Today begins a new occasional series focused on trends in SEC enforcement. As this series begins, the Commission finds itself at a crossroads with an uncertain future. Once the guardian of the nation’s capital markets with a highly respected enforcement program, the SEC is now the subject of much criticism and mired in scandals.
The on-going market crisis presents challenges of unknown magnitude. That crisis has spawned criticism of the agency for failing to act and calls for reform which range from giving the Commission additional resources and authority to having it disappear into other agencies. Scandals seem to cling to the agency, causing its image and standing in the markets and with the public to tumble. At the same time, a new Chairman with a new team has taken over, promising a new direction.
This series will examine the future of SEC enforcement by reviewing and analyzing the following key points:
1. The calls for reform and the events behind them;
2. Significant policy initiatives in 2008;
3. Primary areas of emphasis in 2008 which give direction to 2009 and beyond including:
a. The FCPA;
b. Insider trading;
c. Financial fraud;
d. Option backdating;
e. Auction rate securities;
f. Aiding and abetting;
g. Parallel proceedings; and
4. Analysis and conclusions.
Next: Calls for reform and the events behind them