North American Securities Administrators Association

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on January 31, 2024

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

The North American Securities Administrators Association is a non-profit organization composed of provincial and state securities regulators in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It protects investors by promoting ethical business practices in the securities industry.

NASAA serves as a forum for the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices among its members. It provides support and assistance to its members in their efforts to protect investors, enforce securities laws, and promote fairness and transparency in the securities markets.

One of NASAA's most important functions is to coordinate the efforts of its members in investigating and prosecuting securities fraud.

It provides training and education to its members on how to detect and prevent this type of fraud by working closely with law enforcement agencies.

NASAA also provides valuable resources to investors, such as information on investing, including tips on how to avoid fraud, how to research investment opportunities, and how to file complaints against fraudulent investment schemes.

History of NASAA

NASAA was established in 1919 in Kansas, following its inaugural annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, where H.L. Carnham of California was the first NASAA president. NASAA is the oldest international organization that protects investors.

It has a membership consisting of 67 state, provincial, and territorial securities administrators across North America. Over the years, NASAA's role and responsibilities expanded as the securities industry grew and became more complex.

NASAA's membership of state and provincial securities regulators have protected investors from fraud, longer than any other securities regulator.

State securities regulation was established over two decades before the creation of the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

They are governed by blue sky laws, which originated from speculative schemes that had no more substance than blue sky. In 1911, Kansas adopted the first modern state blue sky law, which served as a nationwide model for state and provincial securities regulation.

Throughout its history, NASAA has advocated for investor protection, especially for those who lack the expertise, experience, and resources to protect their own interests. The organization is committed to ensuring that every investor receives fair treatment and protection.

Key Functions of NASAA

NASAA accomplishes its mission by performing various key functions:

Stockbroker Licensing

NASAA ensures that stockbrokers are properly trained and qualified before they can work with investors. They are responsible for registering and licensing broker-dealers, investment advisor firms, and security firms that operate within state, district, province, or US territories.

This licensing requirement helps to prevent fraud and misconduct in the securities industry. NASAA also monitors the operations of broker-dealers and investment advisers and takes action when necessary to protect investors.

Investigating Investor Complaints

They receive and investigate complaints from investors who believe fraudulent or illegal securities practices have victimized them. Through its investigations, NASAA works to identify and stop fraudulent activities, protecting investors from potential harm.

NASAA also provides a platform for investors to file complaints and provides them an opportunity to seek recourse for any losses. NASAA members are regulators who operate under the state attorney general's jurisdiction, making them well-suited to investigate such complaints.

Securities Law Enforcement

The organization collaborates with other government agencies to identify and prosecute individuals and firms that engage in fraudulent or illegal securities practices. NASAA also provides training to state securities regulators to improve their ability to enforce securities laws.

Investor Education Promotion

Investor education is another critical function of NASAA. The organization works to promote investor education by providing information and resources to help investors make informed decisions about their investments.

NASAA also provides educational programs to investors to help them understand the securities industry and how to protect their investments. They collaborate with other organizations to increase public awareness about investor protection issues.

Reviewing Brokerage and Investment Advisor Firms

This function helps to maintain the integrity of the securities industry and guard investors from fraudulent practices. NASAA ensures that brokerage and investment advisor firms comply with securities laws and regulations.

During the review, NASAA examines the firm's financial condition, business practices, and compliance procedures to identify any potential risks to investors. They develop recommendations for the firm to improve its operations to safeguard investors' interests.

Advocating for Strong State Securities Laws

Finally, NASAA advocates for strong state securities laws. The organization works with state legislators to develop and implement laws that protect investors from fraudulent and illegal securities practices.

Through its advocacy efforts, NASAA provides policymakers with information and expertise on investor protection issues. This helps to ensure that the interests of investors are protected and that the securities industry operates in a fair and transparent manner.

Functions of NASAA

NASAA Information Security Model Rule

The model rule package includes a rule requiring investment advisers to develop information security policies and procedures, and an amendment to the existing NASAA model recordkeeping requirements rule.

Additionally, it requires an amendment to existing NASAA model rules that prohibit investment advisers from failing to establish, maintain, and enforce required policies or procedures.

The purpose of the model rule package is to emphasize the importance of data privacy. This is vital for investment advisers who handle sensitive client information.

The package also provides a basic framework for state-registered investment advisers to design their own information security policies and procedures, creating consistency across state regulation.

It is important to highlight the significance of information security for small businesses, as the reputational damage and loss of client trust resulting from a breach can be devastating. There is also updated data on the state-registered investment adviser population.

These regulatory activities of state securities regulators demonstrate the resources provided to help small and mid-size businesses succeed while complying with state securities law.

NASAA's Investor Resources, Education, and Outreach

NASAA provides the following resources and services to help protect investors:

Industry Resources

NASAA provides relevant resources for investment advisers, investment adviser representatives, broker-dealers, and their registered representatives. The content is tailored to the needs and interests of these professionals.

There are also resources for securities issuers, including small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to raise investment capital and corporation finance trying to get information. Current and prospective franchisors and franchisees can access valuable materials and resources.

Additionally, investor tools such as the CRD & IARD resources are accessible. Lastly, the NASAA Uniform Forms library contains common forms for broker-dealers, investment advisers, and securities issuers.


NASAA recommends reading their Informed investor advisories and alerts as part of their education program, which can be found in an index organized by topic and year. The NASAA Fraud Center provides information on the warning signs of investment fraud.

They offer investor quizzes and resources to help identify and avoid fraudulent investment schemes. Additionally, NASAA offers a multimedia library featuring various videos and podcasts designed for different audiences, including educational, informative, and entertaining content.


NASAA's Investor Education Outreach Program Guide provides several educational resources and programs for different audiences. The "Start Today and Retire Tomorrow!" (STaRT) program targets working adults to help them reach their retirement goals.

The Financial Empowerment for Women program empowers women to take control of their financial futures and avoid investment fraud. The Crowdfunding Outreach program provides information to assist small businesses and start-ups in raising investment capital.

The "Sandwich Generation: Caught in the Middle" program offers resources to assist with the financial issues facing adults responsible for their own needs and the care of both dependent children and elderly family members.

The Native American Outreach program addresses the specific investor education needs of Native American and First Nations audiences. The United Against Investment Fraud program provides investor education to working people who belong to trade organizations.

Final Thoughts

NASAA plays a critical role in protecting investors by promoting ethical business practices and providing valuable resources to investors. Its work is essential in maintaining the integrity of the securities markets and ensuring that investors are treated fairly and honestly.

They have a long history of advocating for investor protection. Its evolution and growth over time reflect the changing nature of the securities industry and the ongoing need to adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

NASAA works to protect investors in various ways, including licensing stockbrokers, investigating investor complaints, enforcing securities laws, promoting investor education, reviewing brokerage and investment advisor firms, and advocating for strong state securities laws.

The Information Security Model Rule of NASAA establishes a regulatory framework that requires financial institutions to implement effective cybersecurity measures to protect investor information against cyber threats, ensuring that data remains confidential and secure.

The organization provides investor resources, education, and outreach efforts to protect investors and promote transparency in the investment industry. NASAA is a vital organization in North America's securities regulatory landscape.

North American Securities Administrators Association FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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