During one of the breakout sessions of the 2014 Global Ethics Summit, experts discussed current developments of the SEC whistleblower program. The panel was moderated by Jordan A. Thomas of Labaton Sucharow, and featured Stephen Donovan, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, International Paper and Randy Stephens, JD, CCEP, VP, Ethical Leadership Group, NAVEX Global.
Also on the panel was, Michael J. Osnato, Jr. Chief of Complex Financial Instruments Unit, Division of Enforcement, SEC, who spoke about enforcement priorities, based on his own perspective, not that of the entire Commission. The SEC takes triage of whistleblower tips seriously, as it has to sift through thousands of tips a year. The Commission looks at the context of the tip, taking into account other information on the company and other data that the agency has collected, adding the credible info coming from the tipster to the database of existing information. Of note, he stated that he expects future awards to tipsters to make the $14 million award of October 2013 look like “pocket change.”