Credit Rater Accused of Misrepresenting Surveillance Approach for Complex Securities
Credit rating agency DBSR Inc. will pay nearly $6 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges. The regulator is accusing the credit rater of misrepresenting the surveillance method it used for rating certain kinds of complex financial instruments over a three-year period.
In its yearly examination of DBSR, The agency’s Office of Credit Ratings found that the credit rating agency misrepresented that it would each month monitor its current ratings of re-securitized real estate mortgage investment conduits and residential mortgage-backed securities. DBSR said it did this via a three-step quantitative analysis and a surveillance committee review of each rating.
However, said the SEC, the firm failed to perform this monthly scrutiny and did not have its committee look at each rating every month. Instead, when the committee would get together it would only examine a limited subset of outstanding Re-REMIC and RMBS ratings. The credit rater lacked the sufficient technological resources and staffing for performing surveillance for all outstanding Re-REMIC ratings and RMBS each month. The SEC also said that DBRS failed to disclose modifications to specific surveillance assumptions even though its methodology said that is what it would do.
As part of the settlement, DBRS consented to disgorge over $2.7M in rating surveillance fees that it received from ’09 to ’11 in addition to prejudgment interest. It consented to paying a $2.925M penalty and will hire an independent consultant to look at its internal controls, make recommendations for how to improve them, and other matters.
NFP Advisor Services to Pay $500K to FINRA Over Inadequate Supervision
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has censured NFP Advisor Services for failing to properly supervise its registered representatives when they conducted private securities transactions. These representatives were registered not just with the firm but also with a registered investment advisor.
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