The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has long drawn criticism for the way in which it has traditionally placed broad bans on those who break securities law. And in an effort to fine-tune its enforcement practice, the SEC is experimenting with punishments that more closely fit the crime and that might only specifically bar certain behavior, such as giving advice to pension funds or profiting from presenting at investment seminars. Still other critics contend that this may end up being more bark than bite, however.

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