U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

government agency overseeing stock exchanges

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent agency of the United States federal government. The SEC was created during the aftermath of "Black Tuesday". Its purpose is to protect investors and enforce laws regarding the stock market.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of Corruption
Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
US Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Agency overview
FormedJune 6, 1934; 89 years ago (1934-06-06)
JurisdictionUnited States federal government
HeadquartersWashington, D.C.
Employees4,301 (2015)[1]
Agency executive



The SEC holds primary responsibility for enforcing the federal securities laws, proposing securities rules, and regulating the securities industry, the nation's stock and options exchanges, and other activities and organizations, including the electronic securities markets in the United States.[2]

In addition to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which created it, the SEC enforces the Securities Act of 1933, the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002, and other statutes. The SEC was created by Section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (now codified as 15 U.S.C. § 78d and commonly referred to as the Exchange Act or the 1934 Act).



Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. was the first Chair of the SEC. Later SEC commissioners and chairmen include William O. Douglas, Jerome Frank (one of the leaders of the legal realism movement), and William J. Casey (who later headed the Central Intelligence Agency under President Ronald Reagan).

The current chair is Gary Gensler serving since 2021 after being nominated by President Joe Biden.


  1. FY 2017 Congressional Budget Justification (PDF). U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 2016. p. 14.
  2. SEC (June 10, 2013). "What We Do". SEC.gov. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 2017-03-24.

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