US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Wednesday it obtained judgments and orders totaling more than $4 billion in disgorgement and penalties for the fiscal year (FY), ended 30 September, 2016. During the year, the commission filed 868 enforcement actions exposing financial reporting-related misconduct by companies and their executives.
Compared to the preceding fiscal year, the amount of penalties and fines violators paid is lower by $190 million, but the number of enforcement actions the SEC filed was higher by 61 units.
“By every measure the enforcement program continues to be a resounding success holding executives, companies and market participants accountable for their illegal actions,” said SEC chair Mary Jo White. “Over the last three years, we have changed the way we do business on the enforcement front by using new data analytics to uncover fraud, enhancing our ability to litigate tough cases, and expanding the playbook bringing novel and significant actions to better protect investors and our markets,” she added.
The agency also brought a record 548 standalone or independent enforcement actions. During the fiscal year, the SEC saw a record-high number of cases involving investment advisers or investment companies (160) and the most ever independent or standalone cases involving investment advisers or investment companies (98), as well as the highest Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)-related enforcement actions (21) and money distributed to whistleblowers ($57 million to 13 individuals).
“This has been a strong year for the Enforcement Division, with groundbreaking insider trading and FCPA cases and other important actions across the full spectrum of the securities laws,” said Andrew J. Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division.
The SEC is in charge of the securities markets regulation in the US. Its activities are assisted by several divisions it has – Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Investment Management, Division of Enforcement, and Division of Economic and Risk Analysis.