BaFin established – with effect from 2 July 2016 – a central platform where whistleblowers can report infringements of regulatory provisions. The protection of whistleblowers’ anonymity is a top priority for BaFin.

As whistleblowers are considered to be very important in order to identify violations of supervisory regulations, BaFin now establishes, with effect from 2 July 2016, a reporting platform on which whistleblowers can report any violation of supervisory provisions.

“Regulatory” in this context is to be understood in a broad sense. It includes any German laws, regulations, ordinances and other provisions as well as legal acts of the European Union and the European Supervisory Authorities (EBA, EIOPA and ESMA) that BaFin has to supervise.

Whistleblowers play an important role in identifying misconduct by individual persons or entire companies within the financial sector. They are also important in order to combat and sanction such misconduct and to correct its negative consequences. However, whistleblowers need to be sure that they will not incur any disadvantages if they reveal their identity when they report to BaFin.

Thus, BaFin also established a specific procedure to especially protect the identity of whistleblowers as well as persons affected by the reports filed. Principally, the identity of a whistleblower is - without his/her prior explicit consent - not passed on to third parties by BaFin. Irrespective of this, whistleblowers can also contact BaFin anonymously.

The following communication channels can be used by whistleblowers:

  • written form (hard copy or e-mail)
  • telephone (with or without recording the call)
  • verbal report to one of BaFin’s employees

However, the platform does not replace BaFin’s consumer hotline. It rather aims at persons with special knowledge of a company's internal affairs (for instance because they are employees or business partners of this company).

Hence, the BaFin’s new reporting platform is the first centralized “whistleblower hotline” established by the German regulator that particularly focuses on the protection of whistleblowers’ anonymity.

You can read an article about the whistleblower reporting platform here (only in German language):

http://www.bafin.de/DE/Aufsicht/Hinweisgeberstelle/hinweisgeberstelle_artikel.html?nn=7858824