Economy

SEC Announces Cyber Unit, Closer Investigation of ICOs

SEC Announces Cyber Unit, Closer Investigation of ICOs”

The creation of a Cyber Unit that will focus on targeting cyber-related misconduct and the establishment of a retail strategy task force that will implement initiatives that directly affect retail investors reflect SEC Chairman Jay Clayton's priorities in these important areas. The timing of this is much more than coincidental; indeed it's obvious. Although these initiatives have reportedly been in the works for months, they were disclosed just days after the world learned that the SEC's EDGAR filing system was the target of a 2016 hack. Since the disclosure of the EDGAR breach, the financial press has reported that SEC Enforcement, the Secret Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been investigating, and that Chairman Clayton asked the SEC's Office of Inspector General to investigate.

The new cyber group is in response to cyber-related threats that pose significant risks both to investors and the securities industry.

Robert A. Cohen has been appointed Chief of the Cyber Unit.

Perhaps supporting that claim, the announcement was issued exactly two months after the SEC's shot across the bow of the ICO market - a July 25 investor bulletin that said USA securities law may apply to digital token sales. Thus, registrants can expect the Cyber Unit to evolve much as the SEC's other specialty units have previously.

While the SEC is dedicating more resources exclusively to cyber crime, Clayton told a US Senate panel on Tuesday that the agency needs more money for the effort. The Cyber Unit will consolidate and advance these efforts, and include staff from across the Enforcement Division. While FINRA's oversight is limited to its member broker-dealer firms, this 46-page report provides plain-language guidance that any company or firm may want to consider reviewing and implementing as appropriate.



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