SEC Enforcement Activity Drops 15% in 2021

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions against public companies and subsidiaries fell to the lowest level in seven years in fiscal 2021, reflecting in part the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business and Cornerstone Research said in a report that the SEC filed 53 new actions in the year ended Sept. 30, down 15% from the 62 actions in fiscal 2020 and a steep drop from the record-high 95 actions in 2019.

In addition to the impact of the pandemic, the SEC transitioned to new leadership this year with the appointment of Gary Gensler as chair.

“We have seen declines in filing activity after a change of administration in the past,” report coauthor Sara Gilley, a Cornerstone Research vice president, said, noting that actions dropped in 2013 and 2017, when new SEC chairs also took over.

Despite the decline in public

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