Whistleblower tips have been submitted by individuals in 114 countries outside the US during this period. The top five were the UK, Canada, China, Australia, and India (see graphic). The US tops with 29,338 whistleblower tips. The commission said it received over 5,200 whistleblower tips in the 2019 fiscal, which is a 74% increase since the beginning of the programme in 2011. Some 27 of these were from India.
The SEC rewards whistleblowers who voluntarily provide it with original, timely, and credible information that leads to a successful enforcement action. In 2018, two whistleblowers shared a nearly $50-million award and a third whistleblower received more than $33 million. The previous high was a $30-million award in 2014. In 2019, there was a $37-million award.
Since the programme began in 2011, the SEC has awarded more than $500 million to whistleblowers and enforcement actions from the tips received have resulted in more than $2 billion in financial remedies. Whistleblower awards can range from 10% to 30% of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.
The types of securities violations reported by whistleblowers have remained generally consistent over the last eight years. Corporate disclosures and financials, offering fraud, and manipulation have consistently ranked as the three highest allegation types reported by whistleblowers. “Cryptocurrency was added to the TCR (tips, complaints and referrals) system as an allegation type in the fourth quarter of FY18. The commission received nearly 300 tips (6%), the fourth highest allegation type, relating to cryptocurrencies in FY19,” the report said.
Details of tips from India are not available in the report. But last year, some anonymous whistleblowers had sent a letter to the SEC alleging that the Infosys CEO had compelled the finance and sales teams to dress up their books to show better revenue and profit numbers. The SEC investigation found no merit in the charge.