August 20, 2009

SEC, CFTC to Hold Hearings on Harmonizing Market Regs

Two agencies must submit a report to Congress by September 30

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced that the two regulatory agencies will hold joint meetings in September to seek input from the public on harmonization of market regulation.

The first meeting on September 2 will be held at the CFTC, while the second meeting, to be held September 3, will be at the SEC. The White House requested that the SEC and CFTC send a report to Congress by September 30 "that identifies all existing conflicts in statutes and regulations with respect to similar types of financial instruments and either explains why those differences are essential to achieve underlying policy objectives with respect to investor protection, market integrity, and price transparency or makes recommendations for changes to statutes and regulations that would eliminate the differences."

SEC Chair Mary Schapiro said in a statement that the "joint meetings will build on the progress the CFTC and SEC have made on designing a framework to regulate OTC derivatives. It will move us further down the road of harmonizing our regulations to increase transparency, reduce regulatory arbitrage and rebuild confidence in our markets."

CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler noted in the same statement that "harmonizing our regulatory policies will improve market integrity by applying consistent standards to market participants. There are three areas where this review will most benefit the American public: to address gaps between the two agencies' financial regulatory authorities, to assess the effects of regulatory overlap and to bring appropriate consistency to the two agencies' regulation over similar products, practices and markets."

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