IOSCO — International Organisation of Securities Commissions

International Organization of Securities Commissions

IOSCO - International Organisation of Securities Commissions

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) is an association of organisations that regulate the world’s securities and futures markets.

Members are typically the Securities Commission or the main financial regulator from each country.

IOSCO has members from over 100 different countries, who regulate more than 90 percent of the world's securities markets.

The organisations role is to assist its members to promote high standards of regulation and act as a forum for national regulators to cooperate with each other and other international organisations.

IOSCO is structured into a number of committees that meet several times per year at different locations around the world and it has a permanent secretariat based in Madrid.


IOSCO was born in 1983 from the transformation of its ancestor the ‘inter-American regional association’ (created in 1974) into a truly international cooperative body.

This decision to expand the organisation beyond the Americas was made at the annual gathered in Quito, Ecuador in April 1983.

At the same time the organisation was renamed to IOSCO to reflect the expanded membership beyond North and South America[citation needed].

The securities regulators from France, Indonesia, Korea and the United Kingdom were the first agencies to join the membership from outside the Americas. The IOSCO July 1986 Paris Annual Conference was the first to take place outside of the American continents and on that occasion a decision was made to create a permanent General Secretariat for the Organization.

One remnant of its early inter-American roots is that IOSCO's «official» languages are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

In 1998 IOSCO started work on a number of important policies that led to broader set of guidelines.

However it was the September 11, 2001 attacks as well as a series of large global financial scandals that started with Enron and including Worldcom, Parmalat and Vivendi that brought urgency to this work and heralded IOSCOs evolution from an international “talk shop”, where little of substance was accomplished, to a serious international organization with a real impact on the securities regulation.

At the May 1999 annual conference, held in Lisbon, it was decided to have a permanent headquarter for the administrative General Secretariat and that it should be based in Madrid, Spain.

In 2002 IOSCO adopted a multilateral memorandum of understanding (IOSCO MOU) designed to facilitate cross-border enforcement and exchange of information among the international community of securities regulators.


IOSCO members are divided into three main categories:

  • Ordinary members, which must be the primary regulators of securities and or futures markets in a jurisdiction. A stock exchange or self-regulatory organization may be an ordinary member, but only if it is the jurisdiction’s primary securities regulator. Each ordinary member has one vote.[1]
  • Affiliate members, which include stock exchanges, self-regulatory organizations, and various stock market industry associations. Affiliate members have no vote, are not eligible for the Executive Committee and are not members of the Presidents' Committee. The affiliate members, which are Self-regulatory organization (SROs), are however members of the SRO Consultative Committee.

Currently, IOSCO has 199 members: 114 ordinary members, 11 associate members, and 74 affiliate members.


IOSCO’s main objectives are to assist its members to:

  • Cooperate together to promote high standards of regulation in order to maintain just, efficient and sound markets
  • Exchange information on their respective experiences in order to promote the development of domestic markets
  • Unite their efforts to establish standards and an effective surveillance of international securities transactions
  • Provide mutual assistance to promote the integrity of the markets by a rigorous application of the standards and by effective enforcement against offenses

  Organization structure

The organisation is made up of a number of committees that meet several times per year at different locations around the world supported by a permanent administrative General secretariat.


Administratively, IOSCO is run by a General Secretariat based in Madrid, Spain. IOSCO’s current Secretary General is Mr. David Wright (a former senior European Commission official) and he is assisted by a relatively small group of approximately nine professional staff.

  Chairman of the Emerging Markets Committee

  • Vedat Akgiray (Chairman, Capital Markets Board, Turkey)

IOSCO also has several regional committees of securities commissions from particular geographical areas.

These include the African-Middle East Regional Committee (chaired by Ms Daisy Ekineh of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission who took over in acting capacity after Mallam Musa Al-Faki), the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee (chaired by Jun Kwang-Woo of the Financial Services Commission (South Korea)), the European Regional Committee (chaired by Eddy Wymeersch of the Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission of Belgium) and the Interamerican Regional Committee (chaired by Narcisco Muñoz of the Comisión Nacional de Valores of Argentina).

  The Committees

IOSCO’s ordinary and associate membership is divided into several committees.[3] These include:

  • A Presidents’ Committee, composed of the Presidents, Chairmans or senior-most representatives of all securities commissions belonging to IOSCO. It is in effect the organization’s general assembly;
  • An Executive Committee, which comprises 19 ordinary members acting under the authority of the Presidents’ Committee, and that acts as the organization’s executive decision-making body;
  • A Technical Committee, with 15 ordinary and associate members drawn primarily from the larger, more developed and more internationalized economies, whose role is to develop practical responses to major regulatory issues and study possible international standards and best practices for securities market regulation; and,
  • An Emerging Markets Committee, with 80 ordinary and associate members (plus one non-voting member, the U.S. SEC) from Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, whose role is to conduct studies on those markets and suggest ways these markets can be improved.

In addition, IOSCO has four regional committees (Europe, Inter-America, Asia-Pacific and Africa-Middle East) with members drawn from these regions, and an SRO Consultative Committee made up of stock exchanges and financial associations who offer input to the other IOSCO committees on issues of concern to the financial industry.

IOSCO (and its main committees) also have numerous specialized sub-committees (some permanent, some of limited duration) and task forces.

IOSCO’s Technical Committee (arguably its most important sub-group, given the prominence of its members and its role as the organization’s “standard-setting” body) has five permanent sub-committees, each focused on a particular area of securities regulation. These sub-committees include[4]:

  • Standing Committee 1, which focuses on accounting, auditing and corporate disclosures;
  • Standing Committee 2, which focuses on the regulation of stock exchanges (secondary markets);
  • Standing Committee 3, which focuses on the regulation of market intermediaries such as broker-dealers, investment banks, etc.;
  • Standing Committee 4, which focuses on cross-border securities law enforcement matters;
  • Standing Committee 5, which focuses on the regulation of mutual funds and other “collective investment schemes” and
  • Standing Committee 6, dealing with credit rating agencies.

IOSCO's main committees (Executive, Technical and Emerging Markets) typically meet three times per year, in different countries depending on which member has agreed to act as host.

IOSCO also has an annual meeting which, in addition to side meetings of the Executive, Technical and Emerging Markets committees, also involves a meeting of the President's Committee and typically two days of panel discussions open to the public and featuring regulators and business leaders from around the world. The 2006 annual meeting was the first week of June and was held in Hong Kong. The 2007, 2008 and 2009 IOSCO annual conferences were held in Mumbai, India, Paris, France, and Tel Aviv, Israel, respectively. Previous annual conferences have been held in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Amman, Jordan; and Seoul, Korea among others.

In addition, starting in 2004, IOSCO's Technical Committee began hosting an invitation-only conference as a way to spark discussion and dialogue between the top leaders of regulatory, investor, university and business groups.

These conferences are held in cities with major stock markets, in part to facilitate attendance by top business executives and investors.

Technical Committee conferences typically have a series of panels made up of some of the most prominent names in the securities industry, including the heads of major stock exchanges, current and former SEC chairmen, and the finance ministers of the host country.

The first of these conferences was held in New York, while the 2005 conference was held in Frankfurt am Main. The 2006 Technical Committee conference took place in London in November and the 2007 Technical Committee conference took place in Tokyo in November.

  Cooperation with other organisations

IOSCO is a member of, participates as an observer in, or coordinates with a number of other organizations

One of the most important relationships is with the Joint Forum of international financial regulators. IOSCO is one of the three organisations together with its sister organizations, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors that make up the forum.

The IOSCO MOUs are considered the primary instruments to facilitate cross-border cooperation, reduce global systemic risk, protect investors and ensure fair and efficient securities markets.[5][6]

IOSCO also adopted a comprehensive consultation policy designed to facilitate its continuous interaction with the international financial community and in particular with the industry[7]

  IOSCO and other international organizations

IOSCO is a member of, participates as an observer in, or coordinates with a number of other international organizations, including:

  Significant Policy

IOSCO adopted in 1998 a comprehensive set of Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation (IOSCO Principles). These continue to be developed and expanded. IOSCO recommends all its members to adopt these and helps its members assess the level of compliance with the principles. These include;

  • Regulatory principles designed to improve auditor independence and auditor oversight [8]
  • Regulatory principles for corporate financial disclosure and transparency [9]
  • Regulatory principles regarding conflicts of interest for financial analysts [10]
  • A Code of Conduct for credit rating agencies [11]
  • A set of “Core Principles” for securities regulation designed to outline for IOSCO members what makes up “good” securities regulation [12]
  • A Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding on enforcement cooperation, through which IOSCO members pledge to provide each other with collecting information and witness statements in an enforcement investigation [13]

Category:Financial regulatory authorities



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