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Wrongdoing in an agency? Whistleblowers urged to come forward

A new campaign to urge whistleblowers to come forward with evidence of wrongdoing has been launched by the Financial Conduct Authority.

This applies to the thousands who work in estate agencies which are FCA-regulated because of their sale of mortgages or other financial products.

The FCA campaign is called 'In confidence, with confidence’ and pledges that whistleblowers will have a dedicated confidential case manager who can meet with the FCA to discuss their concerns and can receive regular updates throughout the investigation. 


“Every report the FCA receives is reviewed and the FCA will protect individual whistleblowers’ identities” says the authority.

It insists that regulated firms must have effective arrangements in place for employees to raise concerns, and to guarantee these concerns are handled confidentially via a whistleblower ‘champion’ within the organisation.

The FCA has in the past been criticised for not taking whistleblowing incidents seriously enough but now it has introduced a mandatory e-learning module for all staff, to help identify potential whistleblowers and make sure any intelligence received by the FCA is dealt with correctly and identities are protected. 

“The FCA’s website has been updated to provide more comprehensive information for potential whistleblowers and the Whistleblowing team are developing a confidential web form, increasing the ways in which whistleblowers can make disclosures to them” says the authority.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, comments: “We want all whistleblowers to feel welcomed by us and to feel safe because of us. We listen to all whistleblowers and, if they shine a light on serious misconduct, we want to make sure we act responsibly. When whistleblowing works well it helps consumers, markets and firms and keeps everyone safe and that is our aim.”

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Propertymark will be hoping no one is reading this article - or did they report themselves to the FCA?

    See extract from the 2019 Propertymark annual report ' The Finance department has undergone a major review of its processes, systems and procedures. As part of gaining that financial stability we have identified that our tax position was not properly ordered and that has led to a significant payment to HM Revenue and Customs of outstanding VAT which has arisen through misdefinition of our liabilities. We are confident that Propertymark’s finances are now on a sure footing.' Page 14 of the report.

    Given that the Propertymark website is full of rhetoric like - 'Propertymark launched in February 2017 combining five different associations into a single brand. The five associations (ARLA, NAEA, NAVA, ICBA and APIP) were dedicated to promoting the highest industry standards for over 50 years'.

    And 'What is Propertymark? Propertymark unites the experience of the leading property lettings and sales membership organisations, NAEA Propertymark and ARLA Propertymark, to create a single voice promoting professionalism and integrity in the property industry. Our property experts seek to become Propertymark Protected voluntarily to demonstrate transparency and ensure they are at the forefront of developments in the industry. Estate agents, letting agents as well as auctioneers who display the ‘Propertymark Protected’ logo are actively ensuring maximum protection for their clients'.

    Can in all credulity Propertymark be the great protector and guardian of financial probity if it fails to pass muster on basics like paying its own VAT bill, over several years - many may feel the answer is a big no.


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