There are a lot of regulations when it comes to securities and the firms that sell them. Some of these regulations have to do with the registration of securities, the brokerage firm, and the investment salesperson.
Registration of Securities
Under federal and state laws, securities must be registered and there are only limited exceptions to these rules. In many cases, securities also have to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). One of the purposes of registration is to disclose pertinent financial information to investors, which will help protect them from fraud.
Registration of Brokerage Firms & Their Employees
Any firm that sells registered securities to the public is required to register with the state securities regulator, the SEC or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), depending on the business in which the firm is involved. An employee of the brokerage firm who offers or sells registered securities is also required to register with the state securities regulator and/or FINRA.
There are additional licenses that are required for people who sell annuities, insurance and other similar products, as well as registration requirements for those who offer investment advice for a fee. A general rule of thumb to follow is that if someone gave you investment recommendations and charged you a fee, there is a good chance that he or she should be registered and licensed.