Securities Regulation

Securities Regulation in the United States

Finding Securities Rules/Regulations

Note: Be sure to check the currency, coverage, and status (official or unofficial) of all sources.

There are several official and unofficial sources for SEC’s rules and regulations.

Official Sources

The Federal Register is the official daily publication where the SEC and other federal agencies first publish proposed regulations for comment, adopted final regulations, explanations of actions taken, and announcements of significant interpretations of the law. For information on locating the Federal Register, please see information about the federal register and Federal Administrative Law Research.

After publication in the Federal Register, final regulations are then arranged by subject into the 50 titles of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). CFR titles are divided into chapters, each containing the regulations of a specific agency. SEC rules are found in Chapter II of Title 17—Commerce and Trade. Chapters are divided into parts, which cover particular topics. Parts are divided into sections, the basic unit of the CFR. For information on locating the CFR, please see the entry about the CFR in the context of Federal Administrative Law Research.

Official Sources: Interpreting a CFR Citation

Securities lawyers and SEC staff almost invariably refer to a rule using only the rule number, not its entire CFR cite. The rule numbers are part of the CFR citation, but you need to know which Act a rule was promulgated under in order to find it in the CFR.

In Chapter II of Title 17 of the CFR, the CFR part numbers correspond to the Securities Acts, beginning at part 230. See the list below.

17 C.F.R., part 200 – General SEC rules
17 C.F.R., part 201 – SEC practice rules
17 C.F.R., part 202 – Informal procedures
17 C.F.R., part 203 – Investigations
17 C.F.R., part 210 – Financial statements (Reg. S-X)
17 C.F.R., part 229 – Filing instructions (Reg. S-K)
17 C.F.R., part 230 – 1933 Act
17 C.F.R., part 240 – 1934 Act
17 C.F.R., part 250 – Public Utility Holding Co. Act of 1934
17 C.F.R., part 260 – Trust Indenture Act of 1939
17 C.F.R., part 270 – Investment Co. Act of 1940
17 C.F.R., part 275 – Investment Advisers Act of 1940

The full CFR citation for a rule consists of both the part number from the list above and the rule number issued by the SEC. So, rule 16a-9 under the 1934 Act is published at 17 C.F.R. § 240.16a-9. Similarly, if you saw a citation that read 17 C.F.R. § 230.144, you would know that it refers to rule 144 under the 1933 Act.

Unofficial Sources

Some sources listed below may not contain all rules and regulations issued by the SEC, but the list on this page provides suggestions for where to look for rules and regulations.

  • SEC Website – Rules and Regulations for the Securities and Exchange Commission and Major Securities Laws
  • SEC Website – Final Rules
  • SEC Website – Proposed Rules
  • CCH’s Federal Securities Law Reporter looseleaf and the electronic version of the Federal Securities Law Reporter. BNA’s Securities Regulation & Law Report – This weekly publication provides selected rules, forms, releases, and cases. It also has a publisher’s summary of securities law developments. It may be the first print appearance, partial or full text, of a proposed regulation, outside of the Federal Register. It also is available in commercial (non-academic) subscriptions to Lexis and Westlaw.
  • SEC Docket, now published by CCH includes rules and regulations beginning with 1973. Your firm library may have 1933-1973 releases on microfiche.
  • Lexis and Westlaw both provide (subscription) access to securities rules and regulations. (see below)

In Lexis:

  • SEC Decisions, Orders & Releases (FEDSEC; SECREL) contains rule and regulation releases.
    CFR – Titles 12(Banks & Banking) & 17(SEC & CFTC Rules & Regs) (FEDSEC; CFR) includes selected titles from the CFR.
  • Federal Register, Including SEC and CFTC Proposed Rules and Regs (FEDSEC; FR) includes securities related documents from the Federal Register.
  • SEC and CFTC Rules and Regs, Federal Register, CFR (Titles 12,17) (FEDSEC; ALLREG) includes selected documents from the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register.

In Westlaw:

  • Federal Securities – Securities Releases (FSEC-RELS) includes SEC rule and regulation releases.
  • Federal Securities and Blue Sky Law – Code of Federal Regulations (FSEC-CFR) includes documents from the CFR that relate to trading and distribution of investment securities and commodity futures.
  • Federal Securities – Federal Register (FSEC-FR) database includes documents from the Federal Register that relate to trading and distribution of investment securities and commodity futures.
  • Federal Securities Law – Final, Temporary, and Proposed Regulations (FSEC-REG) database is a combination of the FSEC-CFR and FSEC-FR databases.

United States Securities Code and Regulations

The United States Securities Code and Regulations appear in Title 15 of the United States Code and Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Securities Regulation: Main Elements

The coverage of Securities Regulation includes the following element(s):

Scope of the Securities Act of 1933

Find out an overview of this topic, in relation to Securities Regulation, in the legal Ecyclopedia.


See Also

  • Business Law
  • Securities Regulation


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