The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a U.S. government agency whose mission is to protect investors, to maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and to facilitate capital formation. The SEC was founded in 1934 after the Great Crash of 1929 and its responsibilities and authority have been redefined over time. Indeed, in the recent past, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which was enacted as a reaction to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals including those affecting Enron, Tyco International and Worldcom, gave the Commission greater powers.
The mission of the SEC is to protect investors and maintain an efficient and transparent capital market that facilitates the capital formation. Today, it is the responsibility of the Commission to: i) interpret federal securities laws; ii) issue new regulations and amend existing ones; iii) oversee the inspection of securities firms, brokers, investment advisers, and ratings agencies; iv) oversee private regulatory organisations in the securities, accounting, and auditing fields; and v) coordinate U.S. securities regulations with federal, state, and foreign authorities.
The Commission convenes regularly at meetings that are open to the public and the news media unless the discussion pertains to confidential subjects, such as whether to begin an enforcement investigation (see International Financial markets
The SEC consists of five presidentially appointed Commissioners, with staggered five-year terms. One of them is designated by the President as Chairman of the Commission - the Agency's chief executive. By law, no more than three of the Commissioners may belong to the same political party, thus ensuring non-partisanship. The agency's functional responsibilities are organised into four divisions and 19 offices, each of which is headquartered in Washington, DC. The Commission's approximately 3,500 staff are located in Washington and in 11 Regional Offices throughout the country.

Ciciretti, R., Trenta, U., 2006, La Borsa Europea. Una Visione d’Insieme, in Rapporto sul Sistema Finanziario Italiano 2006, ARACNE, Roma.

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