A March 2, 2012 article by Joshua Gallu on Bloomberg.com states that the SEC’s claim that there has been an increase in the number of enforcement actions "isn’t supported by a detailed examination of the statistics." Mr. Gallu’s article states that 31% of actions filed in fiscal year 2011 were not new, but "were so-called follow-on administrative proceedings that institute penalties in cases that already had been brought." The article calls into question the SEC’s claim that its recent reorganization of the Division of Enforcement was yielding the 2011 record results.
On November 9, 2011, the SEC announced in a Press Release that it had filed 735 enforcement actions in the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, touting it as the "most enforcement actions filed in a single year." At the time, the Commission stated that markets and investors benefitted from the fact that this was the first full fiscal year since the Division of Enforcement had implemented a number of changes in "its most significant reorganization since it was established in the early 1970s."
According to the article, the statistics revealed that more than 230 of the 735 matters brought in 2011 were follow-on administrative proceedings (such as proceedings "barring people who’ve already been found guilty of fraud from working in the industry"). Bloomberg News concluded that "the SEC filed 499 original cases last year, fewer than the 520 in 2009, the year before the reorganization."
SEC spokesman John Nester defended the inclusion of the follow on proceedings in a statement: "The remedies we obtain through administrative proceedings – such as preventing law-breaking securities professionals from ever working in the industry again – are unique to the SEC and are critical to our ability to deter future misconduct … ."
The article also explained that the SEC had a large number of "delinquent filings" cases ("sanctioning or delisting companies that have stopped filing public statements," which "require little investigation"). The article explained that the "follow-on administrative proceedings and delinquent filings cases made up 49 percent of the enforcement division’s actions in fiscal 2011, compared with 36 percent in 2009, before the enforcement division was reorganized."