By Jovalin Dedaj
The White House recently unveiled its federal budget proposal and, as expected, funding for regulatory agencies is on the chopping block once again. Under the proposal, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) would see its budget trimmed by $110 million in 2021 while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) faces a potential budget cut of more than 20 percent.
Yet, perhaps the most surprising feature of the proposed budget is what it leaves out. The administration has proposed eliminating the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) and reassigning its responsibilities to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) beginning in 2022. The White House estimates the move would save the government $57 million in its first year and up to $580 million by 2030 by reducing “regulatory ambiguity and duplicative statutory authorities.” But doing away with the PCAOB will weaken the policing of auditing firms and ignores the improvements made in accounting standards and auditing quality. Continue reading Budget Proposal to Eliminate the PCAOB Could Leave Financial Markets More Susceptible to Accounting Fraud and Misconduct
By Mauro M. Wolfe and Jovalin Dedaj
In yet another setback for the SEC, the Supreme Court unanimously decided that disgorgement actions, a cornerstone of SEC enforcement, are subject to a five-year statute of limitations. Continue reading Reining in the SEC: The Supreme Court Limits Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations
By Mauro M. Wolfe and Jovalin Dedaj
Under the new Administration, we have been promised a new tone regarding how Government interfaces with the market. This “change” is of particular interest to those who defend matters before the SEC. Will we see a change from “broken windows” enforcement where everything matters to a more traditional, and possibly, more friendly regulatory environment? Winding its way through the courts is an SEC life-altering moment: does the SEC concede that there is a five-year statute of limitations on enforcement cases including disgorgement? As far as penalties and fines are concerned, the Supreme Court has already ruled on that issue and said it does. The SEC lost that one. The question remaining is whether the Supreme Court will apply the same limitation to disgorgement and how the new SEC leadership will respond. The short answer is that such a limitation should apply. Continue reading Time is Running Out for the SEC: The Circuit Split on Limiting SEC Disgorgement to a Five-Year Statute of Limitations Signals an Impending Major Change
This week reports surfaced that a major shift in the SEC enforcement division had taken place – behind the scenes. The timing is quite interesting as the agency’s annual seminar and SEC Alumni dinner will occur at the end of the month. No doubt this will be a topic, among many, of the annual SEC cocktail regulars in DC.
The reports indicate that the Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar has centralized the power of the enforcement division to “issue subpoenas or formally launch probes,” as Reuters put it. The question that has been asked is – What does all of this really mean, really? Continue reading Changes Are Coming to the SEC Enforcement Division – What Does It All Mean?
On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged CEO Dejun Zou and board chair Amy Qiu, husband-and-wife executives at China-based RINO International Corporation, alleging that they engaged in a scheme to overstate the company’s revenues and divert $3.5 million in proceeds from a securities offering for their personal use. This would be a routine case – except it involves a China-based company, a jurisdiction that the SEC has found difficult to regulate. For some time now, the SEC has been hamstrung in gaining access to information from China. Today’s historic announcement by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) may be the first major step in alleviating such difficulties.
Continue reading Historic U.S., China Agreement on Auditor Access Announced: Is This a Crack in the Wall Separating The Cross-Border Enforcement Cooperation Impasse?
On March 29, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced the settlement of what appeared to be a routine insider trading case involving two traders. For foreign traders, the case is a wake-up call that the SEC is watching and will take action against violators, wherever they are in the world. Moreover, the case reveals the SEC’s patience in finding the insider traders and their courage in taking action. Indeed, the case may also serve as an investigatory template for the SEC’s global policing of U.S. securities laws in connection with insider trading violations by foreign traders.
Continue reading Foreign Traders Beware: Trading in US Markets Will Expose You to US Insider Trading Laws