The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced yesterday that they entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to share 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. The information sharing also will assist the CFTC in exercising its authority in the oil markets.

Both the FTC and CFTC can take legal actions in connection with fraud-based manipulation of the petroleum markets, but the CFTC has exclusive jurisdiction to regulate exchanges, clearing organizations and intermediaries in the U.S. futures industry. This MOU will further facilitate information sharing on regulatory issues of common interest.

The MOU also directs the FTC and CFTC to ensure that the confidentiality of the non-public information is maintained, and 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 mandates under the pre-merger laws.