photo of business partners hands applauding

The U.S. securities industry is praising the prospect of a joint review of market data fees by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The U.S. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) endorsed the prospect of the SEC and the anti-trust division of the DOJ working together to examine the fees that stock exchanges charge for data in the wake of a cooperation agreement between the two agencies.

The SEC and the DOJ said they signed a “historic” memorandum of understanding to enable cooperation between the agencies, “with the aim of enhancing competition in the securities industry.”

The agreement was announced at a discussion on equity market structure at MIT’s Golub Centre for Finance and Policy.

In that session, SEC chair Jay Clayton said that he’s asked SEC staff to focus on examining market data fees. He said the agencies will use their new agreement to evaluate competition concerns.

In a statement, SIFMA president and CEO Kenneth Bentsen, Jr. said that the agreement between the SEC and the DOJ “should allow the SEC to determine whether exchange fees are subject to competition.”

“Access to this market data is essential…because all participants need timely and complete data to make informed decisions for all customers. The for-profit exchanges exclusively control the distribution and sale of market data, which has led to unchecked fee increases,” Bentsen said.

Bentsen noted that SIFMA has long believed that these fees are excessively marked up.

“We appreciate the focus by the SEC and the DOJ on this important issue,” he said.