The Securities and Exchange Commission announced a 7 percent increase in the number of enforcement actions it brought during fiscal year 2021, reports Financial Advisor. In its annual report released last week, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement said it filed 697 total actions during the year, including 434 new actions.
The commission said its enforcement efforts targeted a wide range of misconduct in the financial system, including emerging threats involving cryptocurrency and SPACs, or Special Purpose Acquisition Companies. The SEC said a key to its ongoing enforcement efforts was its whistleblower program, which had a record-breaking year in 2021 with a total of $564 million awarded to 108 whistleblowers.
“This year has seen a number of critically important and first-of-their-kind enforcement actions, as well as record-breaking achievements for our whistleblower program, which we expect will lead to even more successful actions in the future,” said the Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, Gurbir Grewal. “Undeterred by the challenges of the pandemic, the dedicated public servants in the Enforcement Division have continued to overcome obstacles to bring these cases that protect investors and promote market integrity.”
The SEC’s enforcement cases included 120 actions against issuers who were delinquent in making required filings with the SEC, and 143 “follow-on” administrative proceedings seeking bars against individuals based on criminal convictions, civil injunctions, or other orders.
During the ’21 fiscal year, the SEC said it also obtained judgments and orders for nearly $2.4 billion in disgorgement and more than $1.4 billion in penalties. Those totals marked a respective 33 percent decrease and 33 percent increase over amounts ordered in the 2020 fiscal year in those categories.
Financial professionals who work for broker-dealers, RIAs or other financial services companies operate in a highly regulated industry that is overseen by the SEC, state regulators and other self-regulatory organizations such as FINRA and various exchanges. The financial professionals attorneys at Lewitas Hyman understand this because we were formally senior attorneys in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. If you are the subject of a regulatory proceeding, contact us at (312) 291-4600 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.