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About Us


The NC Department of the Secretary of State Securities Division's mission is to protect North Carolina investors. Consistent with that purpose, the Division seeks to ensure a free and competitive securities market for North Carolina, increase investor confidence, and thereby encourage the formation of capital and the creation of new jobs and economic prosperity in North Carolina.

Division Overview

The Securities Division is responsible for administering and enforcing the state’s securities laws. These laws provide for the registration of securities, registration of firms and individuals who sell securities or render investment advice, examination of registered firms, and enforcement through administrative, civil, and criminal actions. Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall is the Securities Administrator. Sherrell L. Forbes is the Securities Administrator as well as Director of the Securities Division.

The Division maintains a professional staff of attorneys, financial investigators and administrative support to address the variety of issues presented in registration, examination, and enforcement matters. Organized into several Teams, including Enforcement, Registration, IA Audits and Compliance, and Investor Protection and Education Services, the Division works to make prompt and accurate recommendations and decisions concerning securities offerings and plans of business for dealing in securities and rendering investment advice.

Division Functions

Enforcement Team

The Enforcement Team is comprised of the Division’s special agents, enforcement attorneys, and financial investigators. They are charged with the detection and prevention of violations of North Carolina securities laws. This includes fraud committed in connection with the sale of securities, illegal sales of unregistered securities, and sales of securities by unregistered dealers. The Enforcement Team engages in the vigorous enforcement of the state’s securities laws, placing a significant emphasis on criminal prosecution of individuals who engage in fraud in connection with the sale of securities.

The Enforcement Team also works to impose administrative sanctions on violators of the state’s securities laws, including denial, revocation, or suspension of registrations; cease and desist orders prohibiting or suspending the sale of securities or prohibiting fraudulent conduct; administrative fines; revocation of exemptions from registration; and cease publication orders.

Registration Team

The Registration Team reviews all applications to register securities for sale in North Carolina to ensure that there is compliance with North Carolina securities laws and that investors have access to full and fair disclosure of all relevant investment information. They also process notice filings to sell securities in the state in circumstances where registration is not required under the law, and answer questions from the public concerning securities registration requirements and the status of securities registration applications.

Additionally, the Registration Team processes and reviews the applications for registration and renewal of registration for firms and individuals selling securities or offering investment advice in North Carolina. The review process for registration includes a thorough examination of each application with an emphasis on the proposed plan of business, financial condition, and disciplinary history of applicants.

The Securities Division participates in the Central Registration Depository system (CRD) and Investment Adviser Registration Depository (lARD) system. Together, these systems, developed by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), allow dealers and investment advisers to apply for registration of their salesmen and investment adviser representatives in all desired states via a single form filed at a central location. Fees collected through the CRD/ IARD system are transmitted to the state daily via electronic funds transfer.

IA Audits and Compliance Team

The IA Audits and Compliance Team conduct periodic examinations of the books and records of registered investment advisers. They investigate complaints against persons and firms registered under the NC Investment Advisers Act, and they review and investigate disciplinary information filed with the Division to ensure that registered persons and firms remain in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The primary focus of the Division’s examinations is on state-registered investment advisers who have main offices in North Carolina, however all registered firms may be subject to such examinations. For more information, please see the information for Investment Advisers and Representatives.

Investor Protection and Education Services Team

The Investor Protection and Education Services Team have been aggressive in their undertaking of investor education initiatives to assist North Carolina citizens in making informed investment decisions. The Investor Protection and Education Services Team has organized or participated in educational outreach events in all 100 North Carolina counties, providing information to thousands of people. Be sure to subscribe to or browse our electronic newsletters, our extensive library of free educational materials, and check our Calendar of Upcoming Events to see if we're coming to your town or one near you! You may also request a speaker by sending an email to [email protected]. Please include "Request a Speaker" in the subject line.

Athlete Agent Registration Team

The Athlete Agent Registration Team processes and reviews the applications for registration and renewal of registration for individuals that want to act as athlete agents. The team administers the North Carolina Uniform Athlete Agents Act and investigates complaints against persons registered under the Act. Disciplinary information filed with the Division is reviewed and investigated to ensure that registered athlete agents remain in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. For more information, please see Athlete Agent Registration Office.

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