The FCA – Friend or Foe to the Whistleblower?

I have several ongoing ‘Whistleblower’ issues with The FCA dating back as far as 2015. (More on these, and the new evidence I have, at a later date.)

However, despite their repeated vocal support of whistleblowers and new FCA rules introduced in 2016, supposedly designed to support and offer greater protection for those that do come forward and speak up, I have new evidence to demonstrate that The FCA, and very senior managers within The FCA, continue to go to extraordinary lengths to undermine whistleblowers and, in so doing, conceal the criminal conduct and wrongdoing by banks and firms exposed by the whistleblower.

In February and March of this year, I submitted several ‘Protected Disclosures’ directly to Lloyds Banking Group, specifically Adrian White, and their legal representatives, Herbert Smith Freehills.

My disclosures were made according to Employment Tribunal case law that determines how a disclosure must be made for it to be considered ‘Protected’. Each Protected Disclosure focused on a specific allegation of wrongdoing and criminality committed by Lloyds Banking Group’s BSU, and the various ‘partner’ firms involved.

Lloyds Banking Group under FCA rules introduced in 2016, MUST treat any person making a ‘reportable concern’ as a whistleblower, including non-employees. Notwithstanding that there is sufficient ‘past tense’ reference within PIDA to ensure that former employees still have protection as a whistleblower under PIDA if they come forward.

I copied The FCA on each Protected Disclosure.

A short while after making the last of these five protected disclosures, I received an email from Simon Dickie, a Senior Manager in The FCA whistleblowing team.

In the email he made this extraordinary claim:

Dear Mr Carlier,

I am writing in response to the emails that you have sent directly to whistle, or copied to whistle……..

I note that you are self-identifying as a whistleblower in the context of these emails and that you are doing so because the matters relate to Lloyds, your former employer. However, it appears that the information you are sharing is related to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx rather than anything related to your term of employment with Lloyds. 

On this basis, we do not consider you to be a whistleblower, we will not be handling the information you have shared as such and we will not extend the offer of a meeting to discuss further.

Upon receiving this email, I immediately phoned Mr Dickie to clarify some points. An important one being to ask him if Toby Hall, lawyer and legal adviser to The FCA CEO, had awareness of the contents of this email before Mr Dickie sent it.

Mr Dickie confirmed that Mr Hall, had seen this email and had no problem with the email and its contents being sent to me.

I formally challenged the FCA’s position, and alleged that this was a knowingly false representation.

  1. I was not ‘sharing information’. I began each disclosure with the following statement. “Please find below a further protected disclosure made in accordance, and consistent, with PIDA and Employment Tribunal case law. The same Employment Tribunal case law introduced and relied upon by Lloyds Banking Group at my Tribunal.” 
  2. As per Tribunal case law for a disclosure to be Protected is cannot be just a disclosure of information, it MUST be a specific allegation and reference what the conduct breaches.
  3. Every disclosure I made contained very specific allegations, and contained significant evidence to support them.
  4. These allegations included Fraud and Money Laundering
  5. The new FCA rules of 2016 demand that ANYONE making a ‘reportable concern’ to ANY bank MUST be treated as a whistleblower, and afforded all of the protections that a whistleblower is entitled to.
  6. THEREFORE, and because the rules were the FCA’s own rules, The FCA MUST also treat me, or anyone submitting reportable concerns, as a whistleblower.
  7. This has to be the case because the person wanting to submit the ‘reportable concerns’ about a bank under the new rules, might not feel comfortable making them direct to the bank, and therefore MUST be afforded by these new rules, the same protections and treatment as a whistleblower if they make their ‘reportable concerns’ to the regulator, The FCA.

Once again, The FCA replied refusing to treat me as a whistleblower or my reports as whistleblower disclosures. In an email dated June 10th, Mr Dickie wrote the following:

We do not consider you to be a whistleblower, and are not treating you as one, because you are not passing onto us information about suspected or alleged wrongdoing at work or connected to your employment.  

As you point out, the FCA amended its rules (in SYSC 18) with effect from September 2016. The effect of these changes was to set out the arrangements firms must have in place when dealing with whistleblowers who report ‘reportable concerns’ to them. These arrangements apply in respect of relevant reportable concerns reported by any person, including people who may not be employees of the firm in question. 

However, these rules do not apply to the FCA. These rules apply to firms regulated by the FCA.  The FCA does not make rules for itself.

Incredibly, Mr Dickie was claiming that the FCA’s own new whistleblower rules did not actually apply to The FCA themselves. This time I asked if Mark Steward, Head of FCA Enforcement had made any contribution to that email. Dickie confirmed that he had.

This comes as no surprise. Mr Steward has demonstrated dishonesty repeatedly over a sustained period in respect to his communications with me.

However, of further concern was what Mr Dickie wrote next. Having lied about the new FCA rules, he then made this extraordinary reference to PIDA; “In this instance it does not appear you are a ‘worker’ within the meaning of that term in PIDA.”

Anyone who has read the PIDA, and you would expect The FCA and particularly a senior manager within the FCA’s whistleblowing team to have done so, would be aware of “43KExtension of meaning of “worker” etc

This specific paragraph extends the meaning to include “an individual who is not a worker as defined by section 230 but:”

“Works of worked for”

” is or was

“for whom he works or worked

“contracts or contracted with”

“works or worked as”

PIDA contains significant provision in past tense, for former employees that report concerns to their former employer, to be entirely protected under PIDA.

I’d like to make it clear that I do not necessarily blame Mr Dickie for these false representations. The FCA Whistleblower team have zero authority, and I have evidence to demonstrate how their role and duties is subject to significant interference by other departments and senior persons. In this case Toby Hall and Mark Steward.

Yesterday morning The FCA once again maintained the position that they would not treat me as a whistleblower, and would not engage or meet with me to discuss the evidence I have to support the allegations of fraud and money laundering by Lloyds Banking Group and partners.

By doing so, not only can they avoid meeting me and continue to avoid holding Lloyds Banking Group and their partners accountable in this case, they can also refuse to provide me with any direct feedback as to how they have handled my disclosures and what action, if any, they have taken.

So, I decided to establish the facts once and for all. Yesterday afternoon, several hours after receiving that latest email, I called The FCA Whistleblower line, withholding my phone number, and recorded the call.

I posed as a FORMER employee of a different UK based bank, without providing my name. I proceeded to carefully explain a set of circumstances that replicated those that exist in this case.

Over the course of that call The FCA Whistleblower team confirmed that:

“Yes, if you are uncomfortable as a former employee reporting your concerns to the bank directly, you can report them to The FCA and we will treat you as a whistleblower and treat your report as a whistleblower report.”

I then said that I was still not sure of the best way to report my concerns about my former employer. Here is where I presented the exact scenario that exists in this case.

I said that I might feel more comfortable if I made my disclosures directly to the bank, but with The FCA copied on my email, and if I did so (just as I have in this case) “would The FCA still treat me as a whistleblower?”

The FCA Whistleblower team said:

“Yes, you would still be treated as a whistleblower”

And there you have it. Mark Steward and Toby Hall, going to extraordinary lengths to make knowingly false representations. Why?

Certainly, the effect of these false representations enables concealment and further efforts not to engage with a whistleblower and former Director of Lloyds Bank with 30 years banking and financial markets experience, and further efforts not to look at the evidence of fraud and money laundering that I’ve uncovered.

Is this just another attempt to conceal the FCA’s previous and multiple failings in respect to this case to date?

Or perhaps The FCA whistleblower team was making false representations to a person seeking guidance yesterday?

Either way The FCA Whistleblower team entirely contradicted the representations made by senior persons within The FCA and entirely corroborated my positions.

Dishonesty or incompetence? Either way, The FCA clearly remains no friend of whistleblowers.

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *