Yesterday's ignites.com News mentioned a release entitled, "Morningstar, Inc. to Acquire Realpoint, LLC, Nationally Recognized Statistical Ratings Organization," which says, "Morningstar, Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Realpoint, LLC, a Nationally Recognized Statistical Ratings Organization (NRSRO) that specializes in structured finance." While this move is seemingly only of peripheral interest to money market investors currently, Realpoint was the "10th bond-rating firm recognized by the SEC as an NRSRO and the only rating agency specializing in the structured-finance sector that uses a subscription-based investor model as opposed to the traditional issuer-paid model" according to a June 2008 release. Given the SEC's new "Money Market Fund Reform" mandate for funds to choose 4 NRSROs to monitor (by Dec. 31), interest is growing in the 7 available designates beyond the "Big 3" (S&P, Moody's and Fitch). Other NRSROs include: A.M. Best Company, DBRS, Japan Credit Rating Agency Ltd., R&I, Egan-Jones, LACE Financial, and Realpoint. (Look for a review of who among these 7 has experience in the money market and commercial paper ratings space in coming weeks.)

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