SEC Chair Promises 'Active Year in Enforcement'

, Corporate Counsel

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2014 is preparing for "a very busy year in enforcement" and an expansion of its arsenal against wrongdoing on Wall Street, SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said Monday.

The SEC's agenda this year includes the conclusion of all major investigations connected to the 2008 financial crisis, more admissions of guilt in settlements with the agency, and new tools and new regulations intended to combat financial fraud and ensure market integrity, White said in remarks prepared for the 41st Annual Securities Regulation Institute in Coronado, Calif.

"It is a constant, but always exciting, challenge to keep pace and indeed to accurately see around the next corner for the newest market developments or another innovative variant of, or new venue for, fraud," White said.

As part of an effort to address new financial products and evolving market technology, the SEC in 2014 will work to finalize Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act rules on security-based swaps and will use the National Exam Analytics Tool (NEAT) it created last year to find potential insider trading. NEAT allows the agency "to access and systematically analyze massive amounts of trading data from firms in a fraction of the time it has taken in years past," White said.

The SEC also is planning to devote more resources to rooting out financial reporting misconduct and other fraud once it completes its docket of major probes that came out of the 2008 financial crisis.

And when the agency settles cases in 2014, admissions of guilt by defendants will become more common. The admissions can bring a greater amount of public accountability, White said.

"The coming year promises to be an incredibly active year in enforcement, as we continue to vigorously pursue wrongdoers and bring enforcement actions across the entire industry spectrum," she said.

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