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SEC Gets Set to Test Policy for Guilt Admissions

"Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chiefs have drawn up a hit list of impending cases where officials intend to test their new policy of requiring admissions of wrongdoing when settling civil charges, according to people close to the agency.

"The handful of likely target cases include a planned enforcement action against a company alleged to have made illicit profits by charging investors undisclosed markups on top of commissions, one of the people said.

"The new SEC leadership last week changed the agency's long-standing policy of allowing companies and individuals to settle charges without admitting or denying liability.

"Chairman Mary Jo White said in certain cases, such as particularly egregious conduct or widespread harm to investors, defendants will have to admit wrongdoing or face fighting the charges in court. The landmark change could start to bite within weeks, according to people close to the agency."

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