WASHINGTON - The Securities and Exchange Commission's proposed rule changes that would limit the influence of credit rating agencies and boost the role of analysts at investment firms are being strongly criticized by the four firms that have commented on them so far.

In comment letters sent to the SEC, several funds, including Valley Forge, Pa.-based Vanguard Group Inc., which has over $1 trillion in managed assets, warned about the potential harmful effects of the proposed changes, particularly ones that would strip credit rating references from the SEC's Rule 2a-7 on money market funds. The rule generally requires such funds to hold debt rated double-A or higher.

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