Page last updated: 13 November 2023

Make a protected disclosure (whistleblowing)

If you believe there has been serious wrongdoing in relation to the financial markets by the organisation you work for, you can make a protected disclosure (whistle blowing). 

You are protected under the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022 if you work (or have worked) for the organisation you are making the disclosure about. A worker includes contractors, homeworkers, volunteers, and people seconded to the organisation. 

You can also make a protected disclosure to the FMA if you believe there has been serious wrongdoing by or in the FMA, and you have worked for or were a member of the FMA.

Make a protected disclosure (whistle blowing)


What is a protected disclosure?

The purpose of the Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act is to encourage people to report serious wrongdoing in their workplace by providing protection for employees who want to “blow the whistle”.

A disclosure of information is a protected disclosure if the discloser:

  • believes on reasonable grounds that there is, or has been, serious wrongdoing in or by the discloser’s organisation; and
  • discloses information about that in accordance with the Act; and
  • does not disclose it in bad faith.

A disclosure is only protected if it is made to the discloser’s organisation or an appropriate authority. Disclosures made to the media or on social media are not protected under the Act.

Is the matter serious wrongdoing?

Examples of serious wrongdoing where FMA may be the appropriate authority include actions, or failures to act, that:

  • are an offence under the laws that we enforce for example the Financial Markets Conduct Act.
  • Cause a serious risk to the safety of the financial markets.

If the matter is not about serious wrongdoing but you want to report it to FMA, you can still notify your complaint to us (as per above). You can ask that we keep your contact details confidential.

What will FMA do with my protected disclosure?

FMA’s role as an appropriate authority is to consider, check, and deal with disclosures of serious wrongdoing in or by the discloser’s organisation.

When we receive a protected disclosure from external parties, we will:

  • Check whether it meets the requirements to be a protected disclosure.
  • Check with you whether you have made the disclosure to anyone else, and if so, what the outcome was (if you haven’t already told us).
  • Consider the disclosure and whether it warrants investigation.
  • Deal with the matter by doing one or more of the following:
    • Investigating the disclosure.
    • Addressing any serious wrongdoing by acting or recommending action.
    • Referring the disclosure to the organisation your disclosure relates to or to another appropriate authority (we will consult with you and the other authority before doing so).
    • Deciding that no action is required.
  • Let you know what we have done (or are doing) to deal with the matter, and the reasons for our decision.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on protected disclosures, see:

Should I make a protected disclosure or file a normal complaint?

It depends on the situation. Protected disclosures are specifically aimed at protecting whistleblowers and must meet certain requirements. For example, you cannot make a protected disclosure if you have never worked for the organisation concerned.

Only make a protected disclosure if you:

  • are reporting serious wrongdoing (see above) by an organisation you work for (or have worked for), and
  • want the matter to be investigated, and
  • want the protections that a protected disclosure would give you.

Please note that for all disclosures and concerns, we will consider the matter but may decide not to take any action. Even if we don’t take action, the information you provide will be kept on file and maybe used to consider any other relevant complaints or matters.

How whistle blowers are protected

If you make a protected disclosure to FMA, you are entitled to certain protections under the Act:

  • Information that identifies you will be kept confidential, unless you consent to it being disclosed or disclosure is essential to:
    • investigating the disclosure effectively.
    • preventing a serious risk to public health, public safety, someone’s health and safety, or the environment.
    • natural justice.
    • investigating for the purposes of enforcing the law.
  • You are immune from civil, criminal, or disciplinary proceedings in relation to making the protected disclosure. However, you are not protected from action being taken against you for any involvement in the wrongdoing.
  • Your employer cannot retaliate against you or treat you less favourably because you made the disclosure.

If anybody breaches your right to protection, you can take action under the relevant legislation, for example by claiming a breach of the Privacy Act, taking a personal grievance under the Employment Relations Act, or taking action under the anti-victimisation part of the Human Rights Act.

You are not entitled to protection under the Act if:

  • you know the allegations are false.
  • you make the disclosure directly to the media or on social media.
  • you make the disclosure in bad faith.
  • the information you are disclosing is protected by legal professional privilege.