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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is an independent federal government agency of the United States created under Section 4 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The act provides rules and regulations for controlling the trading of securities, defined to include notes, stocks, and certificates of interest or participation in any profit-sharing agreement or in any oil, gas, or other mineral royalty or lease, bonds and debentures in the United States. In the act, exchange is defined as

any organization, association, or group of persons, whether incorporated or unincorporated, which constitutes, maintains, or provides a market place or facilities for bringing together purchasers and sellers of securities or for otherwise performing with respect to securities the functions commonly performed by a stock exchange as that ...

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