The U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has stepped up its enforcement activity to record highs this year, filing a record 868 actions against companies so far. This includes new highs in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act filings as well as $57 million awarded to whistleblowers for their efforts in bringing successful claims.
The increased SEC enforcement activity represents a 7.5% increase over 2015, and nearly 15% more than 2014. Last year the SEC netted over $4 billion in disgorgement and penalties as a result of its record 548 standalone or independent enforcement actions.
By awarding $57 million to only 13 whistleblowers, the SEC hopes that its program will encourage others with knowledge of company wrongdoing to come forward. If the agency is successful in obtaining a judgment and collecting on it, the whistleblower is awarded a percentage of the award based on the quality of the information provided.
So far this year, SEC enforcement brought 78 insider trading actions, many of which involved the use of data and analytics to identify suspicious trading patterns and suspended securities trading of 199 issuers in an effort to combat market manipulation and microcap fraud.
The agency’s push has been part of a larger effort to rein in rogue brokers and brokerage firms and to spot wrongdoing as soon as possible.
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If you possess information about your company’s wrongdoing, or you have suffered losses due to the action of your broker or brokerage firm, you may have certain legal rights that require your immediate attention.