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SEC Officials Lay Out Enforcement Approach; Driscoll Named OCIE Chief

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that an SEC Enforcement Division official indicated that the agency will pull back on its “broken windows” strategy and may no longer pursue admissions of wrongdoing as a condition of settlement. Steven Peikin, co-director of the Enforcement Division, also noted that the division might have might have 100 fewer investigators and supervisors by next September, according to the report. Stephanie Avakian, also co-director of the Enforcement Division, in a separate speech said a new Retail Strategy Task Force will pursue bad actors for widespread abuses that affect retail investors. Avakian said problems the division continues to see include advisers steering investors to mutual fund share classes with higher fees when lower-fee share classes of the same fund are available; abuses in wrap fee accounts; and investors buying and holding products like inverse ETFs for long-term investment. She also discussed top priorities of the Cyber Unit, which will include pursuing firms that fail to take appropriate steps to safeguard information or ensure system integrity. Meanwhile, the SEC announced that Peter B. Driscoll has been named Director of the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.  Driscoll has served as OCIE’s Acting Director since January 2017.