Erich T. Schwartz
SEC Enforcement Matters, Internal Investigations and Compliance
Erich T. Schwartz joined Skadden in 2001 after serving as assistant director of the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Mr. Schwartz concentrates his practice in the defense of securities enforcement matters and compliance counseling. He represents public companies; public accounting firms; broker-dealers and investment advisers; and their officers, directors and employees in investigations by the SEC and other regulatory authorities.
Mr. Schwartz handles high-profile internal investigations of conduct that raise potential regulatory issues, including accounting and disclosure issues, insider trading and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act matters, among others. He counsels his clients on strategies for avoiding such issues, including preventative and remedial measures. Additionally, Mr. Schwartz is experienced in complex representations that involve parallel investigations by the SEC, the Department of Justice, state regulators or FINRA, as well as related private litigation.
Illustrative public representations include:
- Herbert Steffen, a former senior executive at Siemens Aktiengesellschaft, in the defense of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act claims by the SEC, in which Mr. Schwartz obtained a dismissal of all the SEC’s claims on jurisdictional grounds;
- UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico in an SEC investigation of mutual fund pricing and trading practices, which was resolved through an administrative consent order;
- The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. in an investigation of the performance of self-regulatory responsibilities, which was resolved through the issuance of a report of investigation;
- Research In Motion Limited (now known as Blackberry Limited), and the company’s audit committee, in connection with stock option granting practices and a related SEC investigation, which the company resolved without monetary penalty;
- SCOR SE in the settlement of an SEC investigation into an alleged fraudulent accounting scheme for certain nontraditional insurance and reinsurance transactions by an entity that SCOR had subsequently acquired. SCOR achieved a settlement in which a subsidiary consented to a cease-and-desist order that involved no monetary remedies; and
- Symmetry Medical Inc.’s audit committee in an internal investigation of alleged accounting irregularities at Symmetry’s operating unit in Sheffield, United Kingdom. Mr. Schwartz subsequently represented the company in its settlement with the SEC. The settlement was achieved with no fraud charge against the company; nor was any civil penalty or other financial obligation imposed on Symmetry.
The best outcome in the defense of a securities enforcement investigation is in persuading the regulators not to take any enforcement action. Mr. Schwartz recently obtained such outcomes after a preliminary decision had been made to proceed in investigations of a municipal bond underwriter, a mutual fund portfolio manager and a hedge fund manager with regard to portfolio valuation and disclosure issues, among others.
Before joining Skadden, Mr. Schwartz practiced for 15 years at the SEC, including as assistant director of the Division of Enforcement from 1994 through 2001. In that capacity, Mr. Schwartz directed securities enforcement investigations, civil litigation of securities claims and parallel investigations with criminal prosecutors concerning accounting fraud, improper audits, auditor independence, insider trading, market manipulation, offering fraud, false disclosures, and violations by brokers-dealers and investment advisers. He also organized an enforcement branch at the SEC that concentrated on investigating securities fraud conducted over the Internet.
Mr. Schwartz writes and speaks frequently on a wide range of securities law enforcement topics. He also served as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School, where he taught securities regulation.
Mr. Schwartz repeatedly has been selected for inclusion in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America. He serves on the advisory committee of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation.
J.D., George Washington University Law School (with honors), 1983
B.A., University of Maryland (with honors in history), 1980
Assistant Director of Enforcement, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (1994-2001)
Branch Chief, Division of Enforcement, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (1990-1994)
Senior Counsel, Division of Enforcement, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (1986-1990)
Trial Attorney, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Department of Energy (1983-1986)