Independent regulators are given recognition by government agencies and have power to make rules and enforce them. However, independent regulators are usually not funded by the government and hence are politically independent. Some independent regulators are self-regulating organizations (SROs) that regulate as well as represent their members. Not all SROs are independent regulators (i.e., have government recognition). Also, not all independent regulators are SROs. Some independent regulators such as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) are not SROs.
It should be noted that SROs may have inherent conflicts of interest. These conflicts of interest may deter the recognition of SROs especially in the presence of a more formal and effective regulatory structure. SROs nonetheless are attractive in that they increase the overall level of regulatory resources, utilize the industry professionals with the requisite expertise, and allow regulators to devote resources to other priorities.
SROs without government recognition are not considered regulators. Self-regulating organizations, while independent of the government and relatively immune from political pressure, may still be subject to pressure from their members. Independent SROs when properly supervised by regulatory agencies have been effective in carrying out the objectives of the regulation.
Outside bodies are not regulators themselves but their product is referenced by regulators.