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SEC accounting and auditing enforcement actions up sharply


Accounting and auditing enforcement actions initiated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission increased by 55% in fiscal year 2022 from the previous year but remained below pre-pandemic levels, according to a report released Thursday.

The SEC initiated 68 accounting or auditing enforcement actions in FY2022, which ended Sept. 30, against 66 individuals and 37 companies, according to the report issued by San Francisco-based Cornerstone Research.

The report said actions involving announced restatements and/or material weaknesses in internal controls climbed to the highest level in recent years, as did those involving Section 304 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002, which is known as the clawback provision.

The $625 million in monetary settlements was down by more than 60% from FY2021 and was 44% lower than the average of total monetary settlements in the prior five fiscal years, in part because there were no settlements of more than $1 billion, the report said.

A Cornerstone Research study issued earlier this month found that securities class-action settlements in 2022 totaled 105, which was the highest number in 15 years.