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Who’s protecting your money? Hopefully, all of these guys.

Denver Business JournalOn the Money
From the November 7, 2003 print edition

It’s no secret that the financial community has been under great stress the last few years. The collapse of major corporations such as Enron, WorldCom and countless smaller firms ultimately flows directly to individual people.

Many of us may ask, “How could this happen?” “Who is supposed to watch over all of this?”

There are more than 500 government agencies (including both Federal and State levels) designed to regulate and protect financial activities.

Here’s a glimpse at the top 8 Federal agencies charged with protecting our money.

United States Securities and Exchange Commission

450 Fifth Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20549

Phone: (202) 942-8088

The primary mission of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to protect investors and maintain the integrity of the securities markets. This accomplished through registration requirements, disclosure of risk, and financial reporting guidelines.

Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System

20th and Constitution Ave., N.W.

Washington, DC 20551

Phone: (202) 452-3000

The Federal Reserve’s duties fall into four general areas: (1) conducting the nation’s monetary policy; (2) supervising and regulating banking institutions and protecting the credit rights of consumers; (3) maintaining the stability of the financial system; and (4) providing certain financial services to the U.S. government, the public, financial institutions, and foreign official institutions.

Comptroller of the Currency

Administrator of National Banks

U.S. Department of Treasury

Washington, DC 20219-0001

Phone: (202) 874-5000

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks. It also supervises the federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The OCC has six district offices plus an office in London to supervise the international activities of national banks.

Established in 1863 as a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the OCC is headed by the Comptroller, appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for a five-year term. The Comptroller also serves as a director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and a director of the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

550 Seventeenth Street, NW

Washington, DC 20429-9990

Phone: 202-736-0000, 877-275-3342

An independent agency created by Congress in 1933, the FDIC supervises banks, insures deposits up to $100,000 and helps maintain a stable and sound banking system.

Office of Thrift Supervision

U.S. Department of Treasury

1700 G Street NW

Washington, DC 20552

Phone: (202) 906-6000

The Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) is the primary regulator of all federally chartered and many state-chartered thrift institutions, which include savings banks and savings and loan associations. Established as a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury on August 9, 1989, the OCC has four regional offices located in Jersey City, Atlanta, Dallas, and San Francisco. OTS is funded by assessments and fees levied on the institutions it regulates.

National Credit Union Administration

1775 Duke St.

Alexandria, VA 22314-3428

Phone: (703) 518-6300

The National Credit Union Administration, governed by a three-member board appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, is the independent Federal agency that charters and supervises Federal credit unions. With the backing of the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, the NCUA operates the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), insuring the savings of 80 million account holders in all federal credit unions and many state-chartered credit unions.

Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council

Suite 200

2100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20037

Phone: (202) 634-6526

The Council is a formal interagency body empowered to prescribe uniform principles, standards, and report forms for the federal examination of financial institutions by: the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS) and to make recommendations to promote uniformity in the supervision of financial institutions.

National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)

1735 K Street, NW

Washington, DC 20006-1500

(301) 590-6500

The NASD is charged with regulating the securities industry and The NASDAQ Stock Market. NASD was created in 1938 by the Maloney Act amendments to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Through its many departments and offices, NASD’s jurisdiction extends to over 5,300 firms with more than 94,000 branch offices, and over 664,000 securities industry professionals. NASD accomplishes this oversight through the registration, education, testing and examination of member firms and their employees, and through the creation and enforcement of rules designed for the ultimate benefit and protection of investors.

If you have a question about protecting your money, the preceding will provide a good place to start to seek answers.

© C. Stephen Guyer for American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.