The SEC was established on 26 Oct 1936 by virtue of the Commonwealth Act No. 83 or the Securities Act. Its establishment was prompted by the need to safeguard public interest in view of local stock market boom at that time. Operations began on 11 Nov 1936 under the leadership of Commissioner Ricardo Nepomuceno. Its major functions included registration of securities, analysis of every registered security, evaluation of the financial condition and operations of applicants for security issue, screening of applications for broker’s or dealer’s license and supervision of stock and bond brokers as well as the stock exchanges. The agency was abolished during the Japanese occupation and was replaced with the Philippine Executive Commission. It was reactivated in 1947 With the restoration of the Commonwealth Government. Due to the changes in the business environment under Pres. Ferdinand Marcos, the agency was reorganized on 29 Sept 1975 as a collegial body with 3 commissioners and was given quasi-judicial powers under PD902-A.
In 1981, the Commission was expanded to include two (2) additional commissioners and two (2) departments, one for prosecution and enforcement and the other for supervision and monitoring. Then on 01 December 2000, the SEC was reorganized as mandated by R. A. 8799 also known as the Securities Regulation Code.