of the Month: SEC Historical Society
Susan B. Anders
2005 - The Securities and Exchange Commission Historical
Society (www.sechistorical.org) provides a virtual museum
available to the public. The website is a great tool for
educators and students, as well as for anyone interested
in history. The website provides free access to historical
records of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and
the securities industry from the 1930s to the present. The
website is supported by contributors to the SEC Historical
Society, which is an independent body unaffiliated with
attractively designed website shows that the staff, trustees,
and advisors of the society have a great interest in the
history of the SEC and the securities industry. Primary
materials include audio webcasts, documents, photographs,
and interviews. The site also offers a timeline of events
from 1929 to the present, and the society plans to offer
gallery collections on significant events. The subject of
the first planned gallery, due later this year, is Joseph
Kennedy and the creation of the SEC.
website’s easy navigability lets users access many
resources from alternate routes, but the search process
and sitemap could be improved. The main navigation tools
are two horizontal menu bars at the top of the main pages.
The first menu bar addresses the primary areas of the website,
such as museum, news and events, about, support, and contact.
A second menu bar on the homepage (which is also the main
page of the museum section) connects users to galleries,
timeline, papers, photos, oral histories, online programs,
and links. Further simplifying the navigational process,
the top of each webpage has hyperlinks for the home page,
sitemap, and a keyword search.
society offers interesting webcasts on securities and investment
topics. Webcasts can be accessed via the left-hand index
on the homepage, under “online programs” and
“full calendar.” Users can tune in to webcasts
as they occur, or listen to archived programs. Webcasts
download quickly, and sound quality is good. The “click
here” button, full calendar hyperlink, and online
programs menu pull up dissimilar listings of the webcasts,
with different related resources.
interesting recent webcasts are “Fireside Chat: Shareholder
Rights” (February 15, 2005), “FIT on Forensic
Accounting” (September 21, 2004), and “The SEC:
A New Era” with Senator Paul Sarbanes (June 8, 2004).
“timeline” section of SEC and securities history
scrolls through major events from 1929 through 2003. The
presentation is very interesting, and worth a look even
if the user isn’t looking for specific dates.
“papers” page offers access to a variety of
documents that have been archived by the SEC Historical
Society. There appear to be around 500 documents, including
SEC Findings and Opinions, Comments on Proposed Rules, letters
regarding Proposed Rules, other letters, webcast transcripts,
interview transcripts, manuscripts, published articles,
and the U.S. Code. The documents are organized both alphabetically
and chronologically. The keyword search function is useful
for approaching the large number of resources; a sample
keyword search for “Sarbanes-Oxley” yielded
126 matches, including the act itself. Some documents tested
for this review opened in separate windows, while others
did not. All opened relatively quickly, depending on the
size of the document, and could be printed or saved.
are organized alphabetically by last name; it would be helpful
if they could also be organized chronologically. Photographs
open quickly in separate windows, and can be printed or
saved. Interviews with key individuals in SEC and securities
history are available through transcripts or online audio
recordings, under “oral histories.” “Links
& resources” includes connections to the ABA Section
of Business Law, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Securities
B. Anders, PhD, CPA, is an associate professor of
accounting at St. Bonaventure University.