What Is the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA)?

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) is an organization of securities regulators whose aim is to protect investors from fraud. Founded in 1919 in the U.S. state of Kansas, its membership of over 60 securities administrators from across North America works to protect customers of investment advice or securities as part of a complementary regulatory system that works at the federal, state/provincial, and industry levels.

Key Takeaways

  • Organized in 1919, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) is the oldest international regulatory organization devoted to investor protection.
  • NASAA is a voluntary association whose membership consists of 67 state, provincial, and territorial securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico.
  • It works to protect customers of investment advice and securities as part of a complementary regulatory system that works at the federal, state/provincial, and industry levels.
  • NASAA seeks to help investors identify and avoid fraud by educating the public, investigating violations of state and provincial law, and filing enforcement actions.

Understanding the North American Securities Administrators Association

NASAA seeks to help investors identify and avoid fraud by educating the public, investigating violations of state and provincial law, and filing enforcement actions. Its membership is made up of regulators that may be appointed, hired for career-focused positions, or are under the jurisdiction of their states' Attorneys General. These regulators are responsible for licensing securities firms and investment professionals—such as broker-dealers and investment advisers—registering certain securities offerings, reviewing financial offerings of small companies, auditing branch office sales practices and record-keeping, promoting investor education, and most importantly, enforcing state securities laws.

In addition to protecting investors, some state regulators may help small businesses raise money and stay in compliance with securities laws. Some regulators may work in a department that also regulates insurance or banking.

NASAA's membership is made up of securities regulators from all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico. NASAA's website features a variety of investor and professional resources, including a fraud center that lists top investor traps, a fraud awareness quiz, fraud red flags, how to contact a local securities regulator, and how to investigate a broker or investment adviser.

Special Considerations

NASAA members work within the government to protect investors and ensure the integrity of the securities industry in the following ways:

  • Licensing stockbrokers, investment adviser firms (those managing less than $100 million in assets), and securities firms that conduct business in the state.
  • Registering certain securities offered to the states’ investors.
  • Investigating investor complaints and potential cases of investment fraud
  • Enforcing state securities laws by fining, penalizing, providing restitution to investors, prosecuting white-collar criminals, and imposing legally binding conduct remedies designed to correct specific problems.
  • Examining brokerage and investment adviser firms to ensure compliance with securities laws and maintenance of accurate records of client accounts.
  • Reviewing certain offerings that are not exempt from state law.
  • Educating investors about their rights and providing the tools and knowledge they need to make informed financial decisions.
  • Advocating passage of strong, sensible, and consistent state securities laws and regulations.

NASAA also administers the Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66 regulatory examinations, which licenses financial professionals to function as an agent. In most states, the Series 63 is a requirement for all registered securities agents.