What is the International Organization of Securities Commissions?

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is a global cooperative of securities regulatory agencies that aims to establish and maintain worldwide standards for efficient, orderly and fair markets. The stated goals of the IOSCO are to:

  • Promote high standards of regulation for the sake of orderly and efficient markets
  • Share information with exchanges and assist them with technical and operational issues
  • Establish standards toward monitoring global investment transactions across borders and markets

Understanding the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)

There were more than 218 members in the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) as of February 2018. Membership is divided among three categories. These include:

  • Ordinary members, which include the primary futures markets and securities regulators in a given jurisdiction. Each ordinary member has one vote.
  • Associate members, consisting of additional futures and securities regulators in those jurisdictions that have multiple regulatory bodies. Associate members do not have a vote and aren’t eligible for the Executive Committee, but are members of the Presidents’ Committee.
  • Affiliate members, which include self-regulatory organizations, stock exchanges, and stock market industry associations. These members do not have a vote and are not eligible for either the Executive Committee or the President’s Committee, but may be members of the Self-Regulatory Organizations (SRO) Consultative Committee.

The IOSCO is made up of several committees that meet at conferences that take place around the world several times a year. Its administrative offices of the General Secretariat are based in Madrid. It has four regional committees and a technical committee, which does much of the organization’s regulatory work.

History of the IOSCO

In 1983, the Inter-American Regional Association, which had been formed in 1974, expanded its operations into a global cooperative that became the IOSCO. The first regulators from outside the Americas to join the IOSCO were from Indonesia, France, Korea and the United Kingdom. The first IOSCO Annual Conference to take place outside the Americas was the July 1986 Paris Annual Conference.

The IOSCO currently operates in more than 100 jurisdictions, covering more than 90% of the world's markets, and is considered to be the source for global standards of market operation. In 1998, it approved the IOSCO Principles, which set the benchmark for securities markets worldwide. The IOSCO has since released a methodology for how to achieve those benchmarks. The IOSCO's work has been praised at the highest levels of government, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, as transactions between different countries became something that required increased scrutiny and regulatory control.