On 14 June 2024, the FCA published its latest whistleblowing data for Q1 2024.  The data includes the method of reporting, the nature of the report and the action taken by the FCA.  The headline figures include the following:

  • In Q1 2024 (January to March): the FCA received 298 new whistleblowing reports, containing 801 allegations in total; an increase on the 249 reports of the previous quarter, and ahead of the 280 reports received in the same period for 2023.  
  • Of the top 10 allegations reported by whistlebowers in this quarter, the majority related to compliance (154), with culture (108) and fitness and propriety (101) following closely – all three areas saw a significant uptake on the previous quarter.
  • Of the 253 whistleblowing reports which the FCA closed between January and March 2024, the FCA took “significant action” in respect of 4% (9) reports. “Significant action” includes enforcement action, a section 166 skilled persons report or restricting a firm’s permissions or individual’s approval. 
  • In 55% of these closed reports the FCA took action to reduce harm, including requests for information, firm visits or requiring a firm to attest to complying with FCA rules.
  • 32% of closed reports informed the FCA’s work including “harm prevention” but no direct action was taken, whilst 5% of reports were not considered indicative of harm (but the information was recorded for future reference) and 4% were classified as “other”. 

The significant proportion of whistleblowing reports relating to culture and fitness and propriety is not to be taken lightly against a regulatory backdrop in which the FCA has signalled non-financial misconduct as a key priority.  Earlier this year the FCA issued compelled requests to firms for information and data in relation to non-financial misconduct as part of its ongoing supervisory programme across multiple wholesale markets sectors linked to the regulator’s focus on culture. (See our blog here on the letter sent to the Lloyd’s market).  Responding to what the FCA described as a mandatory survey has been no mean feat for firms, particularly given the breadth of data requested, and it has been reported that many missed the deadline for responding.

Please see here for our briefing on key practical steps to manage whistleblowing reports.