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SEC enforcement actions increase 6.9% in 2015

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed 807 enforcement actions in fiscal year 2015, which ended in September, a 6.9% increase over the 755 filed in fiscal year 2014, the agency said.

Of the 807, 507 were independent actions for violations of the federal securities laws, and 300 were either actions against issuers who were delinquent in making required filings with the SEC, or administrative proceedings seeking bars against individuals based on criminal convictions, civil injunctions or other orders, the SEC said.

Areas on which the SEC's enforcement focused in fiscal year 2015 included: combating financial fraud and enhancing issuer disclosure; holding gatekeepers, including attorneys and accountants, accountable for failing to comply with professional standards; uncovering misconduct by investment advisers and investment companies; combating foreign corrupt practices; supporting whistleblowers; and demanding admissions of wrongdoing, among others.

SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in the statement, “Vigorous and comprehensive enforcement protects investors and reassures them that our financial markets operate with integrity and transparency, and the Commission continues that enforcement approach by bringing innovative cases holding executives and companies accountable for their wrongdoing sending clear warnings to would-be violators.”