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Reproduced from Cornerstone Research; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of cases the SEC filed against publicly traded companies hit at least a decade-high this year, according to findings from New York University and Cornerstone Research that analyzed the SEC’s annual report. Total cases initiated by the SEC — against public companies or not — jumped to the highest level since 2016.

Why it matters: Over 50 of the enforcement actions on public company and subsidiaries targeted investment advisers or brokers — a nod to SEC chairman Jay Clayton’s emphasis on protecting the retail investor.

Between the lines: The jump is explained by the agency’s initiative that encouraged financial firms to self-report instances where advisers sold certain fee-paying mutual funds to clients over other funds.

  • In return for self-reporting, those companies will pay a small fee and don’t have to admit wrongdoing.
  • This accounted for actions against 95 companies in total, 26 of them public.

By the numbers: The SEC settled with Mylan, KPMG and Fiat Chrysler this year, among others. The highest dollar figure settlement this year against a publicly traded company came to $147 million.

  • That’s the lowest maximum penalty for a public company in the report’s 10-year history.
  • 72% of public companies that faced enforcement action settled by paying a fine and cooperating with the SEC.
  • 20% paid a fine but didn’t cooperate.

The bottom line: For all enforcement activity, including cases brought against individuals, the SEC took in $4.3 billion in fines and disgorgements (or the return of profits gained illegally), though a single case against a privately held real estate investing firm accounted for $1 billion of that amount.

  • That’s up from $3.9 billion in penalties for 2018.

P.S. Enforcement activity by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission slowed to 63 from last year’s 83 cases, the agency said on Monday.

  • The derivatives regulator collected $1.3 billion in penalties and payments — a 40% jump year-over-year and the fourth highest in CFTC history.

Go deeper: New stock exchange files application with SEC

Go deeper

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Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.