White collar enforcers, prosecutors and regulators say they are pressing forward with enforcement actions while increasingly targeting COVID-19 related cases in addition to traditional enforcement actions.
David Oliwenstein, a Corporate Investigations and White Collar Defense counsel at Pillsbury, and a former senior counsel at the SEC's Enforcement Division, said he expects enforcement of disclosure requirements to be even sharper than it was in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Oliwenstein noted the corporate bankruptcies that occurred around the time of that crisis, and the criticism at the time as to why the disclosures leading up to those bankruptcy filings didn't necessarily reflect the financial realities of the companies. He said there will likely be an expectation in the current climate that issuers describe risks in real time and not just wait until the worst-case scenario materializes.
"The SEC is an agency that learns from its past mistakes and adapts," Oliwenstein said. "The agency obviously was subject to a lot of negative attention following the financial crisis. I think that's something that the current leadership, particularly in the Enforcement Division, is going to be particularly attuned to this time around."