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White: SEC to crack down on sophisticated trading, dark pools

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Mary Jo White

The SEC plans to bring more actions on trading, Mary Jo White, SEC chairwoman said Thursday before some 400 attendees at the Council of Institutional Investors conference in Chicago.

“Expect to see more actions relating to sophisticated trading strategies, dark pools and other trading platforms in the coming year.” Ms. White said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has “zero tolerance for any glitches in the system,” Ms. White added.

The SEC “must be aggressive and creative in the way we use the enforcement tools at our disposal” and “use all available means to detect and pursue violators,” Ms. White said.

“So we will be taking advantage of tips from whistle-blowers, using quantitative data available to us, and conducting sweeps and other means of uncovering misconduct,” she said.

Speaking of the steps SEC is undertaking to strengthen its enforcement, Ms. White said the regulator must cover the “whole market.” The SEC needs to have “a presence everywhere and be perceived to be everywhere, bringing enforcement actions against violators in every market participant category and in every market strata.”

“A robust enforcement program is critical to fulfilling the SEC's mission to instill confidence in those who invest in our markets and to make our markets fair and honest,” she said.

The SEC expects to see more financial firms seek to go to trial because of the regulator's increased demand for admissions of guilt in wrongdoing, instead of an exclusive no-admission/no-deny wording in settlements.

“But that will not deter us,” Ms. White said.

“Significant and consistent trial wins also give us the credibility we need to achieve strong and meaningful settlements in every area that we will be pursuing in the coming years.”