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ADGM: ADGM publishes consultation paper on proposed whistleblowing regulations

On March 7, 2024, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) announced that it had published a consultation paper on the proposed ADGM whistleblowing regulations. The proposed regulations set out protections for whistleblowers who make protected disclosures and outline obligations for organizations with regard to whistleblowing.

What disclosures are protected?

The proposed regulations provide protections to any person who makes a 'protected disclosure' defined as information relating to knowledge or reasonable suspicion that an ADGM establishment, its officer, employee, or agent has:

  • contravened, or is likely to contravene, any provision of any ADGM regulations, rules, or legislation administered by any ADGM authority; or
  • engaged, or is likely to engage, in money laundering, fraud, or any other financial crime.

For a disclosure to be protected, the proposed regulations require that the information must be reported either internally within an organization, for example to a person designated to receive such disclosures, or externally to specified ADGM or UAE authorities.

What protections are available to whistleblowers?

The proposed regulations also allow protected disclosures to be made anonymously and require all ADGM establishments to implement policies and procedures to protect a whistleblower's identity. Further, the proposed regulations protect whistleblowers from any form of retaliation by their employer as a result of making a disclosure. 

Obligations for organizations

Under the proposed regulations, all ADGM establishments are required to, among other things:

  • implement mechanisms to facilitate protected disclosures, escalate them where necessary, and protect the identity of whistleblowers;
  • have written whistleblowing policies and procedures unless the entity is considered a small company; and
  • maintain records related to a protected disclosure for at least six years from the date that the determination of all matters relevant to the protected disclosure is completed and closed.

Comments on the consultation paper can be submitted via email to [email protected] until April 30, 2024.

You can read the press release here, the consultation paper here, and the proposed regulations here.