Securities and Exchange Commission

The Securities and Exchange Commission is the primary regulator of financial markets in the United States. The SEC’s mission is to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and to facilitate capital formation. The SEC consists of five presidentially-appointed Commissioners with staggered five-year terms, no more than three of which can be from one political party. One of these Commissioners is designated by the President as the agency’s chair, responsible for setting the agency’s rulemaking agenda. The SEC consists of five Divisions – Corporation Finance, Trading & Markets, Investment Management, Enforcement, and Risk, Strategy, and Financial Innovation – with 23 Offices (e.g., Office of the General Counsel) and headquarters in Washington D.C.. The Commission has several responsibilities including: interpreting and enforcing the federal securities laws, issuing new and amending existing rules, overseeing the inspection of securities firms and private regulatory organizations, and coordinating U.S. securities regulation with federal, state, and foreign authorities. The SEC's oversight of the financial markets is disclosure-based, premised on the principle that investors that have all material information are sufficiently protected and able to make informed investment decisions. The SEC is still in the process of drafting and finalizing rules implementing several Dodd-Frank governance and executive compensation mandates. The Center has filed significant comments on all proposals so far with the SEC, and if the SEC proceeds to finalize the rules, will continue to advocate a board-centric, reasonable and cost-effective approach to their implementation.