Definition

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a U.S. government agency that oversees securities transactions, activities of financial professionals and mutual fund trading to prevent fraud and intentional deception. The SEC consists of five commissioners who serve staggered five-year terms. No more than three of the commissioners may belong to the same political party.

The SEC has four major divisions.

  • The Division of Corporation Finance ensures corporate disclosure of important information to the investing public.
  • The Division of Trading and Markets ensures fairness, order and efficiency in market activities.
  • The Division of Investment Management helps protect investors and encourages capital formation through oversight and regulation of the investment management industry.
  • The Division of Enforcement investigates securities law violations and initiates civil and criminal actions.

Offices of the SEC include:

  • General Counsel
  • Chief Accountant
  • Economic Analysis
  • Compliance
  • International Affairs
  • Investor Education
  • Investor Advocacy
  • Policy and Investor Outreach
  • Public Documents
  • Information Technology
  • Executive Director
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resources
  • Administrative Services
  • Risk Assessment
  • Legislative Affairs
  • Public Affairs
  • Secretary
  • Equal Employment Opportunity
  • Inspector General
  • Administrative Law Judges.

The SEC was created during the Great Depression with the passage of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which was designed to bolster confidence in capital markets by providing investors with reliable information and by requiring that individuals and corporations deal with each other honestly.

This was last updated in January 2008
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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