Today, the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business and Cornerstone Research launched a new database that tracks SEC enforcement actions against public companies going back to the beginning of the SEC's FY 2010 (October 1, 2009).  The Securities Enforcement Empirical Database ("SEED") tracks information including defendants' names and types, violations, venues, and resolutions. A portion of SEED is currently available to the general public, and a more extensive version will be available for academic scholars. 


NYU and Cornerstone pointed to the SEC’s release last week of its enforcement statistics for FY 2015 as an example of how its new database can be useful. The SEC's 2015 statistics showed 507 independent actions for violations of the federal securities laws (not including delinquent filing cases or follow-on administrative proceedings involving individual bars). The SEC, however,

did not identify how many of the 507 independent actions for violations of the federal securities laws were filed as administrative proceedings. Research by SEED finds that the SEC filed 75% of its actions against public companies in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2015 as administrative proceedings (see chart).

According to the SEED team, “SEED is the first public database to provide easily searchable and verified data to researchers, counsel, and corporations, as well as regular reports on developments and trends.” Presently, the SEED database only tracks SEC enforcement actions where a public company is the defendant. NYU and Cornerstone are working to expand the database to cover other types of defendants in the future, including subsidiaries of public companies.


To try SEED out, I conducted a search for the word "Bankrate" -- a public company that was sued by the SEC in September for accounting fraud. That produced this search result, which includes identifying information about that case as well as the "First Resolution Date," the "Headline Total Penalty and Disgorgement," and citations for (but not links to) both the SEC's Litigation Release and the Order in the settled Administrative Proceeding.