Friday, February 8, 2008
SEC May Propose Changes Concerning Rater
--The Securities and Exchange Commission may soon propose rules that require credit-ratings firms to disclose the accuracy of past ratings and distinguish between various products they rate, the first indication how the industry might be regulated in the wake of the subprime crisis. --SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said the potential rules "would require credit-rating agencies to make disclosures surrounding past ratings in a format that would improve the comparability of track records and promote competitive assessments of the accuracy of past ratings." --Mr. Cox declined to give specifics of any possible rules. He said they are geared at fostering "healthy competition" that could involve highlighting and rewarding "successful past performance to punish chronically poor and unreliable ratings." --SEC officials said the agency's early reviews of credit-rating firms and investment banks also reveal that some firms used poor assumptions about high-risk mortgage debt in establishing their ratings, while some Wall Street investment banks had poor risk controls.