The SEC Achieved a Record Breaking Year of Filing Enforcement Actions and Obtaining Disgorgement and Penalties During the 2014 Fiscal Year

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.