A press release from the Securities and Exchange Commission last week announced an agreement between the SEC and the Department of Labor to formalize the longstanding information-sharing relationship between the two agencies. The memorandum of understanding will make cooperation permanent as regards retirement and investment information. It also moves to improve disclosure by providing investors, benefit plan participants and plan administrators better access to more understandable information.

According to the release, the memorandum "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."

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