On October 9th, Madeline FitzGerald and I attended the Securities Enforcement Forum 2013 in Washington D.C. Since Boston Financial’s Settlement Administration Solutions group is now part of the SEC’s administrator pool for settlements, we often participate in industry events like this to increase awareness of our services and stay current with trends in enforcement.
The Forum was a one-day conference bringing together current and former senior SEC and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) officials, securities enforcement and white-collar attorneys, in-house counsel and compliance executives from investment firms, broker dealers, and mutual funds, as well as other top professionals in the field. With CNN and other news affiliates covering the event, it was truly a who’s who of securities enforcement.
Watching the panelists spar on certain topics enabled us to view issues from the varying perspectives of regulators, defense counsels, and industry experts. When you are used to seeing regulations in black and white and hope you understand them, you feel a little better when you realize that regulators and experts debate on what a certain clause “really” means.
What stood out the most for me was the keynote speech of Mary Jo White, current chair of the SEC. She spoke with great conviction about the SEC being the “tough cop,” where potential corrupt individuals would know that the SEC was watching for issues, big and small. Mary Jo stressed that “broken windows”, seemingly ignored because no one cares, would be a critical focus for enforcement to reinforce the message that the SEC is to be “felt and feared”.
Recently, Theresa Hamacher, President of NICSA, posted a link to an article concerning a six month review of the SEC under Mary Jo White – “Bold and Unrelenting Enforcement from the SEC: A Six Month Review” – authored by Terence Healy of Columbia Law. Click here to read the article.
Time will tell just how well the SEC’s agenda plays out.