Enforcement Heads Reveal All at SIFMA Annual Seminar

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The federal budget sequester and recent Supreme Court decision in Gabelli et al. v. Securities and Exchange Commission, 568 U.S. ____ (2013), will not substantially slow down regulators’ enforcement efforts, according to senior enforcement officials and other top regulators who spoke at the Annual Seminar of SIFMA’s Compliance & Legal Society this week. While conceding that those recent events might impose some limitations on their work, the officials presented an impressive array of enforcement priorities for the year, and provided strong suggestions to the industry and securities bar attendees about how to make investigations easier on both the enforcers and “enforcees.”

What is compromised by the sequester at the SEC, according to George Canellos, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, is the ability to hire examination staff and to continue the SEC’s efforts to upgrade technology. According to Enforcement Division Director David Meister, the CFTC is substantially underfunded, with the Enforcement Division smaller than when Meister became its Director three years ago. The limited resources are particularly troubling, he said, when the agency has been charged with dramatically enhanced jurisdiction under Dodd-Frank. Meister then explained that Chairman Gary Gensler’s recent remarks about “shelving Enforcement investigations” means just that—putting them on the shelf, but not closing them.

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