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SEC announces increase in enforcement actions during 2023

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2023 | Securities and Compliance

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the results of its enforcement actions during the fiscal year 2023 in a news release last week. The SEC said it had filed a total of 784 enforcement actions through the end of September, an increase of 3 percent over fiscal year 2022.

These included 501 original, or “stand-alone,” enforcement actions, an 8 percent increase over the prior fiscal year.

The commission said it obtained orders for $4.949 billion in financial remedies, the second highest amount in SEC history, after setting a record with $6.4 billion in penalties and disgorgement in fiscal year 2022. The remedies for 2023 comprised $3.369 billion in disgorgement and prejudgment interest and $1.580 billion in civil penalties.

The SEC also filed 162 “follow-on” administrative proceedings seeking to bar or suspend individuals from certain functions in the securities markets based on criminal convictions, civil injunctions, or other orders and 121 actions against issuers who were allegedly delinquent in making required filings with the SEC.

The SEC said it worked diligently throughout the year to deter misconduct in the financial markets and bring accountability to those who have committed violations.

“The investing public benefits from the Division of Enforcement’s work as a cop on the beat,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “Last fiscal year’s results demonstrate yet again the Division’s effectiveness—working alongside colleagues throughout the agency—in following the facts and the law wherever they lead to hold wrongdoers accountable.”

“Whether it was by leveraging risk-based initiatives, seeking robust remedies, rewarding cooperation, protecting whistleblowers, or returning nearly a billion dollars to harmed investors, the Enforcement Division stood up for the investing public,” said Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the Division of Enforcement. “I am extremely proud of the Division’s efforts, including those that are not directly reflected in today’s results like the many important investigations that may not result in enforcement actions or the thousand-plus ongoing investigations teams conduct each fiscal year – all of which help protect investors, hold bad actors accountable, and promote public trust.”

The SEC said its approximately 500 stand-alone enforcement actions spanned the securities industry, “from billion-dollar frauds to emerging investor threats involving crypto asset securities and cybersecurity, and charged violations by diverse market participants, from public companies and investment firms to gatekeepers and social media influencers.”

The SEC said it also brought numerous enforcement actions addressing conduct that undermines oversight of the securities industry, including actions to protect whistleblowers and enforce recordkeeping requirements and other investor protection requirements.

The commission added that it was a record-breaking year for its Whistleblower Program that issued whistleblower awards totaling nearly $600 million, the most ever awarded in one year, including a record-breaking $279 million awarded to one whistleblower.

The attorneys at Lewitas Hyman include former senior attorneys at the SEC whose legal experience and industry knowledge make them uniquely qualified to provide counsel on securities regulatory, compliance and enforcement matters. Our attorneys fully understand the regulatory scrutiny financial professionals and their firms face from the various regulators that oversee the financial services industry. If your firm is facing an investigation from a regulatory agency, please contact Lewitas Hyman at (888) 655-6002 or through our online contact form.