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Regulation and Compliance > Federal Regulation > SEC

Rating Agency Reacts To NAIC Rumblings

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Moody’s Investors Service says it welcomes news that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is thinking about getting into the rating business.

The NAIC, Kansas City, Mo., is looking into the possibility of registering a “nationally recognized statistical rating organization” with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC now lists 10 NRSROs on its Web site.

The NAIC would be going head to head with the existing NRSROs, such as A.M. Best Company Inc., Oldwick, N.J.; Fitch Inc., London; Moody’s Investors Service Inc., New York; and Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services, New York.

A.M. Best has declined to comment, and representatives from Fitch and S&P have not been available to discuss the news.

Moody’s has issued a positive response.

“Moody’s believes the markets have benefited from the diversity of information that results from a robust and competitive marketplace for credit analysis, and has long supported increased competition and greater transparency,” Moody’s spokesman Tony Mirenda says in a statement.

Companies that apply for NRSRO status must adhere to SEC rules prohibiting conflicts of interest, and NRSROs must update disclosure documents at least annually when there is a material change in the NRSRO’s operations, according to SEC spokesman John Heine.

The SEC does not indicate which organizations have or have not applied for NRSRO status, Heine says.


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