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

Securities Regulation: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Securities Regulation. This part provides references, in relation to Securities Regulation, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Securities Regulation by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Securities Regulation and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Securities Regulation or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Securities Regulation and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Securities Regulation. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Securities Regulation should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Securities Regulation when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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