DIFC: DFSA launches whistleblowing regime
The Dubai Financial Services Authority ('DFSA') announced, on 7 April 2022, that following a public consultation on various whistleblowing measures in 2021, it had launched its first regulatory regime for whistleblowing. In particular, the DFSA highlighted that the regime applies to all DFSA 'regulated entities' operating in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre ('DIFC'). More specifically, the DFSA noted that the regime aims to provide enhanced legal protection for persons who report misconduct internally or externally and:
- improve the whistleblowing culture in DFSA 'regulated entities' and increase transparency around how such entities will handle regulatory concerns;
- encourage more disclosures of regulatory concerns and protect the identity of whistleblowers; and
- deter wrongdoing, promote better compliance and an ethical culture, by increasing awareness that there is a higher likelihood that wrongdoing will be reported.
Moreover, the DFSA specified that all DFSA 'regulated entities' will need to implement appropriate and effective policies and procedures to facilitate the reporting and assessment of regulatory concerns including:
- internal arrangements to allow for the disclosure of regulatory concerns;
- adequate procedures to deal with, assess, and escalate whistleblower reports within an entity and, where appropriate, to the DFSA or any other relevant authority;
- reasonable measures to protect the identity and confidentiality of the whistleblower, and protect them from suffering any detriment;
- procedures to provide feedback to the whistleblower, where appropriate; and
- measures setting out how the entity will manage any conflicts of interest and the fair treatment of any person accused of committing a breach by a whistleblower.
In this regard, the DFSA noted that reporting of misconduct directly to the DFSA can take place through the email address: [email protected], where reports can be made regardless of whether an internal report has been made within an entity, and any enclosed information treated confidentially with access limited to a small number of expert DFSA staff.
Notably, the DFSA stated that the regime has now been adopted and came into force on 7 April 2022, noting that it will be monitoring compliance with the new regime and conduct a review of its implementation in mid-2023.