On September 23, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) released its annual enforcement report, which shows increasing numbers of investigations and enforcement actions taken by state securities regulators to protect investors and maintain the integrity of the nation’s financial markets.
In its 2020 Enforcement Report on 2019 Data, which includes responses from 51 jurisdictions throughout the United States, NASAA reported that state securities regulators conducted 6,525 investigations in 2019, up 23 percent from the year before, and took 2,755 enforcement actions, up 33 percent from 2018. These actions led to $634 million in restitution ordered returned to investors, fines of $80 million and criminal relief of 956 years, including incarceration and probation.
The report also demonstrates the growing effectiveness of state legislation or rules based on vulnerable victim protection statutes. The 85th Texas Legislature adopted the law, providing a valuable tool for the Texas State Securities Board to defend Texas’ vulnerable investors and legitimate businesses. A report filed with the agency pursuant to the law led to the first state action against metals.com, and the Texas Attorney General and the Texas State Securities Board recently joined the Commodity Future Trading Commission and 29 other states in filing a complaint against the firm and others accused of defrauding elderly people across the United States.
Organized in 1919, the NASAA is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. NASAA is a voluntary association whose membership consists of 67 state, provincial, and territorial securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico.