Members of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have voted 5-0 to seek public comments on a proposed rule that would remove references to credit ratings from SEC rules.

The SEC has posted a version of the credit rating reference removal proposal on its website.

The SEC has been talking for years about reducing official reliance on ratings from the big “nationally recognized statistical rating organizations” (NRSROs), and it now is moving ahead with those efforts because of provisions requiring the shift in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.

The proposed rule would remove references to NRSROs from SEC regulations based on the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

In addition to proposing the rules, the SEC is asking for comments on how to implement the credit rating changes.

In the insurance industry, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Kansas City, Mo., has been trying to help states help insurers to reduce reliance on the NRSROs by creating new systems assessing mortgage-backed securities.

- Allison Bell

Other rating agency coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health: