Notable Whistleblower Award, Departing Chief of SEC’s Whistleblower Office Reflects on Program

May 5, 2021

On April 15, 2021, the SEC announced an award of over $50 million to joint whistleblowers who alerted the agency to securities law violations involving highly complex transactions that would have been difficult for the SEC to detect on its own. According to the SEC’s press release, “the information provided by these individuals resulted in the return of tens of millions of dollars to harmed investors.”

“Today’s award is the second largest in the history of the program, reflecting the tremendous contribution of these joint whistleblowers to our ability to recover funds for harmed investors,” said Jane Norberg, Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower. “The SEC has now awarded over a quarter of a billion dollars to whistleblowers in the first seven months of this fiscal year alone, demonstrating the tremendous value of whistleblowers to our enforcement program.”

For context, the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower has awarded approximately $816 million to 153 whistleblowers since issuing its first award in 2012. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 to 30 percent of the money collected by the SEC in enforcement actions where the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million, with no cap on awards.

Ms. Norberg, who served as Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower since 2016, recently announced her departure from the agency. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Norberg said she “thinks the program helped investors and companies see the value in creating an environment in which employees feel comfortable speaking up when they see potential wrongdoing.” Her last day on the job was April 16, 2021.

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