On July 21, 2021, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced an award of nearly $3 million to a whistleblower who alerted the SEC to previously unknown conduct that led to a successful SEC enforcement action. According to Emily Pasquinelli, Acting Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, the whistleblower “provided substantial additional assistance” to the SEC, which resulted in the SEC saving a “considerable amount of SEC resources.”
In total, the SEC has awarded over $942 million to 186 individuals since the whistleblower program became effective in August 2011. The awards are paid out of an investor protection fund established by Congress financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators. Money is not taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.
Congress established the whistleblower program to incentivize whistleblowers with specific, timely, and credible information about federal securities law violations to report to the SEC. A whistleblower may receive an award if they voluntarily provide the SEC with qualifying information, leading to successful enforcement. The award can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected due to the enforcement action.