What Is a "Security"?

Overview

This page provides information as to the interpretation of the term "security" for purposes of the Securities Act, the Securities Exchange Act, the Investment Advisers Act and the Investment Company Act. There is a separate page as to cryptocurrencies and ICOs, that includes material on their regulatory status. In addition, another page will address whether a derivative transaction is a security-based swap (subject to the securities laws) or a swap (subject to the Commodity Exchange Act).

This page is focused on more "traditional" securities law questions including (i) whether a debt instrument is a security or a mere loan, (ii) whether an ownership interest in an asset constitutes an equity security, (iii) when an asset that is called equity is not, and (iv) whether insurance-related products may be deemed securities. We have provided on this page many of the most significant cases, as well as significant regulatory interpretations.

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Statutes and Rules

Selected Case Law