The SEC Speaks 2011: Aggressive Enforcement to Continue Post-Reorganizational and Legislative Changes

February 10, 2011

At the annual "The SEC Speaks" conference on February 4 in Washington, D.C., the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or the Commission) Chairman Mary Schapiro and senior officials from the Division of Enforcement reported on the progress of enforcement efforts, which continued at a rapid pace in 2010. The reorganization of the Enforcement Division, which began in 2009 and included the creation of five new specialized units, is now complete and is bearing fruit in the form of more enforcement actions. In addition, senior enforcement officials provided insights about the new cooperation tools introduced in 2010 and their view of the various provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) affecting the SEC's enforcement program and powers. These include new whistleblower provisions as well as provisions permitting the SEC to obtain penalties against public companies in administrative proceedings, expanded aiding-and-abetting power, and other changes that provide the Enforcement Division with a wider range of options in pursuing violations of the federal securities laws. These new developments significantly enhance the Commission's ability to continue its aggressive enforcement program in 2011; however, budget constraints placed on the agency may limit the effectiveness of some of these new enforcement tools.

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