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SEC to push tougher penalties for wrongdoing: White

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White
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SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White

U.S. securities regulators plan to "make aggressive use" of their authority to levy penalties, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Thursday.

"We must make aggressive use of our existing penalty authority, recognizing that meaningful monetary penalties - whether against companies or individuals - play a very important role in a strong enforcement program," SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a speech in Chicago, according to prepared remarks.

"They make companies and the industry sit up and take notice of what our expectations are and how vigorously we will pursue wrongdoing," she said.

In a speech before the Council of Institutional Investors, White detailed her approach to enforcement, and described efforts to use penalties and remedies more creatively than the agency has in the past.