The SEC was established 80 years ago on June 6, 1934, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 into law. The SEC's mission then and now is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. Here's a look back at the events of 1934 and the creation of the SEC.
The Securities Exchange Act was authored by Florida Senator Duncan Fletcher and Texas Congressman Sam Rayburn in the midst of the Great Depression following the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
Passage followed a series of Congressional hearings into Wall Street practices led by Ferdinand Pecora, Chief Counsel of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency.
Many Americans had lost their savings during the Stock Market Crash of 1929. They wrote letters to Washington calling for action.
But the legislation also had opponents.
Congress approved the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on June 3. The President signed the act into law three days later.
The purpose of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is "To provide for the regulation of securities exchanges and of over-the-counter markets operating in interstate and foreign commerce through the mails, to prevent inequitable and unfair practices on such exchanges and markets, and for other purposes."
21 different securities exchanges registered with the Commission in its first year.
On July 3, 1934, SEC Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy addressed the nation to describe the work of the new agency.