A federal piece of legislation enacted as a result of the market crash of 1929. This was the First Congressional law regulating the securities industry. It required registration and disclosure and included measures to discourage fraud and deception. The legislation had two main goals:
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 was created to provide governance of securities transactions on the secondary market (after issue) and regulates the exchanges and broker-dealers in order to protect the investing public. In-depth study of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including regulation of stock exchanges, broker- dealers, and tender offers, and enforcement by Securities and Exchange Commission and private parties.
This Act regulates the organization of companies, including mutual funds, that engage primarily in investing, reinvesting, and trading in securities, and whose own securities are offered to the investing public. The regulation is designed to minimize conflicts of interest that arise in these complex operations. The Act requires these companies to disclose their financial condition and investment policies to investors when stock is initially sold and, subsequently, on a regular basis. The focus of this Act is on disclosure to the investing public of information about the fund and its investment objectives, as well as on investment company structure and operations. It is important to remember that the Act does not permit the SEC to directly supervise the investment decisions or activities of these companies or judge the merits of their investments.
Congress passed the USA Patriot Act as a response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Act allows federal officials greater authority in tracking and intercepting communications, both for purposes of law enforcement and foreign intelligence gathering. It gives the Secretary of the Treasury regulatory powers to combat corruption of US financial institutions for foreign money-laundering purposes; it more actively works to close our borders to foreign terrorists and to detain and remove those within our borders; it establishes new crimes, new penalties and new procedural techniques for use against domestic and international terrorists.
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is legislation enacted in response to the high profile Enron and WorldCom financial scandals to protect shareholders and the general public from accounting errors and fraudulent practices in the enterprise. The act is administered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which sets deadlines for compliance and publishes rules on requirements. Sarbanes-Oxley is not a set of business practices and does not specify how a business should store records; rather, it defines which records are to be stored and for how long. The legislation not only affects the financial side of corporations, but also affects the IT departments whose job it is to store a corporation's electronic records. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act states that all business records, including electronic records and electronic messages, must be saved for "not less than five years." The consequences for non-compliance are fines, imprisonment, or both. IT departments are increasingly faced with the challenge of creating and maintaining a corporate records archive in a cost-effective fashion that satisfies the requirements put forth by the legislation.