A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released on Monday says the enforcement division of the SEC needs to improve the way it handles investigations.
In particular, the GAO said the division hasn’t been updating case progress sufficiently and that a backlog of open cases is still a problem, despite efforts to close cases more quickly. This in turn has affected the efficiency of fund distribution to harmed investors as part of the Fair Fund program. (To view the GAO’s 48-page report, click here.)
Senator Charles Grassley (R-IO), who is the ranking Republican on the Committee on Finance, requested the report be conducted in September of last year. “We heard an allegation last year that many of the cases that the SEC tells Congress it’s pursuing are just at a standstill, waiting to be closed, and this report confirms it,” Grassley said in a statement.
The SEC isn’t the only regulator catching flak for its handling of investigations. FINRA, the organization formerly known as the NASD, which answers to the SEC, has been the subject of criticism specifically as it relates to investigations for some time now. Some of the smallest member firms have complained of excessive 8210 requests (document requests) and tactics bordering on abuse by FINRA investigators (for more about the accusations being leveled, click here to read Rep’s September report on the issue.) FINRA is not permitted to comment on the existence or progress of investigations.