial services sector

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Advice on whistleblowing in the financial services sector

In this post-financial-crash climate, there are frequent headlines around whistleblowing in financial services, as wrongdoings in banks and financial institutions are unearthed through reviews and reports, and are then scrutinised by parliamentary committees as well as courts.

Previously, there was a stigma attached to the idea of whistleblowing, which resulted in great apprehension on behalf of the whistleblower as to whether they should sound the alarm on malpractice. However, the culture is now finally shifting, with the attitude towards whistleblowers being that they are necessary to provide much-needed checks and transparency within businesses.

New whistleblowing rules for organisations in the financial services

As a result of recent proposals, new whistleblowing rules apply to any firm that is one of the following:

On 7th September 2016, new rules were introduced to encourage more staff to whistle-blow in financial service firms. Here are the most significant changes:

In essence, the changes aim to help encourage individuals to raise concerns and to challenge the sort of poor practice that was demonstrated in the financial crisis of 2008 and onwards.

The whistleblowing procedure in financial services organisations

In the first instance, you should report the information or concern you have to your company’s designated Whistleblowers’ Champion, who will then advise you on what happens next and what you should do.

If you feel unable to approach your Champion, you can contact the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) directly, or you can also approach a prescribed person.

Under the new rules, any settlement agreement you come to with your employer should include a section which confirms that you are not prevented from making a protected disclosure to the public.

If the company you work for is outside the parameters of the new rules…

Unfortunately, the new rules will have the status of simply being non-guidance, and therefore compliance by a firm outside of the rules will be completely voluntary. However, the FCA and PRA guidance will continue to encourage all firms to adopt procedures and best practice regarding whistleblowing.

Financial-services whistleblowing case studies

Case study 1: former FOREX trader at Lloyds Banking Group

A recent example of a person who successfully claimed unfair dismissal as a result of whistleblowing involved Paul Carlier, a former foreign-exchange trader at Lloyds Banking Group.

Mr Carlier had raised concerns about Lloyds and in particular a currency trade deal for the supermarket Tesco, and was dismissed as a result. He was successful in his unfair dismissal action, because he demonstrated that Lloyds’ actions were unlawful.

Case study 2: whistleblowing non-compliance at the top echelon

In April 2017, headlines involving Barclays CEO Jes Staley proved that understanding and implementing whistleblowing procedures, even in one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated financial services institutions, still has a long way to go.

In this case, Mr Staley had admitted to attempting to find out the identity of the author of a whistleblowing letter, explaining his actions by saying that he honestly, but mistakenly, believed that it was permissible to identify the author of the letter.

How we can help you with the whistleblowing process

With specialist understanding of the financial services sector, our solicitors know the issues and are ready to assist with following:

Why Kennedys?

At Kennedys, we have expertise in assisting clients against financial institutions, and our Banking team is at the forefront providing expert commentary for the national press on conduct and culture in financial services.

Applying our specialist understanding of the financial services sector, our Employment and Banking and Finance teams will work closely together to ensure that complaints and procedures are accurately and smoothly adhered to.

Contact our team for whistleblowing advice and support

If you seek advice on any of the above issues, contact us by phone (0161 660 7520) or submit your details by email to contactus@kennedyslaw.com, or fill out the contact form opposite.

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