In a post last week, I noted that in FY 2021 the SEC had flied fewer enforcement actions against public companies compared to FY 2020. However, according to the SEC’s recently released fiscal year end enforcement activity report, the number of new enforcement actions overall (that is, inclusive of both public and private companies) increased by 7 percent in FY 2021. The SEC’s November 15, 2021 press release detailing the agency’s enforcement statistics can be found here. The enforcement action statistical breakdown for FY 2021 can be found here.
According to the report, the SEC filed 434 new standalone enforcement actions in FY 2021, compared to the 405 the agency filed in FY 2020. While the number of new standalone enforcement actions in FY 2021 increased by 7 percent compared to FY 2020, the number of new actions was down in both FY 2020 and FY 2021 compared to FY 2019, when there were 526 standalone enforcement actions.
In addition to the new actions in FY 2021, the agency also filed 143 follow-on administrative proceedings seeing bars against individuals based on criminal convictions, civil injunctions and other orders, and 120 actions against issuers who were delinquent in making required filings with the SEC. The total of 697 actions in FY 2021 (inclusive of new actions, follow-on proceedings, and delinquent filings) represents a decline of three percent from the equivalent total of 715 actions in FY 2021.
In terms of amounts recovered in FY 2021, the SEC obtained orders and judgments for penalties of $1.4 billion, compared to $1.09 billion in FY 2020 representing a 33 percent increase. However, the SEC obtained orders and judgments for disgorgement in FY 2021 of roughly $2.4 billion, compared to $3.5 billion in FY 2020, representing a decrease of approximately 33 percent. The total amount recovered in FY 2021 of $3.8 million was X% less than the total amount recovered in FY 2020 of $4.68 billion.
The agency’s press release about the Enforcement Division’s activities included a statement by Gurbir Grewal, the Director of the Division of Enforcement, in which Grewal suggested that the Enforcement Division had been able to pursue the various actions despite the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, suggesting that the decline in the number of actions in FY 2021 (and perhaps for FY 2020 as well) was due to the pandemic.