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Report Sees Steep Drop in Regulatory Penalties Levied Against Industry in 2017

A Wall Street Journal report says that the Trump Administration’s business friendly stance is partly responsible for a sharp reduction in regulatory fines levied against financial firms for the first six months of the year. According to the report, penalties levied by the SEC, CFTC and FINRA in the first half of 2017 were down nearly two-thirds compared with the first half of 2016 --  $489 million in the first half of 2017 compared with $1.4 billion in the 2016 period. The report acknowledged that the falloff in the big cases related to the financial crisis and accounting scandals as well as commissioner vacancies at the regulatory agencies could have played a role. The U.S. Senate only recently confirmed CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo and two SEC Commissioners are yet to be confirmed. The WSJ report quoted representatives who affirmed the regulatory agencies’ commitment to vigorous enforcement. Other industry participants observed that it may be premature to conclude that the drop in penalties means looser enforcement on the part of regulators.