The Securities Enforcement Empirical Database (SEED) tracks and records information for SEC enforcement actions filed against public companies traded on major U.S. exchanges and their subsidiaries.

Created by the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business in cooperation with Cornerstone Research, SEED facilitates the analysis and reporting of SEC enforcement actions through regular updates of new filings and settlement information for ongoing enforcement actions. The variables tracked include defendant names and types, violations, venues, and resolutions. 

Our goal is to shed light on the SEC’s securities law enforcement decisions.  SEED is the first public database to provide easily searchable and verified data to researchers, counsel, and corporations, as well as regular reports on developments and trends.
-- Professor Stephen Choi, Director of the Pollack Center for Law & Business.

SEC Actions by Defendant Type, 2010-2017

Public Company-Related SEC Actions FY 2010-2017 (November 14, 2017)

This report may be viewed here.  Key takeaways from FY 2017 include:

  • The number of new actions against public company–related defendants decreased by 33 percent in FY 2017.  
  • Issuer Reporting and Disclosure allegations make up the largest fraction of the SEC’s enforcement activity against public company–related defendants in most years, a trend that has continued in FY 2017. 
  • Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate was the most common industry in FY 2017 with 42 percent of actions against public company–related defendants. 
  • In FY 2017, 98 percent of public company–related defendants resolved SEC actions on the same day they were initiated (concurrent resolutions).
  • Public company-related defendants cooperated in 54 percent of settlements with the SEC in FY 2017, a decline from FY 2015 (71 percent) and FY 2016 (64 percent). 
  • The 58 public company–related actions resolved in FY 2017 resulted in total monetary settlements of $1.2 billion. Between the first and second halves of FY 2017, total monetary settlements declined from $1.0 billion to $196 million. 
  • From FY 2010 through FY 2017, the top ten monetary settlements imposed in public company–related actions totaled over $3.4 billion. Seven of these involved financial institutions. The largest monetary settlement in FY 2017 was $236 million by a public pharmaceutical company and involved FCPA violations.

Prior SEED and Cornerstone Research Reports 

This project is a collaboration between these organizations:

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Pollack Center for Law & Business 

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Cornerstone Research 

For press inquiries about Cornerstone Research, please contact Terri Viera at

For information about Cornerstone Research materials on this site, please contact

SEED Research Report 

To view the recently released report on SEC Enforcement Activity Against Public Companies and Their Subsidiaries, please click here.