Currently, whistleblowing in this country is still regulated on a sectorial basis. The financial sector is the most advanced on the issue, with laws transposing a certain number of European Directives dealing with whistleblowing in various areas (the fight against money laundering, market abuse, investment services, professional and financial sector codes of conduct).
For banks and financial sector professionals, whistleblowing is considered part of the internal governance mechanism. Its rules are defined by a regulatory authority that requires the setting up of a system for the communication and handling of alerts which respects the confidentiality of the informer’s identity and guarantees his/her protection.
Legal regulations distinguish between the following types of alerts: internal alerts (within an enterprise); external alerts (sent to the authorities); and, public interest alerts, also called public interest disclosures, which may be recognized and protected when the two other types of alerts may not reasonably be used.
All of these mechanisms rest on the idea that the protection of whistleblowers is an essential condition for encouraging reporting, which is a particularly important tool for identifying illicit behavior or deviations from objectives pursued by the law.
The European Directive on the protection of whistleblowers, which is in the process of being adopted (but the transposition of which is not expected before 2021), will bring the following important innovations: (i) generalization of protection by targeting categories of persons who do not benefit from it today (unpaid employees, independent employees, shareholders, suppliers); (ii) the obligation for public and private enterprises as well as supervisory authorities to create efficient and reliable mechanisms; and (iii) it will open up access to all types of alerts while favoring as much as possible internal alerts as a first priority.