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WhistleblowerIt’s been just over a year since the Securities and Exchange Commission awarded three whistleblowers a whopping $83 million for tipping the Commission to misconduct at Merrill Lynch. Jordan Thomas, who represented all three whistleblowers, sheds light on the historic whistleblower award, his thoughts on the SEC whistleblower program generally, and what he predicts down the road.

Eight years passed between the launch of the SEC whistleblower program and the awards paid to your clients in the Merrill Lynch action. Why has it taken so long to see SEC whistleblower awards of this magnitude?

The average life of an SEC investigation is two to four years. When you’re dealing with a significant entity and misconduct of great scope, complexity and duration, it makes sense that cases take time to build. In this case, Merrill Lynch held up to $58 billion a day in a clearing account when it should have been held in reserve and it engaged in complex options trades to artificially reduce the amount of reserve cash it had to hold for customers. This wasn’t a simple case that was easy to detect.

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