In testimony before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White testified that the agency’s actions and accomplishments have been “extensive” since she took office in April 2013. She discussed the SEC’s rulemakings under the JOBS Act, Dodd-Frank Act and FAST Act, among other ongoing and completed regulatory initiatives. She noted that the Division of Enforcement delivered strong results in recent years, with a record 868 enforcement actions filed in 2016. Chair White detailed the SEC’s budget requests for fiscal years 2017 and 2018 and the agency’s goals to strengthen examination coverage of investment advisers, continue investments in technology, and bolster enforcement functions to detect, investigate and prosecute wrongdoing. Chair White requested a total of $2.227 billion, a $445 million increase over the fiscal year 2017 request.
In another speech in New York on November 18, 2016, Chair White discussed the strengths and priorities of the SEC’s enforcement program with a focus on white collar crime. Chair White cited increased use of data analytics and whistleblowers among the key resources that have helped the agency uncover and investigate misconduct. Chair White noted that strong enforcement and deterrence can be made even stronger and that there is still more work to be done to improve white collar enforcement. Chair White proposed to increase the penalty authority of the SEC and referenced bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress that would allow the SEC to seek increased penalties against wrongdoers. She expressed hope that the next Congress would make progress in “adding real teeth” to the agency’s penalty authority.