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Self-reporting program boosts SEC enforcement activity


Enforcement activity by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission remained at near-record levels in the first half of fiscal year 2019, boosted by a self-reporting program, says a report issued Wednesday.

The SEC filed 52 new actions against public companies and subsidiaries  during the period, compared with 16 for the comparable period a year ago, but 25 of these stemmed from the SEC’s share class selection disclosure initiative, in which investment advisers self-reported inadequate disclosures concerning the sale of mutual shares, according to the report issued by New York University’s Pollack Center for Law & Business and San Francisco-based Cornerstone Research Inc.

The program was announced in February 2018, according to the report SEC Enforcement Activity: Public Companies and Subsidiaries.

The SEC filed a record-setting 55 new actions against public companies and subsidiaries during 2018’s second half.

The 52 new actions compare with a half-year average of 30 for the fiscal year 2010 – fiscal year 2018 period.

“Monetary settlements averaged $15 million for the period, and only $3 million for share class initiative settlements, compared with the average historical average settlement of $29 million per action during FY 2010-FY2018,” Stephen Choi, the Murray and Kathleen Bring Professor of Law at the NYU School of  Law and Director of the Pollack Center for Law & Business, said in a statement.

Sara Gilley, Cornerstone Research vice president, said in the statement that none of the 25 monetary settlements for actions brought under the share class initiative included civil penalties, which was “consistent with the SEC’s stated incentive to recommend no civil penalties for self- reporting.” In comparison, she said, 88% of the other 26 monetary settlements in the first half of fiscal year 2019 included civil penalties. The report is based on data from the Securities Enforcement Empirical Database, a collaboration between the Pollack Center and Cornerstone.






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