The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) was the self-regulatory organization of the securities industry responsible for the operation and regulation of the NASDAQ stock market and over-the-counter markets. It also administrated exams for investment professionals, such as the Series 7 exam. The NASD was charged with watching over the NASDAQ’s market operations; however, in 2007, it was merged with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
FINRA is an independent regulatory entity that functions similar to its NASD predecessor and oversees all stock market operations in the United States. Its functions include the oversight of all brokerage firms, branch offices and securities representatives. FINRA is monitored by the SEC and sanctioned to enforce the rules and regulations of the SEC.