The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) on Tuesday published its guiding principles on whistleblowing.
“They are intended to help ensure that whistleblowers are given adequate opportunities to speak up and are fairly treated when doing so and should also help ADGM entities understand those practices that are encouraged to foster a culture that supports speaking up where appropriate,” the ADGM said in a document.
Whistleblowing could include references to fraud, money laundering, corruption, breaches of legal or regulatory requirements, unethical conduct and/or acts to cover up wrongdoing, the authority said.
The ADGM also stressed that entities registered with it should have an adequate framework that protects whistleblowers.
“Whistleblowers are unlikely to raise concerns if they are not afforded appropriate protection against some of the negative consequences that may result from speaking up. Accordingly, it is important for ADGM entities to have a whistleblowing framework that adequately protects whistleblowers from any and all forms of retaliation or disadvantage that might result from their whistleblowing,” the document said.
The ADGM also stressed on confidentiality of the whistleblower, and urged entities to have controls in place to prevent unauthorised access to whistleblowing reports, “in particular to any information that might inadvertently or inappropriately reveal the identity of a whistleblower or the subject(s) of any whistleblowing report”.
Reporting in good faith
The authority added that the protection afforded to whistleblowers who make reports via whistleblowing channels will not be unconditional. An important qualification is that the protections apply only to reports made in good faith. “A report made in good faith is a protected disclosure based on an honestly held belief that the information offered at the time of disclosure is true. This means that inaccurate reports made by a whistleblower but based on a genuine misunderstanding should still be protected,” the document stated.
Whistleblowing frameworks will not protect deliberately false disclosures or those made exclusively in self-interest, it added.