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Financial Audit: Securities and Exchange Commission's FY 2021 and 2020 Financial Statements

GAO-22-104738 Published: Nov 15, 2021. Publicly Released: Nov 15, 2021.
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Fast Facts

The Securities and Exchange Commission enforces securities laws that protect investors.

The SEC collected $2.8 billion in penalties for securities law violations in FY21. Some of that goes to the Investor Protection Fund, which rewards whistleblowers and supports investor education.

We audit and issue opinions annually on SEC and Fund financial statements and on related internal controls (e.g., processes to reasonably assure that transactions are properly authorized and recorded).

In FY 2021, we found the statements were reliable and that controls over financial reporting were effective.

The Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters

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What GAO Found

GAO found (1) the United States Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) and its Investor Protection Fund's (IPF) financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2021, and 2020, are presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles; (2) SEC maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting for SEC and for IPF as of September 30, 2021; and (3) no reportable noncompliance for fiscal year 2021 with provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements GAO tested. In commenting on a draft of this report, SEC stated that it is pleased that GAO found that SEC's financial statements and notes were presented fairly, in all material respects, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

Why GAO Did This Study

The Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002 requires that SEC annually prepare and submit audited financial statements to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget. The Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act), requires SEC to annually prepare and submit a complete set of audited financial statements for its IPF to Congress. In accordance with the authority conferred by the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, as amended by the Government Management Reform Act of 1994, GAO audited the SEC and IPF financial statements. Section 963 of the Dodd-Frank Act further requires that (1) SEC annually submit a report to Congress describing management's responsibility for internal control over financial reporting and assessing the effectiveness of such internal control during the fiscal year; (2) the SEC Chairman and Chief Financial Officer attest to SEC's report; and (3) GAO assess the effectiveness of SEC's internal control over financial reporting and evaluate, attest to, and report on SEC's assessment. Accordingly, this report also includes GAO's reporting in response to the requirement under the Dodd-Frank Act.

For more information, contact M. Hannah Padilla at (202) 512-5683 or

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