Cox: SEC was Too Slow on Investor Fraud Payments

November 22, 2005 ( - The nation's chief securities regulator has admitted that his agency has dallied too long in returning money to defrauded investors and asserted that fixing that problem is a major priority for him.

Christopher Cox, chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made the assertion in a letter to US Representative John Dingell (D-Michigan), Dow Jones reported.

“I am attacking this problem head-on,” Cox said in the November 14 Dingell letter. “The process of returning money to injured investors has, in my view, been rendered needlessly complex.”

The SEC, which has levied record-setting fines in recent years, has collected more than $5 billion but has yet to return most of that money to defrauded investors, according to the news report. In fact, a report this summer by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, found the SEC had returned only about 1% of eligible funds to investors.

In his letter, Cox told Dingell he agrees with the GAO’s findings and said the SEC is updating its case-tracking system and preparing training programs for its staff.