SEC Signals Aggressive Stance on Individual Responsibility, Including Potential CCO Liability, in FY 2017 Annual Report

Although the Trump administration has sought to create a more business-friendly environment, the implications of the White House’s rhetoric for regulated entities remains nuanced and complex. Corporate executives who may not have had direct responsibility for enforcing internal compliance policies are finding their roles, and potential liability, in flux. When violations occur, CCOs may find themselves on the hook even if they have tried to warn management of compliance deficiencies and failures and even if they had no analogous liability in the past. Meanwhile FCPA enforcement remains a big money-maker for the SEC. All these themes came across in the annual report for fiscal year 2017 issued by the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. This article analyzes the report, along with insights from legal professionals with expertise in SEC enforcement matters. See “Broken Windows, Admissions and Stale Conduct: The State of Enforcement at the SEC” (Nov. 15, 2017).

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