Industry practitioners are calling for financial rewards for whistleblowers to encourage exposure of fraud, a survey says.
In a survey of 300 visitors to the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments' (CISI) website, nearly two thirds (64%) said the UK should follow the US and offer financial incentives to informers.
They say rewards will encourage greater exposure of fraud, though 36% are against the idea.
In the US, recent regulatory changes mean whistleblowers who report financial crime to the Securities and Exchange Commission receive up to 30% of fines above $1m.
There is no such incentive in the UK and a recent clampdown by the FSA on contact between the media and regulated firms could discourage individuals still further from exposing fraud through the press.
One survey respondent in favour of rewards said whistleblowers should be given compensation to offset the probable loss of their job, because they lack protection from employers.
But opponents argue people should blow the whistle as a matter of principle and not for financial gain, and raise concerns that rewards could lead to spurious cases.
"If whistleblowers are portrayed or positioned as seeking personal financial gain, their motives are compromised," one said.
Periods of economic recession typically lead to a spike in fraud cases. KPMG's Fraud Barometer found 239 cases of serious fraud totaling £1.1bn came to court in the UK in 2008, the second highest level in the barometer's 21 year history. It was only eclipsed in 1995 following the recession of the early 1990s.
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