- Investment Company Act of 1940
The Investment Company Act of 1940 is an
act of Congress. It was passed as a United States Public Lawand is codified at usc|15|80a-1 through usc|15|80a-64.
Following the founding of the
mutual fundin 1924, investors welcomed the innovation with open arms and invested in this new investment vehicle heavily. Five and a half years later, on October 24, 1929, Black Thursday took the thrill out of the stock marketand led to the Great DepressionFact|date=September 2008 . In response to this crisis, the United States Congresswrote into law the Securities Act of 1933and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934in order to regulate the securities industry in the interest of the public.
Investment companies were still in their infancy in
1940. In order to instill investors' confidence in these companies and to protect the public interest from this new type of security, Congress passed the Investment Company Act. The new law set separate standards by which investment companies should be regulated. The act defined and regulated investment companies, including mutual funds (which were virtually undefined prior to 1940).
The act's purpose, as stated in the bill, is "to mitigate and... eliminate the conditions... which adversely affect the national public interest and the interest of investors." Specifically, the act regulated conflicts of interest in investment companies and securities exchanges. It protected the public primarily by legally requiring disclosure of material details about the investment company. The act also placed some restrictions on mutual fund activities such as short selling shares. However, the act did not create provisions for the
SECto make specific judgments about or even supervise an investment company's actual investment decisions. the act required investment companies to publicly disclose information about their own financial health.
The Investment Company Act applies to all investment companies, but exempts several types of investment companies from the act's coverage. The most common exemptions are found in Sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the act and include
When the Congress wrote the act into
federal law, rather than leaving the matter up to the individual states, it justified its action by including in the text of the bill its rationale for enacting the law:
:“The activities of such companies, extending over many states, their use of the instrumentalities of
interstate commerceand the wide geographic distribution of their security holders, make difficult, if not impossible, effective state regulation of such companies in the interest of investors.”
The act divides the types of investment company to be regulated into three classifications:
Face-amount certificate company: an investment company in the business of issuing face-amount certificates of the installment type.
Unit Investment Trust: an investment company which is organized under a trust indenture, contract of custodianship or agency, or similar instrument, does not have a board of directors, and issues only redeemable securities, each of which represents an undivided interest in a unit of specified securities; but does not include a voting trust.
:Management Company: any investment company other than a face-amount certificate company or a unit investment trust. The most well-known type of management company is the mutual fund.
Investment Advisers Act of 1940, 15 U.S.C. § 80-b1 et seq.
* Full text of the [http://www.sec.gov/about/laws/ica40.pdf Investment Company Act of 1940] , available from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
* [http://www.law.villanova.edu/scholarlyresources/journals/joflawandinvmgmt/ Villanova Journal of Law & Investment Management] a scholarly publication addressing the Investment Company Act of 1940.
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