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FCA Publishes Findings From its Whistleblowing Survey 2022

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently published the findings from its 2022 whistleblowing qualitative assessment survey, together with the steps it intends to take to improve whistleblower confidence. The FCA’s summary and press release are available here and here.

The FCA conducted the survey to understand whistleblowers’ experience of reporting to the FCA and to capture views about their experience of notifications of wrongdoing to the regulator. Many respondents to the survey reported significant dissatisfaction with their experience and did not feel there was sufficient dialogue with the FCA to enable proper understanding of their concerns. In particular, whistleblowers were frustrated that they did not receive detailed updates on how the FCA was investigating and handling their disclosure. Such perceived delays and inaction, and the resulting frustrations, are consistent with our experience with clients who have blown the whistle to the FCA.

Alongside its findings, the FCA has set out its proposed actions to improve the confidence of whistleblowers such as:

  • providing whistleblowers with additional detail on the FCA’s actions, the reasons for such actions, and the eventual outcome, i.e., once cases are closed;
  • improving the use of whistleblowers’ information across the FCA;
  • enhancing the FCA’s webform (available here), which is the most common way for whistleblowers to contact the FCA, to fully capture every whistleblower’s disclosure;
  • improving training given to the FCA’s Whistleblowing Team; and
  • engaging with the Department for Business and Trade to support a review of whistleblower legislation to enhance the wider whistleblowing system.

The FCA noted the significant confidentiality constraints placed on it by section 348 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). The concerns raised about the limited feedback to whistleblowers have caused the FCA to reconsider whether it is able to provide further feedback to whistleblowers consistent with its section 348 FSMA obligations where it is necessary to ensure whistleblowers have confidence in the FCA and to enable the FCA to deliver its statutory functions in a more effective manner.

The FCA expressed its disappointment at the dissatisfaction expressed by many survey respondents and identified its survey findings as a valuable opportunity to continue to develop its approach to whistleblowing.

It is clear to us that whistleblowing remains a key priority for the FCA. We think that the FCA’s findings should serve as a reminder that the FCA would like whistleblowers to feel safe and report their concerns “in confidence, with confidence.”

We support the FCA’s move to improve its whistleblower process as, in our experience, there seems to be insufficient dialogue with the FCA to enable proper investigation and limited updates (if any) from the FCA. We also expect that there may be an increase in whistleblowing reports given ongoing economic uncertainty.

©2023 Katten Muchin Rosenman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XIII, Number 151

About this Author

Ciara McBrien Financial Markets Lawyer London

Ciara McBrien is an associate in the Financial Markets and Funds practice. 



44 (0) 20 7770 5231
Neil Robson, private equity fund managers counselor, Katten Law Firm, London

Neil Robson, a regulatory and compliance partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, focuses his practice on counseling hedge and private equity fund managers and other investment advisers on operational, regulatory and compliance issues. He regularly addresses Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and EU authorization and compliance under both the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFM Directive) and MiFID, cross-border issues in the financial services sector, market abuse, anti-money laundering and regulatory capital requirements, formations and buyouts of...