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Alternative Market Briefing

As the SEC transitions to new leadership, more aggressive enforcement looms on the horizon

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York:

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may be transitioning to new leadership, but according to Gibson Dunn's mid-year securities enforcement update, firms should be prepared for a more aggressive second half of the year from the regulator. The report comes as the SEC announced late today that it has been successful in its case against former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta, a federal judge ordered him to pay a $13.9m penalty related to insider trading.

"Unsurprisingly, the SEC's post-Galleon assault on expert networks and hedge funds has continued to churn new cases and settlements," authors write. Indeed, even while in transition, the regulator has continued to pursue insider trading cases, often with multimillion dollar fines and settlements attached to them. Gupta's fee was related to providing insider tips to Raj Rajaratnam, who recently paid a record $92.8 million penalty for insider trading.

"For the first time in the Commission's history, the Chairman and the Enforcement Division leadership are all former criminal prosecutors. As Chair Mary Jo White recently emphasized: "The SEC is a law-enforcement agency. You have to be tough. You have to try to send as strong a message as you can, across as broad a swath of the market as you regulate," authors write.

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