ASIC consults public on new whistleblower guidance

ASIC is calling for public input on its proposed guidance for the new legal obligation requiring companies to implement a whistleblower policy.

Under the new rule, public companies, large proprietary companies and corporate trustees of registrable superannuation entities must implement a whistleblower policy and make it available to their offices and employees by 1 January 2020.

The requirement is part of reforms introduced to the corporate sector whistleblower regime that kicked off in the beginning of July. The reforms aimed to provide stronger rights and protections to informants.

ASIC’s proposed regulatory guide on whistleblower policies aims to explain how companies can establish, implement and maintain a policy.

The guidelines are meant to cover the information that companies must include in their policy, including how they will support and protect whistleblowers and handle and investigate their disclosures.

ASIC added that company policies should help encourage whistleblowers to come forward, reveal and address misconduct, deter wrongdoing by increasing the likelihood it will be reported, improve compliance and foster a more ethical culture.

Commissioner John Price said companies need to have a robust and clear policy to effectively deal with disclosures.

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“Transparent whistleblower policies are essential to good risk management and corporate governance. They help uncover wrongdoing that may not otherwise be detected,” Mr Price said.

“Whistleblower policies help ensure those who put their personal and financial lives at risk to report wrongdoing can access their rights and protections under the law.”

Documents revealed earlier this year, however, that the regulator used whistleblowing from Dover Financial when it flagged one of its advisers to justify shutting down the licensee.

ASIC is also seeking feedback about exempting public companies that are small not-for-profits or charities from the requirement to have a whistleblower policy, with the question of whether an exception would minimise the risk of a “disproportionate regulatory burden”.

The public consultation is open for six weeks, with comments due by 18 September.

ASIC consults public on new whistleblower guidance
ASIC
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