On 4 November 2015, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that it had awarded a sum of more than $354,000 (known as a whistleblower award) to a former employee of an investment firm for providing detailed information that allowed it to open an investigation into fraudulent activity at the firm and to subsequently bring a successful enforcement action. However, the SEC confirmed that, as the former employee waited until after he had left the firm before blowing the whistle, the whistleblower award was smaller than it might otherwise have been. 

Whistleblowers who provide “unique and useful” information may be eligible for a monetary award under the SEC’s whistleblower programme (launched in 2011) if the information provided contributes to a successful enforcement action and if the SEC recovers a monetary sanction of more than $1 million. The whistleblower awards are substantial and can range from 10-30% of the amount recovered by the SEC.