The major brokerage has announced the introduction of a new whistleblower protection platform ahead of the federal government’s implementation of new reforms.
Loan Market Group has partnered with third-party supplier Your Call to enable its employees to raise workplace concerns in an externally managed platform.
The brokerage’s new whistleblower platform has been announced ahead of the introduction of legislative reforms by the Commonwealth government, designed to broaden existing protections and remedies for corporate and financial sector whistleblowers.
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), the Treasury Laws Amendment (Enhancing Whistleblower Protections) Bill 2018, which is currently awaiting final approval, would:
- broaden the definition of whistleblowers to include a company’s former employees, officers and contractors, and certain family members;
- broaden the types of wrongdoing that whistleblowers can make disclosures about that will attract the protections;
- clarify who in companies can receive whistleblower disclosures;
- apply the protections to anonymous disclosures;
- provide better protections for whistleblowers against detriment, and better access to compensation;
- expand the orders that may be made by a court in favour of a person who has suffered loss, damage or injury as a result of detrimental conduct;
- increase penalties for individuals and corporations if a whistleblower’s identity is revealed without consent;
- provide avenues for making emergency or public interest disclosures, under certain limited circumstances; and
- require public and large proprietary companies to have an internal whistleblower policy that is made available to their officers and employees, with penalties applying for non-compliance.
Reflecting on Loan Market’s introduction of an external whistleblowing platform, the group’s chief operating officer, Stephen Scahill, said the brokerage has embraced the new cultural expectations of workplaces.
“We know the change is coming, but why wait?” Mr Scahill said. “We support the intentions of the bill and believe it will have a beneficial influence on workplace culture throughout Australia.”
Mr Scahill said that Loan Market’s platform would enable its employees to raise issues in a comfortable environment.
“When our brokers say they can communicate freely and candidly with Loan Market’s corporate team, I regard that as a product of the inclusive and supportive culture the corporate team sets and advocates,” Mr Scahill added.
“We’ve always been supportive of our members. And our decision to extend our policy before legislation is passed in the House of Representatives is part of that support.”
[Related: ASIC whistleblower issues warning to brokers]