ASIC to survey whistleblower policies

ASIC plans to survey whistleblower policies of a sample of companies next year.

The regulator said it plans to review the selected companies compliance with the legal requirements outlined in the new whistleblower protection laws.

This comes as ASIC provided guidance to assist companies to meet their obligation to have a whistleblower policy.

"As part of the corporate sector whistleblower reforms, public companies, large proprietary companies, and proprietary companies that are trustees of registrable superannuation entities must have a whistleblower policy available to their officers and employees by 1 January 2020," the regulator said.

The guide sets out the components that a whistleblower policy must include to comply with the law as well as good practice guidance to assist companies develop and implement policies that are tailored to their operations.

ASIC commissioner John Price said: "Robust and transparent whistleblower policies are essential to achieving sound risk management and corporate governance."

"Whistleblower policies will influence behaviour and corporate culture in positive ways - for example, by encouraging greater disclosures of wrongdoing and by deterring people from doing the wrong thing.

"They play a crucial role in achieving a more fair and accountable corporate environment."

In addition, ASIC said it is granting relief to public not-for-profit companies or charities with annual revenue less than one million dollars.

"We will provide relief to small not-for-profit or charitable companies from the whistleblower policy requirement because we understand that these entities may face a compliance burden that outweighs the benefits a policy might otherwise offer," Price said.

All companies are bound by the whistleblower protections in the Corporations Act from 1 July 2019, regardless of whether they are required to have a whistleblower policy.

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