Commission to Hold Credit Rating Agency Hearings


Washington, D.C., November 4, 2002 -- The Securities and Exchange Commission will hold two full-day hearings this month to discuss a wide range of issues relating to credit rating agencies in the operation of the securities markets. The hearings will be held on Friday, Nov. 15, 2002, and Thursday, Nov. 21, 2002, in the William O. Douglas Room at Commission headquarters, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., beginning at 9 a.m. The hearings will be open to the public.

The Commission expects the hearings to provide valuable information as it conducts the study required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and otherwise completes its assessment of the regulatory framework applicable to credit rating agencies. Each hearing will cover the same topics but with a different set of participants. Broad topic areas are expected to include: (1) the current role and function of credit rating agencies; (2) information flow in the credit rating process; (3) concerns regarding credit rating agencies (e.g., potential conflicts-of-interest or abusive practices); and (4) the regulatory treatment of credit rating agencies (including concerns regarding potential barriers to entry).

The Commission has invited a distinguished panel of experts to participate in each hearing. Panel participants will represent a wide range of views, including those of rating agencies, investment firms, issuers, regulators, and the academic community. Commissioners and Commission staff also will participate in each hearing.

Currently confirmed panelists include: H. Kent Baker, Ph.D., University Professor of Finance, Kogod School of Business, American University; Deborah A. Cunningham, Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager, Federated Investors Inc.; Sean J. Egan, President, Egan-Jones Ratings Co.; Frank A. Fernandez, Senior Vice President, Chief Economist and Director of Research, The Securities Industry Association; Yasuhiro Harada, Senior Executive Managing Director, Rating and Investment Information Inc.; Stephen W. Joynt, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fitch Inc; James A. Kaitz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association for Financial Professionals; Amy B.R. Lancellota, Senior Counsel, The Investment Company Institute; Malcolm S. MacDonald, Vice President - Finance and Treasurer, Ford Motor Company; Erwin W. Martens, Managing Director, Putnam Investments, LLC; Larry G. Mayewski, Executive Vice President, Chief Rating Officer, The A.M. Best Company; Raymond W. McDaniel, President, Moody's Investors Service Inc.; Leo C. O'Neill, President, Standard & Poor's, a Division of The McGraw Hill Companies Inc.; Stephanie B. Petersen, Senior Vice President, Taxable Money Fund and Municipal Research, Charles Schwab & Co.; Barron H. Putnam, Ph.D., President and Financial Economist, LACE Financial Corp.; Glenn L. Reynolds, Chief Executive Officer, CreditSights Inc.; Paul Saltzman, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, The Bond Market Association; Walter Schroeder, President, Dominion Bond Rating Service Limited; Steven L. Schwarcz, Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law School; David L. Shedlarz, Chief Financial Officer, Pfizer Inc.; Cynthia L. Strauss, Fidelity Investments Money Management Inc., Director of Taxable Bond Research; Jerome B. Van Orman Jr., Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer, North American Operations, General Motors Acceptance Corp.; J. Ben Watkins, Director, State of Florida Division of Bond Finance; and Mark L. Zusy, Managing Director, Lehman Brothers Inc.

For additional information, including a more detailed list of topics for discussion, see Credit Rating Agency Hearings. Copies of materials submitted by the participants will be available by contacting the Commission's Public Reference Room, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20549, or by accessing List of Participants and Comments.

Last modified: 11/14/2002