Pursuant of section 71(a) of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority, the Financial Supervisory Authority (FIN-FSA) shall maintain a system for receiving reports of suspected infringements of financial market provisions (whistleblowing system). Financial market provisions are acts and other statutes supervised by FIN-FSA. Suspected infringement does not only mean suspicion of a crime; it covers all suspected violations of provisions.
Anyone may make a report of suspected infringement. The person making the report (the whistleblower) may generally be in such a position (e.g. employee, external expert) where he or she may obtain non-public information about the activities of an entity, or the management or an employee of an entity, supervised by FIN-FSA. Such entities are, for example, credit institutions, insurance companies, fund management companies (supervised by FIN-FSA) and listed companies. The entity may also have an internal reporting system. FIN-FSA’s system is an alternative channel for reporting suspected infringements.
Whistleblowers do not need specific evidence to support their suspicions; justified suspicion is sufficient. Whistleblowers are protected by the confidentiality of the system. Whistleblowers are also protected by the fact that, pursuant of section 71(b) of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority, they are not considered to be infringing any restriction on disclosure of information imposed by contract or by any legislative, regulatory or administrative provision, and are thus not to be held liable related to such disclosure. If the report proves, however, to be manifestly unfounded, this may result in an investigation request to the police.
What is not suspected infringement?
The system is not intended for the handling of disputes between entities supervised by FIN-FSA that provide financial services and products, and their customers. These disputes are covered by other procedures (for example, alternative dispute resolution bodies); on this, see Financial customer -> Customer protection -> Bodies providing assistance. Issues that come through the system are transferred to the appropriate FIN-FSA supervision department. The same also applies to administrative complaints made about parties supervised by FIN-FSA that handle public administrative tasks.
Suspected infringements can be reported, by letter, telephone or in a meeting, to the Head of Director General’s Staff of the Financial Supervisory Authority and to separately designated lawyers of the Director General’s Staff.
Letters should be sent to the Financial Supervisory Authority at the address: Head of Director General’s Staff, Financial Supervisory Authority, PO Box 103, 00101 Helsinki. The text “Confidential/report of suspected infringement” should be written on the envelope. The enclosed form should be used to make the report: Report of suspected infringement form. The form can be downloaded onto your computer, completed electronically and printed. The description of the case can, if necessary, be continued in a separate document. The report should contain a free-form description of the issue, stating the following: 1) the party to which the report relates 2) the date of the suspected infringement and 3) how the case has come to light. Documents and other records may be attached to the report.
It is recommended that the report includes the name and contact details of the whistleblower, so that FIN-FSA can, if necessary, ask the whistleblower to clarify the information reported or to provide further information. A report can, however, also be made anonymously.
FIN-FSA will acknowledge the receipt of the letter in writing without delay. A written acknowledgment will not be sent, however, if the whistleblower has expressly requested this or if FIN-FSA has reason to believe that a written acknowledgment would jeopardise the protection of the whistleblower’s identity.
If a whistleblower wishes to make a report by telephone or in a meeting, the whistleblower shall contact the Secretary of the Director General’s Staff at the Financial Supervisory Authority (tel. +358 10 831 5583). At the beginning of the call, the whistleblower shall state that he or she is reporting a suspected infringement. The Secretary will direct the call to the Head of Director General’s Staff or to a separately designated lawyer of the Director General’s Staff. FIN-FSA will not record the telephone call.
FIN-FSA will not notify the whistleblower of any further measures it takes, unless there is a specific reason to do so.
The Financial Supervisory Authority protects the personal information and identity of the whistleblower and the person subject of the report in the manner prescribed in section 71(a) of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority and in other statutes. Section 71(a) of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority prescribes, for example, that the personal information of the whistleblower and the person subject to the report as well as information about the report are secret unless otherwise prescribed. FIN-FSA’s system shall also include instructions that ensure the protection of the identity of the whistleblower and the person subject to the report unless, to investigate a crime or otherwise, an authority’s right to receive the information is prescribed in law.
Reports are handled only by the Head of Director General’s Staff of FIN-FSA and designated lawyers of the Director General’s Staff. Documents and other records relating to the case will be stored in a confidential and secure system to which only the said individuals have access. If the case is referred to a FIN-FSA supervision department for investigation, the whistleblower’s identity will be disclosed only if the whistleblower has given his or her consent to this or if this essential in the investigation of the case.
Pursuant of section 3(c) of the Act of the Financial Supervisory Authority, FIN-FSA will make an investigation request to the police is it has grounds for suspecting a crime. Information and documents relating to the report as well as information about the whistleblower’s identity will then be disclosed to the police. The whistleblower’s identity may be revealed to the suspect and possible injured party in connection with a pre-trial investigation, but at the latest once the pre-trial investigation is completed. The identity of the whistleblower may also become public in connection with possible legal proceedings.
If the report results in the imposition of an administrative sanction prescribed in chapter 4 of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority, the right of the interested party (the subject of the report) to receive information about the report may be restricted pursuant of section 11 of the Act on the Openness of Government Activities (621/1999), as disclosing the information may be contrary to a very important public or private interest.
If the report is linked to another country, FIN-FSA has the right, under conditions prescribed in section 71 of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority and in other statutes, to disclose information to a foreign financial markets supervisory authority. FIN-FSA may disclose only such information that is necessary for the performance of the foreign supervisory authority’s duties, provided that they are covered, with respect to the said information, by a secrecy obligation corresponding to that of FIN-FSA. Information about the identity of the whistleblower may be disclosed if this is essential to investigate the case. If the case results in an official investigation or legal proceedings in a foreign country, the legislation of the country in question will be applied to the procedure.
The whistleblower is also protected by the fact that a report can be made anonymously. An anonymous report may, however, adversely affect investigation of the suspected infringement, if additional information cannot be requested from the whistleblower.
Storage of information
Pursuant of section 71(a)(3) of the Act on the Financial Supervisory Authority, FIN-FSA shall store necessary information about a report for five years after a report is made. Thereafter, the information shall be deleted unless further storage of the information is necessary to safeguard the investigation of a crime, pending trials, official investigations or the rights of the reporting person or the person subject to the report. The necessity of further storage of the information must be reviewed at least three years after the previous review of the necessity of information storage. A note of the review shall be made.
Cooperation with the occupational safety and health authorities
FIN-FSA cooperates with the occupational safety and health authorities. The objective of cooperation is the effective exchange of information and cooperation in the protection of people in their work who report suspected infringements to FIN-FSA or who are accused of such an offence. A further objective is to prevent retaliation, discrimination and other forms of unfair treatment related to reports. Cooperation also aims to ensure that whistleblowers have access to sufficient information and guidance on the available legal remedies against possible retaliatory measures by an employer.
The basis of cooperation is that FIN-FSA focuses on the investigation of suspected infringements and on general guidance of whistleblowers, and the occupational safety and health authorities offer the whistleblower and the person subject to the report assistance if retaliation, discrimination and other forms of unfair treatment are directed at them.
For the activities of the occupational safety and health authorities see www.tyosuojelu.fi.