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SEC boosted enforcement in fiscal 2015

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The number of Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions increased 6.9% in fiscal year 2015 compared with 2014, says a report.

There were a total of 807 SEC actions in fiscal year 2015, compared with fiscal year 2014's 755 total, according to the report issued Tuesday by New York University's Pollack Center for Law and Business and Boston-based Cornerstone Research.

The report analyzes data in the Securities Enforcement Empirical Database, which is a collaboration between the Pollack Center and Cornerstone.

Of the 807 actions in 2015, 33, or 4.1%, were with a public company defendant, according to the report. The number of filings against public companies has remained relatively constant since 2010, according to the report, “SEC Enforcement Activity Against Public Company Defendants, Fiscal Years 2010-2015.”

In 2015, for the first time the SEC divided its reported enforcement actions into three categories: independent enforcement actions; follow-on administrative proceedings, which are actions used to impose additional sanctions against individuals, such as bars from practicing based on prior litigated misconduct; and delinquent SEC filings.

In fiscal year 2015, independent actions comprised 63% of enforcement action filed, while follow-on administrative proceedings accounted for 21%, said the report. In fiscal year 2015, the SEC brought 76% of its actions against public company defendants as administrative proceedings.

Among other findings, the report said 82% of public company defendants resolved SEC actions on the same day they were initiated, which are known as concurrent settlements.

“Concurrent settlements are often the result of SEC investigations that last months or years before the Commission initiates an enforcement action,” said the report.