If I buy a stock through a brokerage firm, is that trade reported to the SEC? Can the SEC know what stocks I have in my brokerage account without a warrant?

I am in the United States.


The SEC is informed of your stock purchases only if you own more than 5% of a publicly held company or you are an "insider" such as an officer or director of the company.

The SEC probably isn't legally barred from asking a broker nicely what you own without a warrant or subpoena, but the broker isn't obligated to comply and usually would not comply with such a request.

A fellow shareholder of a company who wants to contact all of the shareholders of a company for purposes of a proxy fight or takeover bid can compel the company, with SEC assistance, to provide them with a means to do so, such as a mailing list (which would probably show the brokerage address, but might have your name).

The brokerage firm does report sales of stock and the price you purchased the stock sold at, to the IRS, however. The information given to the IRS, however, on Form 1099, is not disclosed to other federal agencies or to the public.

Under rules to be adopted in the near future, stock ownership in most closely held companies will have to be reported to an anti-money laundering agency in the federal government. But those rules won't apply to ownership interests in publicly held companies.

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