February 9, 2010
The SEC Agenda
The New York Times today published a very complimentary article about the rejuvenated SEC Division of Enforcement. Cases are being brought faster, lawyers are studying complex investments, and four new units are dedicated to asset management, securitization, municipal securities and trading abuses.
But the questions about SEC priorities still persist. The fifth new Enforcement unit reportedly focuses on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act - a law that has gone in and out of fashion for years and, as the 2009 Siemens case illustrated, is sometimes enforced against foreign companies even in the presence of a similar domestic prohibition.
Moreover, just yesterday a federal court judge expressed continued concerns over a Commission settlement with Bank of America, questioning the size of the monetary penalty as well as the document's description of the facts underlying the deal.
Clearly, in the wake of the credit crisis and the Madoff scandal, the SEC is implementing a serious repair strategy. Still, with lingering budgetary constraints and attendant perceptions of political interference, what the watchdogs look for (in both violations and sanctions) has perhaps never been more critical.
February 9, 2010 | Permalink