USA—financial services regulation essentials
USA—financial services regulation essentials

The following Financial Services guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • USA—financial services regulation essentials
  • Introduction to US financial services regulation
  • The regulators
  • Regulation
  • Key federal securities laws
  • General considerations for UK financial services firms

Introduction to US financial services regulation

The financial services industry in the US is heavily regulated by a myriad of different regulators at the state and federal level. In the wake of the global economic crisis the regulatory regime has undergone and continues to undergo much change. Additionally, the US regulators consider themselves to have a broad jurisdictional reach over registered and non-registered entities alike, even if they are located outside of the US. The Practice Notes that cover US regulation deal with various aspects of the regulatory regime in the US, including information about the regulators; the types of activities that require registration; how to register and the types of regulation to which registered firms are subject; the enforcement process; and how US laws and regulations in the financial services industry may impact non-US firms.

The regulators

The two main federal regulators for the securities markets and financial instruments in the US are the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The SEC is an independent government agency which oversees the key participants in the securities world, including securities exchanges, securities brokers and dealers, investment advisors, and mutual funds. The SEC’s mission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. The CFTC is an independent government