SEC Approves Asset-Backed Bond Rules

New disclosure requirements to give investors better information about the quality of loans backed by mortgages, auto loans, and commercial buildings.

Sellers of bonds backed by mortgages, auto loans, and commercial buildings will have to give investors more details to judge the quality of loans they have packaged under rules approved today by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC’s five commissioners unanimously approved rules mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act after investors were burned by soured debt sold by Wall Street before the 2008 credit crisis. The new requirements apply to the $750 billion market for private mortgage-backed securities, which imploded in 2008 and financed just 1 percent of new mortgages in 2013.

Banks eligible to expedite sales of asset-backed bonds with minimal SEC review will have to provide an executive’s certification that documents given to investors are accurate. They also will have to provide a process to review soured assets to determine whether they should be repurchased.

“The reforms before us today will add critical protections for investors and strengthen our securities markets by targeting products, activities, and practices that were at the center of the financial crisis,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement before the vote. “Investors will have powerful new tools for independently evaluating the quality of asset-backed securities and credit ratings.”

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