The age-old practice of rating distributions is on the cusp of a new era. Effective Jan. 1, 2004, the ratings process for private market issuers will undergo a streamlining between the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and rating agencies - the latter of which has a fresh face on the scene.

According to the NAIC, an issuer already graced with an investment-grade rating by an NRSRO (Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization) will immediately generate an equivalent NAIC rating. The move dramatically expands the way issuers can access the private lending market by affecting costs associated with generating a rating and time to market.

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