PS15/24: Whistleblowing in deposit-takers, PRA-designated investment firms and insurers

Published: 06/10/2015     Last Modified: 26/05/2016

In this policy statement we are setting out a package of rules on whistleblowing designed to build-on and formalise examples of good practice already found in the financial services industry.

Why are we issuing this Policy Statement?

These rules aim to encourage a culture in which individuals raise concerns and challenge poor practice and behaviour. They complement our recent initiatives to reform senior management arrangements and remuneration in the financial services industry.

Policy Statement 15/24 [PDF]

Who does this affect?

Our new rules affect:

  • UK deposit-takers with assets of £250m or greater (including banks, building societies and credit unions)
  • PRA-designated investment firms, and
  • insurance and reinsurance firms within the scope of Solvency II, the Society of Lloyd’s and managing agents

These are collectively referred to as ‘relevant firms’ in the document. For all other firms we regulate, the text of the rules will act as non-binding guidance. Whistleblowing is a topic of wide public concern, although the detail of this policy statement is unlikely to be of direct interest to consumers.

What is the background to this?

In 2013, the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards recommended that banks put in place mechanisms to allow their employees to raise concerns internally (i.e., to ‘blow the whistle’) and that they appoint a senior person to take responsibility for the effectiveness of these arrangements. In February 2015, we consulted on a package of rules for deposit-takers, PRA-designated investment firms and insurers to formalise their whistleblowing procedures.

What are the next steps?

Relevant firms have until 7 September 2016 to comply with these requirements. The requirement to assign responsibilities to a whistleblowers’ champion will take effect on the same date as the rest of the Senior Managers Regime, 7 March 2016. Between 7 March 2016 and 7 September 2016, the whistleblowers’ champion will be responsible for overseeing the steps the firm takes to prepare for the new regime.

We will consult on applying these rules to UK branches of overseas banks. Once the rules introduced by this document have been in effect long enough to assess their effectiveness, we will consider whether similar requirements should be applied more widely to other firms we regulate, such as stockbrokers, mortgage brokers, insurance brokers, investment firms and consumer credit firms.

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