U.S. authorities probing New York SEC staff investments: WSJ

Reuters
A sign for the SEC is pictured in the foyer of the Fort Worth Regional Office in Fort Worth
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A sign for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is pictured in the foyer of the Fort Worth Regional Office in Fort Worth, Texas June 28, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone

(Reuters) - Federal prosecutors and the office of the inspector general of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have contacted some employees in the SEC's New York office in a probe of possibly improper financial holdings, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Investigators are checking whether the employees' investments comply with SEC internal rules that prohibit trading shares of companies under investigation, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.

The investigation appears limited to the New York office of the securities regulator, and there is no indication of widespread flouting of the rules, according to the report.

An SEC representative was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan declined to comment.

The report of the probe comes after a troubled overhaul of the SEC's internal compliance monitoring system following a 2009 allegation by the agency's then-inspector general that two agency employees may have engaged in insider trading.

The employees were cleared, but the overhaul was marred when the SEC found that the privacy of staffers' personal brokerage information had been compromised.

(Reporting by David Henry and Sarah Lynch in New York; Editing by Ken Wills)

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