SEC is the acronym for the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It was created on June 6th, 1934 as an independent governmental agency. The SEC is responsible for regulating and monitoring financial markets, with a focus on the American securities markets (e.g., stocks and bonds).
"The mission of the SEC is to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation. The SEC strives to promote a market environment that is worthy of the public's trust."
The main idea behind the creation of the SEC is that investors and traders should all have equal access to relevant information before buying or trading financial instruments. As such, the work of SEC ensures that brokers, exchanges, and dealers treat investors in a fair and honest manner.
Also, the SEC created laws that force public companies to report all their important financial data to the public. As a result, all kinds of investors are able to access the same set of information prior to making investment decisions.
As of 2019, the SEC is divided into five major operating units: