Sellers of asset-backed securities must reveal all

A man holds a pen over mortgage application forms.


JEREMY HOBSON: Well while we're talking about the big financial firms there are some new rules from Washington designed to avoid another financial crisis. Yesterday the Securities and Exchange commission approved a requirement that those who sell investments in mortgages and credit card loans tell buyers exactly what's in those loans.

Our Washington Bureau Chief John Dimsdale has more.

John Dimsdale: Back in 2007, a lot of investors in mortgage-backed securities found out the hard way that they'd been sold shaky loans. Securities dealers didn't tell them were investing in sub-prime mortgages. Many of those homeowners couldn't make payments when housing prices fell. Ever since, the market for securities backed by mortgages or student loans or credit card debt has been struggling.

To give future investors more confidence, the SEC says dealers have to tell buyers the mix of debts making up their investments. Portfolio manager Jack Ciecielski says the bundlers of those securities should take heed.

Jack Ciecielski: They have a reason to be more careful about what they're putting together if they know there's going to be disclosures.

And if the quality of the loans doesn't improve?

Ciecielski: If there's a lot of junk being pushed out and there's good disclosure about it, then the market's going to vote with their feet.

With better labeling, Ciecielski says investors should pay more attention to what they're buying.

In Washington, I'm John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.


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