As the U.S. debates the ethics of high-profile whistleblowers, the U.S. government is promoting and operating one of the most active whistleblower programs in the world, through the SEC. Created by the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC's Whistleblower program has been in effect since August 2011. In fiscal year 2011, the SEC reported that it received 3,001 whistleblower submissions. 

A case that results in successful prosecution by the SEC, with more than $1 million in civil sanctions ordered, can pay the whistleblower 10 percent to 30 percent of the amount. In August of 2012, the SEC announced payment of its first whistleblower award, $50,000, to a tipster who remains anonymous. (Note: The IRS, Department of Justice and Commodities Futures Trading Commission also operate whistleblower programs.)

According to a new report on financial industry ethics, only 60 percent of industry professionals are aware of the SEC Whistleblower program. But under the program's protection of anonymity, 89 percent of financial professionals said they would report misconduct if they saw it. You can access this informative study, published last month by Labaton Sucharow in PDF format, here:

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