IOSCO was established in 1983 following transformation of former inter-American regional association (created in 1974) into a truly international cooperative body. Eleven securities regulatory agencies from North and South America gathered in Quito, Ecuador in April 1983 to make that important decision. In 1984, securities regulators from France, Indonesia, Korea and the United Kingdom were the first agencies to become non-American members. The IOSCO July 1986 Paris Annual Conference was the first to take place outside of the American continents. On that occasion, a decision was made to create a permanent General Secretariat for the Organization.
Today IOSCO is recognised as the international standard setter for securities markets. The organisation’s wide membership regulates more than 90% of the world’s securities markets and IOSCO is the world’s most important international cooperative forum for securities regulatory agencies. IOSCO members regulate more than 100 jurisdictions and the organisation’s membership is steadily growing. In 1998, IOSCO adopted a comprehensive set of Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation (IOSCO Principles), which are now recognised as international regulatory benchmarks for all securities markets. In 2003, the organisation endorsed a comprehensive methodology (IOSCO Principles Assessment Methodology) that allows for an objective assessment of the progress of implementation of the IOSCO Principles in the jurisdictions of its members and the development of practical action plans to correct identified deficiencies.
In 2002, IOSCO adopted a multilateral memorandum of understanding (IOSCO MOU) designed to facilitate cross-border enforcement and exchange of information within the international community of securities regulators.
2005 was a landmark year for IOSCO. The organisation endorsed the IOSCO MOU as the benchmark for international cooperation among securities regulators and set out clear strategic objectives to rapidly expand the network of IOSCO MOU signatories by 2010. It approved as an unambiguous operational priority the effective implementation — in particular within its wide membership — of the IOSCO Principles and of the IOSCO MOU, which are considered as primary instruments to facilitate cross-border cooperation, reduce global systemic risk, protect investors and ensure fair and efficient securities markets. IOSCO also adopted a comprehensive consultation policy designed to facilitate its continuous interaction with the international financial community, in particular with the industry.
IOSCO provides comprehensive technical assistance to its members, in particular those which regulate emerging securities markets.
The member agencies currently gathered within the International Organization of Securities Commissions have resolved, through its permanent structures:
The current Secretary General of the IAIS is Mr Greg Tanzer, with Mr Tajinder Singh acting as Deputy Secretary General.
The Presidents’ Committee, which meets once a year during the Annual Conference, consists of all the Presidents of member (regular and associate) agencies and has all the necessary or useful powers to achieve the organisation’s purpose.
The current Executive Committee is composed of the following 19 members: the Chairmen of the Technical and Emerging Markets Committees, the Chairmen of each Regional Committee, 1 ordinary member elected by each Regional Committee from among the ordinary members of that region, and 9 ordinary members elected by the Presidents’ Committee. The Executive Committee meets periodically during the year and, subject to the organisation’s By-Laws, makes all decisions and undertake all actions which are necessary or convenient to achieve the organisation’s objectives. Ms Jane Diplock, Chairperson of the Securities Commission of New Zealand, is currently Chairperson of the Executive Committee.
IOSCO has the following four Regional Standing Committees, which meet to discuss specific regional issues of members: the Africa / Middle-East Regional Committee, the Asia-Pacific Regional Committee, the European Regional Committee, and the Interamerican Regional Committee.