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Volume 2014 - Number 28

July 18, 2014

Single, Numerical Scale Suggested as the Fix For Structured Finance Transaction Ratings

As the Securities and Exchange Commission continues to consider how to reform the rating process for structured finance transactions, including non-agency MBS, industry analysts affiliated with the Brookings Institution suggested that the fix doesn’t require altering the issuer-pay model that has been in place for more than 40 years. Instead, the SEC should help establish transparent, numerical benchmarks, according to two industry participants, shifting away from the current system of letter-based ratings that are also used for corporate debt and sovereign debt. Ann Rutledge, a founding principal at R&R Consulting, a credit rating service, and Robert Litan, a nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution, detailed their proposal in an economic study recently published by Brookings. “Securities that are rated only in an ordinal fashion – in order of likelihood of default – can be...

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