The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether credit-rating companies changed the way they graded debt as the market for products tied to subprime mortgages boomed earlier this decade, its chairman said.
``The volume of the structured-finance deals that were brought to the credit-rating agencies increased substantially from 2004 to 2006,'' SEC Chairman Christopher Cox told the Senate Banking Committee today. The regulator is looking at whether the companies ``adapted their rating approaches in this environment,'' Cox said.
The SEC, in response to subprime losses, may restrict companies such as Moody's Investors Service and Standard & Poor's from doing consulting work and may ban them from grading securities they helped design, Cox said. Lawmakers asked whether raters have inherent conflicts, because they're paid to evaluate debt by the same Wall Street firms who sell it
Well, well, for I certainly am wondering how so many people are making profits from nothing. Maybe this investigation will help answer that question.