SEC Enforcement Division completes most productive year in its history
By Thomas A. Zaccaro, Morgan J. Miller, Joshua G. Hamilton, Adam D. Schneir and Eleanor K. Mercado
In a recent speech, one Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, described the SECs enforcement program as a national treasure. This exuberance, whether rational or not, may be attributable to the fact that the SECs Division of Enforcement just completed its most productive year in history. During fiscal 2011 (Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2011), the SEC brought a record 735 enforcement actions more cases than it has ever filed in a prior fiscal year and a 7.5 percent increase over fiscal 2010. Many of these cases involved the SECs core enforcement priorities, including insider trading, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations, offering fraud, and financial fraud. The SEC also obtained orders for approximately $2.8 billion in disgorgement and penalties.
Public issuers, compliance professionals, and securities law practitioners should take notice of these efforts because they portend future SEC enforcement activities and priorities. Here are the most significant developments in SEC enforcement activity in 2011.