Whistleblower Policy & Procedure

1. Introduction

This purpose of this policy is to encourage the escalation and reporting of improper conduct within Platypus Asset Management (PAM) and the protection of eligible disclosers (also known as a whistleblower) who make such reports, as required by Part 9.4AAA of the Corporations Act and Australian Standard AS:8004-2003.

This policy explains:

    • Who the policy applies to;
    • what constitutes a disclosable matter;
    • what is not a disclosable matter;
    • how to make a report safely, securely and confidentially;
    • how PAM will support and protect people making reports;
    • processes and protections in place.

2. Policy breaches

Any failure to comply with this policy is a reportable incident and could result in PAM taking disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or engagement.


3. Who does this policy applies to?

An eligible discloser is defined below.

    • Employed by PAM, which includes directors, officers, employees (full-time, parttime, permanent, casual), contractors or interns;
    • A supplier of services or goods to PAM (paid or unpaid), or employed by someone who supplies services or goods to PAM; and
    • A relative or dependant of anyone who is employed by, or supplies services or goods to, PAM.

4. What is an eligible disclosable matter?

For a report to be an eligible disclosable matter, it must include information that you have reasonable grounds to suspect concerns misconduct, or an improper state of affairs or circumstances, in relation to PAM and/or its related bodies corporate, including the conduct of a PAM employee/s.

A report may still qualify for protection under this policy even if the content of the report is incorrect.

Eligible disclosable matters include:

    • Dishonest, fraudulent or corrupt activity, including bribery.
    • Illegal activity, including theft, drug sale or use, violence, harassment or intimidation or criminal damage.
    • Activity which represents a danger to the public or the financial system.
    • Activity that is unethical or in breach of PAM’s policies (such as dishonestly altering company records or data, insider trading, insolvent trading, not managing conflicts of interest appropriately, adopting questionable accounting practices or wilfully breaching our Code of Conduct or other policies or procedures).
    • Activity which is potentially damaging to PAM, a PAM employee or a third party, such as unsafe work practices, environmental damage, health risks or abuse of PAM property or resources.
    • Activity that involves harassment, discrimination, victimisation or bullying.  Activity that amounts to an abuse of authority.
    • Any other conduct that may have serious negative impact on PAM’s clients, employees, contractors, reputation, interests or financial position.
    • Any contravention of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), the ASIC Act 2001 (Cth), the Banking Act, The Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001, the Insurance Act 1973, the Life Insurance Act 1995, the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009, or the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 or offence against any other law of the Commonwealth that is punishable by imprisonment for a period of 12 months or more.

5. What is not an eligible disclosable matter?

If the issue is not a disclosable matter, for example a personal work-related issue, it won’t usually be protected under this policy or the Corporations Act. For example, these include:

    • Interpersonal conflict between you and another employee;
    • A decision relating to your employment, engagement, transfer or promotion;
    • A decision on the terms and conditions of your engagement;
    • A decision to suspend or terminate your engagement, or discipline you.

You should raise such issues with Human Resources.

If you are unsure if your concern qualifies for protection, you can speak to the Manager of Compliance or the Disclosure Hotline as detailed in section 6.


6. Reporting a disclosable matter

Staff members may first report their concerns to their immediate manager by email, telephone, letter or in person. External parties should first report their concern to their PAM contact.

Given the small size of PAM, an eligible discloser may feel more comfortable reporting a disclosable matter anonymously. It is important to note you will still be protected under the Corporations Act. If this is chosen, it is important to provide enough information as possible to enable a thorough investigation.

Should you elect to remain anonymous, the report should be made to the following external independent alert service run by Linchpin Legal Management Pty Ltd:

    • By calling the Disclosure Hotline on 1300 794 250 and leaving a voice mail message; or
    • Emailing [email protected]

If the alert service is contacted, PAM will be given the disclosure to investigate in accordance with this policy.

If you have had any involvement in improper conduct, making a disclosure will not of itself protect you from the consequences of such involvement. However, the admission will be taken into account when considering disciplinary or other action.


7. What should be included in a disclosable matter report

As much information as possible should be provided, including details of circumstances relating to your concern, people involved, dates and locations.

Protection under this policy may still be possible even if you were incorrect. However, reasonable grounds should exist causing you to suspect that the information reported is true. You must not make a report that you know is false or misleading. Knowingly doing so may result in action being taken against you.

PAM encourages you to provide your name when making a report, as it is easier to investigate and respond to your report. However, you can elect to remain anonymous, including during or after the investigation. You may also refuse to answer questions you feel may reveal your identity.

If you do not provide your details, responding to your report may be difficult and the same level of support will not be possible. It is requested that you provide PAM with a way to maintain contact – this can be achieved via the Disclosure Hotline or email detailed in section 6.

The status and outcome of any investigations must be reported to the Risk & Compliance committee.


8 Assessment and investigation of Disclosures

8.1 Initial assessment of Disclosures

Disclosures will initially be referred to the Manager of Compliance, who will carry out an initial assessment of:

    • whether the Disclosure falls within this Policy;
    • the issues raised by the Disclosure;
    • the actual risks of detrimental conduct faced by all individuals involved in the Disclosure (and, where appropriate, take action under sections 8.3 and 8.5); and
    • the appropriate steps for both responding to the Disclosure and your welfare.

If the Disclosure is covered by this Policy and further investigation of the matters raised in the Disclosure is warranted, the Manager of Compliance will conduct an investigation of your Disclosure.

8.2 Investigation by Manager of Compliance

The objective of an investigation of a Disclosure is to determine whether there is enough evidence to substantiate or refute the matters reported in the Disclosure.

Where an investigation needs to be undertaken, we will ensure it is objective, fair and independent. Therefore, the Manager of Compliance will investigate your Disclosure and will be independent of you and any individuals who are the subject of your Disclosure, as well as any connected staff members.

The Manager of Compliance is a senior employee who has received training on how to investigate Disclosures. If, however:

    • it is considered that that additional specialist skills or expertise are necessary; and/or
    • if the Disclosure concerns any member of the Board or any senior managers,
    • an external investigator may be appointed to conduct the investigation, either in conjunction with, or independently of, the Manager of Compliance.
8.3 Ongoing support and protection by Manager of Compliance

Unless you have chosen to remain anonymous and cannot be contacted, after the Manager of Compliance has completed their initial assessment of your Disclosure, they will discuss with you what kind of support and protection you need.

For instance, it might be appropriate for you to have:

    • a leave of absence during the investigation;
    • alternative employment arrangements (such as working from home);
    • counselling or other professional services for the distress caused by the Reportable Conduct which led to the Disclosure being made by you; and
    • assistance in developing strategies to help you minimise and manage stress, time or performance impacts, or other challenges resulting from your Disclosure or its investigation.
8.4 Keeping you informed

Unless you have chosen to remain anonymous and cannot be contacted, we will (through the Manager of Compliance):

    • confirm receipt of the Disclosure and establish a process, including expected timeframes, for reporting to you the progress of the investigation;
    • contact you as soon as practicable to discuss your welfare and to discuss whether you require any additional support;
    • inform you at the earliest possible opportunity if the Manager of Compliance determines that there is insufficient information or evidence to warrant further investigation; and
    • inform you of the final outcome of the investigation.
8.5 Ensuring fair treatment of individuals mentioned in a Disclosure

The Manager of Compliance will also ensure that:

    • if practical and appropriate to do so, the details of individuals mentioned in the Disclosure are handled confidentially;
    • any person who is the subject of a Disclosure will be advised of the subject matter of the Disclosure as and when required by principles of natural justice and procedural fairness and prior to any actions being taken; and
    • any person who is the subject of a Disclosure receives appropriate support services.

9. Support and protection for Whistleblowers

9.1 Protecting your identity

All Eligible Disclosures will be treated confidentially, Your identity and any information you disclose will not be provided to anyone who is not involved in the investigation of your Disclosure unless permitted by law (such as if we disclose such details to ASIC, the AFP or a legal practitioner), or you have consented to us doing so.

If you make a Disclosure that includes details of your identity, or any other information which could be used to identify you, we will ask you to consent to this information being disclosed before it is escalated.

If you do not wish for this information to be included, your Disclosure will be deidentified before it is escalated for investigation. For example, this may include:

    • redacting your personal information;
    • referring to you in a gender-neutral context; and
    • working with you to help identify any other information within your Disclosure that could inadvertently identify you.

Alternatively, you may choose to adopt a pseudonym for the purposes of your Disclosure. This may be suitable where your identity is known to the Authorised Disclosure Officer to whom you made your Disclosure and the Manager of Compliance, but you would prefer not to disclose your identity to anyone else.

All documents and other materials relating to your Disclosure will be stored and dealt with securely.

9.2 Protection from detrimental conduct

This Policy, and particularly the measures set out in section 8.3, are designed to ensure that no one will be subject to or threatened with detrimental conduct (whether by act or omission) by us, our employees or anyone else whose conduct is within our control if that person believes or suspects that a person has made, may have made, proposes to make or could make a Disclosure, and the belief or suspicion is the reason, or part of the reason, for their conduct towards that person.

Examples of detrimental conduct could include:

    • dismissal as an employee;
    • injury in the course of the person’s employment;
    • alteration of a person’s position or duties within their employment to their
    • disadvantage;
    • discrimination between the person and other employees;
    • harassment or intimidation;
    • harm or injury, including psychological harm;
    • damage to the person’s property;
    • damage to the person’s reputation;
    • damage to the person’s business or financial position; or
    • any other damage,

but will not include situations where such conduct is appropriate in the circumstances, such as:

    • administrative action that is reasonable for the purpose of protecting the person from detrimental conduct (such as the actions detailed above); and
    • managing unsatisfactory work performance, if the action is in line with our performance management framework.

You can seek compensation and other remedies through the courts if:

    • you suffer detrimental conduct because of a Disclosure (whether or not it was you who made the Disclosure); and
    • we fail to take reasonable precautions and exercise due diligence to prevent that detrimental conduct.
9.3 Civil, criminal and administrative liability protection

If you are an Eligible Discloser, you are also protected from any of the following in relation to your Disclosure:

    • civil liability (e.g. any legal action against you for breach of an employment contract, duty of confidentiality or another contractual obligation);
    • criminal liability (e.g. attempted prosecution of you for unlawfully releasing information, or other use of the Disclosure against you in a prosecution (other than for making a false disclosure)); and
    • administrative liability (e.g. disciplinary action for making the Disclosure).

However, it is important that you understand that these protections do not apply in relation to any misconduct you have engaged in that is revealed in your Disclosure.

9.4 Concerns about breaches of confidentiality and victimising behavior

It is against the law for PAM to fail to take reasonable precautions to protect you from actual or threatened detrimental conduct (see section 9.2). It is also against the law for PAM to breach your confidentiality if you are an Eligible Discloser (see section 9.1).

If you believe that your confidentiality may have been breached or that you have been subject to, or threatened with, any detrimental conduct, we encourage you to raise your concerns with the Manager of Compliance in the first instance who will escalate the matter as a separate Disclosure. However, you may also lodge a complaint directly with ASIC and/or seek independent legal advice.


10. Reports and recommendations

At the end of an investigation, the Manager of Compliance will submit a de- identified report to the Board. The report will summarise the conduct of the investigation and the evidence collected, draw conclusions about the extent of any Reportable Conduct and recommend an appropriate course of action to remedy any Reportable Conduct and ensure that it does not recur.
A copy of the report will also be provided to you. The Manager of Compliance will maintain a de-identified record of all concerns raised and actions taken under this Policy.


11. Compensation

You can seek compensation through a court if you suffer loss, damage or injury for making your disclosure. If you are or were a PAM employee and experienced detriment at work for reporting misconduct, the court may order the person causing you detriment or PAM to compensate you.

You can also pursue other remedies, such as:

    • PAM reinstating you to your original position or a comparable position
    • the court issuing an injunction to prevent or stop detrimental conduct
    • the person that caused you detriment or threatened you with detriment apologising to you.

It is important to note that it is your responsibility to bring any such action for compensation. PAM strongly encourages you, if you believe you are an eligible discloser, to seek independent legal advice about what remedies may be available to you if you suffer loss, damage, or injury. PAM is unable to give legal advice.

If you are unsuccessful in your claim for compensation for detriment against a person, or PAM, you are protected from having to pay their legal costs (unless a court finds your claim to be vexatious or you acted unreasonably).


12. Further information

This policy is available on the PAM website platypus.com.au

Any questions about this policy should be referred to the PAM Manager of Compliance.

Steven Best
Level 24, Governor Phillip Tower
1 Farrer Place
Phone: 02 8270 8222
Email: [email protected]