U.S. securities regulator moves to speed up process for probes


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has restored senior officers’ ability to kick off formal investigations without the approval of the enforcement division’s leadership, in a bid to more swiftly detect fraud, it said on Tuesday.

The move gives power to senior officers in the SEC’s enforcement division to authorize staff to subpoena documents and take sworn testimony, acting chair Allison Herren Lee said in the statement.

The delegation of the authority comes a month after the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden. Under the previous administration, the enforcement division’s two co-directors had to approve orders to kick off any formal probes.

“Returning this authority to the division’s experienced senior officers … helps to ensure that investigative staff can work effectively to protect investors in an era when the pace of fraud – like the pace of markets themselves – is ever more rapid,” Lee said in Tuesday’s statement.

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