David Smyth

David Smyth

Brooks Pierce

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In Ordering Disgorgement in SEC Cases, Courts Have Discretion, but Not That Much Discretion

When defendants argue in federal court against the SEC’s calculation of a disgorgement figure, they hear a lot of this: “A district court has broad discretion to order disgorgement of profits obtained through...more

2/24/2015 - Burden of Proof Disgorgement SEC Securities Fraud

The SEC Totally Cares about Its Injunctions

Last week I wrote a post discussing the injunctions the SEC typically obtains against defendants in federal court. I noted the oddity of these obey-the-law injunctions and wondered aloud why the Commission never pursues...more

1/27/2015 - Civil Monetary Penalty Contempt Enforcement Actions Injunctions Permanent Injunctions SEC

The SEC Does Not Care about Its Injunctions

It won’t surprise you to learn that the U.S. Code includes this provision: “A court of the United States shall have power to punish by fine or imprisonment, or both, at its discretion, such contempt of its authority . . . as...more

1/20/2015 - Civil Monetary Penalty Disgorgement Enforcement Actions Injunctions Rule 65 SEC

Does SEC Enforcement Treat Bigger Companies Differently?

I’m stealing the title of this post from Broc Romanek, who asked this question on January 2nd. He was responding to a study authored by Jonas Heese, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School who has authored a study...more

1/8/2015 - Enforcement Actions Enforcement Statistics Publicly-Traded Companies SEC

Second Circuit Limits Insider Trading Law for Remote Tippees

Matt Levine is a big jerk. He just sits there at Bloomberg following events in finance and securities enforcement, and then writes interesting things about those events really quickly and with insight that no one else has...more

12/12/2014 - Appeals Dell Indictments Insider Trading Material Nonpublic Information Nvidia Reversal SEC US v Newman

Caution: Aggressive Interpretation of Broker-Dealer Registration Provisions Could Be Hazardous to Your Ability to Stay out of...

Let’s do some compare and contrast, starting with a fairly unremarkable case the SEC filed in the Northern District of Texas on November 20th. In that action, the Commission sued the father-son duo of Paul and Jeffrey Downey...more

12/2/2014 - Broker-Dealer Mineral Leases Oil & Gas Registration SEC Securities Fraud

Proposed “Fair Fund” for CR Intrinsic Case Stirs Dustup among SEC’s Commissioners

In the right kind of enforcement action, the SEC can take the money it’s generated and set up what’s called a Fair Fund to redistribute that money to harmed investors. But what is the right kind of case? This procedure was...more

11/13/2014 - Enforcement Enforcement Actions Fair Fund Sarbanes-Oxley SEC

SEC and FINRA Issue Risk Alert on Penny Stock Companies

I’m not your legal advisor. And I’m definitely not your investment adviser. But the first rule of penny stock companies should be: do not invest in penny stock companies. I mean, does that seem like a smart thing to do? ...more

11/12/2014 - EDGAR FINRA Investors OTC SEC Stocks

SEC Sanctions Auditor, Should Make Small Issuers Think Twice

The SEC brought a settled administrative action against an auditor on October 24th. Often I’ll take a case like this and write something about it to warn other auditors (or investment advisers or broker-dealers, or whomever)...more

11/4/2014 - Auditors Audits Broker-Dealer Compliance Enforcement Investment Adviser SEC

Rengan Rajaratnam Settlement Exposes Weak Point in SEC’s Newish Admissions Policy

You remember Rengan Rajaratnam, right? He broke the S.D.N.Y.’s long streak of insider trading victories when a jury acquitted him in July. I wondered what the effect on his case with the SEC would be. Would he settle? ...more

10/27/2014 - Admissions Chief Compliance Officers Compliance Insider Trading SEC

SEC Issues Risk Alert, Smacks E*Trade on Penny Stock Sales

On October 9th the SEC brought a settled administrative action against E*Trade Securities and G1 Execution Services (formerly E*Trade Capital Markets) for their part in the unregistered sales of billions of shares of penny...more

10/24/2014 - Broker-Dealer E*Trade Enforcement Actions Risk Alert SEC

DOJ’s Marshall Miller: You’re All FCPA Lawyers Now

Marshall Miller, the Justice Department’s principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, has been heating up the compliance conference circuit in recent weeks. On September 17th, it was the Global...more

10/22/2014 - BNP Paribas Chief Compliance Officers Compliance Corporate Culture DOJ Ethics FCPA FCPA Resource Guide Professional Conferences Risk Management SEC

Wrapping up Securities Enforcement Forum 2014

I was lucky enough to spend Tuesday at Bruce Carton’s Securities Enforcement Forum 2014. In three years, it has gone from zero to the preeminent securities enforcement law conference anywhere. I blogged it hurriedly...more

10/17/2014 - Compliance Enforcement Enforcement Actions FCPA SEC

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — SEC/FINRA Investigations & Cybersecurity Priorities

Yesterday I blogged from the Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not verbatim...more

10/16/2014 - Cybersecurity FINRA SEC Strategic Enforcement Plan

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — Directors Panel

Yesterday I blogged from the Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not verbatim...more

10/16/2014 - Big Data DOJ Insider Trading Investment Adviser Market Access Rule Market Manipulation MCDC OCIE Pyramid Schemes SEC Strategic Enforcement Plan

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — Current Developments in Trials, Testimony, Wells, APs and Settlements

Yesterday, I blogged from the Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, this year held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not...more

10/16/2014 - Professional Conferences SEC Strategic Enforcement Plan

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — FCPA, SEC/DOJ Joint Actions, and Other Recent Criminalization Trends

Today I’m blogging from Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, this year being held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not...more

10/15/2014 - Compliance Criminalization DOJ Enforcement Actions FCPA Joint Plan of Action SEC Strategic Enforcement Plan

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — Financial Reporting and Accounting Fraud

Today I’m blogging from Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, this year being held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not...more

10/15/2014 - Accounting Accounting Fraud Financial Reporting PCAOB SEC Strategic Enforcement Plan

Securities Enforcement Forum 2014 — Morning Keynote Speech by Commissioner Piwowar

Today I’m blogging from Securities Enforcement Forum 2014, Bruce Carton’s excellent one-day conference, this year being held at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C. The posts will be fairly raw, and certainly not...more

10/15/2014 - Compliance Enforcement Enforcement Actions SEC

Ghost of David Sokol Haunts SEC’s Insider Trading Case against Szymik and Peixoto

It never actually became a case, but maybe you remember this matter from a few years ago. In January 2011, former Berkshire Hathaway executive David Sokol bought about 100,000 shares in Lubrizol Corporation shortly before...more

10/7/2014 - Enforcement Actions Financial Holding Company Hedge Funds Herballife Insider Trading Material Nonpublic Information Pershing Square Management SEC

Two Points about the SEC’s $30+ Million Whistleblower Award

You probably saw that on Monday the SEC announced its largest-ever award under the Dodd-Frank whistleblower provisions: over $30 million to an unnamed tipster from overseas. As with all of the awards issued so far, the...more

9/25/2014 - Anti-Retaliation Provisions Dodd-Frank Foreign Nationals SEC Siemens Whistleblower Awards

Unregistered Brokers: Watch out for Shortcuts

One of the things I’ve learned since returning to private practice three years ago is that people like to raise money for profitable enterprises when they can. And why not? It can be lucrative. And if the people raising...more

8/21/2014 - Broker-Dealer Brokers Compliance SEC

Guns and More Guns: SEC Hits Smith & Wesson for FCPA Violations

One thing the SEC likes to do is bring cases with a lot of deterrent value. That is, cases that it hopes will scare other people and companies into complying with the law. Often that means cases with large price tags...more

7/29/2014 - Corporate Counsel Disgorgement Enforcement Enforcement Actions FCPA Gun Manufacturers Penalties Popular Prejudgment Interest SEC Smith & Wesson

Three Thoughts about FINRA’s Weird Japanese Insider Trading Case

One of the things you’re not supposed to do if you’re in the securities business – or any business, really – is buy and sell securities on the basis of material, nonpublic information in breach of a duty not to do so. The...more

7/15/2014 - Enforcement Actions FINRA Fraud Insider Trading Japan Popular SEC

Commissioner Aguilar Addresses Boards’ Focus on Cybersecurity

One June 10th SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar made a speech before the New York Stock Exchange, and he took the opportunity to discuss good corporate governance as it relates to cybersecurity and boards of directors....more

6/27/2014 - Adobe Board of Directors Corporate Governance Cybersecurity Dodd-Frank NIST SEC SnapChat Target

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