A negotiable instrument is an asset that can be traded freely for cash or another negotiable instrument. Included in its definition are stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Since these assets can be easily exchanged, traders must be licensed to buy and sell these securities.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the federal agency predominantly responsible for administering and enforcing federal securities laws. A violation by a corporation or individual of these Securities laws may expose them to administrative, civil, or criminal punishment. A breach by a corporation or individual which has caused substantial financial loss to many people may bring a civil lawsuit for restitution on behalf of that person(s).

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an Executive Branch agency responsible for regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. Before April 1996, the FCC was called the Federal Radio Commission (FRC).

Five Commissioners appointed by the president lead the FCC, and each Commissioner serves a five-year term. No more than three Commissioners may be from any single political party. The FCC is led by a Chairman who serves as the principal policy advisor to the Commission.

The SEC enforces federal securities laws, maintains fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitates capital formation. It regulates the securities industry, securities exchanges, and other electronic securities markets, as well as tender offers, proxy and tender offers, securities and securities markets, and other activities and organizations, including municipal advisors and employee benefit plans.

When the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) uncovers evidence of wrongdoing, it has the authority to conduct an administrative hearing and impose sanctions. The findings are then presented to an independent SEC employee, who acts as a judge. They then make an initial written decision, stating findings and conclusions.

Intentionally doing something illegal is a crimenot a disciplinary measure. The SEC uses its resources to pursue those who knowingly commit legal violations and ensure justice is achieved. Any violations can result in a severe fine or lengthy imprisonment.