SEC Division of Enforcement Publishes Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2019

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Earlier this week, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement published its Annual Report for First Year 2019.  The Annual Report details the Division of Enforcement’s efforts and initiatives on behalf of investors, highlights several significant actions, and presents the activities of the Division of Enforcement from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective. The Annual Report describes the Division of Enforcement’s efforts guided by five core principles:

  1. Focus on the retail investor;
  2. Focus on individual accountability;
  3. Keep pace with technological change;
  4. Impose remedies that most effectively further enforcement goals; and
  5. Constantly assess the allocation of resources 

In fiscal year 2019, the SEC brought a diverse mix of 862 enforcement actions, including 526 standalone actions brought in federal court or as administrative proceedings. These actions addressed a broad range of significant issues, including issuer disclosure/accounting violations; auditor misconduct; investment advisory issues; securities offerings; market manipulation; insider trading; and broker-dealer misconduct. Through these actions, the SEC obtained judgments and orders totaling more than $4.3 billion in disgorgement and penalties. Importantly, the SEC also returned roughly $1.2 billion to harmed investors as a result of enforcement actions. These results are especially significant despite the total cessation of activity for 35 days as a result of the government shutdown.

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