On 7 April, 2022 The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has launched a new regulatory regime for whistleblowing (the Regime) that applies to all DFSA regulated entities that operate in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The Regime aims at achieving the following goals:
- Provide enhanced legal protection for whistleblowers
- Improve on and enhance whistleblowing culture in the DIFC
- Regulate how entities handle whistleblowing cases and ensure they provide the necessary opportunities for whistleblowers to act freely.
The main approach the new Regime is taking is to provide extra protection to whistleblowers. This will encourage disclosures and provide for a more supportive environment where any misconduct can be reported. The way that the new Regime protects whistleblowers is where they cannot be subject to criminal or civil liability for their report. Secondly, other people cannot subject protected whistleblowers to contractual, civil or other remedies or rights for their disclosures. Lastly, whistleblowers cannot be dismissed from their employment or subject to any other action by their employer which is “likely to cause detriment” to them.
For a whistleblower to be protected under the new Regime he must have “reasonable suspicion” that any person within the relevant entity has engaged in money laundering, fraud, other financial crimes or any other breaches of DFSA rules, provisions or laws.
Those who report misconduct must do so in good faith or else they will not be considered under the new Regime.
Entities regulated by the DFSA will need to enact suitable policies and procedures that enable the reporting of its misconduct and assessment of regulatory concerns. Such policies and procedures include:
- Reasonable measures to protect the identity and confidentiality of the whistleblower
- Reasonable measures to protect the whistleblower from suffering any detriment or disadvantage as a result of the disclosure
- Internal arrangements to allow for the disclosure of regulatory concerns.