In 2013, the financial industry has continued to shift under the force of perpetual change created in the wake of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. The tightening of compliance programs by financial firms has become more critical as regulatory demands within organizations increase, and as federal and state securities laws continually alter under new and revised legislation. The role of senior management and the policies and procedures enacted internally are critical to the long-term success of an enterprise. Increasingly, the responsibility of maintaining and carrying compliance initiatives forward lies with each individual in the firm, and the cooperation of senior management with compliance officers and their initiatives is paramount and constitutes an essential financial business practice.
In a recent speech delivered to attendees at the Securities Enforcement Forum, SEC Chairman Mary Jo White stated the following:
"...minor violations that are overlooked or ignored can feed bigger ones, and, perhaps more importantly, can foster a culture where laws are increasingly treated as toothless guidelines. And so, I believe it is important to pursue even the smallest infractions. Retail investors, in particular, need to be protected from unscrupulous advisers and brokers, whatever their size and the size of the violation that victimizes the investor."
White has been very vocal since her confirmation as SEC Chairman about the fact that she plans to take a strict and unyielding approach to the enforcement of federal securities laws.
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