The SEC Whistleblower Program pays significant monetary awards to persons who assist the Securities and Exchange Commission in the enforcement of U.S. securities laws. Established by the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, the program provides such incentives to individuals who report violations of the laws that govern a wide range of activities in the financial markets and in the activities of U.S. companies doing business abroad.
In enforcement actions resulting in more than $1 million in sanctions, SEC whistleblowers are entitled to receive between 10 and 30 percent of the amount the SEC recovers from wrongdoers as a result of the whistleblower’s information. As of August 2023, the SEC has issued more than $1.7 bill
ion in whistleblower awards since the program’s inception in 2011, and the next few years will see more and larger awards. If you have knowledge of violations of securities laws or of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, you might qualify for a reward under the SEC Whistleblower Program.
Download a comprehensive guide of the SEC Whistleblower Program, written by veteran whistleblower attorneys Lisa Banks and David Marshall, which outlines the factors necessary to prepare a successful tip, cooperate with an SEC investigation, and claim a whistleblower award.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does the SEC Whistleblower Program Work?
Individuals who have information concerning securities violations or that payment of bribes to foreign officials can submit their information to the SEC Office of the Whistleblower on a form provided by the SEC. If the SEC investigates and the whistleblower’s information helps the commission recover more than $1 million, the SEC lists the matter on its website as a “covered action,” and the whistleblower can file an application for an award. At what level between 10 and 30 percent the SEC sets the whistleblower’s award depends on a number of factors. Awards are paid from a special $450 million Investor Protection Fund established by the Dodd-Frank Act.
Can whistleblowers submit information to the SEC anonymously?
The SEC Whistleblower Program allows individuals to submit information anonymously. This is an important feature of the program, as it helps minimize the potential for career harm and thus encourages insiders with access to critical information to come forward. For whistleblowers who desire to submit information anonymously, the program rules require that the whistleblower obtain counsel, who can then submit the information anonymously on the whistleblower’s behalf. SEC staff take great care to maintain the whistleblower’s anonymity in any ensuing investigation.
Why hire counsel for my SEC whistleblower tip?
Katz Banks Kumin has extensive experience representing whistleblowers in the SEC Whistleblower Program, and the tips we and our clients have submitted have resulted in several successful SEC enforcement actions. Our attorneys developed a strong collaborative relationship with the leadership of the SEC Whistleblower Office and the SEC Enforcement Division. We have also been at the forefront of efforts to alert the SEC to the growing number of unlawful tactics that some employers use to silence whistleblowers. We work with commission staff to identify and neutralize retaliation tactics used against employees.
As a result, our firm is a known and respected entity at the SEC for its representation of whistleblowers, and the tips that we submit are treated seriously. We represent whistleblowers who wish to provide information regarding securities violations or foreign bribes to the SEC, as well as whistleblowers who have already submitted their tips and need representation in an SEC investigation or in claiming an award.
The attorneys at Katz Banks Kumin began earning national recognition for their representation of whistleblowers in the corporate finance, accounting and the financial markets starting in 2002, when Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act with strong protections for employees who reported fraud on shareholders or other violations of federal securities laws. This decade and one-half of experience has provided our attorneys with a deep understanding of financial fraud and securities violations, and has allowed them to simultaneously represent whistleblowers in submitting their tips to the SEC and in winning compensation for employer retaliation through the whistleblower-protection provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Dodd-Frank Act and various state-law counterparts.
If you have information you would like to provide to the SEC — or if you have provided such information to the SEC or your employer and were retaliated against as a result — contact our experienced whistleblower attorneys. Your communications with us are confidential and without charge or further obligation.
SEC Whistleblower Practice Guide
To learn more about the SEC Whistleblower Program and how you might qualify to earn an award for providing the SEC, read our SEC Whistleblower Practice Guide, prepared by Katz Banks Kumin partners Lisa J. Banks and Michael A. Filoromo. The Guide provides a comprehensive and up-to-date explanation of the law and valuable practice tips for SEC whistleblowers and their counsel, and also explains the legal protections that SEC whistleblowers have against retaliation.