What is the Securities Act of 1933?
The Securities Act of 1933 is commonly referred to as the ’33 Act or the Truth in Securities law. It was the first major federal legislation enacted to regulate the securities markets. In response to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, new measures were put into place. This was to ensure better transparency in financial statements so investors could make informed decisions. It also protected them from fraudulent activity and deceit in the securities market.
Before the ’33 Act, the regulation of securities was handled by the states. This led to a lack of consistency in how securities were issued and disclosed. Furthermore, enforcement was also inconsistent.
The ’33 Act required companies to register with the SEC. They also had to provide potential investors with standard documentation, including a prospectus. This prospectus included certified financial statements, information about management, business plans, and a description of the securities being offered. For a company to go public, its shares must be traded on an exchange. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must declare the company’s submission “effective” for this to happen.
The ’33 Act set out regulations to protect investors. These included uniform rules for public company reporting and disclosure requirements. This was to help prevent fraudulent activities or misrepresentation. Additionally, it established oversight at the federal and state level.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Securities Act of 1933 into law as part of the New Deal. This happened during the Great Depression. The 1920s saw a meteoric rise in the stock market. On Black Thursday, Oct. 24, 1929, the stock market crashed, losing 11% of its value. This crash marked the beginning of a cataclysmic event.
Then came Black Monday, October 28, 1929, when the stock market fell 13% in a single day. The following day, the market dropped 12%. This downturn continued until mid-November, when the market had lost nearly half of its value. It took 15 years for the market to reach pre-crash levels again.
The fall caused fear among potential investors and consumers, who worried about their financial future. This fear led them to refrain from spending, making the economic situation worse and causing more contractions.
The United States didn’t fully emerge from the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression until World War II which required men and machinery to fuel the effort. The Stock Market Crash that permeated America for more than a decade was attributed to a speculative boom that went uncontested. With the ’33 Act, capital markets regulation was in the hands of the Federal Government.
Standards including the creation and submission of registration statements that include a prospectus containing detailed financial information on the securities offered, company and business.
All those signing the registration statement, including the company’s senior management and underwriter, must conduct thorough due diligence to verify that the document is complete and accurate.
Registration statements and their accompanying prospectuses must be filed via the SEC’s EDGAR (computer system for the receipt, acceptance, review and dissemination of documents submitted in electronic format to the Commission. These registration statements are examined by the SEC to ensure that they are compliant with disclosure requirements and that the American public and investors can make informed decisions about their investment decisions.
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