This blog provides reports, discussions, and analyses on noteworthy trends in SEC enforcement and regulatory activity from the perspective of a former SEC enforcement attorney and other attorneys at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP who have significant experience representing individuals and entities in connection with SEC and other regulatory investigations and litigation.
With the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 came a more robust regulatory regime and a reenergized and empowered SEC. This increased focus on financial markets has had a great effect on the oversight and supervision of financial institutions, public and private corporations, and directors, officers, and employees of those entities. As a result, companies are experiencing a surge of regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, criminal sanctions, and private civil actions. Our team has substantial experience handling these regulatory, criminal, and civil actions, and we actively monitor enforcement activity in these areas. SECurities Law Perspectives will report on important cases, developments, and trends that are most likely to have an impact on corporate and individual liability.
While there have been other post-boom surges in securities litigation, the current focus is fueled by public perceptions—albeit, at times, misperceptions—of widespread corruption by financial services firms, public issuers, and individual employees. Seeking to hold entities responsible for all types of alleged misconduct by using significant financial fines and penalties has become commonplace and is likely to be a long-term trend. It also is likely that regulatory agencies, including the SEC, will continue or step up their efforts to hold individuals accountable through civil and criminal penalties. Accordingly, investment bankers, accountants, lawyers, and corporate officers and directors likely will find themselves the focus of criminal and civil regulatory investigations.
Moreover, SEC enforcement activity and regulatory developments also affect individual investors and small businesses. With the growing morass of regulations, combined with an aggressive enforcement program, it has never been more important to keep abreast of developments at the SEC and other regulatory agencies.
Mary joined Drinker Biddle’s White Collar Criminal Defense & Corporate Investigations practice in 2013 from the SEC, where she was an assistant director in the Division of Enforcement. During her tenure at the SEC, Mary supervised teams of attorneys, including attorneys in the division’s Market Abuse Unit and Municipal Securities and Public Pensions Unit. She conducted and supervised complex investigations involving a range of violations, including insider trading, broker-dealer fraud, investment adviser fraud, offering fraud, Ponzi schemes, market manipulation, municipal securities fraud, and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations. She also established investigative plans, guidelines, and priorities for staff attorneys and developed litigation strategies for matters that went to trial. In addition to her significant legal experience, Mary also brings industry experience, having worked at a major broker-dealer for nine years in various audit and compliance roles. Since joining Drinker Biddle, Mary has represented entities and individuals in connection with SEC investigations and litigation. Mary’s insights and perspectives on SEC developments are based on her knowledge and familiarity with the industry and the federal securities laws combined with her understanding and knowledge of the internal workings of the SEC.
William is a partner in the firm’s Commercial Litigation practice. He focuses his practice on regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, including by the SEC, the CFTC, and the PCAOB, in addition to internal investigations and commercial litigation. William’s experience includes representing a Special Committee of the Board of Directors of a Fortune 500 company in connection with an investigation into allegations of insider trading by senior-level executives of the company. He also represented an individual before the CFTC in connection with its investigation into allegations of market manipulation, attempted market manipulation, and failure to supervise. In addition, William represented the office managing partner of a national accounting firm in connection with an investigation by the PCAOB concerning alleged violations of both PCAOB and generally accepted auditing standards.
Jim joined Drinker Biddle in September 2016, coming to the firm with 12 years of SEC experience. During his time with the SEC, Jim worked at supervisory levels in both the Enforcement Division and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). After nine successful years with the Enforcement Division as a Senior Trial Counsel and a Branch Chief, Jim spent his final three years with the SEC as a Senior Regulatory Counsel in OCIE and assisted with operating the SEC’s broker-dealer examination program for the Midwest Region. Prior to joining the firm, Jim served as an Associate General Counsel at a futures and securities brokerage firm affiliated with a European-based global bank, where he handled representations before the CFTC, SEC, FINRA, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, National Futures Association, and Chicago Board Options Exchange.