Securities Regulations, Statutes, Laws and Rules

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The securities regulations and laws in the United States are a complex web of multiple and overlapping statutes and regulations from over 52 different regulatory agencies. Here we have provided links to the major federal statutes and rules. Each state has its own rules, and links to those can be found at our Guide to State Securities Administrators.

For an overview of the regulatory scheme, read Introduction to the Federal Securities Laws and Introduction to the State Securities Laws.

The Federal Rules and Regulations

The Securities Act of 1933

The ’33 Act governs the initial issuance and registration of securities, as opposed to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 which governs financial reporting, and he registration of people involved with the sale of securities.The full text of the Securities Act of 1933

The Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, pursuant to the ’33 Act.

The complete text of Regulation S-K.

The complete text of Regulation S-T, for electronic filings, including EDGAR.

Forms promulgated under the Securities Act of 1933

From the SEC, outlines of the forms and instructions for filing them. Not for use by a novice, but provides good background material.

The Securities Exchange Act of 1934

The full text of the 1934 Act, which primarily governs the purchase and sale of securities, securities brokerage firms and securities exchanges.

Rules promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

    The text of the rules promulgated under the ’34 Act.

Selected Forms Prescribed for Use under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

 Investment Company Act

The full text of the Investment Company Act, which governs the creation and operation of mutual funds.

Rules promulgated under the Investment Company Act.

Investment Adviser’s Act of 1940

The statute which governs the operation of Investment Advisors.

Rules promulgated under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940

Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970

Governs the operation of the SIPC, and related activity.

The National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996 (NSMIA)

National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996 amended Section15(h) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The Act made federal law controling in certain aspects of the regulation of broker-dealers, such as record-keeping, financial standards, and operating requirements.  In addition, the NSMIA amended the Securities Act of 1933 so that certain types of securities are no longer subject to state registration laws.  However, offers and sales must still be registered, market participants must still register per a state’s blue skies laws, and state fraud laws are still available as causes of action for individual investors.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

Sarbanes-Oxley was adopted as a reaction to a number of corporate and accounting scandals, and set new or expanded requirements for all U.S. public company boards, management and public accounting firms. There are also a number of provisions of the Act that also apply to privately held companies, such as the willful destruction of evidence to impede a federal investigation. The Act covers responsibilities of a public corporation’s board of directors, adds criminal penalties for certain misconduct, and required the Securities and Exchange Commission to create regulations to define how public corporations are to comply with the law.

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act


Related Sites and Links

Recent Securities Law Opinions.

Links to the caselaw that has developed the federal securities laws.

Supreme Court Securities Law Opinions

From Cornell University, all of the recent Supreme Court Decisions relating to the federal securities laws. Available by FTP only; these are not HTML documents.

The State Blue Sky Laws

In addition to the federal securities laws, each state has its own securities laws. For an overview, please read Introduction to the Blue Sky Laws. We maintain a complete list of their snail mail and email addresses, as well as links to the rules and regulations that are available on line in our Guide to State Securities Administrators.

Related Books:

When you need a quick answer to a securities question, turn to Fundamentals of Securities Regulation. The book is a securities law “must have.” This version is the distillation of the authoritative 11-volume treatise, Securities Regulation, in one convenient volume, offering expert analysis of every significant aspect of securities law, including: Primary liability under 10(b); Insider trading; Sanctions; Disclosure requirements; Rules and forms for offerings; SEC reporting; Forward-looking statements; Class action suits; Bespeaks caution cases; ADR in securities disputes.

Another useful publication is The Securities Enforcement Manual, Second Edition: Tactics and Strategies. Published by the American Bar Association, this new Second Edition completely updates the first edition published in 1997. Included is comprehensive coverage to proven approaches and techniques for dealing with an enforcement threat from the SEC, self-regulatory organizations, or state securities regulators. It takes you step-by-step through enforcement investigations and proceedings, providing you with strategies to influence the outcome of an investigation and prevent or minimize the adverse effects of enforcement actions


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