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Securities Law Research

A guide to finding primary and secondary sources in securities law at the Tarlton Law Library

General Information

Materials on securities regulation are generally located on the 4th floor and can be found in the call number ranges KF1428 - KF1457 and KF1066 - KF1086.

Find additional resources about securities law in TALLONS.

What is a "security"?

The term "security" is defined in section 2(a)(1) of the Securities Act of 1933 as "any note, stock, treasury stock, security future, bond, debenture, evidence of indebtedness, certificate of interest or participation in any profit-sharing agreement, collateral-trust certificate, preorganization certificate or subscription, transferable share, investment contract, voting-trust certificate, certificate of deposit for a security, fractional undivided interest in oil, gas, or other mineral rights, any put, call, straddle, option, or privilege on any security, certificate of deposit, or group or index of securities (including any interest therein or based on the value thereof), or any put, call, straddle, option, or privilege entered into on a national securities exchange relating to foreign currency, or, in general, any interest or instrument commonly known as a 'security', or any certificate of interest or participation in, temporary or interim certificate for, receipt for, guarantee of, or warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase, any of the foregoing."  15 U.S.C. §77(b)(a)(1).

Securities Laws

Securities transactions are subject to regulation under both federal and state law.  Federal securities law basically consists of five statutes enacted between 1933 and 1940 (and periodically amended in subsequent years) and one statute enacted in 1970 (as amended in subsequent years).  In 2002, Congress responded to corporate governance scandals including Enron and Worldcom with amendments to the existing securities laws and by enacting what has become known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  The securities acts are explained in more detail under the Statutes tab.

Federal Agencies

Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") is the agency charged with principal responsibility for the enforcement and administration of the federal securities laws.  It is the responsibility of the SEC to: (1) interpret federal securities laws; (2) issue new rules and amend existing rules; (3) oversee the inspection of securities firms, brokers, investment advisers, and ratings agencies; (4) oversee private regulatory organizations in the securities, accounting, and auditing fields; and (5) coordinate U.S. securities regulation with federal, state, and foreign authorities.  For further information about the SEC, please visit the SEC website at

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC") was created in 1974 as an independent agency with the mandate to regulate commodity futures and option markets in the United States.  For further information about the CFTC, please visit the CFTC website at