DFSA unveils UAE’s 1st-of-its-kind whistleblower safety regime

By Salma C, Intern Reporter
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Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) financial regulatory agency, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has unveiled a first-of-its-kind financial service regulatory regime for Whistleblowing in the UAE.

Applicable to all DFSA regulated entities operating at the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), this law provides excellent legal protection for individuals who report any internal or external misuse to their auditor, DFSA, or law enforcement agency.

The new regime will also improve the whistleblowing culture in these institutions by increasing transparency about how regulations handle concerns, evaluate those concerns and, if appropriate, raise those concerns. Importantly, a DFSA regulated entity must take steps to protect the identity of the whistleblower and to protect them from any kind of danger.

F. Christopher Calabia Image
F. Christopher Calabia

“Whistleblowers form a key part of a firm’s ability to detect, identify and escalate issues of misconduct, and the required Whistleblower policies and procedures play an important role in encouraging appropriate disclosures. We expect all Regulated Entities to be ready to discuss and demonstrate the application of their policies and procedures when engaging with the DFSA.”

The DFSC Whistleblowing regulatory regime will increase the transparency around how those institutions handle regulatory concerns and promote further disclosure of regulatory concerns, prevent error, promote better compliance and ethical culture, and increase awareness that misconducts are more likely to be reported.

In 2021, the DFSA had publicly consulted on various whistleblowing measures in CP 141. These specific measures are aimed at enhancing the legal protection provided to whistleblowers, and these effective policies and procedures to be implemented by all DFSA regulated entities to support reporting of regulatory concerns were also assessed. Following this, the Whistleblowing regime has now launched after accepting the instructions of CP141.

Related: DFSA inks MoU with Central Bank of Mauritius to support regulatory functions