The Securities and Exchange Commission will begin requiring admission of guilt in certain types of civil settlements, a major departure from the agency’s routine use of a boilerplate clause that allows defendants to pay fines without acknowledging liability.

SEC Chairman Mary Jo White had signaled at a recent hearing that she was reviewing the ­neither-admit-nor-deny policy, which has been harshly criticized by some judges. On Tuesday, White said some misconduct warrants wringing out an admission.

“We are going to, in certain cases, be seeking admissions going forward,” White said at a Wall Street Journal CFO Network conference. “Public accountability in particular kinds of cases can be quite important, and if you don’t get them, you litigate them.”


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