Beyond state corporation laws, federal statutes—most importantly, the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934—regulate the issuance and trading of corporate securities. The federal definition of security is broad, encompassing most investments, even those called by other names.
The law does not prohibit risky stock offerings; it bans only those lacking adequate disclosure of risks. The primary means for realizing this goal is the registration requirement: registration statements, prospectuses, and proxy solicitations must be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Penalties for violation of securities law include criminal fines and jail terms, and damages may be awarded in civil suits by both the SEC and private individuals injured by the violation of SEC rules. A 1977 amendment to the 1934 act is the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits an issuer from paying a bribe or making any other payment to foreign officials in order to gain business by inducing the foreign official to influence his government in favor of the US company. This law requires issuers to keep accurate sets of books reflecting the dispositions of their assets and to maintain internal accounting controls to ensure that transactions comport with management’s authorization.
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 presents special hazards to those trading in public stock on the basis of inside information. One provision requires the reimbursement to the company of any profits made from selling and buying stock during a six-month period by directors, officers, and shareholders owning 10 percent or more of the company’s stock. Under Rule 10b-5, the SEC and private parties may sue insiders who traded on information not available to the general public, thus gaining an advantage in either selling or buying the stock. Insiders include company employees.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act amended the 1934 act, creating more stringent penalties, increasing corporate regulation, and requiring greater transparency.
The issuance of corporate securities is governed by
The law that prohibits the payment of a bribe to foreign officials to gain business is called
The primary means for banning stock offerings that inadequately disclose risks is
To enforce its prohibition under insider trading, the SEC requires reimbursement to the company of any profits made from selling and buying stock during any six-month period by directors owing
Under Rule 10b-5, insiders include
The purpose of the Dodd-Frank Act is to