The independence of the credit-rating agencies came under fire in the aftermath of recent mortgage-market turmoil as regulators plan to investigate how the companies are paid, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
The firms that evaluated the trillion-dollar subprime-mortgage market are starting to be examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission and state attorneys general in New York and Ohio, the paper reported.
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The ratings firms under review include Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch Ratings, the Journal said. All of the agencies gave investment-grade ratings to bundled, securitized investments that included the subprime mortgages.
Hundreds of the securities which the agencies helped to sell have since been downgraded, the paper said.