Raters Strike Before Ink is Dry

The champagne was still flowing in congressional Democrats' offices when the financial markets encountered the first operational glitch after the massive financial reform bill was signed into law.

Among its many provisions, the Dodd-Frank Act repealed the Securities and Exchange Commission's Rule 436(g), which had allowed public debt issuers to include debt ratings in documents such as a prospectus without the rating agencies' consent. In the wake of the repeal, the raters' consent meant they would be considered experts, like auditors, and could be legally liable if a rating proved inaccurate. The rating agencies quickly announced that they would not let their ratings be quoted in such documents.


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