Enforcement To Be Top Priority at Schapiro's SEC


Early each year, the SEC hosts its most important conference: The SEC Speaks. At the conference, the Chairman and each Commissioner, as well as the heads of the various divisions, attempt to summarize the SEC’s activities of the previous year, and indicate what the agency’s priorities and major initiatives will be for the coming 12 months. This year's conference lasted two days, last Friday and Saturday, February 6-7, but it was obvious after only a few hours of the first day that the SEC — which has recently been thought by some to be a toothless tiger — has as its highest priority in 2009 to regain its reputation as, first and foremost, a law enforcement agency. Newly appointed Chairman Mary Schapiro, quoting the SEC’s first Chairman – Joe Kennedy – stated, “The Commission will make war without quarter on any who sell securities by fraud or misrepresentation.” To emphasize the point, Chairman Schapiro and other SEC Commissioners and senior staff spent much of their time Friday providing further details of policies and procedures that will make it easier for the Division of Enforcement to commence and conduct investigations, bring enforcement actions, and impose penalties on wrongdoers.

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