SEC enforcement cases to increase in 2014 — four things public companies need to know

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By Nicolas Morgan and Jennifer M Feldman

A casual observer of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) trends could be forgiven for concluding that the SEC has lost interest in pursuing enforcement actions involving public company financial reporting violations.  

But the casual observer would be mistaken. This year, the SEC is intent on bringing record numbers of financial reporting cases and has some new tools and resources to enable it to do so.

In 2013, the SEC brought fewer enforcement actions involving financial fraud and issuer disclosure than at any time in the previous decade: 68. Even when we add in Foreign Corrupt Practices Act cases, the number was still a record low 73, fewer than the 94 cases brought the previous year and far fewer than the high watermark of 219 financial fraud cases the agency brought in 2007. But recent developments suggest that the downward trend will turn, perhaps dramatically, in 2014…

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