Securities and Exchange Commission

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is a regulatory agency created during the New Deal in order to minimize abuse by corporate management of a company's shareholders. While the relatively recent abuses epitomized by Enron, and the more recent share option backdating scandals by already very rich executives demonstrate, an entity such as the SEC remains as necessary as other types of police and regulatory agencies.

All public corporations must file various reports with SEC on a regular basis. An annual report, such as the Form 10-K contains extensive information about the company including full financial statements as well as management discussion of results. Other SEC filings include the Form 10Q (a summarized version of the 10K done on a quarterly basis) and the 8K's, on which companies must disclose material information about their activities. All such reports are available to the public through the SEC website, and most corporate websites allow access to these reports as well.

All investment banks, mutual fund, insurance companies, stockbrokers and investment advisers must be registered with the SEC and FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an SRO) in order to provide financial advisory services to both institutional (companies, government agencies, etc.) and individual (HNWIs, investors) clients.