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Protection for whistleblowers in the financial services industry

The FCA's new rules for whistleblowers, announced this week (and largely in force from September 2016), aim to improve and formalise best practice in relation to whistleblowing in the financial services industry. The changes in relation to including certain wording in settlement agreements to protect whistleblowers should be noted in particular and taken into account by employers in this industry and practitioners alike when drafting and advising on settlement agreements.

The FCA has therefore today published a package of rules designed to build on and formalise the good practice already widespread in the financial services industry....The new key rules on whistleblowing require a firm to:

appoint a Senior Manager as their whistleblowers’ champion

put in place internal whistleblowing arrangements able to handle all types of disclosure from all types of person

put text in settlement agreements explaining that workers have a legal right to blow the whistle

tell UK-based employees about the FCA and PRA whistleblowing services

present a report on whistleblowing to the board at least annually

inform the FCA if it loses an employment tribunal with a whistleblower

require its appointed representatives and tied agents to tell their UK-based employees about the FCA whistleblowing service”