Don’t expect changes to SEC whistleblower program until 2020

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) canceled a meeting in October to consider controversial changes to its whistleblower program. Clearly, the agency is reconsidering, but Stephen M. Kohn, chair of the National Whistleblower Center, predicts we won’t see any details until 2020.

Stephen M. Kohn

Kohn argues that the proposed changes would destroy the program by discouraging whistleblowers from coming forward. When asked by a writer from the Corporate Crime Reporter how he feels about possible amendments to SEC’s proposals, Kohn had this to say:

“I’m on a wait and see on the outcome. The devil is in the details. They can meet us halfway. But on some of these, halfway is a disaster. But we will fight to the end. If the outcome is bad, we will litigate it and we will take it to Congress.”

However, he did say that the postponement of the decision suggests SEC staff are listening to what the NWC has to say. Kohn his team met with them several times and brought along emails and signature from 110,000 people.

We continued the press. We have met with personal staff of all five commissioners. We also met with four of the five commissioners one on one in private meetings, including with the Chairman.

They met with the chairman on the day the cancelled their public meeting. Kohn said:

I don’t want to reveal what was said at the meetings. But I will say that we received very positive feedback and they were clearly listening.

In the meantime, SEC chairman Jay Clayton used the release of the agency’s annual report to Congress to note that he does not plan to put a “cap” on awards to SEC whistleblowers. He noted that a provision that would give the SEC discretion over awards of more than $30 million has been “mischaracterized” as a “cap.”

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