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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFTC awards $200 million to whistleblower

Securities CFTC Whistleblower Dodd-Frank Enforcement Commodity Exchange Act Of Interest to Non-US Persons


On October 21, the CFTC announced an approximately $200 million whistleblower award to a claimant who reported “specific, credible, and timely” information that contributed to an already open investigation, which led to a successful Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) enforcement action, as well as to the success of two related actions by a U.S. federal regulator and a foreign regulator. The associated order notes that the claimant voluntarily provided original information that led the CFTC to important, direct evidence of wrongdoing. According to the announcement, “to qualify for an award, a whistleblower who significantly contributed to the success of an enforcement action must demonstrate that there is a ‘meaningful nexus’ between the information provided and the CFTC’s ability to successfully complete its investigation, and to either obtain a settlement or prevail in a litigated proceeding.” The Commission determined the whistleblower met this standard. However, because the whistleblower’s information was never shared with the state regulator, the claim associated with a third related action by the state regulator was denied. In a statement released by CFTC Commissioner Dawn D. Stump, the Commissioner expressed her disagreement with the Commission’s award to the claimant with respect to the foreign regulator’s action. She concluded that there needs to be “an especially close look at cases where a whistleblower asks the Commission to tap its limited Customer Protection Fund for an award relating to an action by a foreign futures authority to address harm outside the United States.”

The CFTC has awarded approximately $300 million to whistleblowers since the enactment of its Whistleblower Program under Dodd-Frank, and whistleblower information has led to nearly $3 billion in monetary relief.