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34-71194

34-71194

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Published by: MarketsWiki on Dec 27, 2013
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12/27/2013

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 SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION 17 CFR Parts 240 and 249 Release No. 34-71194; File No. S7-15-11 RIN 3235-AL14
 
REMOVAL OF CERTAIN REFERENCES TO CREDIT RATINGS UNDER THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934 AGENCY:
 Securities and Exchange Commission.
ACTION:
 Final rule.
SUMMARY:
 The Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) is adopting amendments that remove references to credit ratings in certain rules and one form under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) relating to broker-dealer financial responsibility and confirmations of securities transactions. This action implements a provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”).
EFFECTIVE DATES:
The amendments will become effective on [insert date 180 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register].
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Michael A. Macchiaroli, Associate Director, at (202) 551-5525; Thomas K. McGowan, Deputy Associate Director, at (202) 551-5521; Randall W. Roy, Assistant Director, at (202) 551-5522; Mark M. Attar, Branch Chief, at (202) 551-5889; Carrie A. O’Brien, Special Counsel, at (202) 551-5640; and Rachel B. Yura, Attorney, at (202) 551-5729, Office of Financial Responsibility (Net Capital, Customer Protection, and Books and Records Requirements); and Joseph M. Furey, Assistant Chief Counsel; and Brice D. Prince, Special Counsel, Office of the Chief Counsel, at (202) 551-5550 (Confirmations of Securities Transactions); Division of Trading and Markets, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549-7010.
 
 
 
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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
The Commission is adopting amendments to Rules 10b-10,
1
 15c3-1,
2
 15c3-1a,
3
 15c3-1e,
4
 15c3-1f,
5
 15c3-3,
6
 and 17a-4
7
 under the Exchange Act and corresponding amendments to the General Instructions to Form X-17A-5, Part IIB.
8
 
I. INTRODUCTION
On July 21, 2010, the President signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law.
9
 This legislation was enacted to, among other things, promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system.
 Section 939A of the Dodd-Frank Act requires each Federal agency, including the Commission, to review any regulation issued by such agency that requires the use of an assessment of the creditworthiness of a security or money market instrument and any references to or requirements in such regulations regarding credit ratings.
 The section further provides that each such agency shall “modify any such regulations identified by the review . . . to remove any reference to or requirement of reliance on credit ratings, and to substitute in such regulations such standard of creditworthiness as each respective agency shall determine as appropriate for such regulations.”
 
1
 17 CFR 240.10b-10.
2
 17 CFR 240.15c3-1.
3
 17 CFR 240.15c3-1a.
4
 17 CFR 240.15c3-1e.
5
 17 CFR 240.15c3-1f.
6
 17 CFR 240.15c3-3.
7
 17 CFR 240.17a-4.
8
 See the General Instructions to Form X-17A-5, Part IIB (referenced in 17 CFR 249.617).
9
 See Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376 (2010).
10
 Id. at Preamble.
11
 Pub. L. No. 111-203 § 939A(a)(1)-(2). In July 2011, the Commission published a report on the staff’s review of Commission regulations that relied on credit ratings. See Commission Staff, Report on Review of Reliance on Credit Ratings: As Required by Section 939A(c) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (July 2011). Section 939A of the Dodd-Frank Act applies to all federal agencies.
12
 See Pub. L. No. 111-203 § 939A(b).
 
 
3
II. DISCUSSION A. Background
Prior to and after enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, the Commission has taken a number of steps toward removing references to credit ratings from its regulations under the federal securities laws.
 These steps include a 2011 proposal to remove references to credit ratings of nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (“NRSROs”) from certain rules under the Exchange Act relating to broker-dealer financial responsibility (Rule 15c3-1, Rule 15c3-3, and Form X-17A-5, Part IIB), confirmations of securities transactions (Rule 10b-10), and distributions of securities (Rules 101 and 102 of Regulation M).
 Today the Commission is adopting amendments to remove references to credit ratings in the broker-dealer financial responsibility and confirmations of transactions rules. In doing so, the Commission considered its prior actions in this area. Regarding its proposal to remove credit ratings from its rules under
13
 See, e.g., Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations, Exchange Act Release No. 34616 (Aug. 31, 1994), 59 FR 46314 (Sep. 7, 1994) (soliciting comment on, among other things, whether references to  NRSRO credit ratings should be eliminated from Commission rules); Rating Agencies and the Use of Credit Ratings under the Federal Securities Laws, Exchange Act Release No. 47972 (June 4, 2003), 68 FR 35258 (June 12, 2003) (soliciting comment on whether to eliminate the use of NRSRO credit ratings, and, if so, what alternative benchmarks could be used to meet the Commission’s regulatory objectives); References to Ratings of Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations, Exchange Act Release  No. 58070 (July 1, 2008), 73 FR 40088 (July 11, 2008) (proposing amendments to remove references to credit ratings from Commission rules under the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”), Exchange Act, and Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Investment Company Act”)); References to Ratings of Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations, Exchange Act Release No. 60789 (Oct. 5, 2009), 74 FR 52358 (Oct. 9, 2009) (adopting amendments to remove references to credit ratings in certain Commission rules); References to Ratings of Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations, Exchange Act Release No. 60790 (Oct. 5, 2009), 74 FR 52374 (Oct. 9, 2009) (re-opening comment on proposals to remove references to credit ratings in certain Commission rules); Security Ratings, Securities Act Release  No. 9186 (Feb. 9, 2011), 76 FR 8961 (Feb. 16, 2011) (proposing amendments to remove references to credit ratings in certain Commission rules); References to Credit Ratings in Certain Investment Company Act Rules and Forms, Securities Act Release No. 9193 (Mar. 3, 2011), 76 FR 12896 (Mar. 9, 2011) (proposing amendments to remove references to credit ratings in certain Commission rules); Security Ratings, Securities Act Release No. 9245 (July 27, 2011), 76 FR 46603 (Aug. 3, 2011) (adopting amendments to remove references to credit ratings in certain Commission rules).
14
 See Removal of Certain References to Credit Ratings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Exchange Act Release No. 64352 (Apr. 27, 2011), 76 FR 26550 (May 6, 2011). The Commission also  proposed amendments in 2011 to remove references to credit ratings in rules under the Securities Act and the Investment Company Act. See References to Credit Ratings in Certain Investment Company Act Rules and Forms, 76 FR 12896; Security Ratings, 76 FR 8961.

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