S&P Global Ratings agreed to pay a $2.5 million penalty to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it violated rules to prevent conflicts of interest, the regulator said in a statement on Monday.
S&P employees ran afoul of rules designed to prevent sales and marketing considerations from influencing credit ratings determinations during a five-day period in August 2017, the SEC said. S&P commercial employees attempted to pressure colleagues responsible for evaluating and assigning a rating to a jumbo residential mortgage-backed security transaction by an issuer in July 2017.
The firm’s commercial employees “became participants in the rating process during a time when they were influenced by sales and marketing considerations,” the regulator said in its statement.
S&P, which did not admit or deny the SEC’s findings, said in a statement that it “remains committed to the integrity of its ratings process, to compliance with its regulatory obligations, and to maintenance of rigorous procedures to protect our high-quality independent credit ratings.”
Ratings agencies, which are registered with SEC, are required to keep all sales and marketing considerations from affecting credit ratings.