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SEC Whistleblower Program
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Recognizing the importance of protecting the identity of whistleblowers, the program allows tipsters to report anonymously if they work with an attorney. That said, how attorneys protect their clients’ identities can require sophisticated tools, techniques and, most importantly, experience.
When I was at the Commission and we were developing the SEC whistleblower program, we knew that the ability to report anonymously would be a game changer. There’s simply no better defense against retaliation, blacklisting and other potential consequences of speaking up. Under the SEC whistleblower program’s rules, to file anonymously, a whistleblower must be represented by an attorney.
In our practice, where most clients tend to be senior executives with a lot to lose, about half choose to file anonymously.
It can be tricky terrain to navigate, to be sure. Our whistleblower team has more than 100 years of SEC and DOJ enforcement experience so we know the best way to prosecute securities cases and protect our clients’ anonymity. For instance, we carefully consider where to file and what supporting information and materials to provide to the SEC. We also use sophisticated investigative reporting techniques to facilitate anonymous communications with the SEC during the investigation and any related proceedings.
At the end of the day, protecting anonymity is one of those critical areas where experience matters and inexperience can kill SEC whistleblowers’ careers.