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About U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is one part law enforcer, protecting investors from securities fraud and enforcing securities laws; one part doctor, promoting healthy capital markets and contributing to America's economic well-being; and one part rule maker, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets. The agency regulates the sale of securities as well as the people and organizations involved in selling them. It also ensures the disclosure of financial information of public companies via its online EDGAR database and is involved in personal investor education. Established in 1934, the agency is overseen by five presidentially appointed commissioners.


The SEC operates five divisions: Corporate Finance, Enforcement, Economic and Risk Analysis, Investment Management, and Trading & Markets. It also runs two dozen additional offices, such as the Office of Inspector General, Office of the Ethics Counsel, and the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.

The Corporation Finance division assists oversees corporate disclosure of important information, such 10-K annual reports and stock prospectuses, to the investing public.

The Division of Enforcement executes the SEC's law enforcement function by recommending the commencement of investigations of securities law violations, by recommending legal proceedings, and by prosecuting these cases on behalf of the SEC. As an adjunct to the institution's civil enforcement authority, the division works closely with law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and around the world to bring criminal cases when appropriate.

The Division of Economic and Risk Analysis protects investors, maintains fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitates capital formation by integrating economic analysis and data analytics into the work of the SEC. It analyzes the potential economic impacts of SEC rulemakings, provides quantitative and qualitative research related to risk assessment (for example with potential fraud), and provides economic analysis in support of enforcement proceedings.

The Division of Investment Management helps to protect investors from corporate fraud and promotes capital formation through oversight and regulation of America's $70 trillion investment management industry. This part of the U.S. capital markets includes mutual funds and the professional fund managers who advise them, analysts who research assets, and investment advisers to individual customers.

The Division of Trading and Markets helps maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets. It provides day-to-day oversight of the major securities market participants: the securities exchanges; securities firms; self-regulatory organizations (SROs) including the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FInRA), the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB), clearing agencies that help facilitate trade settlement; transfer agents (parties that maintain records of securities owners); securities information processors; and credit rating agencies.

Geographic Reach

Headquartered in Washington, DC, the SEC also has 11 regional offices throughout the US.

Financial Performance

The SEC is generally considered self-funding because it collects fees. However, unlike the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, and other federal banking agencies, the SEC doesn't have immediate control over these monies. The collected fees are deposited into the US Treasury, which in turn appropriates funding back to the SEC. The SEC currently deposits far more into the Treasury than it gets back. Congress has alternately explored whether the SEC should have greater control over its own revenues or whether fees should be reduced.

In FY207, the SEC's annual budget was $1.6 billion.


In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the SEC in 2010 reorganized itself and formed new investigative units: asset management, market abuse, structured and new products, corrupt practices, and municipal securities and public pensions. The SEC also launched the Office of Market Intelligence, which investigates tips and complaints received by the agency. Other initiatives were put in place aimed at encouraging company and witness cooperation with investigations.

In its effort to establish and maintain an effective regulatory market, in FY2017 the SEC helped more than 400 companies through the initial public offering (IPO) processes. It formed the Retail Strategy Task Force to more quickly identify financial market misconduct impacting retail investors, and is publishing findings related to robo-advisors, automated online programs that provide investment advice.

The SEC continues its charter to foster and enforce compliance with federal securities laws. To that end, during FY2017 the SEC authorized nearly 450 stand-alone enforcement actions, almost 200 follow-on proceedings, and more than 110 delinquent filing proceedings. It obtained judgments and orders for over $3.8 billion in penalties and returned $1.0 billion to harmed investors.

Its Corporation Finance division reviewed more than 5,000 investment company annual reports and issued comments on financial documents of nearly 4,200 public companies. It continued to operate its investor education website, where some 2.2 million new users visited to learn about investments.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

100 F St Ne
Washington, DC 20549-2001
Phone: 1 (202) 942-8088

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
COO: Jeffery Heslop
CFO: Kenneth A. Johnson
Acting Chairman: Michael S. Piwowar
Employees (This Location): 1,877
Employees (All Locations): 2,883

Major Office Locations

Washington, DC