Whistleblowers who expose illegal behavior in financial companies “should be rewarded”

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Whistleblowers who speak out against illegal behavior should be rewarded financially, most of those polled said.

Hey also said it would have a positive impact on the financial services industry, especially in light of the mortgage scandal.

Research has found that 72% of Irish people support whistleblower reward. Payments to whistleblowers in the United States exceeded $ 1 billion (€ 870 million).

This week, it emerged that $ 24 million had been paid by the US government’s highway safety agency to a whistleblower who reported that Hyundai and Kia acted too slowly to recall more than a million vehicles including engines. could freeze or catch fire.

Most people believe that inciting whistleblowing will shed light on the wrongdoing of banks, insurers and other financial companies.

According to the Red C study, around 75% agree that this will lead to faster identification of wrongdoing. commissioned by broker Vincent Digby of Impartial.ie.

Mr Digby said financial services are a key part of modern life. However, several thousand people have been severely affected by the wrongdoing of financial services companies in recent years, he said.

The Central Bank has identified more than 40,000 customers affected with the mortgage scandal alone, while thousands of people lost most of their pension savings in the Custom House Capital scandal here.

“A modest amendment to the proposed Central Bank (Individual Accountability Framework) bill may lead to the establishment of an incentive whistleblower program in Ireland,” he said.

He said such a system could operate on principles similar to that applied by the regulator of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States.

“In every financial services scandal over the decades, there has always been a consistent factor – someone always knew what was going on. Capable and motivated people can make it difficult for any regulator to uncover wrongdoing, ”he said.

Mr Digby said that was why whistleblower incentives could be a game-changer for the financial services industry.

He said inciting whistleblowers led the United States to faster identification of wrongdoing and faster resolution of identified issues.

“Just having this program in place will make financial services companies behave better,” he said.

Incentive whistleblowing has a long history in the United States and its effectiveness is widely accepted, Digby said.

In September, the SEC said it had paid a total of more than $ 1 billion to whistleblowers.

Mr. Digby said: “Independent research indicates very strong public support for the introduction of compelling whistleblowing.

“We need to follow the ‘polluter pays’ principle and weed out bad actors from Irish financial services. It is difficult to see a downside to the proposal.

The Central Bank told an Oireachtas committee last week that the upcoming 2021 Central Bank Bill does not provide for a formal financial whistleblowing regime, but such a practice deserves further discussion.

The bank’s chief financial officer, Gerry Cross, told politicians that whistleblower legislation could be a “very important aspect of a functioning regulatory framework.”


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