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SEC Enforcement: Take a Bow for 2018

November 2, 2018

The SEC’s Enforcement Division issued its Annual Report for 2018, featuring the Agency’s ongoing efforts, along with several of its significant actions and initiatives.  


Pursuant to Chair Jay Clayton’s charge to focus on Main Street investors, Division of Enforcement Co-Directors Stephanie Avakian and Steven Peikin previously outlined 5 core principles that serve to guide the work of the division: (i) focus on the Main Street investor, (ii) focus on individual accountability, (iii) keep pace with technological change, (iv) impose remedies that most effectively further enforcement goals, and, (v) constantly assess the allocation of resources.


Among the tangible results of the Division’s efforts, the SEC was able to return almost $800 million to harmed investors. The SEC also held individuals – including many at the highest level – accountable, barred bad actors from the securities markets, and sent strong messages of deterrence. 


Also illustrative of the Division’s impact in protecting investors and market integrity was its groundbreaking approach to addressing misconduct involving initial coin offerings ("ICOs") and digital assets, which reflects a focus on cases that deliver strong and clear messages and have broad market impact. 


Quantitatively, ...

  • the SEC brought a diverse mix of 821 enforcement actions, including 490 standalone actions, and returned $794 million to harmed investors.
  • ~63% of the SEC’s standalone cases concerned investment advisory issues, securities offerings, and issuer reporting/accounting and auditing.
  • actions relating to market manipulation, insider trading, and broker-dealer misconduct each accounted for ~10% of the overall number of standalone actions, as well as other areas. 
  • the SEC obtained judgments and orders totaling nearly $4 billion in disgorgement and penalties.



[For complete details, click on … Annual Report, Division of Enforcement]