It’s been a decade since the arrest of Madoff and the collapse of Lehman Brothers, two events that awakened us to the fragility of the markets and the critical importance of doing our utmost to protect them. As its response to this wake-up call, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Among its vast array of financial reforms, the Act directed the SEC to establish a whistleblower program by which it could pay significant bounties to individuals whose tips led to successful enforcement actions.

I was deeply involved in the development of the SEC whistleblower program during my tenure at the Commission. It was exciting to be part of this project, to create a new program that could trigger a tectonic shift in securities enforcement. Congress left most of the program details to SEC rulemaking, so as soon as Dodd-Frank was passed, we got to work. A talented team from across the agency collaborated on crafting the rules that structured the whistleblower program, with a focus on its three pillars—monetary awards, employment protections and the ability to report anonymously. Even after the rules were in place, and despite the fact that we’d spent hundreds of hours trying to anticipate every possible issue or scenario, the program has continued to evolve over the years.

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