The Financial Conduct Authority has launched a long-overdue whistleblower campaign to encourage staff who work within FCA-regulated property industry companies to report wrongdoing.
Thousands of estate agencies are FCA regulated in the UK usually because they have in-house mortgage broking teams.
During 2019 the FCA received nearly 3,000 allegations of wrongdoing within companies.
These involved cases of mis-selling, money laundering and unauthorised business. But many within the financial services community have claimed that the FCA has been dragging its feet on whistleblowing and that ‘far more can be done’.
The FCA says it wants to re-assure whistleblowers through its ‘In confidence, with confidence’ campaign that they can report wrongdoing in a safe environment and backed by the FCA’s enlarged team, which assigns each whistleblower a dedicated case worker.
These measures are designed to ensure that whistleblower’ identities are protected , which can include the partners of agency employees as well as staff themselves, the FCA says.
It has also reminded firms that they must have effective arrangements in place for employees to raise concerns, and to guarantee these concerns are handled appropriately and confidentially, including the appointment of a whistleblowers’ champion within the organisation.
Mark Steward (pictured), Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA said: “We want all whistleblowers to feel welcomed by us and to feel safe because of us.
“We listen to all whistleblowers and, if they shine a light on serious misconduct, we want to make sure we act responsibly. When whistleblowing works well it helps consumers, markets and firms and keeps everyone safe and that is our aim.”