In recent remarks at a Securities Enforcement Forum, SEC Chairperson Mary Jo White offered a theme for the SEC’s enforcement program, “to be everywhere to enforce our securities laws and protect investors.” She noted that it is important for investors and markets to know that there is a strong cop on the beat – someone who is taking affirmative action rather than reactionary measures. In order to implement this policy, Chairperson White adopted the “Broken Windows” approach, made famous by New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. The “Broken Windows” theory, in summary, is that the correction of small infractions (or the fixing of broken windows) is a sign that disorder will not be tolerated. Conversely, when small infractions (leaving the broken window broken) are ignored, it is a single that no one cares resulting in more infractions (or more broken windows).
Thus, in summary, Chairperson White is making it clear policy that the SEC intends to enforce all security violations, small and large. She noted that the SEC was pursing this in a variety of ways, including implementing additional technology enforcement programs and continuing to monitor Microcap Fraud. Chairperson White noted that the SEC will strive for settlements “that have a deterrent effect, and where appropriate, the added measure of public accountability that an admission often brings." Chairperson White’ full speech can be found here.