One of the strengths of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Whistleblower Program is its transnational reach. Violations of U.S. securities laws occur all over the globe and misconduct occurring overseas is often the hardest to detect. Therefore, the SEC actively seeks information on securities violations from individuals across the globe.
Whistleblowers do not need to be U.S. citizens or residents in order to qualify for SEC whistleblower awards. In September of 2014, the SEC issued its largest international award to date: a $30 million award to a whistleblower who lives in a foreign country. Sean McKessy, then-Chief of the SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower, stated that “[t]his award of more than $30 million shows the international breadth of our whistleblower program as we effectively utilize valuable tips from anyone, anywhere to bring wrongdoers to justice. Whistleblowers from all over the world should feel similarly incentivized to come forward with credible information about potential violations of the U.S. securities laws.”
The chart below details the number of whistleblower tips the SEC has received from different foreign countries. The data is compiled from the SEC Whistleblower Program’s Annual Reports to Congress and is accurate up through the end of the 2021 fiscal year.