SEC to Hold Hearings on Credit Rating Agencies

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will hold two full-day hearings this month on credit rating agencies. Like securities analysts, credit rating firms have come under fire in recent months for not providing sufficient warnings of the downfall of corporate giants like Enron and WorldCom.

The hearings will be held on Nov. 15th and 21st at the SEC's offices. Each hearing will cover the same topics but with a different set of participants.

The discussions are expected to focus on:

  1. The current role and function of credit rating agencies.
  2. The information flow in the credit rating process.
  3. Concerns regarding credit rating agencies (e.g., potential conflicts-of-interest or abusive practices).
  4. The regulatory treatment of credit rating agencies (including concerns regarding potential barriers to entry).

Additional information, including copies of materials submitted by the participants, will be available at the SEC Web site. The participants will represent a wide range of views, including those of rating agencies, investment firms, issuers, regulators, and the academic community, as well as SEC Commissioners and staff.

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