The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a federal agency that protects investors and maintains the integrity of the U.S. securities markets. It was created in order to restore public confidence in the U.S. capital markets after the stock market crashed in October 1929. SEC responsibilities include:

  • Interpret federal securities laws;
  • Issue new rules and amend existing rules;
  • Oversee the inspection of securities firms, brokers, investment advisers, and ratings agencies;
  • Oversee private regulatory organizations in the securities, accounting, and auditing fields; and
  • Coordinate U.S. securities regulation with federal, state and foreign authorities.

The SEC also oversees the PCAOB, which was created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Although the SEC has statutory authority to establish financial accounting and reporting standards for publicly held companies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, it has historically relied on the FASB in the private sector for this function to the extent that the FASB demonstrates ability to fulfill the responsibility in the public interest. Further information about the SEC, as well as, recent news is available at the respective hyperlinks.