Buried in the SEC's new whistleblower rules is a notice that firms named in a complaint may need to run the investigation on their own, lawyers are saying.
The rules stipulate that the SEC can push complaints back to the firm in question to look into on their own.
Naturally, this won't happen all the time because the regulators are going to want to run some probes -- on serious offenses where the allegations concern people high up in the organization -- on its own.
But with the SEC already strapped for resources and worried about the prospect of having to pick through a mountain of whistleblower claims, more street-level complaints could get bounced back to the firms.
When that happens, the lawyers say, in-house compliance teams have an opportunity to handle internal business without getting the regulators directly involved.
That's potentially an opportunity to minimize intrusive visits from outside investigators, but the internal probe has to be rigorous -- otherwise, the SEC will probably end up knocking on the door anyway.