Tag Archives: SEC

The SEC’s Enforcement Division Reports Elevated Enforcement Action and Monetary Recovery Levels

The SEC’s Enforcement Division had another active enforcement year in fiscal 2019, which ended September 30, 2019, that resulted in substantial recoveries. According to the Division’s latest annual report, the agency pursued more enforcement actions in fiscal 2019, including more standalone actions, than in the past several years. The agency’s enforcement action monetary recoveries, including … Continue Reading

SEC’s Whistleblower Protections Extend Beyond Just Employees

While the most common type of whistleblower may be a disgruntled employee, others can be whistleblowers, too. And as a recent SEC enforcement action highlights, interfering with these others’ attempts to communicate with the SEC can violate the agency’s whistleblower protection rules. In an amended complaint filed on November 4, 2019 in a pending SEC … Continue Reading

Guest Post: The SEC Triples Down on its Cryptocurrency Crackdown

In a series of recent actions, the SEC has demonstrated its aggressive approach toward cryptocurrency regulation and enforcement. 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 detailed look at the SEC’s recent actions and considers the actions’ … Continue Reading

Massive Facebook Settlements Underscore Privacy’s Importance as Corporate Risk

On July 24, 2019, in a development that underscores the heightened significance of privacy-related issues, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Facebook will pay a record-breaking $5 billion penalty and submit to new restrictions and a modified corporate structure. In a related development, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) also announced that Facebook had … Continue Reading

SEC Public Company Enforcement Activity Remained Near Record Levels in FY2019’s First Half

Driven in significant part by the new actions filed as part of the SEC’s Share Class Selection Disclosure Initiative, the number of SEC enforcement actions against public companies and subsidiaries remained at “near-record levels” in the first half of fiscal year 2018, according to a recent report. The report, published by Cornerstone Research in collaboration … Continue Reading

Guest Post: Why the Shutdown Must End

Among the agencies largely closed by the current partial U.S. federal government shutdown is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 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 the SEC’s closure means for … Continue Reading

SEC Enforcement Activity Against Public Companies Surges in FY 2018’s Second Half

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 … Continue Reading

SEC 2018 FY Enforcement Report Shows Increased Activity, Recoveries

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 … Continue Reading

Guest Post: The SEC’s Outsider Trading Program: The Silence is Deafening

Most readers are undoubtedly familiar with the concept of “insider trading” – that is, the purchase or sale by company insiders of their personal holdings in company shares based on material non-public information. Readers may be less familiar with “outsider trading,” which is trading in shares of a company on the basis on material non-public … Continue Reading

A Lot is Going On Now, But Don’t Overlook the SEC’s Whistleblower Awards Earlier This Week

Amidst the flurry of Supreme Court decisions, new lawsuits, and other activity in the last few days, I have not yet had the chance to comment on a particularly important development earlier this week. That is, on March 19, 2018, the SEC announced the two largest whistleblower bounty awards in the history of its whistleblower … Continue Reading

The Latest on Proposed Mandatory Arbitration of Shareholder Claims

SEC Commission Michael Piwowar caused quite a stir last summer when he suggested that the SEC would favorably view submissions by IPO companies that included bylaw provisions requiring mandatory arbitration of securities claims. The idea of mandatory arbitration for shareholder claims has continued to circulate in the intervening months. In the past few days, several … Continue Reading

Financial Choice Act 2.0 Proposes Significant Changes to the SEC’s Enforcement Authority

One of the Trump administration’s high profile initiatives is the review and rollback of many of the Dodd-Frank Act’s features.  Consistent with these efforts, an updated version of a bill that would undo many of the Act’s provisions is now making its way through Congress. The Financial Choice Act (H.B. 10) was introduced in April … Continue Reading

SEC Enforcement Activity Involving Public Companies

While the confirmation earlier this week that Mary Jo White will step down as SEC Chair at the end of the Obama administration raises interesting questions about the SEC’s possible future direction and priorities, the agency’s public company-related enforcement activities during the last fiscal year provide some very interesting insights about the SEC’s recent priorities. … Continue Reading

Despite Record SEC Enforcement Activity, Senator Warren Calls for President to Fire Agency Chair

Perhaps SEC officials hoped they were bolstering their agency’s image as a tough regulator when they reported on October 11, 2016 that the SEC had filed a record number of enforcement actions in fiscal year 2016. That was certainly the way the officials quoted in the agency’s press release played it. But if that was … Continue Reading

The SEC Wants You to Know that It Intends to Protect Whistleblowers’ Rights

The SEC has long made it clear that it intends to protect whistleblowers and to suppress activities it believes will have the effect of discouraging whistleblower activity. The agency recently launched enforcement actions against companies that had incorporated various waivers in employee severance agreements that discouraged employees from reporting possible securities law violations to the … Continue Reading

The Yates Memo and the Potential Liabilities of Corporate Directors

Last September, amidst considerable fanfare, the U.S. Department of Justice released a new directive – now universally known as the Yates Memo – in which it restated and reinforced the agency’s commitment to targeting corporate executives in cases of corporate wrongdoing. The cornerstone of the agency’s new policies is the specification that in order for … Continue Reading

SEC Whistleblowing Program: The Agency Means Business

The SEC wants you to know that it means business about its whistleblowing program. On April 1, 2015, in the latest in a series of steps to protect and encourage whistleblowers, the agency entered an order in an enforcement action against KBR saying that the company’s confidentiality requirements for internal investigation witnesses violated the agency’s … Continue Reading

Politics and SEC Enforcement

A number of factors might be supposed to affect the SEC’s exercise of its judgment in deciding which firms to investigate. Some possibilities that immediately come to mind are the nature and seriousness of the suspected problem; the way the problem came to the agency’s attention; and the availability of resources to investigate the problem. … Continue Reading
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