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The main mission of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) is to protect investors from actions on the part of companies and other actors in the financial markets. Investors in such things as the stock market are very susceptible to being cheated by those with a great deal more knowledge and information and money. The SEC is supposed to prevent things like this from happening. For example, the SEC is supposed to prevent insider trading from occurring since that sort of trading would allow insiders to use their knowledge to cheat "outsiders" who do not have access to the same kinds of information that the insiders have.
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