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US court affirms SEC stance on withholding Wall Street arbitration records.

Publisher: Reuters
Author: Suzanne Barlyn 

The SEC does not have to release records about its supervision of Wall Street’s arbitration process to a group of investors’ lawyers, a federal appeals court ruled today.

The decision settled a long running battle about the public’s right of access to documents about the SEC’s oversight of the FINRA’s (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitration system.

FINRA runs the arbitration forum where investors and brokerages must resolve their legal dispute, while the SEC oversees and examines FINRA.

At issue was whether an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act should allow the SEC to keep certain records about arbitration under seal. The court agreed that the SEC had properly invoked the exemption, which protects information contained in “examination reports” that federal agencies used to regulate financial institutions.

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