Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Chair Cox, in his testimony before the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, House Committee on Appropriations, both reviewed the SEC's activities in fiscal year 2007 and discussed fiscal year 2008 to date. He concluded his review of the prior fiscal year's activities by stating that the agency "had one of the most productive years in its history, aggressively pursuing wrongdoing and tackling fundamental reforms in the securities markets." What's the backup for that statement? With respect to the first assessment, he states that the enforcement division filed the second highest number of cases in its history. With respect to "fundamental reforms," he identified the following reforms: implementing section 404 internal controls, reforms to aid smaller companies in raising capital, the comprehensive disclosure rules for executive compensation, final rules to implement GLB's bank-broker provisions, major reforms to improve the effectiveness of SEC operations and (of course) steps to foster the use of interactive data. Does all this add up to one of its most productive years ever?
As to what the agency's been doing so far in fiscal 2008: not surprisingly, he frequently referred to the current difficulties in the financial markets. Thus, the SEC will exercise its new authority over credit rating agencies and propose rules to improve the quality of ratings, and the enforcement division's subprime working group is aggressively investigating fraud. The SEC is also doubling the size of its Office of Risk Assessment "to identify potentially dangerous practices" before they impact investors and the economy. He also discusses the agency's international regulatory issues.