On November 15, 2017, the SEC announced the results of its enforcement actions for fiscal year 2017 and stated its enforcement priorities for fiscal year 2018.
During fiscal year 2017, the SEC brought 754 enforcement actions, returned $1.07 billion to harmed investors, and obtained judgments and orders totaling $3.789 billion in disgorgement and penalties.[i] Of the 754 enforcement actions, 446 were standalone cases.[ii] Investment advisory issues, securities offerings, and issuer reporting each accounted for 20% of the standalone cases, roughly in line with fiscal year 2016 results.[iii]
In the current fiscal year, the following five core principles will guide the SEC’s enforcement actions:[iv]
- Focus on Main Street (i.e., unsophisticated) investors
- Focus on individual accountability (as opposed to organizational accountability)
- Keep pace with technological change
- Impose sanctions that most effectively further enforcement goals
- Assess the allocation of resources
Both the enforcement results for the recently completed fiscal year and the stated priorities for the current fiscal year reflect Chairman Clayton’s oft-articulated dedication to the SEC’s mandates: protect investors, maintain fair and efficient markets, facilitate capital formation.