Major pieces of legislation, such as the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, provide the framework for the Security Exchange Commission's (SEC) oversight of the securities markets. These statutes are broadly drafted, establishing basic principles and objectives.
You can find general descriptions of the objectives of each of these statutes in the "About the SEC."
TIP: The SEC website links to the text of the federal securities laws. These texts include references to the United States Code (USC). These references are the official citations for federal laws. Securities laws are published in Title 15 of the USC For example, the Securities Act of 1933 is 15 USC § 77a et seq., while the the Securities Act of 1934 is 15 USC § 78a et seq.
While the SEC directly is the main enforcer of the nation's securities laws, each individual state has its own securities laws and rules. These state rules are known as "Blue Sky Laws."
The Uniform Securities Act is a model statute designed to guide each state in drafting its state securities law. It was created by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL).
Versions of the Uniform Securities Act are available on Heinonline.
The SEC engages in rulemaking to maintain fair and orderly markets and to protect investors by altering regulations or creating new ones.
The Federal Register. The Federal Register is the official daily publication where the SEC and other federal agencies first publish proposed regulations for comment, among other details. The Regulatory Actions section of the SEC webpage has links to the Federal Register publication of a specific rule.
The Code of Federal Regulations. After publication in the Federal Register, final regulations are then arranged by subject into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). SEC rules are found in Chapter II of Title 17 — Commodity and Securities Exchanges.
Tip: Individuals often refer to SEC rules and regulations by the number only, without reference to the entire CFR citation. For example if you are looking for Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the citation is 17 CFR 240.10b-5. An idiosyncrasy of the federal securities laws is that the term “regulation” often refers to a collection of rules.