SEC Proposes New Credit Rating Disclosure Requirements For Issuers

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On September 17, 2009, the SEC continued its rule-making activity relating to rating agencies and credit ratings by voting to propose a number of new rules and to solicit additional comments on its prior proposals.1 In a new release,2 the SEC proposes to impose a variety of new disclosure obligations on issuers that have obtained or use credit ratings for their securities. The proposed rules reflect the SEC’s efforts to help ensure that investors have an accurate understanding of the meaning or significance of a credit rating before making an investment decision that is based in whole or in part on that rating.

Several of the SEC’s recent initiatives have involved an effort to reduce the prominence of credit ratings. For example, the SEC has proposed and adopted a variety of rule changes to remove references to, and reliance on, credit ratings in its own regulations.3 However, in the new proposed rules, the SEC would appear to add additional prominence to ratings, by making a variety of disclosures about credit ratings mandatory.

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