Securities Law Prof Blog

Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

Monday, August 4, 2008

SEC and Labor Sign MOU on Investments in Employee Benefit Plans

On July 29 the SEC and and the U.S. Department of Labor entered a Memorandum of Understanding to share information on retirement and investments to protect the $5.8 trillion in retirement assets of American workers, retirees and their families held in employee benefit plans.  The increasing intersection of regulatory responsibilities in today's financial world presents new challenges in protecting the retirement assets of investors nationwide.

The MOU establishes a process for the department's Employee Benefits Security Administration and SEC staffs to share information and meet regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest. These include examination findings and trends, enforcement cases and regulatory requirements that impact the missions of both agencies. The department has oversight over 401(k) and other retirement plans as well as plan participants, while the SEC oversees, among other areas, brokerages, investment advisers and mutual funds.

Both agencies will designate points of contact in their regional offices to facilitate communications among staff on enforcement and examination matters. The agreement also will expedite the sharing of non-public information regarding investment advisers and other subjects of mutual interest between the two agencies. Additionally, the Labor Department and SEC will cross-train staff under the agreement with the goal of enhancing each agency's understanding of the other's mission and investigative jurisdiction.

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