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The #MeToo moment for Whistleblowers?

Updated: Jun 12

The #MeToo moment for Whistleblowers?

Commentary on: FCA's investigation of Royal Bank of Canada: Senior managers' responsibilities(Extract: Thompson Reuters, February 18 2019 Lindsey Rogerson, Regulatory Intelligence)

Financial services firms have a duty to investigate whistle-blowing allegations thoroughly. Jess Staley, chief executive of Barclays Bank, was found to have breached individual conduct rule 2 (requirement to act with due skill, care and diligence) and in May 2018 the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) jointly fined him £642,430 for his attempts to unmask the identity of a whistleblower.

The FCA is investigating RBC regarding its handling of whistleblowing. It said it could not comment on an ongoing investigation Under the SM&CR, the regulator can refuse to approve a bank's candidate for a SMF. Once an SMF is in place, however, it is for their employer to check they remain a suitable person to hold an SMF function; the FCA can only remove them as part of its enforcement process. RBC declined to say if it was investigating Palmer and Sheldon following the decision to drop its appeal.  RBC declined to say what it had spent defending the Banerjee tribunal or indeed defending similar allegations by whistleblowers at employment tribunals.




"While we continue to maintain that we were justified in contesting the claim brought against RBC, we have carefully considered the benefit of moving forward with an appeal and we have decided not to prolong these proceedings. We remain committed to maintaining an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up,"

RBC said in a statement emailed by reputation experts Edelman. WhistleblowersUK is working with a growing number of RBC whistleblowers worldwide and has been mapping their treatment, said Georgina Halford-Hall, chief executive. "I call on the Chairman of the bank to meet with us to share what he is doing to address these issues. We also ask the regulators how much more evidence do they need before they take action?" Halford-Hall said it was essential financial services firms be compelled to fully disclose and account for what they spend defending litigation arising from whistleblowers in their annual reports. "Shareholders need to know how banks spend their money and how the board is really managing concerns to avoid the cycle of abuse currently awaiting those who speak out in banking and financial services.Is this a #metoo moment for whistleblowers?" Halford-Hall said Research by the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) found just 18 percent of UK financial services firms mentioned whistle-blowing in their 2017 annual reports. None of those mentioning whistle-blowing gave a figure for the number of whistle-blowing disclosures the firm had received, nor any information as to what action the firm had taken in response.


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