November 9, 2021

The Hunting of a Snark: The SEC’s Approach to Crypto and ESG Enforcement

SEC Enforcement Director Gurbir Grewal delivered the Scott Friestad Memorial Keynote address at the “SEC Regulation Outside the United States – ThinkIn 2021” program yesterday, and he started off his speech by quoting from Lewis Carroll’s poem, The Hunting of the Snark. The quoted stanza ends with “Just the place for a Snark! I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.” Grewal noted:

Repetition, after all, is a persuasive technique used regularly by effective orators and children alike to make convincing and, on occasion in my home, winning arguments. That’s because repeated information is often perceived as more truthful than new information. But as we all know, just because a statement is made repeatedly doesn’t necessarily make it true.

Grewal went on to rebut the often-repeated notion that the SEC is “regulating by enforcement,” particularly in the area of digital assets and ESG. Instead, he says that the SEC is “using all of our tools to pursue wrongdoers, protect investors, and fulfill our mission.” Grewal recounted a number of cases that the SEC has brought in the digital asset space, and commented on the progress of the Climate and ESG Task Force, as well as prior cases that the SEC has brought involving ESG issues.

– Dave Lynn