An investment advisor is a firm or sole practitioner who, for compensation advises others on the prudence or wisdom of investing in, buying or selling securities. The provisions of federal law as enforced and interpreted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission govern and regulate investment advisors.
The Congress passed the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and the Investment Company Act of 1940 almost simultaneously. The Investment Advisors Act requires the registration of certain investment advisers with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
In 1996 the Congress amended the Investment Advisors Act to stipulate that only investment advisers with minimum $ 25 millions of assets under management or advising a registered investment company must register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. State regulatory bodies for securities generally regulate investment advisors below this threshold.
The Rules made under the Investment Advisors Act also governs different aspects of the profession such as record keeping, mandatory provisions in investment contracts, advertising, proxy voting, custody of client funds and assets and so on.
However, even those investment advisors who need not register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission or are not governed by the United States federal law on securities must abide by the anti fraud provisions of this statute.