On November 15, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced its enforcement results for fiscal year 2022. Fiscal year 2022 was a significant year for the SEC as it levied over $6.4 billion in penalties and disgorgement – an SEC record. These fines and penalties came from 760 enforcement actions filed during the fiscal year, a 9% increase from the previous year. The SEC ordered that $4.194 billion be paid in civil penalties, also an SEC record and a significant increase from the $1.456 billion in penalties ordered in FY2021. Meanwhile, disgorgement amounts totaled $2.245 billion, a $150 million decrease from FY2021. The dramatic increase in penalties demonstrates that violations are to be met with harsher penalties than in previous years. Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the Division of Enforcement, remarked that the SEC’s goal is to ensure that “penalties have a deterrent effect and are viewed as more than the cost of doing business.”
The amount of money distributed to harmed investors also significantly increased in FY2022, as the SEC distributed $937 million compared to $521 million the previous fiscal year. However, it is worth noting that the $937 million distributed is still lower than the $1,197 million and $1,073 million distributed in fiscal years 2019 and 2017.
The SEC’s whistleblower program continued to be a priority, as the program received more than 12,300 tips alleging wrongdoing in FY2022, which broke the previous record of 12,210 from the year prior. The SEC issued approximately $229 million to whistleblowers in 103 awards, the second highest dollar amount of awards issued and number of awards issued in the Commission’s history.