Curated by Matthew Garza, J.D.
Managing Editor

The federal securities laws protect investors and the general public through disclosure requirements and prohibitions against fraudulent and manipulative conduct.

The principal federal securities laws are: the Securities Act of 1933; the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; the Trust Indenture Act of 1939; the Investment Company Act of 1940; and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Congress has, from time to time passed other legislation amending these securities laws. Subsequent significant legislation includes, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012. Securities offerings are also regulated and broker-dealers are licensed at the state level. Each state has its own regulatory agency that regulates offerings within their borders. State securities laws (often called “blue sky laws”) are intended to protect investors against securities fraud. The states focus on individual investor protection issues, leaving more broad-based market concerns to the Securities and Exchange Commission. State securities agencies also assist small business capital formation by providing a streamlined registration process, or more recently exemptions from registration requirements.