WASHINGTON The SEC said Tuesday that it has "increased its attention to securities violations by municipalities and other participants in the market for securities of cities and other governmental issuers," but did not give any statistics.
The commission made the statement in announcing its enforcement results for fiscal year 2013, which ended in September.
The SEC said it filed a total of 686 enforcement actions, resulting in a record $3.4 billion in monetary sanctions against wrongdoers. The sanctions, which included penalties and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, were 10% higher than in fiscal 2012 and 22% higher than in fiscal 2011, when the SEC filed the most enforcement actions in its history.
"A strong enforcement program helps produce financial markets that operate with integrity and transparency, and reassures investors that they can invest with confidence," said SEC chair Mary Jo White. "I am incredibly proud of the dedicated and talented women and men of the enforcement division. Our results show that we are prepared to tackle the breadth and complexity of today's securities markets."
The SEC said its enforcement division is well positioned for significant achievements in the coming year, having opened up 908 investigations in fiscal 2013, up 13% from the previous year, and obtained 574 formal orders of investigation, up 20% from the prior year.
The SEC has created a financial reporting and audit (FRAud) task force to improve the enforcement division's ability to detect and prevent financial statement and other accounting frauds. The commission said that the division has also has improved its analytical capabilities, including those for forensics analysis and for reviewing and analyzing high volumes of electronic documents.
Lynn Hume is the Washington Bureau Chief for The Bond Buyer.