The SEC has approved rules granting the agency more control over credit rating agencies and obligates asset-backed securities issuers to reveal additional information about underlying loans. S.E.C. Chairwoman Mary Jo White says that the reforms will give investors crucial protections while making the securities market stronger.
The rules target the activities, products, and practices that were key factors in the 2008 financial crisis. They would apply to more than $600 billion of the asset-backed securities market, over which the SEC presides. The rules, however, won’t apply to bonds guaranteed by Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC). Both entities are exempt from SEC rules.)Also, the new disclosure requirements won’t apply to private placements that are only sold to sophisticated investors.
Leading up to the economic crisis, Wall Street had packaged mortgages into investments that were given high ratings even though they didn’t necessary contain the highest quality subprime loans. Investors sustained huge losses when the securities plunged in value.