On November 2, 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Division of Enforcement staff published its annual enforcement report for fiscal year 2020. This has been an unprecedented year, including for the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton noted that the report highlights “enforcement’s extraordinary efforts” amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, the SEC reported a 17% decrease in enforcement cases, but an increase in the amount of penalties those cases generated.

In this Legal Update, we provide our key takeaways, that include a continuing emphasis on investment advisers and broker-dealers, whistleblowers and individual accountability, trends for SEC enforcement in FY2020 and insights into what we may expect to see from the Division of Enforcement in the future, as well as the impact of the global pandemic on the SEC’s enforcement efforts.