Together with the University of Notre Dame, today we released the findings of a collaborative and historic survey of financial services professionals across the U.S. and UK. The Street, The Bull and The Crisis is the most expansive analysis of its kind, probing the ethical views of a broad spectrum of the industry, from young professionals to senior executives, investment bankers, and investment managers, from San Francisco to Scotland.
Despite sweeping reform efforts and headline-making consequences of corporate misconduct, the findings make clear that attitudes toward corruption within the industry have not changed for the better. Indeed, nearly half those polled find it likely that their competitors have engaged in misconduct in order to gain an edge in the market. On an individual level, 32 percent of professionals with less than a decade in the business would engage in insider trading if they could get away with it. That’s twice the figure (14 percent) for employees with more than two decades in the industry. What does this mean for the future of the industry and how will it impact the fragile confidence of investors?
We are most concerned by findings relating to the widespread use of secrecy policies and agreements—a full 25 percent of individuals earning $500,000+ per annum have been asking to sign a confidentiality agreement that would prohibit reporting illegal or unethical activities to the authorities. As federal agencies and Congress has made clear, corporate entities cannot obstruct an individual’s fundamental right to freely engage with his or her government.
For more information on our findings, please see the full report here or see select highlights in this infographic.
If you missed the NYC stop on the Government Accountability Project’s Whistleblower Tour last month, you’re in luck. Baruch has shared a fantastic recording of the panel on which I was honored to speak alongside Enron Whistleblower Sherron Watkins, Jon Oberg, Louis Clark and Jennifer Pacella.
American Whistleblowers Live at Baruch from kokobaz on Vimeo.
This week, I was honored to participate in Law360’s Minority Powerbroker Series. As I formulated my answers to five pivotal questions at the crossroads of race and professional development, I had time to reflect on the many colleagues and friends along the way who have been so supportive of my individual efforts. This made for a very rewarding Q&A! Please feel free to see the full article here.
This week, eight leading Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform and House Financial Services Committees sent a letter to SEC Chair Mary Jo White calling on the Commission to ensure corporations do not enact measures meant to stymie whistleblowers. The letter pointed to a recent Washington Post article, which outlined numerous ways companies have restricted employees from reporting misconduct.
The letter echoes concerns that we, along with the Government Accountability Project, first raised in a July Op-Ed in the New York Times DealBook. Along with GAP and 250 other organizations, we have submitted a petition, urging the SEC to hold a series of hearings around the country to discuss the problem of workplace retaliation and explore new ways to increase reporting, internally and externally. It also asks the agency to create an advisory committee on whistleblower reporting and protection; to recommend program improvements and best practices; and engage in appropriate rule-making to clarify and strengthen whistleblower protections. This is a serious issue and we are glad Congress has taken notice of our efforts.
Please feel free to view the petition here - and, as always, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
This week, I was honored to participate in the NYC stop of the Government Accountability Project’s Whistleblower Tour, which seeks to educate the public about the important role whistleblowers play in promoting government and corporate accountability. Speaking on a panel with Enron Whistleblower Sherron Watkins, Jon Oberg, Louis Clark and Jennifer Pacella was a phenomenal experience, which I’ll dive into in a forthcoming post. My thanks to GAP for organizing this important event and to Baruch College for hosting. For more information in the meantime, here’s an excellent article in Corporate Counsel.
Four years ago, the President signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the most sweeping financial reform effort since the Great Depression. One of Dodd-Frank’s key charges was the creation of a whistleblower program that offered anonymous reporting, employment protections and significant monetary incentives to eligible SEC whistleblowers.
Is the program working? Are whistleblowers strengthening corporate compliance programs? Will the program be a game-changer in securities enforcement? What makes corporate whistleblowers successful?
We invite you to read our Year in Review, a report that examines the major developments related to the SEC Whistleblower Program over the past 12 months and how these developments are likely to impact the future of corporate whistleblowing and how responsible organizations do business.
In August, we launched the first in a six-part series, Whistleblowing in the Corporate World, presented with West LegalEd, part of Thomson Reuters. Our first webinar kicked off with "The Advent of the SEC Whistleblower Program" in which I provide an overview of the origins, mechanics, scope and implications of this important investor protection program. Stay tuned for news and updates on other webinars and feel free to check out our entire digital library in our resource center.