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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a government agency in the United States that is responsible for regulating the securities industry, which includes stocks, bonds, and other investments. The SEC was established in 1934 in response to the stock market crash of 1929 and the subsequent Great Depression.

The SEC’s primary mission is to protect investors by ensuring that securities markets are fair and transparent, and that companies that issue securities provide accurate and complete information to investors. The SEC also works to prevent fraud and misconduct in the securities industry, and to promote capital formation through the regulation of securities offerings.

The SEC has the authority to bring civil enforcement actions against individuals and companies that violate securities laws, and it has the power to bring criminal charges in certain cases. The SEC also oversees self-regulatory organizations such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which is responsible for regulating broker-dealers in the United States.

In addition to its regulatory role, the SEC is also responsible for enforcing laws that govern corporate financial reporting and accounting. The SEC oversees the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), which is responsible for setting auditing standards and overseeing the auditors of public companies.

Overall, the SEC plays a critical role in maintaining the integrity of the U.S. securities markets and protecting the interests of investors.