Reserve Bank clears the path for whistleblowers to report misconduct

by Ksenia Stepanova10 Feb 2020

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has made it easier for those working at banks, non-banks and insurers to report misconduct with a new whistleblower policy, which has been designed to ‘streamline’ the process.

Individuals employed by companies which are regulated by the Reserve Bank can now report misconduct directly through a designated phone number and email address. They are encouraged to refer to their company’s internal whistleblowing policy before making a report.

RBNZ’s Head of Supervision Andy Wood stated that exposing wrongdoing is a vital step towards restoring trust in New Zealand’s financial services sector.

“Whistleblowing is a critical avenue for those wanting to shine a light on wrongdoing within regulated entities,” Wood said.

“Exposing such behaviour is the first step to resolving it, and is critical to maintaining trust and confidence in the country’s insurers, banks and non-bank deposit takers.”

Examples of misconduct that can be reported through the Reserve Bank’s whistleblowing channel include criminal offences, breaches of legal obligations, miscarriages of justice, deliberate covering up of wrongdoings, dishonest or unethical behaviour and any concerns that pose a danger to the public or the financial system.

The Reserve Bank says it cannot help with any personal grievances, such as those related to bullying or harassment.

Once a report has been made, the Reserve Bank will assess the information provided and decide whether to take further action.

The Royal Commission in Australia was initiated in response to complaints from the public, and whistleblowers coming forward to expose misconduct within their organisations. The Reserve Bank and the FMA’s review into the conduct and culture of New Zealand’s financial services sector is still ongoing.

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