Do as I say, not as I do. So much for that declaration of transparency.

While the SEC directed its staff for years to purge certain investigative records, other agencies in the United States and abroad that enforce financial laws have instructed that similar documents be kept.

Law enforcement authorities in related lines of work have preserved records of inquiries even if those probes never led to charges against anyone. Regulators and archivists said that the records could be a valuable source of information for investigators probing other cases and could help hold the authorities accountable.