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SEC Prepares To Publish Rating Agency Regulation Draft

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is plowing ahead with efforts to supervise credit rating agencies.

Members of the SEC have voted to move ahead with implementation of the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006 by publishing proposed rules for regulation of the major credit rating agencies, which now will be classified as “nationally recognized statistical rating organization.”

The new act requires the SEC to issue final rules for NRSROs by June 26, 2007, SEC officials say.

The draft would create several rules, starting with Rule 17g-1.

The rules would:

- Create a registration system for rating agencies that want to be NRSROs.

- Require an NRSRO to provide information such as credit ratings performance statistics; methods for determining credit ratings; organizational structure; procedures to prevent the misuse of material non-public information; conflicts of interest; procedures to address and manage conflicts of interest; and the qualifications of credit analysts and compliance personnel.

- Require that an NRSRO make a great deal of nonconfidential information available to the public, through the Web or through other means.

- Require that an NRSRO file an audited financial statement each year.

- Require an NSRO to come up with procedures to keep employees from trading on material nonpublic rating information or misusing nonpublic information in other ways.

- Prohibit an NRSRO from engaging in abusive practices, such as threatening to lower a credit rating if a company does not buy products or services from the NRSRO or an affiliate of the NRSRO.

Public comments on the proposals will be due 30 days after they appear in the Federal Register, SEC officials say.

After this article appeared, the SEC posted the proposed regulations at Document Link


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