Last month, the SEC announced that it had adopted amendments updating the rules of practice governing its in-house administrative proceedings. On August 9, 2016, Compliance Week published an article on the recently-adopted amendments, entitled, SEC modifies administrative proceedings, but did it go far enough? The article features insights from Proskauer partner Joshua Newville, who discusses whether the amendments sufficiently address the SEC’s perceived “home-field advantage” in administrative proceedings.
A handful of recent SEC defeats in administrative proceedings have caused us to question the conventional narrative that the SEC has a distinct “home field advantage” before its own administrative law judges. According to analysis conducted by the Wall Street Journal, the SEC had a 90% win rate in contested cases it brought before its ALJs from October 2010 through March 2015, while it prevailed in only 69% of federal court trials over the same period. After the SEC lost five high-profile insider trading trials in 2014, this narrative seemed to fit.
Earlier today, the SEC announced that it will adopt certain amendments to its rules of practice governing administrative proceedings. Faced with criticism from practitioners and the media regarding a perceived “home field advantage” in administrative proceedings, as well as various constitutional challenges to the ALJ process, the SEC has now approved amendments “intended to update the rules and introduce additional flexibility into administrative proceedings.”
Last week, FINRA sought approval from the SEC for a proposed change to the FINRA arbitration rules, under which monetary awards requiring the parties to pay each other damages would be offset, so the party owing the larger award would be required to pay only the net difference. If the arbitrators do not intend monetary awards to be offset, they must specifically say so in the award.
Last week, in the consolidated cases of Charles Hill, Jr. v. SEC (No. 15-12831) and Gray Financial Group, Inc. v. SEC (No. 15-13738), the U.S. Court of Appeals for Eleventh Circuit heard oral argument on the question of whether federal district courts have jurisdiction to review constitutional challenges to SEC…
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held today that federal District Courts do not have subject-matter jurisdiction to entertain challenges to ongoing SEC administrative enforcement proceedings. A party to a pending administrative proceeding must defend against that proceeding and then seek review from the SEC Commissioners and, eventually, the federal appellate courts.
The Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be hearing the music. In response to the many voices that have expressed dissatisfaction with the procedures used in SEC administrative hearings, the SEC today issued proposed amendments to the rules governing those hearings. Those proposals are now subject to public notice and comment.
The Securities and Exchange Commission again rejected constitutional challenges to the use of administrative enforcement proceedings presided over by Administrative Law Judges (“ALJs”). The Commission’s September 17, 2015 decision in In the Matter of Timbervest, LLC – the Commission’s second ruling on the constitutional issue in the past two weeks – rebuffed arguments that ALJ proceedings such as this one violated the Constitution’s Appointments Clause and removal provisions and deprived respondents of equal protection of the laws.