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Business Law Newsletter

What are Securities?

“Securities” is a term that generally refers to shares of a corporation, promissory notes, and other liabilities. The laws regarding securities are very complex.

Securities are regulated by both federal and state laws. However, when state laws conflict with federal laws, the federal laws prevail. Both sets of laws usually require proper registration with an agency that regulates securities, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The primary federal laws that regulate securities in the United States are the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Act of 1934. The former regulates the issuance of shares, while the latter regulates the trading of shares.

Securities Act of 1933

The focus of this Act is the initial money-raising phase of a corporation. Primarily, the 1933 Act requires certain disclosures and registrations, with exceptions.

Securities Act of 1934

The 1934 Act focuses upon the actual trading of shares within the market. Its purpose is to prevent fraud and insider trading. It is under this Act that stockbrokers are regulated.

State Securities Laws

States are permitted to regulate securities, as long as they don’t conflict with the federal laws. Most of these laws provide for registration and fraud prevention. State laws regulating securities are also called “Blue Sky” laws.

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