On November 14, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced its enforcement results for fiscal year 2023, boasting increases in enforcement and financial remedies across all of its programs. The SEC filed a staggering 784 enforcement actions, obtained orders for nearly $5 billion in financial remedies, and distributed nearly $1 billion to harmed investors.

The SEC’s most notable results, however, came from its Whistleblower Program: In fiscal year 2023, the SEC issued whistleblower awards totaling nearly $600 million, the most ever awarded in one year. This amount includes a record-breaking $279 million award to one whistleblower in May 2023. In addition, the SEC received a record-breaking amount of whistleblower tips in fiscal year 2023, at over 18,000—about a 50% increase over the then record-breaking 12,300 whistleblower tips in fiscal year 2022. Overall, the SEC received more than 40,000 tips, complaints, and referrals in total—a 13% increase over fiscal year 2022.

This should come as no surprise to those following the SEC’s aggressive enforcement of its whistleblower program. As we previously reported (here and here), the SEC has recently stepped up its enforcement by targeting employers’ procedures and agreements that it contends interfere with employee access to the SEC. Employers should assume that the SEC will continue this enforcement pattern, and work with counsel to conduct a comprehensive review of its policies, practices, and agreements to ensure they comply with SEC regulations and orders.

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