Archives: Securities Litigation and Enforcement

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Supreme Court Resolves Constitutionality of SEC’S ALJ Appointments — Now What?

Last week, the United States Supreme Court settled a circuit split regarding the constitutionality of the appointment of Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”).  In Lucia v. SEC, the Court held that the Commission’s five ALJs are “officers” subject to the Constitution’s Appointments Clause, which requires officers … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Decides: Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protections Only Cover Those Who Report to the SEC

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the United States Supreme Court ruled on February 21, 2018 that the anti-retaliation provisions of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank” or the “Act”) only cover whistleblowers who report potential violations of the securities laws to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” … Continue Reading

SEC’s 2018 Exam Priorities Reflect Continued Focus on Cybersecurity

Annually, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (“OCIE”) publishes its examination priorities for the new year.  Recently, OCIE announced five priorities that will inform its examinations moving in to 2018. OCIE is committed to “promoting compliance, preventing fraud, identifying and monitoring risk, and informing policy.” In support of these “pillars,” … Continue Reading

The SEC’s New Year’s Resolutions: Retail Investors and Cybersecurity

2018 arrived in the wake of big changes at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“the SEC”).  Jay Clayton was sworn in as Chairman of the Commission in May, naming Steve Peikin and Stephanie Avakian as Co-Directors of the Enforcement Division (the “Division”) in June.  As many do for the start of a new year, … Continue Reading

Remediation and Cooperation Pay Off in SEC Settlement

The SEC often encourages self-reporting, cooperation, and remediation in speeches and policy statements. In a settled enforcement action announced today, the Commission made clear just how valuable those efforts can be, allowing a company to settle accounting controls and disclosure violations with no financial penalty whatsoever. According to the SEC’s announcement, from 2012 to early … Continue Reading

The SEC Changes Course on its Defense of ALJs

For the past few years, the SEC has been battling challenges to the constitutionality of its administrative proceedings. Today, in a drastic shift in position, the SEC issued an order ratifying its prior appointment of its five sitting Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”) to remedy what the SEC now seemingly concedes was an unconstitutional hiring process. … Continue Reading

The SEC Announces Another Seven-Figure Whistleblower Award

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week announced a payout of more than $1 million to a whistleblower who provided information that resulted in a successful SEC enforcement action against a “registered entity” (e.g., a broker-dealer) that “impacted retail customers.” The SEC announced the award, while keeping the details of the enforcement action, the … Continue Reading

SEC ALJ Decision Shows Agency’s “Home Field Advantage” Has Its Limits

In a dense, nearly 60-page decision issued on September 27, 2017, SEC Administrative Law Judge Carol Foelak rejected all claims asserted by the SEC Enforcement Division (the “Division”) in In the Matter of Lynn Tilton, et al. The case involved a series of distressed debt funds that issued notes to institutional investors, using investor proceeds … Continue Reading
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