On Boards, Disclosures, and Corporate Ethics


The Securities and Exchange Commission dropped a subtle hint this week about its latest expectations for corporate boards and what they disclose to investors. Corporate governance professionals might want to take a look, since I suspect we’ll be hearing more on this issue in the future. The case involves McDonalds and its former CEO, Stephen…

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Honeywell Pays $160M on FCPA Case


Industrial manufacturing giant Honeywell International has agreed to pay $160 million to settle civil and criminal FCPA charges that the company bribed foreign government officials in Brazil and Algeria.  The case has lingered like a cloud over Honeywell’s head for years. The misconduct itself happened in the early 2010s, and Honeywell first disclosed more than…

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SEC Eyes More Use of Penalties


Brace yourselves, compliance officers: the head of enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission delivered a speech today promising a continued emphasis on monetary penalties as part of corporate settlements, until people and corporations “realize that compliance with securities laws is cheaper than violating them.”  SEC enforcement director Gurbir Grewal delivered his remarks at the…

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Oracle Hit 2nd Time on FCPA Violations


The Securities and Exchange Commission has sanctioned Oracle for violations of the FCPA, the software giant’s second such incident in 10 years and one that provides a chance for the rest of us to talk about recidivist FCPA offenders.  What happened? In one sense, the usual. Throughout the 2010s, Oracle subsidiaries in India, Turkey, and…

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Morgan Stanley Fined on Data Destruction

Morgan Stanley

We have quite the reminder on IT risk today courtesy of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The agency just fined a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley for poor data protection practices, which even led to one incident where the bank’s old IT equipment was sold at auction with customer data still on the hard drives.  The…

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Big Wall Street Settlement Coming Soon

wall street

Heads up, compliance officers! Word on the street is that regulators are poised to announce a billion-dollar settlement with numerous Wall Street banks for employees’ improper use of messaging apps and associated record-keeping failures, a case bound to give us more clues about the enforcement appetite among the SEC and other agencies these days. The…

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E&Y, the SEC, and ‘Gatekeepers’ 


The saying in Washington is that it’s not the crime that ruins you; it’s the coverup. Ernst & Young is learning this week how true that is, with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s $100 million fine against the firm for cheating on CPA exams and then failing to be forthcoming about the breadth of that…

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CohnReznick Dinged $1.9M on Sloppy Procedures


The Securities and Exchange Commission has fired a shot across the bow of the auditing world, charging audit firm CohnReznick and three of its partners on Wednesday with improper professional conduct involving two corporate clients that had previously faced charges of accounting fraud.  The companies in question are Sequential Brands, which the SEC charged with…

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SEC Launches Crypto Push


The Securities and Exchange Commission made three notable enforcement moves in the cryptocurrency world last week, clearly sending a signal to this Wild West part of the capital markets that the SEC wants to bring some law and order to town. First, the agency announced that it is adding 20 enforcement agents to its cyber…

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SEC Sues Vale on Dam Disaster

The Securities and Exchange Commission is bringing charges against Brazilian mining company Vale, accusing the company of misleading investors for years about the safety of dams it built and managed in Brazil, until the Brumadinho dam collapsed in 2019 and killed 270 people in one of the worst mining disasters in history. The SEC filed…

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