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ASIC calls for urgent review of whistleblower policies

The corporate regulator has asked Australian CEOs to urgently review their whistleblower policies to ensure they comply with the law.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has inked a letter to CEOs of public companies, large proprietary companies and trustees of registrable superannuation entities (RSE) urging them to ensure their whistleblower policies comply with the law.

The letter follows a review by the corporate regulator which determined a majority of these policies did not fully address the requirements, leaving companies vulnerable to undetected misconduct.

“Whistleblowers help companies and RSEs identify problems and issues that they need to address to comply with the law and improve their performance,” said ASIC commissioner Sean Hughes.

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“Whistleblower policies are essential for encouraging potential whistleblowers to speak up. Policies must clearly set out the legislated whistleblower protections and the process for reporting misconduct.” 

ASIC’s letter to CEOs reminds entities of their obligation to have a whistleblower policy that reflects the strengthened whistleblower protection regime that started on 1 July 2019, identifies where policies fell short and highlights what entities can do to improve their policies.

“We call on CEOs and RSE trustees to discuss this letter within your organisation and to think about the culture of speaking up in your workplace. If the issues we observed from our review are present in your policy, we expect you to address and correct them without delay,” Mr Hughes said.

ASIC confirmed it will continue to monitor compliance with the whistleblower policy requirements and the handling of whistleblower disclosures. It also plans to conduct a further review of whistleblower policies in the future.

ASIC calls for urgent review of whistleblower policies
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