Not even the world’s fourth-largest company by market capitalization is immune to the hazards of employee insider trading.
On September 28, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission Exchange Commission charged a former senior manager in Amazon.com Inc.’s tax department and two of her family members with insider trading for a scheme that lasted 2 ½ years.
MetLife, Inc. has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $10 million in order to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) that it violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws.
Blockchain of Things (“BCOT”), a technology company, has agreed to settle charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) for conducting an initial coin offering (ICO) without registering it as a securities offering or qualifying for any registration exemptions. The settlement requires BCOT to agree to a cease and desist order, pay a $250,000 civil fine, return funds to any investors who file a request, and register the tokens as securities.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has agreed to pay over $7.9 million to settle charges brought by The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC charges alleged that PwC, and its partner Brandon Sprankle, had engaged in improper professional conduct on 19 engagements on behalf of 15 audit SEC-registered issuers and violating auditor independence by performing non-audit services during an audit engagement.
HCR Wealth Advisors agreed to a cease-and-desist order, a $220,000 penalty, and a $328,912 payment to its harmed clients in order to settle charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The SEC complaint alleged that HCR had failed to reasonably supervise and implement its own compliance-related policies and procedures in response to fraudulent actions by one of its former investment advisors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has spent time and energy focused on proxy voting matters in the recent months. In August 2019, the SEC provided guidance (discussed below) to assist investment advisers fulfilling their proxy voting responsibilities. It also appears to have increased its attention toward regulatory actions involving proxy voting on behalf of clients.