Daily News: August 28, 2014

SEC Adopts Credit Rating Agency Reform Rules

The SEC announced it has adopted new requirements for credit rating agencies to enhance governance, protect against conflicts of interest, and increase transparency to improve the quality of credit ratings and increase credit rating agency accountability.

The new rules and amendments, which implement 14 rulemaking requirements under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, apply to credit rating agencies registered with the Commission as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs).

“This expansive package of reforms will strengthen the overall quality of credit ratings, enhance the transparency of credit rating agencies and increase their accountability,” said SEC chair Mary Jo White. “Today’s reforms will help protect investors and markets against a repeat of the conduct and practices that were central to the financial crisis.”

The new requirements for NRSROs address internal controls, conflicts of interest, disclosure of credit rating performance statistics, procedures to protect the integrity and transparency of rating methodologies, disclosures to promote the transparency of credit ratings, and standards for training, experience, and competence of credit analysts.

The requirements provide for an annual certification by the CEO as to the effectiveness of internal controls and additional certifications to accompany credit ratings attesting that the rating was not influenced by other business activities.

The Commission also adopted requirements for issuers, underwriters, and third-party due diligence services to promote the transparency of the findings and conclusions of third-party due diligence regarding asset-backed securities.

Certain amendments will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The amendments with respect to the annual report on internal controls and the production and disclosure of performance statistics will be effective on Jan. 1, 2015, which means that the first internal controls report to be submitted by an NRSRO would cover the fiscal year that ends on or after Jan. 1, 2015, and the first annual certification on Form NRSRO relating to performance statistics is required for the annual certifications filed after the end of the 2015 calendar year.

To view the full SEC news release, click here.