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    Head of municipal securities office at U.S. SEC to leave agency

    The director of the office of municipal securities at the Securities and Exchange Commission, John Cross, will leave his post in November to return to the U.S. Treasury Office of Tax Policy, the agency said on Tuesday. Cross was named head of the newly formed office barely two years ago after becoming a leading figure in the $3.7 trillion municipal bond market through his role as associate tax legislative counsel in the Treasury’s tax policy arm. More on Reuters here.

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    SEC Is Steering More Trials to Judges It Appoints

    The Securities and Exchange Commission is increasingly steering cases to hearings in front of the agency’s appointed administrative judges, who found in its favor in every verdict for the 12 months through September, rather than taking them to federal court. The winning streak comes amid a marked shift at the agency toward trying cases that are more complex before its administrative law judges. Historically, the SEC had more often turned to these judges for relatively straightforward legal actions, such as barring stockbrokers who had been convicted of criminal fraud. Thanks in part to enhanced powers granted in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-reform bill, the SEC lately has been using the administrative judges for complicated cases, including several involving insider trading. More in the Wall Street Journal here.

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    SEC approves securities arbitration fraud intervention rule

    SEC approves securities arbitration fraud intervention rule. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a rule that will let securities arbitrators immediately report frauds that may threaten the investing public if they learn about them in the middle of a case. The agency’s approval, published in the Federal Register on Wednesday, ends years of controversy about the proposal, which was sparked by multibillion-dollar Ponzi schemes orchestrated by Bernard Madoff and R. Allen Stanford. More on Reuters here.

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    U.S. SEC’s Piwowar takes a swing at ‘broken windows’ enforcement policy

    A top official at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday criticized the “broken windows” enforcement strategy being deployed by the agency, saying it hinders the agency’s ability to set priorities and have robust, healthy markets. In a speech at the annual Securities Enforcement Forum, SEC Republican Commissioner Mike Piwowar took aim at the approach that SEC Chair Mary Jo White has used, which entails pursuing cases against both big and small violations. “A broken windows approach to enforcement may not achieve the desired result,” said Piwowar. “If every rule is a priority, then no rule is a priority.” More on Reuters here.

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    SEC Making ‘Real Progress’ on Accredited Investor Definition Changes: White

    The SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee on Thursday recommended five updates to the Commission’s decades-old accredited investor definition, including a provision to allow investors to qualify based on their “financial sophistication” and not just their net worth. Barbara Roper, who heads the advisory committee’s Investor as Purchaser Subcommittee, said during the Committee’s meeting held at SEC headquarters in Washington that the recommendations include “several significant changes” from those discussed at the Investor Advisory Committee’s July 10 meeting. More on Think Advisor here.

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