The Division of Enforcement of the Securities and Exchange Commission published a report on its 2017 fiscal year accomplishments in which it said that “vigorous enforcement” by the SEC is critical to “combat wrongdoing, compensate harmed investors, and maintain confidence in the integrity and fairness of our markets.”
Among the five core principals driving these objectives is a focus on individual accountability and keeping pace with technological changes
According to the Division’s co-directors, Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin, one or more individuals have been named in excess of 80 percent of the standalone enforcement actions brought since Jay Clayton became the new SEC Chairman on May 4, 2017. This reflects the Division’s belief that the “vigorous pursuit of individual wrongdoers must be the key feature of any effective program,” said the co-directors.
Additionally, the Division has created a new Cyber Unit to keep pace of technological changes being used by “wrongdoers to engage in cyber-enabled misconduct.” The Division indicated that the Cyber Unit is focusing on market manipulation involving false information disseminated through electronic and social media; hacking to illicitly obtain nonpublic information and transacting on the information; and violations of law involving distributed ledger technology and initial coin offerings, among other wrongdoing.
The Division noted that in fiscal year 2017, Division enforcement actions involving investment advisory issues, securities offerings, and issuer reporting/accounting and auditing each comprised 20 percent of its activities. Enforcement actions related to market manipulation, insider trading, and broker-dealers each constituted 10 percent of its activities.