What Is the SEC Fee?

What Is the SEC Fee?

The SEC fee is a small charge that exchanges and broker-dealers must pay to the U.S. Treasury. It helps to cover the costs incurred by the government in regulating the equities market. Broker-dealers mainly bear the cost of SEC fees, and they may pass it on to investors. The SEC fee is part of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, under which it is also known as the Section 31 Transaction Fee. The fee is calculated based on the volume of shares traded and applies only to the sale of stocks, not their purchase.


The SEC fee, an adjunct charge applied to the transaction of exchange-listed equities, extends beyond associated brokerage commissions, potentially being shouldered by investors. This fee finds its definition in Section 31 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, commonly denoted as the Section 31 Transaction Fee.

Post its initiation and leading up to 2007, the SEC fee amounted to 1% of one three-hundredth of the dollar value of the equities involved in the transaction. Subsequently, there was a marginal adjustment post-2007, with the fee increasing to 1% of one eight-hundredth of the dollar value of the equities transacted.

Exploring the SEC Fee

The SEC fee, garnered from brokerage firms, flows back into the U.S. Treasury. National securities exchanges, mandated to pay this transaction-centric fee, base it on the volume of securities traded on their platforms.

These exchanges may compel broker-dealers to contribute some of these fees, often transferring the financial onus to their investment clientele. This fee acts as the financial cornerstone for government oversight of equity dealers and the equities market. While impacting the sale of most equity classes and equity-related options, it has no bearing on equity purchases.

Annually, the SEC adjusts this fee, tweaking the figure to maintain a consistent annual transaction fee total. If a securities exchange witnesses an uptick in transaction volume, the SEC reduces the fee rate, ensuring each transaction contributes less while collectively meeting the target. Conversely, diminished transaction volume prompts an increase in individual transaction fees to meet the annual target. Notably, the SEC fee exclusively pertains to stock sales, exempting bonds and other debt instruments from its purview.

Fee Shifts

Spring of 2018 witnessed the SEC unveiling a fee adjustment, fixing the rates for most securities transactions at $13 per million dollars in sales. Marking a reduction for that year, this shift was attributed, in part, to substantially elevated dollar amounts in the preceding months for qualifying transactions. As per the SEC's assertion, future fee adjustments, whether reductions or increases, hinge on significant deviations in the volume of sales transactions.

On August 5, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that the fees that public companies and other issuers pay to register their securities with the Commission would increase from $110.20 per million dollars to $147.60 per million dollars.


The SEC fee, a key financial tool for government oversight, is primarily borne by broker-dealers and applies solely to stock sales. The announced fee increase in August 2023, from $110.20 to $147.60 per million dollars for securities registration, highlights the adaptability of regulatory structures in response to market dynamics.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)