On June 22, the SEC and Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division announced the signing of an interagency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) “to foster cooperation and communication between the agencies with the aim of enhancing competition in the securities industry.” The announcement came during a joint equity market structure discussion. The conversation covered equity market data and accompanying fees. The fees charged by exchanges, and the corresponding “fee filings” by which they are implemented, have long been the subject of industry and regulatory scrutiny, including from the perspective of whether or not the fees place an undue burden on competition—one of the standards by which the SEC must judge the fee filings.
The announcement stated: “Key provisions of the MOU facilitate both communication and cooperation between the agencies. In particular, the MOU establishes a framework for the SEC and the DOJ’s Antitrust Division 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.”