SEC Form 1 is filed as an application for, amendments to, or exemption from registration as a national securities exchange pursuant to Section 6 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The filing requires voluminous exhibits that can run hundreds of pages. Long-established stock exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market originally used SEC Form 1 to apply for registration and have submitted the form for amendments. 


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) exists to regulate markets to protect investors. Markets begin with exchanges, so it makes sense that this filing is Form 1 with the SEC. The paperwork required, if laid out end to end, would stretch over quite a distance. This is because the agency must be sure it is providing adequate protection for investors who trade on national securities exchanges. Form 1 calls for articles of incorporation; by-laws and rules; financial statements; description of operating procedures; information on members, participants and subscribers of the exchange (e.g., floor broker, specialist, proprietary trader, non-broker dealer); details on officers and governors; list of shareholders who own 5% or more of the exchange; securities listed on the exchange (if currently none, then the criteria for listing); and other material disclosures. 

There are presently over 30 exchanges registered with the SEC under Section 6 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The latest one to register was IEX Group, Inc., whose goal is simply "to build fairer markets" by "designing technology, functionality, and rules to level the playing field for investors." In August 2015 the company filed SEC Form 1 and the agency approved the application in June 2016.

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