The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Services Authority, the regulator of financial services providers in the United Kingdom, have signed an agreement to increase cooperation in market oversight and supervision.

SEC Chairman Christopher Cox and FSA chief executive John Tiner signed the memorandum of understanding during a meeting in Washington. Both regulatory agencies will now be able to more freely exchange the confidential supervisory information they separately collect.

Specifically, the agencies noted in a release that the arrangement allows for the sharing of information about regulated entities and investment banking groups that operate both in the United States and the United Kingdom.

"The additional tools for information exchange that we will gain from this arrangement will enhance our mutual ability to oversee the world's largest securities firms and markets," Cox said in a statement. "This arrangement also facilitates the SEC's new role as a consolidated supervisor of globally active U.S. investment banks."Ethiopis Tafara, director of the SEC's Office of International Affairs, said in a statement that his office is looking forward to exploring similar arrangements with other counterparts in the future.

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