SEC Settlements Trends: 4Q08 Update

Mon Feb 09 15:24:38 EST 2009

The number of Securities and Exchange Commission settlements decreased to 672 for 2008, according to NERA's fourth-quarter SEC Settlement Trends report. This decline represents the second-lowest total in any full year since Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) was implemented. The report's authors note that, in the fourth quarter of 2008, the SEC settled with 123 defendants, as compared to a quarterly pace of 185 defendants for the first three quarters in 2008. While the rate of settlements may have decreased, settlement values in Q4 rose due to a number of large payments; the allegations in the largest settlements in Q4 include bribery of foreign officials and Ponzi schemes. The authors also note that, while settlements in early 2009 may provide an early indication of any change in settlement approach by the Obama Administration SEC, most early settlements will likely be from cases initiated during the Bush Administration.