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.
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.