The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it filed 760 total enforcement actions during fiscal year 2022, a 9% increase over 2021. Monetary penalties totaled a record $6.4 billion, up from $3.9 billion in fiscal year 2021.
The SEC’s actions against JP Morgan Securities, 15 other broker-dealers, and an investment adviser for widespread and longstanding failures to maintain and preserve work-related text message communications conducted on employees’ personal devices resulted in total penalties of $1.235 billion.
The SEC’s stand-alone enforcement actions in fiscal year 2022 ran the gamut of conduct, from “first-of-their-kind” actions to cases charging traditional securities law violations.
The SEC’s second highest year ever in whistleblower awards was 2022, in terms of both the number of individuals awarded and the total dollar amounts awarded.
“I continue to be impressed with our Division of Enforcement. These numbers, though, tell only part of the story,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “Enforcement results change from year to year. What stays the same is the staff’s commitment to follow the facts wherever they lead.”
In 2022, the SEC brought numerous cases charging regulated entities, such as broker-dealers and investment advisers, and individuals associated with such firms, with a variety of violations.
Charges against a registered investment adviser for failing to disclose conflicts of interest regarding its personnel’s ownership of sponsors of special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) into which the firm advised clients to invest. This was the SEC’s first enforcement action charging violations of the Advisers Act in connection with an adviser’s involvement with SPACs.
The SEC’s first action enforcing Regulation Best Interest, in which the SEC charged a broker-dealer and five of its representatives, alleging that they violated their obligations under the regulation that took effect in June 2020.