The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve will exchange more information and cooperate across a number of sectors under a memorandum of understanding that the heads of the two agencies signed yesterday to help prevent a failure of a large financial firm that could harm the economy.

Under the agreement signed by SEC chairman Christopher Cox and Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke - which comes after a March run on Bear, Stearns & Co. pushed the company to the brink of bankruptcy and led to its sale to JPMorgan - the Fed will get more information on securities firms' capital and liquidity and the SEC will receive more data on banks' financial health as it relates to securities brokerages.

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