The SEC has released its 2013 Annual Report to congress on the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Program. Setting aside the SEC chest pounding, this is the first year for which the SEC has year-over-year data concerning the nature of the tips and complaints the SEC receives through its whistleblower program. It appears to us that it has stabilized at around a little more than 3,000 complaints per year. Fiscal 2013 drew 3,238 complaints compared to 3,001 in 2012, an 8% increase. So by our calculations that’s almost 9 complaints a day in 2013.
The most common complaint categories reported by whistleblowers in the 2013 fiscal year were Corporate Disclosures and Financials (17.2%), Offering Fraud (17.1%), and Manipulation (16.2%). By comparison, in Fiscal Year 2012, the most common complaint categories reported by whistleblowers also were Corporate Disclosures and Financials (18.2%), Offering Fraud (15.5%), and Manipulation (15.2%).
The whistleblower office reviews every submission by a whistleblower to the SEC. During the evaluation process, the staff examines each tip to identify those that are sufficiently specific, credible, and timely to warrant the additional allocation of Commission resources. When the whistleblower office determines a complaint warrants deeper investigation, the staff assigns the complaint to one of the SEC’s 11 regional offices, a specialty unit, or to an Enforcement Associate Director in the home office. Complaints that relate to an existing investigation are forwarded to the staff working on the existing matter. Tips that could benefit from the specific expertise of another Division or Office within the SEC generally are forwarded to staff in that Division or Office for further analysis.