According to an SEC press release, in the 2014 fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, the SEC achieved a record-breaking year by filing 755 enforcement actions and obtaining orders that totaled $4.16 billion in disgorgement and penalties. The SEC attributed these results to its implementation of new investigative approaches and the innovative use of data. The agency’s filings included: first-ever cases involving the market access rule, the “pay-to-play” rule for investment advisers; an emergency action to halt a municipal bond offering; an action for whistleblower retaliation; and a settlement with a California school district for misleading bond investors under the initiative targeting municipal disclosure. The SEC filed an additional 69 enforcement actions and obtained orders that increased disgorgement and penalties by $760 million, compared to the 2013 fiscal year.
Some key areas of focus included: 1) combatting financial fraud and enhancing issuer disclosure; 2) ensuring exchanges, traders and other market participants operate fairly; 3) uncovering misconduct by investment advisers and investment companies; 4) increasing activity in whistleblower programs; 5) rooting out insider trading; 6) upholding disclosure standards in municipal securities; 7) cracking down on misconduct involving complex financial instruments; and 8) combatting foreign corrupt practices and obtaining highest-ever penalties against individuals.