Regulatory Enforcement

In November, when the SEC released its annual enforcement activity report, the report showed that during the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2018 both the volume of the agency’s enforcement activity and the level of financial recoveries increased compared to the prior fiscal year. The agency’s report did not separate out its enforcement activity involving public companies. However, a new report from the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business and Cornerstone Research breaks out the enforcement numbers for public companies. The new report show that SEC enforcement actions against public companies and subsidiaries “jumped substantially” in the second half of FY 2018, reversing a decline in filings that began in the second half of 2017 and continued through the first half of 2018.
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Bill Boeck

As most readers undoubtedly are aware, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation went into effect on May 25, 2018. Even though the regulation has only been in effect for a few months, regulators across Europe have already starting levying fines under the regulation’s provisions. In the following guest post, Bill Boeck takes a look at the fines that have been imposed so far and considers their implications. Bill is currently Senior Vice President and Insurance and Claims Counsel with the Lockton Companies.  He is Lockton’s global leader for cyber claims and for the development of proprietary cyber wordings and endorsements.  Bill also leads Lockton’s US financial lines claims practice. A version of this article previously was published on the Lockton Cyber Risk Update Blog. I would like to thank Bill for his willingness to allow me to publish his article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this site’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is Bill’s article.
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Both the volume of SEC enforcement activity and the level of financial recoveries increased in the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2018, according to the agency’s annual enforcement activity report. The increases came after activity had been down in the prior year, the first year under the current presidential administration. However, the agency’s enforcement chiefs cautioned against placing too much weight on the numbers alone. The report contains some interesting signs of what we might expect in the current fiscal year. The SEC’s enforcement report can be found here. The agency’s November 2, 2018 press release about the report can be found here.
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John Reed Stark

Earlier this week, media reports circulated that this past spring Google had exposed the private data of thousands of the Google+ social network users and then opted not to disclose the issue, in part because of concerns that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage. In the wake of these revelations, one question is whether the SEC will look into these circumstances. In the following guest post, John Reed Stark, President of John Reed Stark Consulting and former Chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement, takes a look at what he regards as a likely SEC investigation and the questions that the SEC likely will be asking. A version of this article originally appeared on Securities Docket. I would like to thank John for allowing me to publish his article on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit an article. Here is John’s post.  
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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently announced a new policy at the U.S. Department of Justice to address the “piling on” problem that corporate defendants can sometimes face – that is, the accumulation of penalties that can arise when multiple different federal agencies pursue enforcement actions against the corporate target based on the same alleged misconduct. In the following guest post, attorneys from the Paul Weiss law firm take a look at the new policy and its practical implications. I would like to thank the authors for allowing me to publish their article as a guest post on this site. I welcome guest post submissions from responsible authors on topics of interest to this blog’s readers. Please contact me directly if you would like to submit a guest post. Here is the Paul Weiss attorneys’ article.
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The number of SEC enforcement actions against public companies and their subsidiaries declined in the first half of FY 2018 compared to the comparable year prior period, continuing a sharp downward trend that began in the second half of FY 2017 and falling to the lowest level in years, according to a new report from Cornerstone Research, written in collaboration with the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business. Monetary settlements during the first half of fiscal 2018 also fell to their lowest level in years. The report, entitled “SEC Enforcement Activity: Public Companies and Subsidiaries, Midyear FY 2018 Update” (here), reports on SEC enforcement activity involving public companies and their subsidiaries for the first half of fiscal 2018, which ended March 31, 2018. Cornerstone Report’s May 15, 2018 press release about the report can be found here.
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In prior posts (most recently here), I have noted the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent predilection for taking up cases arising under the securities laws or otherwise involving securities lawsuits. On January 12, 2018, the Court reinforced this impression again by agreeing to take up yet another case arising under the securities laws. In this latest case the Court will address the question of whether or not the SEC’s administrative law judges (ALJ) were appointed in violation of the requirements of the Appointments Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The specific question involved is whether or not the ALJs are “inferior officers” of the type that under the Constitution must be appointed by the “Heads of Departments,” or whether they are just regular federal employees. The case could have significant ramifications not only for the SEC but for a variety of other federal agencies as well. The U.S. Supreme Court’s January 12, 2018 order in the case of Raymond James Lucia v. SEC can be found here.
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globalreach1One of the most distinctive aspects of the current global regulatory environment has been the increasing willingness of U.S. regulators to try to project U.S. enforcement authority outside the U.S. The cross-border assertion of U.S. regulatory authority has taken place across a broad range of regulatory and compliance issues, including, for example, antitrust, trade sanction,