In a maximum award to a whistleblower on Tuesday and then in a speech on Thursday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission made clear that the agency loves whistleblowers, intends to punish companies that retaliate against them and will make using them an even higher priority this year.

The award went to an unnamed former head trader at Paradigm Capital Management Inc., a hedge fund advisory firm. The whistleblower received the maximum 30 percent of the amounts collected by the SEC—earning him more than $600,000—after he tipped off the agency that Paradigm and its owner, Candace King Weir, were engaging in transactions with a broker-dealer agency also owned by Weir, without proper disclosure.

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