Today the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness released an interesting, 64-page paper entitled, "Examining U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement: Recommendations on Current Processes and Practices." Observing that there has not been a Commission-initiated or co-sponsored review of the Enforcement Program in nearly 15 years, the Chamber stated that
[i]n light of the substantial changes in the strategic vision of the SEC Enforcement Program, the expansion in its statutory authority, and the nearly doubling of its size during the past 25 years, we believe this is an appropriate point in time for another examination of the program.
The report offers 28 specific recommendations that fall into three categories:
recommendations on SEC enforcement policies;
recommendations on commission oversight of the enforcement program; and
recommendations on SEC investigation processes and practices
To research its recommendations, the Chamber hired FTI Consulting to "conduct a survey of more than 75 general counsels and other legal and compliance executives of public U.S. companies on their experiences with non-public SEC investigations." The Chamber also conducted more than 30 interviews with individuals who were knowledgeable about the enforcement process, including many former members of the SEC Division of Enforcement.
The report offers several recommendations about a topic that is currently generating considerable controversy: SEC administrative proceedings. It also recommends reforms in areas including the Wells process; the SEC's policy on requiring admissions in settlements; document requests and production; SEC press releases and litigation releases; and much more.
The full report is available here. I will examine some of the report's more interesting recommendations in detail in the coming weeks.