Selected Sections of the
Massachusetts Securities Act
Sections included on this page:
SALES AND PURCHASES
Section 101. It is unlawful for any person, in connection with the offer, sale, or purchase of any security, directly or indirectly
(1) to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud,
(2) to make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading, or
(3) to engage in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon any person.
Section 102. It is unlawful for any person who receives, directly or indirectly, any consideration from another person primarily for advising the other person as to the value of securities or their purchase or sale, whether through the issuance of analyses or reports or otherwise
(1) to employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud the other person, or
(2) to engage in any act, practice, or course of business which operates or would operate as a fraud or deceit upon the other person.
Section 401. When used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Secretary” means the state secretary or the secretary of the commonwealth.
(b) “Agent” means any individual other than a broker-dealer who represents a broker-dealer or issuer in effecting or attempting to effect purchases or sales of securities. “Agent” shall not include an individual who represents:
(1) an issuer in:
(A) effecting transactions in a security exempted by clause (1), (2), (3), (10) or (11) of subsection (a) of section 402;
(B) effecting transactions exempted by subsection (b) of said section 402;
(C) effecting transactions in a federal covered security as described in section 18(b)(3) and 18(b)(4)(D) of the Securities Act of 1933;
(D) effecting transactions with existing employees, partners or director of the issuer if no commission or other remuneration is paid or given directly or indirectly for soliciting any person in the commonwealth; or
(2) a broker-dealer in effecting transactions in the commonwealth limited to those transactions described in section 15(h)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
A partner, officer, or director of a broker-dealer or issuer, or a person occupying a similar status or performing similar functions, is an agent only if he otherwise comes within this definition.
(c) “Broker-dealer” means any person engaged in the business of effecting transactions in securities for the account of others or for his own account. “Broker-dealer” shall not include:
(1) an agent;
(2) an issuer;
(3) a bank, savings institution, trust company, or the Central Credit Union Fund, Inc., established by chapter 216 of the acts of 1932; or
(4) a person who has no place of business in the commonwealth if:
(A) he effects transactions in the commonwealth exclusively with or through:
(i) the issuers of the securities involved in the transactions;
(ii) other broker-dealers; or
(iii) banks, savings institutions, trust companies, insurance companies, investment companies as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, pension or profit sharing trusts, or other financial institutions or institutional buyers, whether acting for themselves or as trustees; or
(B) during any period of 12 consecutive months he does not direct more than 15 offers to sell or buy into the commonwealth in any manner to persons other than those specified in clause (A), whether or not the offeror or any of the offerees is then present in the commonwealth.
(d) “Fraud,” “deceit,” and “defraud” are not limited to common-law deceit.
(e) “Guaranteed” means guaranteed as to payment of principal, interest, or dividends.
(f) “Issuer” means any person who issues or proposes to issue any security, except that (1) with respect to certificates of deposit, voting-trust certificates, or collateral-trust certificates, or with respect to certificates of interest or shares in an unincorporated investment trust not having a board of directors or persons performing similar functions or of the fixed, restricted management, or unit type, the term “issuer” means the person or persons performing the acts and assuming the duties of depositor or manager pursuant to the provisions of the trust or other agreement or instrument under which the security is issued; and (2) with respect to certificates of interest or participation in oil, gas, or mining titles or leases or in payments out of production under such titles or leases, there is not considered to be any “issuer.”
(g) “Non-issuer” means not directly or indirectly for the benefit of the issuer.
(h) “Person” means an individual, a corporation, a partnership, an association, a joint-stock company, a trust where the interests of the beneficiaries are evidenced by a security, an unincorporated organization, a limited liability company, a limited liability partnership, a government, or a political subdivision of a government.
(i) (1) “Sale” or “sell” includes every contract of sale of, contract to sell, or disposition of, a security or interest in a security for value.
(2) “Offer” or “offer to sell” includes every attempt or offer to dispose of, or solicitation of an offer to buy, a security or interest in a security for value.
(3) Any security given or delivered with, or as a bonus on account of, any purchase of securities or any other thing is considered to constitute part of the subject of the purchase and to have been offered and sold for value.
(4) A purported gift of assessable stock is considered to involve an offer and sale.
(5) Every sale or offer of a warrant or right to purchase or subscribe to another security of the same or another issuer, as well as every sale or offer of a security which gives the holder a present or future right or privilege to convert into another security of the same or another issuer, is considered to include an offer of the other security.
(6) The terms defined in this subsection do not include (A) any bona fide pledge or loan; (B) any stock dividend, whether the corporation distributing the dividend is the issuer of the stock or not, if nothing of value is given by stockholders for the dividend other than the surrender of a right to a cash or property dividend when each stockholder may elect to take the dividend in cash or property or in stock; (C) any act incident to a class vote by stockholders, pursuant to the certificate of incorporation or the applicable corporation statute, on a merger, consolidation, reclassification of securities, or sale of corporate assets in consideration of the issuance of securities of another corporation; or (D) any act incident to a reorganization in which a security is issued in exchange for one or more outstanding securities, claims, or property interests, or partly in such exchange and partly for cash, if the terms and conditions of the issuance and exchange are approved, after a hearing upon their fairness at which all persons to whom it is proposed to issue securities in the exchange have the right to appear, by any court, any official or agency of the United States, or any state authority expressly authorized by law to grant such approval.
(j) “Securities Act of 1933”, “Securities Exchange Act of 1934”, “Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935”, “Investment Advisers Act of 1940” and “Investment Company Act of 1940” mean the federal statutes of those names as amended before or after the effective date of this chapter.
(k) “Security” means any note; stock; treasury stock; bond; debenture; evidence of indebtedness; certificate of interest or participation in any profit-sharing agreement; collateral-trust certificate; preorganization certificate or subscription; transferable share; investment contract; voting-trust certificate; certificate of deposit for a security; certificate of interest or participation in an oil, gas, or mining title or lease or in payments out of production under such a title or lease; or, in general, any interest or instrument commonly known as a “security,” or any certificate of interest or participation in, temporary or interim certificate for, receipt for, guarantee of, or warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase, any of the foregoing. “Security” does not include any insurance or endowment policy or annuity contract under which an insurance company promises to pay money either in a lump sum or periodically for life or some other specified period.
(l) “State” means any state, territory, or possession of the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
(m) “Investment adviser” means any person who, for compensation, engages in the business of advising others, either directly or through publications or writings, as to value of securities or as to the advisability of investing in, purchasing, or selling securities, or who, for compensation and as a part of a regular business, issues or promulgates analyses or reports concerning securities. “Investment adviser” also includes financial planners and other persons who, as an integral component of other financially related services, provide the foregoing investment advisory services to others for compensation and as a part of a business or who hold themselves out as providing the foregoing investment advisory services to others for compensation. “Investment adviser” shall not include:
(1) (A) an investment adviser representative;
(B) a bank, savings institution, or trust company;
(C) a lawyer, accountant, engineer, or teacher whose performance of these services is solely incidental to the practice of his profession, or who does not exercise investment discretion with respect to the assets of clients or maintain custody of the assets of clients for the purpose of investing such assets, except when the person is acting as a bona fide fiduciary in a capacity, such as an executor, trustee, personal representative, estate or trust agent, guardian, conservator, or person serving in a similar fiduciary capacity; and who does not accept or receive, directly or indirectly, any commission, fee or other remuneration contingent upon the purchase or sale of any specific security by a client of such persons;
(D) a publisher of any newspaper, news column, newsletter, news magazine, or business or financial publication or service whether communicated in hard copy form, or by electronic means, or otherwise, that does not consist of the rendering of advice on the basis of the specific investment situation of each client;
(E) a person whose only clients in this state are federal covered advisers, other investment advisers, broker-dealers, banks, savings institutions, trust companies, insurance companies, investment companies as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, employee benefit plans with assets of not less than $5,000,000, governmental agencies or instrumentalities, or other financial institutions or institutional buyers, whether acting for themselves or as trustees with investment control;
(F) a registered broker-dealer or broker-dealer agent;
(G) a person who has no place of business in the commonwealth and who during the preceding 12 month period has had fewer than 6 clients, other than those listed in clause (E), who are residents of the commonwealth; and
(H) other persons not within the intent of this subsection as the secretary may by rule or order designate; or
(2) a federal covered adviser.
(n) “Investment adviser representative” means any partner, officer, director, or a person occupying a similar status or performing similar functions, or other individual, except clerical or ministerial personnel, who is employed by or associated with:
(A) an investment adviser that is registered or required to be registered under this act, and who does any of the following:
(i) makes any recommendations or otherwise renders advice regarding securities;
(ii) manages accounts or portfolios of clients;
(iii) determines which recommendation or advice regarding securities should be given;
(iv) solicits, offers or negotiates for the sale of or sells investment advisory services;
(v) supervises employees who perform any of the foregoing; or
(B) a federal covered adviser, subject to the limitations of section 203A of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
“Investment adviser representative” does not include such other persons employed by or associated with either an investment adviser or a federal covered adviser not within the intent of this subsection as the secretary may designate by rule or order.
(o) “Federal covered adviser” means a person who is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under section 203 of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. “Federal covered adviser” shall not include any person who is excluded from the definition of “investment adviser” pursuant to clauses (A) to (G), inclusive, of paragraph (1) of subsection (m).
(p) “Federal covered security” means any security that is a covered security under section 18(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 or the regulations promulgated thereunder.
Section 404. It is unlawful for any person to make or cause to be made, in any document filed with the secretary or in any proceeding under this chapter, any statement which is, at the time and in the light of the circumstances under which it is made, false or misleading in any material respect.
Section 409. (a) Any person who willfully violates any provision of this chapter except section 404, or who willfully violates any rule or order under this chapter, or who willfully violates section 404 knowing the statement made to be false or misleading in any material respect, shall upon conviction be fined not more than $100,000 or imprisoned not more than 10 years in the state prison, or both; but no person may be imprisoned for the violation of any rule or order if he proves that he had no knowledge of the rule or order.
Fines collected under this subsection shall be immediately sent to the state treasurer for deposit in the Securities Fraud Prosecution Fund, established by section 69 of chapter 10.
(b) The secretary may refer such evidence as is available concerning violations of this chapter or of any rule or order hereunder to the attorney general, who may, with or without such a reference, institute the appropriate criminal proceedings under this chapter.
(c) Nothing in this chapter limits the power of the commonwealth to punish any person for any conduct which constitutes a crime by statute or at common law.
Section 410. (a) Any person who
(1) offers or sells a security in violation of section 201(a), 301, or 405(b), or of any rule or order under section 403 which requires the affirmative approval of sales literature before it is used, or of any condition imposed under section 303(d), or
(2) offers or sells a security by means of any untrue statement of a material fact or any omission to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they are made, not misleading, the buyer not knowing of the untruth or omission, and who does not sustain the burden of proof that he did not know, and in the exercise of reasonable care could not have known, of the untruth or omission, is liable to the person buying the security from him, who may sue either at law or in equity to recover the consideration paid for the security, together with interest at six per cent per year from the date of payment, costs, and reasonable attorneys’ fees, less the amount of any income received on the security, upon the tender of the security, or for damages if he no longer owns the security. Damages are the amount that would be recoverable upon a tender less the value of the security when the buyer disposed of it and interest at six per cent per year from the date of disposition.
(b) Every person who directly or indirectly controls a seller liable under subsection (a), every partner, officer, or director of such a seller, every person occupying a similar status or performing similar functions, every employee of such a seller who materially aids in the sale, and every broker-dealer or agent who materially aids in the sale are also liable jointly and severally with and to the same extent as the seller, unless the non-seller who is so liable sustains the burden of proof that he did not know, and in exercise of reasonable care could not have known, of the existence of the facts by reason of which the liability is alleged to exist. There is contribution as in cases of contract among the several persons so liable.
(c) Any tender specified in this section may be made at any time before entry of judgment.
(d) Every cause of action under this statute survives the death of any person who might have been a plaintiff or defendant.
(e) No person may sue under this section more than four years after the discovery by the person bringing the action of a violation of this chapter or any rule promulgated or order issued thereunder. No person may sue under this section (1) if the buyer received a written offer, before suit and at a time when he owned the security, to refund the consideration paid together with interest at six percent per year from the date of payment, less the amount of any income received on the security, and he failed to accept the offer within thirty days of its receipt, or (2) if the buyer received such an offer before suit and at a time when he did not own the security, unless he rejected the offer in writing within thirty days of its receipt.
(f) No person who has made or engaged in the performance of any contract in violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule or order hereunder, or who has acquired any purported right under any such contract with knowledge of the facts by reason of which its making or performance was in violation, may base any suit on the contract.
(g) Any condition, stipulation, or provision binding any person acquiring any security to waive compliance with any provision of this chapter or any rule or order hereunder is void.
(h) The rights and remedies provided by this chapter are in addition to any other rights or remedies that may exist at law or in equity, but this chapter does not create any cause of action not specified in this section.
The above is not the complete act. This page contains only certain sections of the statute which we believe you may find informative. We do not and cannot guarantee the above sections are current law in this state. Legislatures may enact revised statutes at any time. Moreover these sections are presented for informational purposes only and are presented “as is” with all faults and with no warranties or guarantees as to the accuracy. Further, The content on these pages are not offered or intended to be legal advice by this firm for any purpose or manner whatsoever. If you require the current and complete version of the Law in your state, you should visit the Legislature home page of the particular state for more information or contact an attorney for advice on obtaining such information.