Whistleblower Policy & Procedure
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, part-time, 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
- 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 misconduct in relation to PAM, 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 there has been any involvement in improper conduct, making a disclosure will not protect from consequences. 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.
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.
PAM and any PAM staff who have knowledge of claims of improper conduct will take all reasonable steps to maintain the confidentiality and protect the identity of a person they know or suspect to have made a protected disclosure. It is illegal (except in limited circumstances) to identify an eligible discloser, or to disclose information that may lead to the identification of the eligible discloser.
The law allows your identity to be shared in limited circumstances, namely with your consent, to ASIC, APRA, a member of the Australian Federal Police, or to an Australian-qualified lawyer to seek advice about whistleblower provisions. The law also allows information in your report to be shared where reasonably necessary for an investigation into your report and reasonable steps are taken to reduce the risk of you being identified.
9. No detriment
Confidentiality is crucial in ensuring anyone who makes, or is suspected to have made a protected disclosure, is protected from detrimental conduct.
Examples of detrimental conduct may include:
- Causing or threatening to cause victimisation
- Disadvantaged changes to their position or duties
- Discrimination from other employees
- Harassment or intimidation
- Damage to their property, reputation, business or financial position.
PAM may take disciplinary action, including termination of anyone shown to have caused or threatened detriment because you made or plan to make a report.
10. Protection from detriment
Steps PAM may take to protect you from detriment may include the following:
- assessing the risk of detriment;
- making support available;
- managing the behaviour of other employees, if necessary;
- assisting with strategies to help minimise and manage stress;
- offering leave of absence, and;
- advising how to lodge a complaint if you are concerned about detriment.
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 will be available on the PAM website platypus.com.au
Any questions about this policy should be referred to the PAM Manager of Compliance.
- Established December 2013 – Version 1
- Reviewed September 2014 – Amendment made to independent alert service – Version 2
- Reviewed September 2016 – No amendments – Version 2
- Reviewed September 2017 – No amendments – Version 2
- Reviewed August 2018 – No amendments – Version 2
- Reviewed September 2019 – No amendments – Version 2
- Reviewed February 2020 – Extensive amendments due to new ASIC requirements – Version 3
Document Name: Whistleblower Policy
Owner: Steven Best
Date original Policy approved: March 2014
Date last reviewed: February 2020
Date last amended: February 2020
Amendment approved by Board: March 2020