US SEC supervision,confidentiality expanded in law
* SEC does not have to disclose firm inspection results
* Agency still has to comply with other FOIA requests
By Emma Ashburn
WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) - New financial reform legislation exempts U.S. securities regulators from having to turn over to the media information it gathers from financial institutions in its expanded supervisory role, but does not limit the disclosure of other agency data.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was granted greater assessment and surveillance responsibilities as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, which went into effect on July 21.
As part of that, lawmakers also gave the SEC a privacy mandate similar to bank regulators, who do not have to disclose the results of examinations of specific firms.
The SEC still has to comply with requests for other types of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
"The new provision applies to information obtained through examinations or derived from that information," said SEC spokesman John Nester in a statement.
The Freedom of Information Act, enacted in 1966, requires federal agencies to disclose information in response to a written request. Individuals can request nonpublic consumer complaints, staff comment letters and information compiled during the course of investigations from the SEC.
Fox Business News reported on Wednesday that the new legislation meant the SEC "no longer has to comply with virtually all requests for information releases from the public," including FOIA requests.
The agency gets vast new powers as part of the financial regulatory overhaul, including joint oversight over the $615 trillion over-the-counter derivatives market and supervision of advisers to hedge funds and private equity funds.
The SEC also gets a seat on the new Financial Stability Oversight Council, set up to monitor broad risk in the financial system. (Reporting by Emma Ashburn; editing by Andre Grenon)
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