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Securities and Exchange Commission

100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549


CHAIRGary Gensler

Caroline A. Crenshaw
Allison H. Lee
Hester M. Peirce


Corporation FinanceRenee Jones
Economic and Risk AnalysisJessica Wachter *
EnforcementGurbir Grewal
ExaminationsRichard R. Best
Investment ManagementWilliam A. Birdthistle
Trading and MarketsHaoxiang Zhu


AccountantPaul Munter, Acting
Administrative Law JudgeJames E. Grimes
Operating OfficerKenneth A. Johnson

EthicsDanae Serrano
GeneralDaniel M. Berkovitz

Credit RatingsLori H. Price, Acting
Equal Employment OpportunityRita Sampson
International AffairsYJ Fischer
Investor AdvocacyRichard A. Fleming *
Investor Education and AdvocacyLori J. Schock
Legislative and Intergovernmental AffairsKevin Burris
Minority and Women InclusionPamela A. Gibbs
Municipal SecuritiesDave A. Sanchez
Public AffairsScott Schneider
Small Business Capital Formation AdvocacySebastian Gomez Abero, Acting *

SecretaryVanessa Countryman

Independent Office

Independent Office
Inspector GeneralRebecca Sharek, Acting | Email:

Operational Offices

Operational Offices

FinancialCaryn E. Kauffman
Human CapitalJames McNamara
InformationDavid Bottom

AcquisitionsVance Cathell
EDGAR BusinessJeffrey Hickman
Human ResourcesJames McNamara
Strategic Hub for innovation and Financial TechnologyValerie A. Szczepanik
Support OperationsOlivier A. Girod

Regional Offices

Regional Offices
AtlantaNekia H. Jones
BostonPaul Levenson
ChicagoDaniel R. Gregus
DenverKurt L. Gottschall
Fort WorthDavid L. Peavler
Los AngelesMichele W. Layne
MiamiEric I. Bustillo
New YorkLara S. Mehraban, Acting
PhiladelphiaJoy G. Thompson, Acting *
Scott A. Thompson, Acting *
Salt LakeTanya G. Beard, Acting
San FranciscoMonique C. Winkler, Acting

The Securities and Exchange Commission protects investors, facilitates capital formation, and maintains efficient, fair, and orderly markets.


On June 6, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved Public Law 73–291, which is also cited as the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (48 Stat. 881). It sought "to provide for the regulation of securities exchanges and of over-the-counter markets operating in interstate and foreign commerce and through the mails, to prevent inequitable and unfair practices on such exchanges and markets, and for other purposes" (p. xviii). To help regulate exchanges and markets and to make them more equitable and fair, the new law "established a Securities and Exchange Commission" (48 Stat. 885). The establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) belongs to a part of the law that became effective on July 1, 1934 (48 Stat. 905).

By the advice and with the consent of the Senate, the President appoints five Commissioners to serve on the Commission. Not more than three Commissioners may be members of the same political party (48 Stat. 885).

The SEC's statement of organization has been assigned to Subpart A of Part 200 in Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations (17 CFR 200).

The SEC posts an organization chart in Portable Document Format (PDF) for viewing and downloading.


The SEC website has a web page that is dedicated to "The Laws That Govern the Securities Industry."

When an issuer of a security and its controlling persons make a public offering of a security in interstate commerce or via mail, the Securities Act of 1933 (PL 73–22) (48 Stat. 74) requires them to file a registration statement with the SEC. A registration statement contains information on the issuer and on the security that is being offered. (Limited exemptions to this requirement include Government securities, intrastate offerings, nonpublic offerings, and certain offerings that do not exceed $1.5 million.) A registration statement containing material misstatements or omissions may have its effectiveness refused or suspended. A refusal or suspension of effectiveness bars the sale of a security. Once the registration statement has been appropriately amended, the security may be sold.

Statutory material on the subject of securities exchanges has been codified and assigned to Chapter 2B of Title 15 of the United States Code (15 U.S.C.). Title 15 is dedicated to the subjects of commerce and trade. Material from the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 has been assigned to Chapter 2B.

Statutory material on the subject of protection for securities investors has been codified and assigned to Chapter 2B–1 of Title 15 of 15 U.S.C.

Rules and regulations that deal with commodity and securities exchanges are codified and have been assigned to Title 17 of the Code of Federal Regulations (17 CFR).

The Bretton Woods Agreements Act of 1945 (PL 79–171) (59 Stat. 512) provided for the participation of the United States in the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Four years later, a subsequent act amended The Bretton Woods Agreements Act by adding section 15.

The Act (PL 81–142) (63 Stat. 298) to amend the Bretton Woods Agreements Act gave additional responsibilities to the SEC. The new section dealt with securities (i.e., exempted securities) that the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) either issued or guaranteed. The Act assigned to the SEC the role of determining the appropriateness of certain securities for requiring that the IBRD file annual and other reports on them.

The content of section 15 was codified and assigned to its own section of Title 22 of the United States Code (22 U.S.C. 286k-1).

The Internal Revenue Code of 1954 (PL 83–591) (68A Stat. 3) gave additional responsibilities to the SEC. These responsibilities dealt with investment companies, development corporations, and capital that these companies furnish to these corporations (68A Stat. 270). The relevant section and paragraph are 851(e) of "Subchapter M—Regulated Investment Companies."

The content of section 851 was codified and assigned to an identical section of Title 26 of the United States Code (26 U.S.C. 851(e)).


The SEC activities affect the Nation's economy, capital markets, and the lives of average Americans. For more than 85 years, since its founding at the height of the Great Depression, the SEC has been facilitating capital formation, protecting large and small investors, and maintaining markets that are efficient, fair, and orderly.


The enforcement staff conducts investigations into possible violations of the Federal securities laws and litigates the SEC's civil enforcement proceedings in the Federal courts and in administrative proceedings.

In civil suits, the SEC seeks injunctions (i.e., orders that prohibit future violations). A person who violates an injunction is subject to fines or imprisonment for contempt. The Commission can also seek civil money penalties and the disgorgement of illegal profits. In certain circumstances, it may seek a court order barring or suspending an individual from acting as a corporate officer or director. Releases that describe litigation in Federal district court are posted on the SEC website.

The SEC can bring a variety of administrative proceedings, which are heard by hearing officers and Commissioners. A proceeding for a cease and desist order may be instituted against any person who violates the Federal securities laws. With respect to regulated persons—brokers, dealers, and investment advisers, as well as to their employees—the Commission may institute administrative proceedings to revoke or suspend registration or to impose bars or suspensions from employment. In both cease-and-desist proceedings and administrative proceedings against regulated persons, the Commission is authorized to order the payment of civil penalties and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains. Certain associational, conduct-related, and industry bars may also be available. Releases related to recently-instituted or settled cease-and-desist proceedings and administrative proceedings are posted on the SEC website. Initial decisions that are issued by hearing officers in contested cases and Commission opinions on appeal from enforcement actions and disciplinary proceedings by self-regulatory organizations (e.g., the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or the New York Stock Exchange) are also posted on the website.


The SEC regulatory regime provides companies and entrepreneurs with ways to access America's capital markets. That access helps them create jobs, develop life-changing innovations and technology, and provide financial opportunities for investors. Even more critical for small businesses, access to capital enables them to grow and scale up their operations and services.


American households own trillions of dollars worth of equities, either directly or indirectly, through mutual funds, retirement accounts, and other investments. The Federal securities laws that the SEC oversees are based on a simple and straightforward idea: every investor should be treated fairly and have access to certain facts regarding his or her investments and those who sell investments.

The SEC requires public companies, fund and asset managers, investment professionals, and other market participants to disclose significant financial and other information on a regular basis. These requirements empower investors to make informed investment decisions because they have access to accurate, complete, and timely information.

The SEC protects investors by enforcing the Federal securities laws. Effective enforcement holds wrongdoers accountable and deters future misconduct. The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy also provides investors with educational materials and other resources and tools.


U.S. capital markets are deep, dynamic, and highly liquid. They also have evolved to become increasingly fast and extraordinarily complex.

In the face of market developments and trends, the SEC must be responsive and innovative. Technological advancements and commercial developments have changed the operations of securities markets. To remain an effective regulator, the SEC continuously monitors the market environment and, when appropriate, adjusts and modernizes its activities, expertise, oversight tools, regulations, and rules.

Sources of Information

Archived Records

The "Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States" indicates that SEC records have been assigned to record group 266.

Background Search Tools

Check the professional background of an investment professional or someone who is selling an investment before entrusting him or her with hard-earned money. The SEC website has search tools that make conducting a background check a simple task.

Business Opportunities

The Office of Acquisitions' web page features links to help those who seek business opportunities with the SEC. Phone, 202-551-2200.

Career Opportunities

The SEC relies on accountants, attorneys, economists, examiners, industry specialists, information technology specialists, and other professionals to carry out its mission. Applicants must apply for a specific vacancy and complete a process of competitive selection. This process does not apply, however, to attorney vacancies. The Commission runs a college and law school recruitment program that relies on campus visits and student interviews.

In 2020, the SEC ranked 4th among 25 midsize Government agencies in the Partnership for Public Service's Best Places To Work Agency Rankings.


On March 21, 2022, the SEC proposed rule changes requiring registrants to include certain climate-related disclosures in their registration statements and periodic reports, including information about climate-related risks and certain climate-related financial statement metrics in a note, as part of their audited financial statements. The required information about climate-related risks also would include disclosure of a registrant's greenhouse gas emissions. Commenting on the proposal, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said, "If adopted, [the rule] would provide investors with consistent, comparable, and decision-useful information for making their investment decisions, and it would provide consistent and clear reporting obligations for issuers . . . . Our core bargain from the 1930s is that investors get to decide which risks to take, as long as public companies provide full and fair disclosure and are truthful in those disclosures. Today, investors representing literally tens of trillions of dollars support climate-related disclosures because they recognize that climate risks can pose significant financial risks to companies, and investors need reliable information about climate risks to make informed investment decisions."

Proposed rule (87 FR 21334) on the enhancement and standardization of climate-related disclosures:

Contact Information

The SEC posts email addresses and phone numbers on its "Contact Information" web page.

Regional offices can provide investors with information and assist them with complaints. Each regional office posts contact information on its web page.

The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) provides services and has tools for answering investors' questions and solving their problems. Office staff can help investors become more informed and avoid fraud. Phone, 800-732-0330. | Email:

Members of the news media may contact the Office of Public Affairs by email or phone for press inquiries. Phone, 202–551–4120.



The "SEC Data Resources" web page has a comprehensive list that brings together links to various SEC data resources.

Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR)

Domestic and foreign companies are required to file reports, statements, and other forms. This information is free to access and free to download.

Enforcement / Litigation

The SEC posts information on enforcement actions, opinions issued by the SEC, briefs filed by SEC staff, trading suspensions, and specific cases of notices concerning the creation of investors' claims funds.


A schedule of upcoming SEC meetings, public appearances by SEC officials, and public hearings is available online.

External Resources

The "Related Sites" web page has a convenient list of hyperlinked websites that online visitors may find helpful.

The website has a "Useful Websites" page. It gives investors easy access to a list of hyperlinked websites that belong to consumer groups, Federal agencies, self-regulatory organizations, and State regulators.

Fast Answers

The SEC maintains a list of the terms for which SEC website visitors search most frequently.

Federal Register

Significant documents and documents that the SEC recently published in the Federal Register are accessible online.

Financial Planning Tools

The website has a "Free Financial Planning Tools" web page that has links to online analyzers, calculators, and estimators.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Office of Freedom of Information Act Services makes SEC records available to the public to the greatest extent possible under the FOIA. The Office receives thousands of requests per year for Commission documents and records. For more information, contact the FOIA public service center. Phone, 202-551-7900. Fax, 202-772-9337. | Email:

Records such as no-action and interpretive letters, public comments on proposed rules, registration statements and reports filed, SEC decisions and releases, and staff manuals, can be read and printed for free by using the SEC online search feature. An electronic request form is available for obtaining nonpublic records such as consumer complaints, records compiled in investigations, and staff comment letters. The SEC releases nonpublic records, except when they are shielded from disclosure by a FOIA exemption. An electronic request form also may be used for obtaining older records that the SEC has not posted on its website. These records usually are dated before 1996.


The website has an online glossary.

Harmed Investors

The "Information for Harmed Investors" web page contains information on relevant SEC enforcement actions.

In the Spotlight

The "SEC Spotlight" web page highlights topics of current interest at the SEC.


The SEC posts press releases, public statements, speeches, testimonies, and webcasts on its website. A subscription form is available online to receive news alerts via email. | Email:

Open Government

The SEC supports the Open Government initiative by promoting the principles of collaboration, participation, and transparency. | Email:

Performance / Budgets / Planning

The SEC posts annual performance and financial reports, budget reports, and strategic plans on its website.

Plain Language

Like other Federal agencies, the SEC must compose documents in plain writing. According to the Plain Writing Act of 2010, writing should be "clear, concise, well-organized" and follow "other best practices appropriate to the subject or field or audience." SEC writers and editors want to know if agency documents and web pages are difficult to understand. Contact them by email to leave a comment or make a suggestion. | Email:

Reports / Publications

The SEC posts periodic SEC reports and publications on its website.

The website has a "Publications" web page.

Site Map

The website map allows visitors to look for specific topics or to browse content that aligns with their interests.

Small Business Capital Formation

A small business can raise capital by selling securities. Under the Federal securities laws, every offer and sale of securities must either be registered with the SEC or conducted under an exemption from registration.

Social Media

The SEC uses social media to communicate with the general public. It maintains a presence on LinkedIn, posts videos on its YouTube channel, tweets announcements and other newsworthy items on its Twitter accounts, and has Facebook pages.

Tips / Complaints / Questions

Members of the public can inform the SEC of possible violations of U.S. securities laws by completing the online questionnaire.

Understanding Fees

Fees and costs are associated with investment products and services. A fee may be small; however, it can affect an investment portfolio's performance and returns over time. To learn more about fees, visit the website


The website has investing tips for veterans and advice on how they can recognize investment fraud.

Violations / Investigations

The "How Investigations Work" web page lists common violations that can lead to an SEC investigation. It also explains the difference between an administrative action and civil action.


The final votes of SEC Commissioners on decisions, orders, rules, and the votes authorizing district court proceedings and other actions are posted online.