Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Master's February 2008

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Morgan Bennett Mr. Harris History Honors- Per 5 April 2001 The Securities and Exchange Commission In 1934 the Securities Exchange Act created the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) in response to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression of the 1930s. It was created to protect U.S. investors against malpractice in securities and financial markets. The purpose of the SEC was and still is to carry out the mandates of the Securities Act of 1933: To protect investors and maintain the integrity of the securities market by amending the current laws, creating new laws and seeing to it that those laws are enforced.

During the 1920s, approximately 20 million Americans took advantage of post-war prosperity by purchasing shares of stock in various securities exchanges. When the stock market crashed in 1929, the fortunes of many investors were lost. In addition, banks lost great sums of money in the Crash because they had invested heavily in the markets.

When people feared their banks might not be able to pay back the money that depositors had in their accounts, a "run" on the banking system caused many bank failures. After the crash, public confidence in the market and the economy fell sharply. In response, Congress held hearings to identify the problems and look for solutions; the answer was found in the new SEC. The Commission was established in 1934 to enforce new securities laws that were passed with the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The two new laws stated that "Companies publicly offering securities must tell the public the truth about their businesses, the securities they are selling and the risks involved in the investing." Secondly, "People who sell and trade securities must treat investors fairly and honestly, putting...