On December 28, the SEC, as required by Dodd-Frank and the 2006 Credit Rating Agency Reform Act, released two annual staff reports on credit rating agencies registered as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs) - the Annual Examination Report and the Annual Report to Congress. The Annual Examination Report reviewed the NRSROs’ (i) policies, procedures, and practices regarding quantitative models used in the rating process; (ii) policies and procedures, controls, and documentation relating to IT and cybersecurity; and (iii) the use of third-party vendors and non-NRSRO affiliates in “determining, issuing, or contributing to the NRSROs’ credit ratings or credit rating processes.” Overall, the SEC noted that the report “shows that all of the NRSROs have enhanced their understanding of their obligations as regulated entities and that at many of the firms, operational improvements made in prior years are being further integrated and enhanced.”

The simultaneously-released Annual Report to Congress relates to the period from June 26, 2014 to June 25, 2015, and summarizes the SEC’s views on the NRSROs’ state of competition, transparency, and conflicts of interest.