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Standard & Poor’s Agrees to $77 Million Settlement with SEC, State Attorneys General


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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services agreed to a $77 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission and multiple state attorneys general after it was announced that the ratings service has been involved in “fraudulent misconduct.”

“Investors rely on credit rating agencies like Standard & Poor’s to play it straight when rating complex securities,” Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement. “But Standard & Poor’s elevated its own financial interests above investors by loosening its rating criteria to obtain business and then obscuring these changes from investors.”

The SEC’s enforcement action against Standard & Poor’s is the agency’s first against a major ratings firm, it says. Those actions “reflect our commitment to aggresively policing the integrity and transparency of the credit ratings process.”

In all, Standard & Poor’s will pay $58 million in settlements to the SEC, $12 million to the New York Attorney General and $7 million to the Massachusetts Attorney General.

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