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February 11, 2021

SEC’s Elimination of Automatic Waivers for Lawbreakers is a Good First Step in Reviving Meaningful Punishment and Deterrence to Protect Investors and Markets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Contact: Pamela Russell at 202-618-6433 or prussell@bettermarkets.com

 

SEC’s Elimination of Automatic Waivers for Lawbreakers is a Good First Step in

Reviving Meaningful Punishment and Deterrence to Protect Investors and Markets

 

Washington, D.C.  –  Dennis M. Kelleher, President and Chief Executive Officer of Better Markets, issued the following statement in response to today’s action by the SEC to redelegate authority to enforcement staff to act more swiftly to detect and stop ongoing frauds, preserve assets and protect investors.

“For too long, the SEC has been AWOL on meaningfully and effectively punishing and deterring lawbreakers, many of whom are repeat offenders because the so-called sanctions are so minimal as detailed in a recent Better Markets’ Report. That is not only due to frequent sweetheart settlements, but also because the SEC has unilaterally disarmed itself from using all of the tools in its arsenal against those lawbreakers. The SEC’s policy under the Trump administration to provide virtually automatic waivers to automatic disqualifications is one example and we applaud today’s action to reverse that policy and restore this important statutory duty.

“We hope this is a first step in reviving a robust enforcement attitude and policy at the SEC, which must also include prioritizing punishing individuals, including supervisors and executives, in every enforcement action involving a material breach of the law. After all, bankers, not just banks, break the law and the rampant lawbreaking will not stop until they are personally punished with significant fines and barred from the industry. The SEC also must end light-touch enforcement actions that only charges disclosures violations, rather than substantive anti-fraud and similar violations. It is long past time for the SEC to once again get serious about enforcing the law, including against the industry-leading, but very powerful and well-connected financial firms on Wall Street. That’s how the SEC will restore the rule of law to the financial industry and fulfill its mission to protect investors and markets while promoting capital formation.”

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Better Markets is a non-profit, non-partisan, and independent organization founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to promote the public interest in the financial markets, support the financial reform of Wall Street and make our financial system work for all Americans again. Better Markets works with allies – including many in finance – to promote pro-market, pro-business and pro-growth policies that help build a stronger, safer financial system that protects and promotes Americans’ jobs, savings, retirements and more. To learn more, visit www.bettermarkets.com.

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