U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission
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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Opportunities for Examiners with the SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), created in 1934, is an independent regulatory agency with responsibility for administering and enforcing the federal securities laws. These laws protect investors in our securities markets. The SEC regulates and oversees market professionals: broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment companies, transfer agents and clearing agencies as well as securities exchanges and other self-regulatory organizations.

The SEC has a dynamic work force of more than 3000 people, dedicated to keeping a watchful eye over the nation's securities markets. Although the SEC is a small agency by government standards, its impact is large. The Commission staff is located in its headquarters office in Washington, DC and in 11 regional offices in major metropolitan areas across the country. The activities and accomplishments of the SEC reflect a long tradition of excellence and high standards. On any day, pick up the business section of the newspaper and you will likely see matters in which the SEC is involved.

The SEC's reach continues to expand. The Commission works with multilateral organizations to promote international cooperation and assistance to encourage the growth of sound, fair securities markets around the world. In addition, the SEC provides technical support and broad-based training programs to assist the world's developing markets.

Professional opportunities at the SEC are among the best in the industry. The work of the SEC is both challenging and meaningful. Our work entails a great deal of responsibility as our mission and our goal is to conduct fair and comprehensive examinations to protect investors and the securities markets. The result is a high-spirited atmosphere and a cooperative working environment in which new ideas and approaches are encouraged.

This brochure was developed to assist you as you evaluate the rewarding job opportunities available at the SEC as a Securities Compliance Examiner or Staff Accountant in the examination programs. (The Securities Compliance Examiner and Staff Accountant classifications will be referred to as examiners throughout this brochure.)

Outstanding examiners are those who have a background in finance or accounting and who are detail oriented. We invite you to review this brochure and to consider the opportunity to work and to learn in an environment committed to excellence.

The Work of the SEC's Examination Program

The securities industry is dynamic and exciting. Becoming an examiner is perhaps the best way to learn securities compliance and to obtain first-hand experience in the securities industry. From reviewing a mutual fund's portfolio or a broker-dealer's sales activities to reviewing the financials of a multi-million dollar company, an examiner will have a varied and challenging range of responsibilities throughout his or her career. Securities firms are located throughout the United States. Examiners routinely travel within their region or district to conduct on-site examinations. Whether your schedule takes you across town or across the country, your day to day activities will be anything but routine.

The SEC's Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) is responsible for conducting and coordinating the nationwide examination program for broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment companies, transfer agents and clearing agencies as well as securities exchanges and other self-regulatory organizations. Our mandate is to protect investors by regulating compliance with the securities laws, detecting violative conduct, and ensuring that the SEC is informed of developments in the regulated community. The examination program is administered by staff in the Commission's headquarters office and in the SEC's five regional and six district offices around the country. The examination staff provides the information and oversight link between the SEC and its regulated entities.

A typical inspection or examination proceeds as follows: Once an examination team is selected, the staff conducts background research on the entity to be examined. Next, examiners travel to the firm's office and begin the on-site portion of the examination with interviews with key personnel and a tour of the offices and operations. They also compute capital requirements, reserve formula computations and net asset value. Examiners then review the firm's records and analyze its operations. Examiners are searching for indications that the securities laws have been violated or that the firm's compliance procedures and controls are weak. Once the analysis is complete, an examination report is drafted detailing the findings of the examination as well as a recommendation of what action, if any, should be taken to conclude the examination.

Where examiners identify failures by a regulated entity to comply with securities laws, the violation may relate to any of a broad range of issues from record-keeping to misrepresentations or other sales practice abuses. Most of the problems identified by the examination staff result in a deficiency letter being issued to the registrant that identifies the problems the staff found and requires the registrant to correct the deficiency. If the violations found are egregious, such as when investor funds or securities are at risk, the examination staff may refer the matter to the SEC's Enforcement staff for further investigation and possible enforcement action. Examiners may work very closely with Enforcement staff and may be called to testify if a case goes to trial.

Professional Growth

At the SEC you will become part of a culture that thrives on gaining and sharing knowledge. Your knowledge will be built on a solid foundation of world-class training. You'll have access to unparalleled learning opportunities. You'll continually gain new skills and knowledge in an environment devoted to learning and professional growth. As an examiner, you will attend a basic training phase program to immerse you in the specifics of securities compliance examining. As your career progresses, you will attend numerous securities training programs that are taught by leading industry experts. This continuous learning keeps examiners up to date on the latest business and industry developments.

The lifeblood of the examination program, though, is its on-the-job training. From the moment you are sworn in as an SEC examiner you will be learning by actually conducting the examinations and inspections. This leads to mastery of the critical competencies necessary very early in one's career. As you progress in your skills, you will be given additional responsibilities and leadership opportunities.

Salary and Benefits

The SEC has specific compensation comparable to the Federal banking regulators. Employees receive base pay plus a locality percentage based on their office location. Specific pay information is listed on each job vacancy announcement. There are opportunities for advancement and rapid salary increases based on performance. In addition, managers may recommend an employee for promotion after one year. All federal employees are entitled to the following benefits:

  • 13 days of paid vacation annually for new federal employees, increasing to 26 days annually depending on length of federal service
  • 13 days of paid sick leave annually with unlimited accumulation that can be used for personal or family care
  • 10 paid holidays each year
  • Attractive retirement system which includes a pension plan, social security and an employer-matching 401(k)-type savings plan
  • Immediate health and life insurance coverage, including choices to fit your needs
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Cash awards and recognition for adopted suggestions, special achievements and exceptional performance

Perhaps the most important reward in working as an examiner is the experience gained, and the knowledge that your efforts have helped to protect our nation's investors and securities markets worldwide.


To apply, you must submit an application under a specific job vacancy announcement. Job vacancy announcements are posted on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov/jobs.shtml for both the Securities Compliance Examiner and Staff Accountant positions in the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations and the regional offices. Prospective candidates should carefully review the job vacancy announcement as each announcement specifies the education and work experience requirements for that posted position. Applications for positions must be postmarked no later than the closing date of the vacancy.

Entry level examiners are hired at the SK-7 level. You may qualify for Securities Compliance Examiner if you have:

  • A bachelor's degree in finance, business or other major that includes:
    • At least 6 semester hours of accounting, and
    • An additional 18 semester hours in business subjects

If you are an Accounting major, you may be hired as a Staff Accountant, if you have:

  • A bachelor's degree with at least 24 semester hours in accounting

(Note: Accounting majors may also apply for Securities Compliance Examiner positions.)

You should check each job posting carefully for specific GPA requirements.

For positions above the SK-7 level, grade determinations are made based on relevant work experience or graduate education in accounting, finance or related fields. Specific requirements are explained in each job posting.

SEC Office Addresses

Examiner positions are located in various SEC offices.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
100 F Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20549

For more information about the Commission, visit our website at: http://www.sec.gov.

Equal Employment Opportunity: All candidates will be considered without regard to any non-merit reason such as race, color, sex, age, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or disability status.




Modified: 06/03/2005