The SEC announced yesterday a new initiative to improve internal procedures for evaluating tips, complaints, and referrals. It is no coincidence that the announcement comes at a time when the SEC is facing stinging criticism as more facts surrounding the $50 billion Bernard Madoff fraud are showcased in the news. Namely, Harry Markopolos, a rival hedge fund investor, had been alerting the SEC of potential fraud committed by Madoff for years prior to Madoff’s confession.

The SEC says it receives hundreds of thousands of tips and complaints per year. It has a goal of improving its management of those communications, which come from a variety of different sources and are received by several different divisions of the commission.

FINRA has also recently developed a new “Office of the Whistleblower” to review tips, but the office will aid, rather than replace, the current process for reviewing tips and complaints.