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Securities and Exchange Commission

Dec. 21, 1999

The U.S. Congress created the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934 following the stock market crash of 1929. Our country decided that for capitalism to flourish, we needed to protect investors from fraud and unfair sales practices.

Since 1934, as our markets have grown and changed, our laws and SEC regulations have kept pace with Wall Street. Although complex, these laws and regulations boil down to two very simple and common sense notions: 

  • People who seek your investment dollars must tell you the truth about their businesses. 
  • People who sell securities must treat you fairly and honestly, putting your interests first.

Most businesses that raise money from you must "register" with the SEC and "disclose" important information to the investing public regularly. People and businesses that sell securities to you or advise you about investing must be licensed and closely supervised to make sure that they deal with you fairly. 

The SEC protects investors by enforcing our nation's securities laws, taking action against wrongdoers, and overseeing our securities markets and firms to ensure that investors are treated fairly and honestly. 

To learn more about the SEC, the people who work here, and what we do, visit the section of our website called About the SEC. You can also get information about the SEC by contacting us.

We have provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

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