The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently announced that during its previous fiscal year, enforcement actions against registered investment advisers increased thirty percent over the 2010 fiscal year. During the 2011 fiscal year, which ended in September, the SEC filed a total of 146 enforcement actions against investment advisers and investment companies. For a point of reference, from 2006-2009 the SEC filed on average 82 enforcement actions against registered investment advisers.
The SEC attributed this increase to a “significant reorganization” to the SEC’s Enforcement Division. According to the SEC, in the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years, the Enforcement Division “flattened its management structure, revamped the way it handles tips and complaints, facilitated the swift prosecution of wrongdoers through a formal program that encourages cooperation from individuals and companies in the SEC investigations, and created national specialized units in five priority areas involving complex and higher risk areas of potential securities laws violations.” These changes appear to be effective because the Enforcement Division filed more enforcement actions in 2011 than it ever had before.