NYU Pollack Center and Cornerstone Research debut database to track SEC enforcement actions

The NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business, in partnership with Cornerstone Research, has announced the launch of the Securities Enforcement Empirical Database (SEED), located at seed.law.nyu.edu. SEED tracks and records information for US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions against public companies. With data on SEC actions filed since October 1, 2009, SEED offers insight into multiyear trends and priorities in federal securities enforcement.

Stephen Choi

“Our goal is to shed light on the SEC’s securities law enforcement decisions,” says Stephen Choi, Murray and Kathleen Bring Professor of Law and director of the Pollack Center. “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.”

Last week, for example, the SEC released statistics for fiscal year 2015 showing that it filed 507 independent actions for violations of federal securities laws, but the agency did not identify how many of those actions were administrative proceedings. SEED shows that, during the first three quarters of 2015, the SEC filed 75 percent of its actions against public companies as administrative proceedings. 

 “Access to this data allows users to investigate differences in SEC enforcement actions against public companies, including allegation types and penalties imposed by the Commission,” comments David Marcus, a vice president of Cornerstone Research. “The vast majority of SEC allegations against public companies are related to FCPA and issuer reporting and disclosure.”

David Yermack

“We think SEED will become a standard resource for people working in corporate law and corporate governance,” says David Yermack, Albert Fingerhut Professor of Finance and Business Transformation, chair of NYU Stern’s finance department, and director of the Pollack Center. “It highlights the possibilities when two schools work together to support important interdisciplinary research.”

Student fellows from the Pollack Center gather enforcement documents from the SEC website, regularly updating SEED’s information on new enforcement action filings and settlements.

Posted October 27, 2015