Regulatory Risk

DEFINITION of 'Regulatory Risk'

The risk that a change in laws and regulations will materially impact a security, business, sector or market. A change in laws or regulations made by the government or a regulatory body can increase the costs of operating a business, reduce the attractiveness of investment and/or change the competitive landscape.

BREAKING DOWN 'Regulatory Risk'

For example, utilities face a significant amount of regulation in the way they operate, including the quality of infrastructure and the amount that can be charged to customers. For this reason, these companies face regulatory risk that can arise from events - such as a change in the fees they can charge - that may make operating the business more difficult.

Another type of regulatory risk would be a change by the government in the amount of margin that investment accounts are able to have. While this is an unlikely change, if it were to be changed, the impact on the stock market would be material as this would force investors to either meet the new margin requirements or sell off their margined positions.

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