Whistleblower Policies: Final ASIC Regulatory Guide and 1 Jan 2020 deadline
Corporate News - 03 December 2019
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has now released its final Regulatory Guide 270: Whistleblower Policies (Reg Guide) containing both mandatory content requirements and good practice guidance on implementing and maintaining a whistleblower policy.
As mentioned in our previous Corporate News alerts, all public companies, large proprietary companies and proprietary companies that are trustees of registrable superannuation entities are required to have a whistleblower policy in place by 1 January 2020 as a result of amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 Cth (Corporations Act). Failure to do so is an offence. In addition to complying with the Corporations Act requirements, companies will now also need to ensure that their whistleblower policy complies with the extensive list of mandatory matters included in ASIC’s Reg Guide as well as a number of good practice tips and guidance set out by ASIC.
Despite concerns raised by various stakeholders in the consultation process, the content requirements and good practice guidance remain comprehensive and companies will need to carefully consider this in preparing their policies. Balancing compliance with the Reg Guide against a policy that employees and other disclosers can easily understand and companies can implement based on internal capabilities will require a substantial amount of thought.
Ahead of the 1 January 2020 deadline all relevant companies will need to:
- either establish a whistleblower policy or revise an existing policy to ensure compliance with the Corporations Act and Reg Guide; and
- ensure sufficient internal procedures (including appropriate technology resources) are in place for effectively dealing with disclosures received under the policy and that all relevant personnel are properly trained in relation to the policy.
Please contact us in our Perth office on +61 8 9321 4000 or our Melbourne office on +61 3 9111 9400 if you require any assistance in reviewing or preparing a whistleblower policy and ensuring consistency with the requirements under the Corporations Act and ASIC’s Reg Guide.