In the fiscal year 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) dealt with 715 regulatory enforcement actions addressing a broad range of significant issues. Through these actions, the SEC obtained judgments and orders totaling approximately $4.68 billion in disgorgement and penalties and returned more than $600 million to harmed investors. The Commission awarded a record $175 million to 39 whistleblowers, both the highest dollar amount and the highest number of individuals awarded in any previous fiscal year.
A good year it was!
In the first week of November 2020, the SEC, under the leadership of Enforcement Division director Stephanie Avakian, presented its report on the fiscal year 2020 and reported record figures. Especially in the area of returning funds to harmed investors and the whistleblower program, the agency has shone.
Parties in the SEC’s actions and proceedings were ordered to pay a total of $3.589 billion in disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and $1.091 in penalties. Thus, the total monetary relief ordered in Fiscal Year 2020 was $4.68 billion and $330 million higher than in fiscal year 2019. The 5% of cases that involve the largest financial remedies again accounted for the majority of all financial remedies the SEC obtained.
Fiscal year 2020 was a year filled with extraordinary challenges that impacted us all in countless ways. I am incredibly proud of the exceptional work of my colleagues in the face of these challenges and I am pleased to share the results of that work in our annual report.Stephanie Avakian, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement
Recovering money for investors
Distributing money to harmed investors remains a core component of the Commission’s investor protection mission. In Fiscal Year 2020, the Commission distributed more than $600 million to harmed investors. To further build upon improvements in distributing money to investors, we created the Office of Bankruptcy, Collections, Distributions, and Receiverships within the Division of Enforcement.
Record-setting Whistleblower Program
It was also a record-setting year for the SEC’s Whistleblower Program. Through the Commission’s efforts, the SEC awarded a record $175 million to 39 whistleblowers in the fiscal year 2020, both the highest dollar amount and the highest number of individuals awarded in any fiscal year.
Since its inception in 2011, the Commission has awarded approximately $719 million to 112 individuals. All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by U.S. Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators. No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards.