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Federal Securities Law Research Guide: Rules & Regulations

Administrative Governance: The Securities and Exchange Commission

The SEC is the agency which mainly handles securities. The SEC oversees the key participants in the securities world, including securities exchanges, securities brokers and dealers, investment advisors, and mutual funds. The SEC is concerned primarily with promoting the disclosure of important market-related information, maintaining fair dealing, and protecting against fraud.  

Similar to other administrative agencies, the SEC promulgates administrative rules and regulations which assist in carrying out the purposes and intentions of the federal statutes which govern securities.

Like other regulations, SEC regulations are first published in the Federal Register, then codified in Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (current to within 2 or 3 days; no historic regulations available).  In addition, SEC rules and regulations can be found at:

Westlaw:

Key in (FSEC-CFR) in the "Search for a database" box.

Lexis:

Breadcrumb trail: Legal > Area of Law - By Topic > Securities > Find SEC & Other Administrative Materials > Federal > CFR - Titles 12(Banks & Banking) & 17(SEC & CFTC Rules & Regs)

SEC Website:

Final Rules (1995 - Present; Selected rules from 1962 - 1994)

Proposed Rules (1994 - Present)

CCH Federal Securities Law Reporter

(KF 1439.C7)

Located on the 1st floor of the Gould Law Library. 

SEC Forms & Filings

All public companies are required to complete forms and file certain documents to comply with SEC regulation.

SEC Forms:

 These forms include information regarding periodic reports, registration statements, etc.  Links to these forms may be found at:  http://www.sec.gov/about/forms/secforms.htm.

SEC Regulatory Filings:

SEC EDGAR

Westlaw:  Key in (EDGAR) in "Search for a database" box.

LexisBreadcrumb trail: Legal > Area of Law - By Topic > Securities > Search SEC Filings > SEC Filings - Full-Text & Abstracts

SEC Litigation

The SEC maintains a database of past enforcement actions, opinions, appellate court briefs and other litigation materials, which may be found here: http://www.sec.gov/litigation.shtml.

SEC No Action Letters

Informal opinion letters as to legality of an action, binding only on the party who requested the letter, can be found at:

SEC:  http://www.sec.gov/interps/noaction.shtml (Selected letters, 1998 - Present)

Westlaw: Key in (FSEC-NAL) in the "Search for a database" box.

Lexis: Breadcrumb trail: Legal > Area of Law - By Topic > Securities > Find SEC & Other Administrative Materials > Search SEC No-Action, Exemptive & Interpretive Letters

SEC Staff Interpretations

Staff members at the SEC have issued oral and written interpretations about compliance with federal regulations. These interpretations are useful but not legally binding since they are not the official word of the government. The staff interpretations may be found here: http://www.sec.gov/interps.shtml