Who Regulates the Stock Market and Online Brokers?


Stock markets and online brokers deal with massive sums of money on a daily basis. Trades are constantly going back and forth through these markets, with brokers facilitating the transfer of funds and financial instruments.

Naturally, you want to be sure that all of your hard-earned money is going to be safe from nefarious individuals. While there is always a risk associated with investing and trading, this is something you have to deal with if you are going to be investing in the stock market.

However, at no point should your funds be put into jeopardy due to the poor safety practices of a broker. This is why regulation is vital for both stock markets and online brokers. These regulators ensure that all of the respective rules and regulations in that jurisdiction are being enforced.

If a broker is not meeting the standards required, they will be hit with fines and other punishments. These regulators aim to protect investors as much as possible. Across the world, there are many different regulators and protection programs that aim to help investors. This article looks at the main bodies in this space today.


Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is an independent body in Australia that is the corporate regulator in the nation. It regulates and enforces financial services laws. The goal is to ensure that creditors, investors and consumers in the country are properly protected.

It was first created in 1998 and the basis for its authority comes from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission Act of 2001. Among its various duties is the responsibility to look after all forms of professional license and registrations.

Employees: 1,656

Jurisdiction: Australia

Headquarters: Sydney, New South Wales

Founded: July 1, 1998

Contacts: 1300 300 630: within Australia, + 61 3 5177 3988: outside Australia.

ASIC YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ASICConnect

ASIC Twitter: https://twitter.com/asic_connect

ASIC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asicconnect

ASIC LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/asic/

ASIC Website: https://asic.gov.au/


Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is a US government independent agency that was first started back in 1974. It is in charge of the regulation of the derivatives market in the country. This means that financial instruments such as swap, future and some options types are under its watch.

The CFTC maintains the Commodity Exchange Act that prohibits all forms of fraudulent activity relating to the trading of derivatives. It promotes sound regulation in this sector in the US, ensuring the vibrancy, reliance and integrity of the sector.

There has been a move since the Global Recession and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 for the CFTC to be a lot more transparent with its regulation of the swaps market that is worth trillions of dollars.

Employees: 668

Jurisdiction: United States

Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States

Founded: April 15, 1975

Contacts: +1 202-418-5000

CFTC YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/CFTC

CFTC Twitter: https://twitter.com/cftc

CFTC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cftcgov

CFTC LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/commodity-futures-trading-commission/

CFTC Website: https://www.cftc.gov/


Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC)

Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) is one of the leading regulatory bodies in Europe for online brokers. It was first started in 2001 and all of its financial regulations are compliant with the MiFID laws for European Union financial services firms. The CySEC became part of this European set of regulations in 2004, allowing all companies that are registered in Cyprus to have proper access to the markets in Europe.

Employees: 103

Jurisdiction: Cyprus

Headquarters: Nicosia, Cyprus

Founded: 2001

Contacts: +357 22506600

CySEC Twitter: https://twitter.com/CySEC_official

CySEC LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cyprus-securities-and-exchange-commission/

CySEC Website: https://www.cysec.gov.cy/


Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the financial regulator for a certain special economic zone, namely the Dubai International Financial Centre. This is a separate body from the Securities and Commodity Authority in the UAE.

The DFSA is only charged with operations inside of this special zone and ensures that all bodies are compliant up to global standards. It was first set up in 2004 following the creation of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Jurisdiction: Dubai International Financial Centre

Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Founded: 2004

Contacts: +971 (0)4 362 1500

DFSA LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/dfsa/

DFSA Website: https://www.dfsa.ae/


Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFIN)

Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFIN) is the main regulator for financial services in Germany. It is an independent agency that is itself supervised by the federal Ministry of Finance. It oversees the operations of more than 2,700 banks, as well as 800 financial firms.

It was first created back in 2002 as a result of the approval for the Financial Services and Integration Act. This merged together three previous supervisory bodies into one group. Over the years, BaFIN has taken significant action to try and protect consumers and investors.

Employees: 2,535

Jurisdiction: Federal Republic of Germany

Headquarters: Bonn and Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Founded: May 1, 2002

Contacts: 08002100500, +49 (0) 228 299 70 299

BaFIN LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bafin/

BaFIN Website: https://www.bafin.de/


Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is one of the leading regulatory bodies in the world, being based in the United Kingdom. It was created in 2013 and it is independent from the government in the region. The financing of its operations comes from an implementation of a levy on all of these participants in the financial services sector.

All financial companies that provide consumer services are under the regulation of the FCA, with the body also ensuring that the financial market integrity in the UK is maintained. The Bank of England is responsible for the overall financial stability of the region, utilizing micro and macro policies to do so. The FCA also has significant powers relating to investigation firms and banning certain financial products.

Jurisdiction: United Kingdom

Headquarters: London, United Kingdom

Founded: April 1, 2013

Contacts: 0800 111 6768, 0300 500 8082 from the UK, or +44 207 066 1000 from abroad.

FCA YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/thefcatv

FCA Twitter: https://twitter.com/thefca

FCA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PPIFCA/

FCA LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/financial-conduct-authority/

FCA Website: https://www.fca.org.uk/


Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is based out of the US and is operated as a private corporation that is a self-regulator. Previously, this role was taken up by the National Association of Securities Dealers.

FINRA is not associated with the US government and it is in charge of the regulation of exchanges and broker firms that are part of it organization. The SEC has the ultimate power of regulation over the securities sector in the US, as well as power over FINRA. There are about 4,500 brokers under the oversight of FINRA.

Employees: 3,600

Jurisdiction: United States

Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States

Founded: July 30, 2007

Contacts: 844-574-3577

FINRA YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/finraonline

FINRA Twitter: https://twitter.com/finra

FINRA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FinancialIndustryRegulatoryAuthority/

FINRA LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/finra/

FINRA Website: https://www.finra.org/


Financial Market Authority (FMA)

The Financial Market Authority (FMA) is based in Liechtenstein and it is the main regulator for financial services in the country. It is an independent body that supervises the financial markets, ensuring that all relevant laws are upheld.

It was first started in 2005 and it is a vital part of the Liechtenstein economy, as financial markets attribute approximately one-quarter of total GDP. Therefore, the government ensured that an independent and strong regulator was at the helm of this sector.

Employees: 80

Jurisdiction: Liechtenstein

Headquarters: Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Founded: January 1, 2005

Contacts: +423 236 73 73

FMA Twitter: https://twitter.com/fma_li

FMA Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fma_liechtenstein/

FMA LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/fma---financial-market-authority-liechtenstein/

FMA Website: https://www.fma-li.li/


Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) supervising banks, insurance firms, securities dealers and stock exchanges in the country, as well as all of the different financial intermediaries.

It is an independent body and it only reports to the Swiss parliament. It was originally founded in 2007 following the creation of the Federal Act on the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority.

Employees: 534

Jurisdiction: Switzerland

Headquarters: Bern, Switzerland

Founded: 2007

Contacts: +41 31 327 98 88

FINMA Twitter: https://twitter.com/FINMA_media

FINMA LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/swiss-financial-market-supervisory-authority-finma/

FINMA Website: https://www.finma.ch/


Financial Stability Board (FSB)

The Financial Stability Board (FSB) is a global agency that recommends changes relating to the worldwide financial system. It was created in 2009 following the G20 London summit. It took over from the Financial Stability Forum and the board is made up of all of the major economies in the world.

Employees: 33

Headquarters: Basel, Switzerland

Founded: 2009

Contacts: +41 61 280 8844

FSB Twitter: https://twitter.com/FinStbBoard

FSB LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/financialstabilityboard/

FSB Website: https://www.fsb.org/


International Financial Services Commission (IFSC)

The International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) is a government agency in Belize that looks after financial regulation. This includes oversight for all of those parties actively partaking in the financial markets and exchanges. The IFSC is focused on the creation and enforcement of regulations in the financial space. It is a popular body for global Forex brokers to obtain a license.

Jurisdiction: Belize

Headquarters: Belize City, Belize

Founded: January 1, 1999

Contacts: 501-822-2974

IFSC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IFSCommission/

IFSC LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/int-l-financial-services-commission-ifsc/

IFSC Website: https://www.ifsc.gov.bz/


The National Futures Association (NFA)

The National Futures Association (NFA) is an organization that is self-regulatory in its make up and is focused on regulating the derivatives sector in the US. It has its headquarters in Chicago and is a non-profit and independent body. It does not act as a trade association and is not a market participant. It finances its operations by levying fees on members.

Jurisdiction: United States

Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Founded: 1982

Contacts: 312-781-1410 or 800-621-3570.

NFA Twitter: https://twitter.com/NFA_News

NFA LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/national-futures-association/

NFA Website: https://www.nfa.futures.org/



The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is the main regulator for securities in the US. It is an agency of the US government but it acts in an independent manner. It was created in 1934 and is the most recognizable financial services regulator in the world today.

It looks after everything relating to the federal securities laws, ensuring that all market participants are compliant, investing and prosecuting any bodies or people who are in breach of these laws.

Employees: 4,301

Jurisdiction: United States

Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States

Founded: June 6, 1934

Contacts: (800) 877-8339

SEC YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SECViews/

SEC Twitter: https://twitter.com/SEC_News

SEC Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SECInvestorEducation/

SEC LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/us-securities-and-exchange-commission/

SEC Website: https://www.sec.gov/


Markets in Financial Instrument Directive (MiFID)

The Markets in Financial Instrument Directive (MiFID) has gone through a number of changes over the years. It is the basis for a harmonized law for all European Union countries when it comes to the formation and operation of financial services operations in the region. It has provided a strong basis for financial services companies operating in the European market.

MiFID Website: https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/search-law/eu-law_en

About the author

Kate Leaman

Kate Leaman

Kate Leaman is the Chief Analyst and author at InvestorGreg. She won the Sky News Fiona McDiarmad award and subsequently became a journalist for Sky News. Read more

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