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SEC Sanctions BlackRock for Use of Agreements that Barred Employees from Obtaining Whistleblower Awards

BlackRock Inc. has agreed to pay a $340,000 penalty to settle SEC charges that it improperly used separation agreements in which exiting employees were forced to waive their ability to obtain whistleblower awards. According to the SEC’s order, more than 1,000 departing BlackRock employees signed separation agreements containing language stating that they “waive any right to recovery of incentives for reporting of misconduct” in order to receive their monetary separation payments from the firm. According to the SEC, BlackRock added the waiver provision in October 2011 after the SEC adopted its whistleblower program rules, and continued using it in separation agreements until March 2016. BlackRock consented to the SEC’s order without admitting or denying the findings.  The SEC order noted that BlackRock voluntarily revised its separation agreement and took a number of remedial actions.

 
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