On November 6, 2019, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement issued its annual report for fiscal year 2019. The report details the division’s efforts and initiatives on behalf of investors, highlights several significant actions, and presents the activities of the division from both a qualitative and quantitative perspective.
“The results depicted in this report reflect the division’s focus on rooting out misconduct that can do significant harm to investors and our markets, and the focus the division places on identifying wrongdoing and taking prompt action to effectively help harmed investors,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “Across a broad array of cases, the Enforcement staff has continued to show determination, sophistication, and thoughtfulness in detecting and deterring bad conduct and crafting meaningful remedies. I thank the dedicated women and men of the division, in our home office and in our 11 regional offices, for their efforts in support of our mission and investors.”
As in prior years, the report describes the division’s efforts guided by five core principles: (1) focus on the Main Street 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.
“The report shows how the principles we have articulated inform our work to protect investors and ensure that the U.S. securities markets remain the safest and strongest in the world,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
In fiscal year 2019, the SEC brought a diverse mix of 862 enforcement actions, including 526 standalone actions. 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.
“The actions and initiatives described in the report reflect our deliberate, principled approaches to investigations, litigation, and case resolutions,” said Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “We are proud of the work Enforcement staff did in enabling the SEC to punish misconduct, deter future wrongdoing, and obtain relief for harmed investors.”