The SEC staff has issued a report on the examinations conducted by the staff under Section 15E(p)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Exchange Act requires the SEC Office of Credit Ratings, or OCR, to conduct an examination of each nationally recognized statistical rating organization, or NRSRO at least annually. The Exchange Act also requires the SEC to make publicly available an annual report summarizing:
the essential findings of all Section 15E examinations, as deemed appropriate by the SEC;
the NRSROs’ responses to any material regulatory deficiencies identified by the SEC; and
whether the NRSROs have appropriately addressed the recommendations of the SEC contained in previous annual reports on examinations.
The most recent annual report acknowledges that NRSROs have implemented compliance improvements and have taken steps toward improving compliance since Section 15E exams began in 2010. For future examinations, the staff will continue to refine its risk assessment to ensure a balance between verifying compliance with key laws and regulations and identifying and examining emerging risk areas.