A last-minute decision by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services to pull its ratings on a deal backed by commercial real estate loans is being examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing employees questioned by the regulator.
The inquiry relates to the credit rating agency's July 2011 decision to pull its ratings on a new, $1.5 billion commercial-mortgage-backed security, or CMBS, issued by Goldman Sachs Group and Citigroup .
The SEC's scrutiny is part of its annual review of S&P and other credit rating firms, but in the rating agency's case the regulators are examining whether S&P used more lenient standards to rate new CMBS deals than on other outstanding deals, the Journal said, citing employees. S&P has not been accused of any wrongdoing, the article added.
The SEC last year targeted S&P for a possible civil lawsuit over its ratings of a collateralized debt obligation backed by mortgage securities.
Standard & Poor is a unit of the McGraw-Hill Cos Inc.
Neither the regulator nor the rating agency could be reached for comments outside regular business hours.