SEC considers civil action against S&P

Agency likely will begin examining credit-rating firms’ role in financial crisis

As the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC) continues its lengthy, convoluted investigation into the causes of the messy financial crisis, it is turning its attention to credit-rating firms, against which it may soon bring civil fraud charges.

Yesterday the McGraw-Hill Cos. announced that it had received notification that the SEC is considering bringing a civil action against the company’s Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) unit. The action alleges that S&P’s ratings for a collateralized debt obligation violated securities laws.

The announcement comes nearly four months after the SEC unanimously voted to create more stringent regulations for credit-ratings firms that would require firms to disclose more information about credit ratings and what methodologies were used to determine them.

Ashley Post

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