A self-regulatory organization (SRO) is an organization that exercises some degree of regulatory authority over an industry or profession. The regulatory authority could exist in place of government regulation, or applied in addition to government regulation. The ability of an SRO to exercise regulatory authority does not necessarily derive from a grant of authority from the government.
In United States securities law, a self-regulatory organization is a defined term. The principal federal regulatory authority—the
Securities and Exchange Commission
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent agency of the United States federal government, created in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The primary purpose of the SEC is to enforce the law against market ...
(SEC)—was established by the Federal
Securities Exchange Act of 1934
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (also called the Exchange Act, '34 Act, or 1934 Act) (, codified at et seq.) is a law governing the secondary trading of securities (stocks, bonds, and debentures) in the United States of America. A landm ...
. The SEC originally delegated authority to the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD, now Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
) and to the national stock exchanges
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE, nicknamed "The Big Board") is an American stock exchange in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. It is by far the world's largest stock exchange by market capitalization of its listed c ...
) to enforce certain industry standards and requirements related to securities trading and brokerage. On July 26, 2007 the SEC approved a merger of the enforcement arms of the NYSE and the NASD, to form a new SRO, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). In addition, Congress created the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board
(MSRB) as an SRO charged with adopting investor protection rules governing broker-dealers and banks that underwrite, trade and sell tax-exempt bonds, 529 college savings plans and other types of municipal securities.
The American Arbitration Association
is also an SRO with official, statutory status.
Because of the prominence of the SROs in the securities industry, the term SRO is often used to narrowly to describe an organization authorized by statute or government agency to exercise control over a certain aspect of the industry.
National Association of Realtors
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is an American trade association for those who work in the real estate industry. It has over 1.4 million members, making it one of the biggest trade associations in the USA including NAR's institutes, s ...
(NAR) is an example of an SRO that fills the vacuum left by the absence of government oversight or regulation. The NAR sets the rules for multiple listing service
s and how brokers use them. Another example is the
American Medical Association
The American Medical Association (AMA) is a professional association and lobbying group of physicians and medical students. Founded in 1847, it is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Membership was approximately 240,000 in 2016.
The AMA's ...
which sets rules for ethics, conflicts, disciplinary action, and accreditation in medicine.
BBB National Programs is an example of an organization that houses multiple SROs, such as the Children's Advertising Review Unit
, (CARU) and the National Advertising Division (NAD), formerly known as the
Advertising Self-Regulatory Council
BBB National Programs, an independent non-profit organization, oversees more than a dozen national industry self-regulation programs that provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services to companies, outside and in-house counsel, ...
, which is the U.S. advertising industry's self-regulatory body. In addition to setting guidelines, these programs provide third-party accountability and dispute resolution services to companies, outside and in-house counsel, consumers, and others in arenas such as privacy, advertising, data collection, child-directed marketing, and more.
In 2007 Russia has adopted a law regulating SROs.
Industry self-regulation is the process whereby members of an industry, trade or sector of the economy monitor their own adherence to legal, ethical, or safety standards, rather than have an outside, independent agency such as a third party entit ...
* Securities market participants (United States)
Self-regulatory organizations in the United States