Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has directed the agency’s staff to consider ways of strengthening its whistleblower program, such as reducing the processing time for award determinations, he told fellow regulators Friday.

To date, the SEC has paid out more than $900 million to nearly 180 people who have come forward to report misconduct. The program was created in 2010.

“I have asked staff to examine whether and how the program could be further strengthened to ensure that misconduct within the remit of the SEC is identified, addressed, and stopped,” Gensler said at an event marking National Whistleblower Day on Friday.

“We must ensure that whistleblowers are empowered to come forward when they see misbehavior, that they are appropriately compensated according to the framework established by Congress and that those who report wrongdoing are protected from retaliation,” he added.

Gensler said he also asked his staff to look for opportunities “to continue to reduce processing times” in giving awards to those who brought misconduct to the attention of regulators.

“Each week, when I see the commission’s enforcement actions, I am reminded how the whistleblower program helps us to be better cops on the beat, execute our mission and protect investors from misconduct,” he added.

As former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Gensler said that he worked to set up that agency’s whistleblower office.

“Investors in capital markets have benefited from the critical information provided by whistleblowers,” the nation’s top stock market cop said. “I believe deeply in whistleblower programs and look forward to building on the work of past chairs to ensure the continued strength of the SEC’s program.”

Both the SEC and CFTC were directed by the Dodd-Frank Act to create whistleblower programs after the 2008-2009 financial meltdown.

The SEC’s program set a record in 2020 when it awarded nearly $50 million to a former banking insider—the largest agency award made to an individual so far.

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