Conference Committee Waters Down Ratings Agency Provision
Today, the conference committee merging the House and Senate versions of financial regulatory reform agreed to water down a provision randomizing the assignment of deals to credit ratings agencies — overhauling the business by stopping companies from shopping for favorable ratings. The reform, proposed by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), had become the issue of greatest contention for the panel in negotiations this week.
Instead, the bill will authorize a two-year study of the ratings agencies. After that, the Securities and Exchange Commission needs to have created a new way to assign raters to securities, or to put in place Franken’s plan. It is one of more than 25 studies mandated in the bill.