FINRA Announces Creation of “Office of the Whistleblower”

finra_logoFINRA announced that they have created a new Office of the Whisteblower to expedite review of high-risk tips.  FINRA Senior Vice President Cameron Funkhouser will oversee this new office. What’s not clear to me is how this new initiative differs from the existing File a Regulatory Tip procedure.  According to the press release, this new initiative “will not replace the exist process for handling the thousands of tips and complaints that come through the existing hotlines.”

FINRA states that they receive between 4,500 and 6,000 formal investor complaints annually, which are vetted by FINRA’s Front End Cause Unit. (I find it interesting that the Front End Cause Unit is missing from the FINRA website.) I am not sure if these numbers include regulatory tips.

I am disappointed that the FINRA whistleblower lines vary widely in the information collected and the method of filing:

So what if I am an investor and I think my broker is violating a regulation and committing serious fraud. Do I fill out all three? Is there going be a turf war inside FINRA over who is handling which types of complaints?

It is a great move by FINRA to focus on the whistleblowing and complaint process. Unfortunately, it looks like they made it more complicated instead of easier.

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3 Responses to FINRA Announces Creation of “Office of the Whistleblower”

  1. Mel October 9, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    I’ve calledd the hotline and left a complaint, 1 month, 6 months and 1 year ago about a firm and FINRA has done nothing. I called just to check if they had the complaint on file and was told they had not received the information. This particuliar firm has violated 20 different rules and FINRA does nothing. I gave specific details regardig the violtaions and directed them to the specific Rules in their manual. Again they did nothing. Of the 6500 complaints they receive a year less than 1% are looked into and even fewer ever receive any real attention. The cases we hear about are those inwhich investors hire high powered law firms, then and only then does FINRA lift a finger to get involved. once they are involved, it becomes a news story posted in every news outlet. This is done to give the public the illusion they are regulating the industry when in fact they are destroying the indutry. Arbitration is a requirement, yet the fees and process is so stacked against investors its scary. Most arbitration cases are dismissed or settled. Even in these situations FINRA seldom steps in to investigate ‘why the settlement’ who violated rules etc. Any Advisor can violate 100 FINRA rules, get taken to arbitration, pay .10 cents on a dollar and never have to worry about it or FINRA again. Its very cost effective for firms cheating and stealing from investors and its allowed by FINRA. FINRA’s position, ‘okay you violated the rules, your client lost money, just pay the client back and its all okay. Firms absolutely love it, plus FINRA collects the arbitration fees adn the fines. The brokerage firm or investment advisor gets to do it again and again. There are registered brokers out there that have more than 100 arbitration cases they settled and thy still get to stay in the businss. As long as they settle, pay a fine its okay. Unlike Civil or criminal court where prior acts are counted. In FINRA’s world prior acts are counted only in $ dollar amounts. FINRA is the biggest money grubbing non-profit in the World.

    The number of proposed rule changes, new requirements etc are also an effort to deceive the investing public. The organization can’t police and enfore the current rules on the books but they continue to churn out more and more rules, most designed to rake in more and more fees, because they know most firms will not follow the rules. They figure the more rules the more fines they can rake in and the more revenue and cash in the bank. Where does this revenue go. Well we know FINRA has billions of dollars socked away in investments. They have some of the most impressive and expensive office space in the industry. They have an office in every major city, District offices etc. If the state regulatory agencies are doing their job, why does FINRA need massive district offices in every city. They have hundreds of different departments, call centers, legal, Mediation Department, Arbitration Department, Complaint Department etc etc. Most departments don’t communicate with each other, few of the departments ever get any real training and 80% of the oganization is just clerks, regardless of the titles. Non have any real authority and few read or know where to find their own regulations they are suppose to enforce.

  2. Mingy December 29, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    Finra is a joke. Look who its ran by, the Banks, Broker Dealers, and Market Makers. And there job is to regulate themselves? Its like the fox guarding the henhouse.

    Honestly, its pretty shocking this doesn’t get more attention.


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