Washington (Aug. 2, 2004) — Better sharing of information among various financial services regulators could improve protections for consumers and investors, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.

The auditor general said effective regulation is contingent on a number of factors, such as compete access to information relevant to their oversight responsibilities such as criminal histories and consumer complaint data.

As a result, options or proposals for improving information-sharing capabilities or tools among financial regulators need to address concerns about sharing and protecting different types of regulatory data that have varying degrees of sensitivity.

The GAO said that legislative actions would most likely be needed to address the issues of sharing sensitive financial information and the success of that strategy would ultimately depend on if regulators are “comfortable” in sharing sensitive information.

The GAO also said that regulators would have to overcome “some level of inertia and resistance to change.”

— WebCPA staff

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