SEC Chair Mary Jo White delivered a speech at the Annual Forum of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”) in which she discussed international cooperation and efforts in the enforcement of the regulation of global markets.
Chair White explained that the 2002 IOSCO creation of the Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (“MMOU”) was the first major step in recognizing that proper policing of international activity in the securities and derivatives markets required greater international cooperation among regulatory agencies. According to Chair White, both the SEC and ASIC immediately recognized the importance of the IOSCO MMOU; they were among the first of more than a hundred signatories. Chair White stated that, in the last fiscal year, the SEC made more than 700 requests for assistance to fellow regulators, and the SEC itself responded to more than 500 requests, most of which were made pursuant to the IOSCO MMOU.
Chair White noted that, in order to continue to police the global markets effectively, the 2002 IOSCO MMOU must not remain static, and added she is glad that IOSCO is considering an enhanced MMOU to broaden the types of information that can be obtained and streamline the process. Chair White said that the SEC and ASIC have already increased their levels of cooperation through a new bilateral agreement that goes beyond the IOSCO MMOU to allow the agencies to obtain not only bank, brokerage and beneficial ownership records, but also audit work papers, internet service provider records, travel histories and more. Chair White stated that international cooperation should continue to be strong so that “borders do not serve as barriers that prevent us from obtaining the assistance we need for the strongest enforcement programs possible.”
Chair White concluded by mentioning recent SEC enforcement initiatives such as requiring admissions by defendants as a condition of a settlement, a renewed focus on gatekeepers and prosecuting smaller compliance-related violations (as well as larger ones).
See: Chair White’s Speech.