SP Reaches Settlement on PreCrash RMBS Ratings

first_img New York-based credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services and its parent company, McGraw Hill Financial, have entered into settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys general of 19 states and the District of Columbia over claims that S&P misrepresented residential mortgage-backed securities and collaterized debt obligations to investors, according to a release from McGraw Hill on Tuesday morning.As part of the settlement, which is not subject to court approval, McGraw Hill agreed to pay $687.5 million to the Department of Justice and a combined $687.5 million to the states and the District of Columbia. The combined total of the settlements is $1.375 billion. Neither McGraw Hill nor any of its subsidiaries were found guilty of any wrongdoing or violation of the law as part of the settlement.”The settlement agreement states that all parties, including the Company [McGraw Hill Financial], the DOJ, and the states, settled this matter ‘to avoid the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience, and expense of further litigation,'” S&P said in the release. “After careful consideration, the Company determined that entering into the settlement agreement is in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders and is pleased to resolve these matters. … The Company and S&P Ratings take compliance with regulatory obligations very seriously and continue to make investments in people and technology to strengthen controls and risk management throughout the organization.”The Department of Justice sued S&P for $5 billion in February 2013, alleging that the credit ratings agency “knowingly and with the intent to defraud, devised, participated in, and executed a scheme to defraud investors” in collateralized debt obligations and residential mortgage-backed securities between 2004 and 2007. The suit also claims that S&P “falsely represented that its credit ratings of RMBS and CDO tranches were objective, independent, uninfluenced by any conflicts of interest that might compromise S&P’s analytical judgment.”S&P issued ratings for more than $2.8 trillion worth of RMBS and nearly $1.2 trillion of CDO during the three-year period from September 2004 to October 2007, according to the complaint.S&P is the first credit ratings agency to be sued by the Department of Justice’s mortgage-backed securities group. The DOJ has already reached record settlements with JPMorgan Chase ($13 billion in November 2013) and Bank of America ($16.65 billion in August 2014) over claims of packaging and selling toxic mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the financial crisis.McGraw Hill also announced a separate settlement on Tuesday with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System for $125 million to resolve claims made by the system against McGraw Hill over ratings of three structured investment vehicles. That brings Tuesday’s settlement total for McGraw Hill to $1.5 billion.S&P has not only been in trouble recently over its ratings of residential mortgage-backed securities, but commercial mortgage-backed securities as well. On January 21, S&P agreed to a $77 million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve claims of fraudulent misconduct regarding its ratings of CMBS. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News February 3, 2015 443 Views S&P Reaches Settlement on Pre-Crash RMBS Ratingscenter_img Share Credit Ratings Justice Department McGraw Hill Financial S&P Settlements 2015-02-03 Seth Welbornlast_img

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