Securities and Exchange Commission Acting Head Michael Piwowar has trimmed back the agency's ability to initiate investigations through removing subpoena power from 20 senior staff, limiting the ability solely to the Enforcement Division Director, according to The Wall Street Journal
. The move reverses changes
made during the Obama administration that made it easier for the agency to launch inquiries, eventually leading to the SEC pursuing a record number of enforcement cases last year, according to The WSJ. The goal was not necessarily to reduce the total number of investigations but to streamline a process that the acting head felt wasn't subject to sufficient oversight, according to the WSJ. Piwowar has long expressed the belief that the commission's enforcement powers had become too broad since the financial crisis. The WSJ said that the decision could be a step towards going back to the old system that required the SEC commissioners themselves to approve all formal investigations, with Piwowar having already asked the SEC's general counsel to study whether such a change should be made.