Business often is conducted by agents who act for others. For example, insurance policies may be sold through agents. Agencies also exist in relationships between guardians and wards, employees and employers, estates and executors, and partners.
At common law, a corporation's surplus funds could lawfully be loaned to directors and officers of the corporation unless the loan was fundamentally unfair to the shareholders, concealed from the shareholders, or fraudulent. The circumstances under which a corporation may permissibly make loans to directors and officers are now largely governed by statute. The permissibility of such loans varies from state to state. Most jurisdictions have adopted some version of the Revised Model Business Corporation Act (Act). Under the Act, a corporation generally cannot make a personal loan to an officer or a director unless the loan has been approved (or subsequently ratified) by a majority of the shareholders. If an approved loan is challenged, judicial review is often focused on whether the loan was fair overall to the corporation and its shareholders.
The duty of loyalty prohibits a director from using her corporate position to obtain a personal profit or to gain a personal advantage. A director is privy to information that may not be known to others outside the corporate sphere. As part of the duty of loyalty, a director cannot take advantage of corporate information for her own personal interests.
Most jurisdictions recognize that directors have three basic fiduciary duties: the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, and the duty of obedience. The duty of obedience requires a director to act in furtherance of the business organization's goals and mission as stated in the articles of incorporation and bylaws.
Trading in foreign currency futures and options contracts by retail customers outside of an organized exchange is unlawful unless the party offering the futures and options contracts is a regulated entity described in the Commodity Exchange Act enforced by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.