An agency for change

After years of talk about rating agency reform, regulators - spurred by the credit crisis - are acting, with the New York attorney general vowing to root out practices that he believes contributed to recent events. But some market observers have rounded on the proposals, saying they do little to tackle the real issue, namely that agencies are unable to provide accurate and reliable ratings because they are paid for them. William Rhode reports

It was a moment of reckoning that everyone had been waiting for. First, an announcement from Andrew Cuomo, the New York attorney general - who has been spearheading a year-long investigation into the US mortgage industry and who has been at the forefront of the movement for reform - that he had reached an agreement with the three major rating agencies: Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.

Under the deal, the credit rating agencies have agreed to fundamentally alter how

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