Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority recently published rules that require U.K. banks to appoint a senior manager to “champion” internal whistleblowing in an attempt to protect employees who come forward with crucial information about misconduct.
The FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority released the rules on Tuesday, which call on banks, building societies, and insurers to implement compliance mechanisms that will support whistleblowing and promote accountability. The senior manager who will oversee this process must be appointed by March—with the full set of rules to be implemented by September 2016.
According to a report on Bloomberg, a string of high-profile industry probes triggered the FCA to release these new rules so more whistleblowers will have the confidence to come forward about wrongdoing. Tesco Plc, for example, has been at the center of a major accounting scandal after an employee reported misconduct to senior management.
“Whistleblowers play an important role in exposing poor practice in firms, and they have in the past few years contributed intelligence crucial to action taken against firms and individuals," said Tracey McDermott, acting FCA chief executive officer. "It is in the interests of the industry and regulators alike that wrongdoing is identified and addressed promptly."
These new rules are dependent on FCA’s Senior Managers Regime (SMR) and “Certification Regime,” which provides more guidance around its plans to promote greater transparency in the banking sector.
As Compliance Week previously reported, under the SMR, the financial agency is encouraging top-level managers to provide a clear distribution of their responsibilities to key decision makers, which will boost individual accountability through ongoing assessments by the firm and regulators, the FCA said.
The regulator is requiring that senior managers who are “capable of causing significant harm” to a financial institution and its stakeholders be annually assessed and certified according to the watchdog’s guidelines. To complement the SMR, the Certification Regime gives firms full responsibility to regularly assess and certify key employees who can “risk the integrity of financial markets.”