SEC Reports 700 Enforcement Actions in Fiscal 2020, ‘Significant’ During Telework Period | Investing News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Thursday that the agency has brought 700 enforcement actions in the 2020 fiscal year, a ‘significant’ amount after March 15.

In a virtual address kicking off “SEC Speaks 2020,” an annual SEC enforcement conference put on in conjunction with the Practicing Law Institute, Jay Clayton said the agency had also obtained financial remedies of more than $4 billion, up from a year prior.

The SEC has also reviewed disclosures of more than 10,700 funds–including more than 1,200 new funds–in 2020, an increase of 7% over last year, Clayton added.

“While the pandemic significantly impacted how we do our work, it did not negatively impact the work itself,” Clayton said.

“At the same time, we added to our work load,” the top market’s watchdog added in reference to the agency’s extended telework period that began on March 10 after an employee at its Washington, D.C., headquarters was treated for coronavirus symptoms.

Clayton also said he has directed staff to actively consider the President’s Working Group (PWG) Aug. 6 recommendations to strengthen protections for investors from the risks of investing in emerging markets, including China.

The move is just the latest effort by the agency to address an outcry from Trump administration officials to delist from stock exchanges many U.S.-listed Chinese companies, whose audit documents have long been kept from U.S. regulators.

The administration’s recommendations, if implemented via an SEC rulemaking process, would give Chinese companies already listed in the United States until Jan. 1, 2022, to ensure the U.S. auditing watchdog, known as the PCAOB, has access to their audit documents.

“Our country’s recovery from the economic effects of COVID-19 is inextricably linked to the broader domestic and global economy, Clayton said, underscoring the importance of collaborating with the PWG, which consists of the Chairs the SEC, Federal Reserve, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, as well as the Treasury Secretary.

(Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by David Gregorio)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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