New whistleblowing rules affecting many firms in the banking and insurance sector went live on 7 September 2016. They aim to help encourage individuals in those sectors to raise concerns and to challenge poor practice, in the wake of lessons learnt from the financial crisis.
Since 7 March this year, affected firms have already been required to comply with part of the new rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") and the Prudential Regulation Authority ("PRA"): the requirement to have a whistleblowing champion in place. The whistleblowing champion, typically a senior manager with a non-executive director role, is responsible for overseeing a firm's whistleblowing policies and procedures, and for transition into the new regime which has now come into force.
From 7 September 2016, affected firms must comply with all the other requirements of the new regime laid out by the FCA and PRA. We have previously set out a summary of the new whistleblowing rules in the banking and insurance sectors and which firms the rules apply to. Any affected firms who have not already done so should now ensure compliance with the rules as a matter of priority.
However, authorised firms not strictly within the remit of the new rules must also take note: the rules constitute non-binding guidance in respect of them. The FCA has also indicated it may extend the rules to other regulated firms, so even firms not currently affected may wish to 'get ahead' and apply the new rules in anticipation of a wider rollout – or at the very least, continue to watch this space for the regulator’s next announcement.