Bruce Carton is a former senior counsel in the SEC's Division of Enforcement. Previously vice president of Securities Class Action Services group at Institutional Investor Services (ISS, now RiskMetrics), he is also a former securities litigation partner with one of the world's largest law firms. The editor of Securities Docket, Carton also hosts a Compliance Week blog called, "Enforcement Action."
The last six years have been a tumultuous time for the Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency suffered blistering criticism for failing to police the conduct that led to the financial crisis in 2008, particularly the Madoff Ponzi scheme. Since then, several regulators have worked to reform enforcement at the SEC and rebuild its reputation. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton looks back at the ups and downs at the SEC during this time.
As the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower enters its third year in operation, uncertainty about the ability to protect whistleblowers is rising. Some recent cases have revealed limits to the SEC’s ability to protect their identities, and a series of legal cases have called into question the circumstances where whistleblowers can claim protection from retaliation. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton explores these questions and their effect on the SEC’s whistleblower program.
News of audacious cyber-attacks (real or imagined) on Wall Street firms has prompted the latest flurry of warnings to hedge funds, asset managers, and other investment firms about the quickly escalating need to focus on and invest in cyber-security. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton looks at the potential for disaster if hackers target financial firms, what could happen to the financial system, and what the SEC is doing about it.
After many years on the back burner, cyber-security is suddenly a hot topic at the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators. FINRA announced recently that it will conduct an assessment of securities firms' approaches to managing cyber-security risk, and the SEC is conducting a similar inquiry. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton looks at recent regulatory efforts to assess cyber-security risks as they consider their role in keeping markets secure.
There have been a spate of insider-trading cases against individuals who work at law firms and gain access to information about pending corporate mergers and transactions. And it's not always lawyers who are working on the sensitive cases and deals, but others who gain access to the firms' computer systems. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton looks at the vulnerability of law firms to insider-trading scams and why they need to bulk up their data security practices.
A new academic study on trading habits by employees of the Securities and Exchange Commission published last month led some observers to accuse staffers of widespread insider trading. The idea was that SEC staffers, privy to information on non-public enforcement actions, were making abnormal profits by trading on it. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton takes an in-depth look at such charges and finds that they just don't add up.
The Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be following through on Chairman Mary Jo White's pledge to pursue trials in more cases when defendants refuse to settle on the agency's terms. But the SEC's winning percentage in trials since the start of fiscal 2014, a period of increased caseload, isn't good. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton assesses the SEC's spotty trial record and whether its strategy of pursuing more trials makes sense.
2013 was the latest in a string of busy years for securities enforcement and litigation. New SEC chairman Mary Jo White made several big changes to the Commission's enforcement strategy, while enforcement regulators at the SEC, Department of Justice, and other agencies landed several startling settlements with those charged with bank fraud, insider trading, money laundering, and more. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton takes stock of what could be called "the year of the settlement."
After a slow start, the Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program seems to have found some traction. A recent report on the program showed that the number of tips and complaints filed in fiscal year 2013 climbed 8 percent to 3,238. Inside, columnist Bruce Carton unpacks the latest data on the program and sheds some light on what it means for compliance.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is taking a new tack on enforcement and signaling that it will use every weapon in its enforcement arsenal, including some new tactics introduced in the last few months, to create an environment where the SEC's enforcement presence is felt "everywhere." Inside, columnist Bruce Carton examines what the SEC is doing and how likely it is to succeed.