Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (07/12/2006)

Credit Rating Agency Duopoly Relief Act of 2006 - (Sec. 4) Amends the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Act) to define a credit rating agency as any person: (1) engaged in the business of issuing credit ratings on the Internet or through another readily accessible means, for free or for a reasonable fee, but excluding a commercial credit reporting company; (2) employing either a quantitative or qualitative model, or both, to determine credit ratings; and (3) receiving fees from either issuers, investors, or other market participants, or a combination of them.

Defines a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (NRSRO) as a credit rating agency that has been in business as a credit rating agency for at least the past three consecutive years and is registered under the Act.

Prescribes procedural requirements for mandatory NRSRO registration and certification.

Authorizes the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to: (1) take action against any NRSRO that issues credit ratings in contravention of the procedures, criteria, and methodologies that it includes in its registration application or makes and disseminates in required reports; and (2) censure, restrict, suspend for a period not exceeding 12 months, or revoke NRSRO registration for violations of this Act.

Declares it is unlawful for an NRSRO to represent or imply that it has been sponsored, recommended, or approved, or that its abilities or qualifications have been passed upon, by any federal agency or officer.

States it is unlawful for an unregistered credit rating agency to declare itself an NRSRO.

Requires an NRSRO to establish and enforce written policies and procedures to: (1) prevent the misuse in violation of this Act of material, nonpublic information by itself or any associated person; and (2) address and manage potential conflicts of interest.

Grants the SEC discretion to adopt rules or regulations to prohibit, or require the management or disclosure of, any conflicts of interest relating to the issuance of credit ratings by an NRSRO.

Authorizes the SEC to adopt rules that prohibit unfair, coercive, or abusive practices relating to the issuance of credit ratings by an NRSRO.

Requires an NRSRO to: (1) designate a compliance officer for ensuring compliance with securities laws and regulations; and (2) furnish to the SEC certified statements of financial condition by an independent public accountant.

Requires the SEC staff, within 30 days of enactment of this Act, to cease designation of persons and companies as NRSRO, as the term is used under current regulations.

Declares void and of no force or effect the no-action relief that the SEC has granted with respect to the designation of certain NRSRO.

(Sec. 5) Includes an NRSRO among the financial entities required to maintain SEC-prescribed records and reports. States that any report an NRSRO may be required by SEC rules to make and disseminate to the SEC shall be deemed furnished to the SEC.

(Sec. 6) Instructs the Comptroller General to study and report to certain congressional committees on: (1) factors that have led to the consolidation of credit rating agencies; (2) the resulting impact upon securities markets; (3) the problems, if any, faced by business organizations resulting from limited competition among credit rating agencies; and (4) whether and to what extent federal or state regulations impede such competition.