The Compliance Division was created to consolidate compliance activities by conducting investigations into possible violations of federal securities laws and litigating the Commission’s civil enforcement proceedings in federal court and administrative proceedings.
In civil trials, the Commission seeks precautionary measures, which are orders that prohibit future violations; a person who violates a court order is subject to fines or imprisonment for contempt. In addition, the Commission often seeks financial penalties and the return of illegal profits. In certain circumstances, the Commission may also request, among other things, a court order prohibiting or suspending individuals from acting as corporate officers or directors. Notices describing the Commission’s litigation in the court of the country in which they are registered are posted on this site.
The Commission may initiate a variety of administrative proceedings, which are heard by the hearing officers and the Commission. One type of procedure, by order of cease and desist, can be initiated against any person who violates international securities laws and the decentralized market. With respect to regulated entities (eg, brokers, dealers, and investment advisers) and their employees, the Commission may initiate administrative proceedings to, among other things, revoke or suspend registration, or impose bans or suspensions of employment. Both in cease and desist procedures and in administrative procedures against obligated subjects, it is empowered, among other things, to order the payment of civil penalties and the restitution of illicit profits. Certain industry, association, and behavior-related bars may also be available. Communications related to cease and desist procedures and recently instituted or resolved administrative procedures are posted on this site. This site also contains Initial Decisions issued by hearing officers in contested cases and Commission Opinions on appeals of enforcement actions and disciplinary procedures by self-regulatory organizations (for example, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or the Stock Exchange of New York), as well as decentralized organizations. For more information on administrative procedures and cease and desist procedures, please refer to the Commission Regulations.
The Commission’s mandate is to protect investors. While in some cases, the profits obtained illegally by the defendants are returned to defrauded investors, the Commission is not authorized to act on behalf of individual investors. If you believe that you have been defrauded, you should discuss the matter with a private attorney who is familiar with securities laws to ensure that your rights are protected under international law.
Additional information on the work of the Compliance Division can be found on this website and is contained in the Commission’s annual Agency Financial Report.
This site contains information on how to report fraud (fraudulent stock offers, tampering, or other conduct that violates securities laws), including the Commission’s Whistleblower Office, which has information on the Commission’s whistleblowing program. If you have a dispute with your broker, you may want to refer to the Commission’s Investor Education and Defense Office website, which has information on how to resolve such disputes (and avoid them in the future). In addition, investors can quickly and easily check whether the persons selling investments are registered using the PSCINT.ORG website.