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Business Briefing / Investing

Rules proposed for debt rating

September 18, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The Securities and Exchange Commission proposed rules designed to stem conflicts of interest in the debt-rating industry and to make it more transparent.

The rules, which could be adopted after a 60-day comment period, are also intended to spur competition in a field dominated by three firms: Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch Ratings.

The rating industry has been given much of the blame for the subprime mortgage debacle and the financial crisis.

In California, Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown launched an investigation to determine what role the three big rating firms might have played in the collapse of the financial markets by "recklessly giving stellar ratings to shaky assets."

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