The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday it levied a record $3.4-billion (U.S.) in sanctions in enforcement cases in the latest fiscal year, up 10 per cent from the previous year.
The sanctions were boosted in part by a more than $600-million settlement with a unit of hedge fund SAC Capital, $525-million with BP PLC and a $200-million fine of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Fiscal 2013’s total sanctions were 22 per cent higher than those obtained in the 2011 fiscal year, the agency said.
The agency filed 686 cases in the year that ended in September, it said, down from more than 730 cases filed the previous two years.
“Our results show that we are prepared to tackle the breadth and complexity of today’s securities markets,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement.
White, a former federal prosecutor and litigator, came to the agency in April and pledged to make enforcement a centrepiece of her tenure.
Since then, she has changed SEC policies to seek more admissions from defendants and has said her lawyers are ready to take more cases to trial.