The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division issued a report highlighting its priorities for the coming year as well as a review of enforcement actions that took place during FY 2017.
In the report, Co-Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin stated their overall enforcement approach: “Vigorous enforcement of the federal securities laws is critical to combat wrongdoing, compensate harmed investors, and maintain confidence in the integrity and fairness of our markets.”
They also stated five core principles that will guide their enforcement decision-making: focus on the Main Street investor; focus on individual accountability; keep pace with technological change; impose sanctions that most effectively further enforcement goals; and constantly assess the allocation of resources.
The Commission brought a diverse mix of 754 enforcement actions, including 446 standalone actions and returned a record $1.07 billion to harmed investors. A significant number of the Commission’s 446 standalone cases concerned investment advisory issues, securities offerings, and issuer reporting/accounting and auditing, each comprising approximately 20 percent of the overall number of standalone actions. The Commission also continued to bring actions relating to market manipulation, insider trading, and broker-dealers, with each comprising approximately 10 percent of the overall number of standalone actions, as well as other areas.
It also obtained judgments and orders totaling more than $3.789 billion in disgorgement and penalties.
At My RIA Lawyer, we have seen an increase in audit and exam activities conducted by state and federal regulators. Their pursuit of information has become more aggressive and many of these regulators have a breadth of knowledge but lack a depth of knowledge necessary to understand the businesses of our clients. The SEC, along with FINRA and state regulatory agencies, continue to push for more examinations and “routine” inquiries, especially in light of recent changes in light (a la DOL’s fiduciary rule).
Worried about what regulators could discover in your firm?
Contact us today to schedule a strategy session to discuss your concerns for your business and goals for the upcoming year.