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The SEC is an independent, non-partisan, quasi-judicial regulatory
agency with responsibility for administering the federal securities
laws. The purpose of these laws is to protect investors in
securities markets that operate fairly and to ensure that investors
have access to disclosure of all material information concerning
publicly traded securities. The Commission also regulates firms
engaged in the purchase or sale of securities, people who provide
investment advice as well as investment companies. The Commission
enforces the following laws:
* Securities Act of 1933;
* Securities Exchange Act of 1934;
* Public Utility Holding Act of 1935;
* Trust Indenture Act of 1939;
* Investment Company Act of 1940; and
* Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
Five Commissioners sit on the SEC, with one designated as Chairman by the President of the United States. All Commission members are appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, for fixed five-year terms. Terms are staggered; one expires on June 5th of every year. Not more than three members may be of the same political party.
The Commission employs lawyers, accountants, financial analysts and examiners, investigators, economists and other professionals. The Commission is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and operates regional or district offices in eleven cities. The principal divisions of the Commission are:
* Division of Corporation Finance: Corporation Finance has the overall responsibility of ensuring that disclosure requirements are met by publicly held companies registered with the Commission. Its work includes reviewing registration statements for publicly traded corporate securities, as well as documents concerning tender offers, mergers and acquisitions.
* Division of Market Regulation: Market Regulation is responsible for overseeing the securities markets, for registering and regulating brokerage firms, for overseeing the securities self-regulatory organizations (such as the nation's stock exchanges), and for overseeing other market participants, such as transfer agents and clearing organizations. The Division of Market Regulation also sets financial responsibility standards, and regulates trading and sales practices, policies affecting operation of the securities markets and surveillance.
* Division of Investment Management: Investment Management has responsibility for administering three statutes: the Investment Company Act of 1940; the Investment Advisers Act of 1940; and the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. The division staff ensures compliance with regulations regarding the registration, financial responsibility, sales practices, and advertising of investment companies and of investment advisers. New products offered by these entities also are reviewed by staff in this division. The division reviews and processes investment company registration statements, proxy statements, and periodic reports under the Securities Act.
* Division of Enforcement: This division is charged with enforcing federal securities laws. Enforcement responsibilities include investigating possible violations of the federal securities laws and recommending appropriate remedies for consideration by the Commission.
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