Last week, Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, testified before the Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. Ceresney provided the subcommittee with details on how the Enforcement Division would use a proposed increase in the SEC's budget for FY 2016, as well as an update on several enforcement priorities.
As SEC Chair Mary Jo White discussed in her own congressional testimony this week, the SEC is requesting $1.722 billion for FY 2016 -- an increase of approximately 10% from the $1.574 budgeted in FY 2015. Overall, Chair White stated, this request would permit the agency to add 431 new staff positions, including many in the Enforcement area. Ceresney stated last week that the SEC’s proposed FY 2016 Budget would specifically allow for 93 additional positions in Enforcement spread over three core functions – intelligence analysis, investigation, and litigation.
Ceresney stated that Enforcement would use the additional funds to:
Expand Enforcement’s data analytics expertise;
increase staffing for the "collection, analysis, triage, referral, and follow-through" on the thousands of tips that Enforcement receives every year;
hire experienced accountants, experts, and other professionals in high priority areas; and
hire additional experienced trial attorneys and support staff to assist with the SEC's growing litigation and trial docket.
Ceresney also offered an update on the Enforcement Division's recent efforts in a range of key areas, including its renewed focus on financial fraud cases. He said that the efforts of the SEC's relatively new Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force chaired by David Woodcock have started to produce results, and pointed to a 40% increase in FY 2014 in the number of financial reporting and auditing filed actions and investigations.