The SEC adopted new requirements for credit rating agencies, according to a press release issued Wednesday. (Note: This new rule does not directly involve money market funds. The SEC last month, when it published its final money market reform rules, proposed its "Removal of Certain References to Credit Ratings and Amendment to the Issuer Diversification Requirement in the Money Market Fund Rule.") The new ratings agency rule's release says, "The Securities and Exchange Commission today 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). 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." Here are the highlights of the rules with respect to money market securities: "Controls reasonably designed to ensure that an NRSRO engages in analysis before commencing the rating of a class of obligors, securities, or money market instruments the NRSRO has not previously rated to determine whether the NRSRO has sufficient competency, access to necessary information, and resources to rate the type of obligor, security, or money market instrument. Controls reasonably designed to ensure that an NRSRO engages in analysis before commencing the rating of an "exotic" or "bespoke" type of obligor, security, or money market instrument to review the feasibility of determining a credit rating." The information that must be disclosed includes: "A description of the types of data about any obligor, issuer, security, or money market instrument that were relied upon for the purpose of determining the credit rating. A statement containing an overall assessment of the quality of information available and considered in determining the credit rating for the obligor, security, or money market instrument, in relation to the quality of information available to the NRSRO in rating similar obligors, securities, or money market instruments. Information relating to conflicts of interest, including whether the NRSRO was paid to determine the credit rating by the obligor being rated or the issuer, underwriter, depositor, or sponsor of the security or money market instrument being rated, or by another person." Also on Wednesday,`the SEC adopted asset-backed securities reform <i:http://www.sec.gov/News/PressRelease/Detail/PressRelease/1370542776577#.U_43kMJ0yiM>`_. "The Securities and Exchange Commission today adopted revisions to rules governing the disclosure, reporting, and offering process for asset-backed securities (ABS) to enhance transparency, better protect investors, and facilitate capital formation in the securitization market The new rules, among other things, require loan-level disclosure for certain assets, such as residential and commercial mortgages and automobile loans. The rules also provide more time for investors to review and consider a securitization offering, revise the eligibility criteria for using an expedited offering process known as "shelf offerings," and make important revisions to reporting requirements."

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