FCA and PRA have published their feedback, rules and policy documents on whistleblowing. The rules complement the senior manager regime (SMR) and reforms of remuneration rules. The new rules affect:
- UK deposit-takers with assets of £250 million or greater (including banks, building societies and credit unions);
- PRA-designated investment firms; and
- insurance and reinsurance firms within the scope of Solvency 2 and to the Society of Lloyd’s and managing agents.
The new rules place requirements on firms to:
- establish internal whistleblowing channels able to handle all types of disclosure from all types of person and inform their staff about these arrangements;
- inform their staff about PRA and FCA’s whistleblowing services, and of the legal protections available to them;
- appoint a senior manager as their whistleblowers’ champion (an FCA required position);
- ensure wording in employment contracts and settlement agreements does not deter staff from whistleblowing, and put text in settlement agreements explaining that workers have a legal right to blow the whistle;
- present a report on whistleblowing to the board at least annually;
- inform FCA if the firm loses an employment tribunal with a whistleblower; and
- require appointed representatives and tied agents to tell their UK-based employees about the regulatory whistleblowing service.
PRA has made:
- the Handbook Whistleblowing Instrument, which amends the Glossary and SYSC;
- the CRR Firms: Whistleblowing Instrument 2015; and
- the Solvency 2 Firms: Whistleblowing Instrument 2015.
FCA has made the Accountability and Whistleblowing Instrument 2015, which amends the Glossary, SYSC and the Prudential Sourcebook for Investment Firms.
PRA’s Supervisory Statement sets out its expectations on firms around:
- whistleblowing procedures;
- settlement agreements; and
- the whistleblowers’ champion.
The rules take effect from 7 September 2016, except for those requirements that need to take effect in March 2016 to coincide with the start of the SMR. (Source: FCA PS15/24 on Whistleblowing and PRA Whistleblowing Rules)