WASHINGTON — The Securities and Exchange Commission took the first step yesterday toward increasing rating agency liability to investor lawsuits over the failure to accurately rate securities, part of a series of measures it unanimously adopted or floated to enhance disclosure and improve the quality of credit ratings.

The regulatory actions, which included the adoption of rules requiring the rating agencies to disclose a complete history of their ratings, are the latest aimed at improving rating agency performance. The agencies, which are also known as nationally recognized statistical rating organizations, or NRSROs, are widely considered to have played a central role in the financial crisis by giving unduly high ratings to mortgage-related structured products.

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