The Securities and Exchange Commission signed a memorandum of understanding with the Labor Department to make permanent the sharing of information to help protect the retirement savings of American workers.

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and SEC Chairman Christopher Cox  formally signed the agreement during a public ceremony. The MOU establishes a process for the Labor Department's Employee Benefits Security Administration and the SEC to share information and meet regularly to discuss matters such as examination findings and trends, enforcement cases and regulatory requirements. Both agencies will designate points of contact in their regional offices.

The agreement will also expedite the sharing of information on investment advisers and other subjects of mutual interest. The Labor Department and the SEC will cross-train staff to enhance each agency's understanding of the other's mission and investigative jurisdiction.

"This memorandum of understanding with the Securities and Exchange Commission will better protect the 117 million Americans who depend on private sector retirement plans," said Chao in a statement.

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