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Editor: Eric C. Chaffee
Univ. of Toledo College of Law

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Friday, September 18, 2009

SEC Takes Further Action to Regulate Credit Rating Agencies

The SEC voted unanimously to take several rulemaking actions to bolster oversight of credit ratings agencies by enhancing disclosure and improving the quality of credit ratings, including: 

Adopted rules to provide greater information concerning ratings histories - and to enable competing credit rating agencies to offer unsolicited ratings for structured finance products, by granting them access to the necessary underlying data for structured products.

Proposed amendments that would seek to strengthen compliance programs through requiring annual compliance reports and enhance disclosure of potential sources of revenue-related conflicts.

Adopted amendments to the Commission's rules and forms to remove certain references to credit ratings by nationally recognized statistical rating organizations.

Reopened the public comment period to allow further comment on Commission proposals to eliminate references to NRSRO credit ratings from certain other rules and forms.

Proposed new rules that would require disclosure of information including what a credit rating covers and any material limitations on the scope of the rating and whether any "preliminary ratings" were obtained from other rating agencies - in other words, whether there was "ratings shopping."

Voted to seek public comment on whether to amend Commission rules to subject NRSROs to liability when a rating is used in connection with a registered offering by eliminating a current provision that exempts NRSROs from being treated as experts when their ratings are used that way.

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Public comments on new rules or amendments proposed today must be received by the Commission within 60 days after their publication in the Federal Register.

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