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How will new SEC leadership impact enforcement efforts?

by | Aug 5, 2021 | Commercial Litigation, Securities Litigation

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently welcomed a new leader. The agency’s new enforcement director, former New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, has taken on this role shortly after his predecessor, Alex Oh, resigned. Ms. Oh left the position after critics voiced concern about her previous work with her private practice and how it could impact her role as the head of the SEC.

Mr. Grewal is a former white collar crime attorney at a private practice and also has experience as a federal prosecutor in both Brooklyn and New Jersey. Mr. Grewal has prosecuted a variety of financial crime cases and will bring a new a couple of changes to how the SEC operates.

Change #1: Tough on big corporations

Sources with President Joe Biden’s administration state the new head of the SEC will be tough on big corporations. If so, this is a shift from former focuses which tended to put an emphasis on smaller-scale fraud.

Although the previous administration would still hold big corporations accountable for criminal wrongdoing in this arena, critics point out this often was done with a fine instead of heading to court. Going to court, they argue, would serve as a better deterrent. As such, these same critics have voiced support for the likelihood that Mr. Gurbir would push for litigation in cases involving big corporations.

Change #2: Focus on cyber based crimes

In addition to a prediction for greater accountability amongst larger corporations, there is also an increased likelihood that the SEC will now pursue tech-based cases and cybercrimes with increased fervor. This could include a rise in accountability for those who use cryptocurrency.