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SEC, Department of Labor Join Forces on 401(k)s

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox and U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L Choa signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week to formalize and strengthen the cooperation and relationship between their two agencies. The purpose of the MOU is to share information, related to investments and retirement, to help protect Americansí $5.8 trillion in retirement assets.

The MOU establishes a method for the SEC Staff and DOLís Employee Benefits Security Administration to share information, regularly meet and discuss matters of mutual interest, and to help make information more accessible to investors. In addition, these agencies will cross-train their staff for the goal of enhancing each agencyís understanding of the other.

Chairman Cox said ďwith a growing number of seniors focused on managing their own 401(k) plans, itís important to improve disclosure. This enhanced coordination of the SECís investor protection efforts and the Department of Laborís regulatory responsibility for pensions and 401(k)s will greatly benefit the millions of hardworking Americans who are saving and investing for their retirement.Ē

PIMCO Launches ETF

Pacific Investment Management Co. has launched an exchange-traded fund tied to Lehman Brothers U.S. Aggregate Index, a popular ETF benchmark already used by Barclays, Vanguard Group and State Street Corp. This move is significant because it shows that big mutual funds, like PIMCO, are recognizing customersí increasing interest in the $578 billion ETF market.

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