SEC and DOJ’s Antitrust Division Formalize Interagency Cooperation With Historic Memorandum of Understanding

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In an historic move this week, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) executed the first-ever memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the two agencies. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and Assistant U.S. Attorney General Makan Delrahim announced the MOU on June 22 before Delrahim’s presentation, “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes: Enforcement Cooperation in Financial Markets,” at MIT’s Golub Center for Finance and Policy forum on equity market structure.

Both the SEC and DOJ issued press releases, which are similar but not identical in substance. Delrahim has stated that the MOU “institutionalizes a strong working relationship between our two agencies” and “will lead to even more robust, comprehensive analyses incorporating both competition and securities law concerns, resulting in stronger, healthier markets yielding enhanced consumer benefits.” Clayton stated that by “formalizing the exchange of knowledge between our agencies, we aim to foster even greater collaboration and cooperation to ensure that we maintain the efficient and competitive markets that American investors rely on.” 

Neither agency has released the MOU to the public, but the press releases indicate that “[k]ey provisions of the MOU facilitate both communication and cooperation between the agencies. In particular, the MOU establishes a framework for the Antitrust Division and the SEC to continue regular discussions and review law enforcement and regulatory matters affecting competition in the securities industry, including provisions to establish periodic meetings among the respective agencies’ officials. The MOU also provides for the exchange of information and expertise the agencies believe to be potentially relevant and useful to their oversight and enforcement responsibilities, as appropriate and consistent with applicable legal and confidentiality restrictions.”

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