As part of their ongoing efforts to keep markets that they oversee open and fair for American consumers, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced that they signed an agreement to foster further cooperation between the two agencies by helping them share nonpublic information.
The CFTC and FTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) [see related document] that will facilitate sharing of non-public information on investigations being conducted by the agencies, including investigations into the oil and gasoline markets. The agreement will help the FTC enforce its petroleum market manipulation rule, which prohibits fraudulent manipulation of U.S. petroleum markets. Information-sharing also will help the CFTC in exercising its authority to pursue manipulation in the oil markets.
“It is important for regulators to share information to be able to pursue market manipulation wherever it arises,” CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler said. “I thank Chairman Leibowitz and the staff of the FTC for their work on this MOU and look forward to partnering with them in ensuring the integrity of the oil markets.”
“With gasoline prices on the rise, we are committed to doing all we can to ensure that petroleum markets are competitive,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “Competition works to keep prices lower, and this MOU improves the ability of the FTC and CFTC to take action if and when we find market manipulation. I’d like to thank our CFTC partners for helping to improve the already excellent communication between our two agencies.”
Both the FTC and CFTC have authorities to take legal action to stop fraud-based manipulation of the petroleum markets. In addition, the CFTC has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate exchanges, clearing organizations and intermediaries in the U.S. futures industry. The MOU will further facilitate information sharing between the FTC and CFTC on regulatory issues of common interest, such as manipulation of oil and gasoline markets.
At the same time, the agreement states that the FTC and CFTC will take all necessary steps to ensure that the confidentiality of this nonpublic information is maintained. It also provides that the agreement does not modify the agencies’ current abilities, responsibilities or obligations to comply with existing laws or regulations, including the FTC’s confidentiality obligations under the premerger laws.
Both the FTC and the CFTC votes were unanimous in approving the MOU. It became effective when it was signed and will remain in effect until it is terminated by either the FTC or CFTC.