The SEC awarded approximately $20 million to a whistleblower who voluntarily provided significant information and continued helpful assistance that led to a successful SEC enforcement action.

The SEC denied whistleblower award claims for two other witnesses. The SEC said that in one case, the witness submitted two complaints, but the first was not reviewed by SEC staff and the second was determined to have been irrelevant to the investigation. The other witness also submitted multiple whistleblower claims, but the SEC determined that those claims did not contribute to the success of the enforcement action.

Commentary

While whistleblowers often complain about the pace at which the SEC reviews and resolves whistleblower complaints, this settlement and corresponding award serve as a reminder that the SEC's whistleblower program is alive and well.

Pressure is nonetheless mounting to revamp the whistleblower program to provide for greater transparency into investigations (including the pace at which they are occurring) and to give whistleblowers and their lawyers a more active seat at the table during the SEC's investigatory activities. While such revisions to the SEC's whistleblower program do not appear imminent, in large part because of the enormous additional agency resources they would require, changes to the program are not off the table.