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Maryland Securities Division - What We Do

Registration of Stockbrokers: Any broker-dealer (stock brokerage firm) that solicits or does business in Maryland must register with the Division. Similarly, any agents of the firm (stockbrokers) who do business in Maryland must also register with the Division. The Act also requires oversight by the Division of their conduct and standards of practice.

  • To find out if a stock brokerage firm or stockbroker is registered in Maryland or is the subject of any complaints, contact the Securities Division at (410) 576-6494.

Registration of Financial Planners: Subject to the requirements of the federal National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996, investment advisers and their representatives must register with the Securities Division. The term "investment adviser" includes financial planners and firms or individuals that act or hold out as investment advisers or financial planners. An investment adviser is required to provide a client with Form ADV, Part II, or other disclosure document no later than the time of entering into a contract.

  • To find out if an investment adviser or financial planner is or should be registered in Maryland or is the subject of any complaints, contact the Securities Division at (410) 576-7048.

Registration of Securities: The Maryland Securities Act, also known as the "Blue Sky Law," requires that any person or firm that seeks to sell securities to Maryland residents must first register with the Division, unless the particular securities are exempt from the law's registration requirement.

  • To find out if a securities offering is or should be registered or exempt in Maryland, contact the Securities Division at (410) 576-7050.

Registration of Franchises: Any person or company that intends to offer or sell franchises (a "franchisor") within Maryland or to Maryland residents must register its franchise offering with the Securities Division. A franchisor must also give a prospective franchisee a copy of the disclosure document at least 14 calendar days before the execution of a franchise agreement.

  • To find out if a franchise offering is registered in Maryland, or to report a potential violation of the Franchise Law, contact the Securities Division at (410) 576-7786.

For information designed to assist franchisors seeking to register a franchise in Maryland see:

Oversight of Business Opportunities: The Securities Division also regulates the sale of certain "business opportunities" in the state. Business opportunities are prepackaged small business deals offered mainly to novice entrepreneurs through classified ads, home seminars and business opportunity expos. Typical business opportunity deals involve the sale of vending machines, pay telephones, amusement devices, greeting card display racks and 900 telephone lines. Maryland's Business Opportunity Act requires that sellers must file a disclosure statement with the Securities Division before advertising or soliciting in Maryland. The seller also must provide a copy of the disclosure statement to the buyer at least 10 business days before an agreement is executed.

  • To find out if a business opportunity is registered in Maryland, or to report a potential violation of the Business Opportunity Act, contact the Division at (410) 576-7786.

Enforcement of Maryland's Investor Protection Laws: The Securities Division also investigates complaints about potential violations of the investor protection laws it administers. In appropriate cases, the Securities Commissioner may issue administrative stop orders and cease and desist orders, to halt immediately any violations of the laws. The Securities Division may also file civil enforcement actions in state circuit court, or refer a case for criminal prosecution to the appropriate state, local or federal authorities.

  • To file a complaint or to report a potential violation of the law, call 410-576-7050.

Investor Education: The Securities Division provides consumers with information they need to make appropriate investment decisions and avoid securities fraud and abuse. The Division distributes publications and videos, and conducts seminars to educate investors and increase public awareness of investment fraud.

  • For further information, call 410-576-6882.

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Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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