The Securities and Exchange Commission issued a press release extolling its enforcement accomplishments during its just-ended fiscal year 2014. Among other milestones, the SEC noted its first ever cases under its recently adopted market access rule and prohibition against whistleblower retaliation. Overall, in the fiscal year ending 2014, the SEC brought 755 enforcement actions, obtaining orders for over $4 billion in penalties and disgorgement.

Compliance Weeds: Although it is easy to view a regulator’s report of its enforcement accomplishments with a bit of cynicism, such reports are very useful summaries of a regulator’s priorities and should be used as checklists to help registrants double check their policies and procedures to ensure they are adequately addressing a regulator’s principal concerns. Some regulators, like the SEC, also periodically publish enforcement priorities and examination guides. (Click here, for example, to see the article “SEC Begins Assessment of Broker Dealers’ Cyber Security Preparedness,” in the April 14 to 18 and 21 edition of Bridging the Week.) These documents too should be carefully perused to conduct gap analyses between a firm’s existing policies and practices, and the current expectations of the regulator.