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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Executive Beware: The SEC Now Wants To Police Unethical Corporate Conduct

By John Carney and Jenna Felz
Originally posted on June 26, 2014

With the appointment of Chairwoman Mary Jo White, President Obama made clear that a tough cop would run the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and make enforcement a top priority.  This pro-enforcement, “tough cop,” stance is nothing new to an agency with a storied history of investigating and civilly prosecuting some of the biggest frauds on Wall Street.  But what is new is the Chairwoman’s tactical decision to redeploy significant enforcement resources on small, non-criminal violations.  Chairwoman White underscored the importance of the SEC’s role as “tough cop” especially in cases “when there is no criminal violation,” declaring that the SEC “is the only agency that can play that role.”  These bold statements signal the SEC’s renewed focus on policing not only illegal, but also unethical, conduct.