The Role of the Securities and Exchange Commission
Paul S. Maco Partner Vinson & Elkins LLP
Cristy C. Edwards Associate Vinson & Elkins LLP
Prior to the adoption of the federal securities laws in the early part of the twentieth century, aggrieved investors found whatever recourse the law offered in a combination of common law rights and various state statutes enacted to curb speculation. Codified regulation of securities and securities transactions existed at the state level only, for a few states had specifically enacted “blue sky” statutes regulating the sale of securities within their borders a few decades before adoption of the federal securities laws.
Codified regulation of securities and the securities markets at the national level began in the United States in 1933 and the enactment of the Securities Act of 1933 (the Securities Act) as the first of what have come to be commonly known as the federal securities laws. Together with the Securities Act, the other federal laws commonly considered within the term “federal securities laws” include the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act), the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and the Securities Investor Protection Act. The Public Utility Holding Company Act, formerly included in this term, was repealed in 2005. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, aside from creating the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, mandating several SEC studies, and amending several of the criminal ...