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Are Unsolicited Credit Ratings Lower? International Evidence From Bank Ratings

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  • Winnie P. H. Poon
  • Michael Firth

Abstract

In recent years credit rating agencies have started rating firms who have not asked for a rating. Recipients of unsolicited ratings argue that the assigned ratings are too low and reflect a lack of comprehensive knowledge of the rated firms. We set out to examine these claims using a comprehensive and international sample of 1,060 bank ratings. Our results show that there is a significant difference in the distributions of ratings, and the shadow group has lower ratings. The results also indicate that banks that received shadow ratings are smaller and have weaker financial profiles than banks that have other ratings. This explains, in part, the lower ratings. In addition, we develop a model to explain bank ratings. The two-step treatment effects model shows that bank size, profitability, asset quality, liquidity, and sovereign credit risk are important factors in determining bank ratings. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Winnie P. H. Poon & Michael Firth, 2005. "Are Unsolicited Credit Ratings Lower? International Evidence From Bank Ratings," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(9-10), pages 1741-1771.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jbfnac:v:32:y:2005-11:i:9-10:p:1741-1771
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    1. repec:eee:ecofin:v:44:y:2018:i:c:p:289-313 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matthias Efing, "undated". "Bank Capital Regulation with an Opportunistic Rating Agency," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 12-19, Swiss Finance Institute.
    3. Yu-Li Huang & Chung-Hua Shen, 2015. "The Sovereign Effect on Bank Credit Ratings," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 341-379, June.
    4. Anna Gibert, 2018. "Solicited versus Unsolicited Ratings: The Role of Selection," BAFFI CAREFIN Working Papers 1870, BAFFI CAREFIN, Centre for Applied Research on International Markets Banking Finance and Regulation, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    5. Alexander B. Matthies, 2013. "Empirical Research on Corporate Credit-Ratings: A Literature Review," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2013-003, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    6. Ioannidis, Christos & Pasiouras, Fotios & Zopounidis, Constantin, 2010. "Assessing bank soundness with classification techniques," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 345-357, October.
    7. Eleimon Gonis & Salima Paul & Jon Tucker, 2012. "Rating or no rating? That is the question: an empirical examination of UK companies," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(8), pages 709-735, September.
    8. Christina E. Bannier & Patrick Behr & Andre Güttler, 2010. "Rating opaque borrowers: why are unsolicited ratings lower?," Review of Finance, European Finance Association, vol. 14(2), pages 263-294.
    9. Isabelle Distinguin & Iftekhar Hasan & Amine Tarazi, 2013. "Predicting rating changes for banks: how accurate are accounting and stock market indicators?," Annals of Finance, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 471-500, August.
    10. Dion Bongaerts & K. J. Martijn Cremers & William N. Goetzmann, 2012. "Tiebreaker: Certification and Multiple Credit Ratings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 67(1), pages 113-152, February.
    11. Shen, Chung-Hua & Huang, Yu-Li & Hasan, Iftekhar, 2012. "Asymmetric benchmarking in bank credit rating," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 171-193.
    12. Deb, Pragyan & Manning, Mark & Murphy, Gareth & Penalver, Adrian & Toth, Aron, 2011. "Financial Stability Paper No 9: Whither the Credit Ratings Industry?," Bank of England Financial Stability Papers 9, Bank of England.
    13. Winnie P. H. Poon & Kam C. Chan, 2010. "Solicited and Unsolicited Credit Ratings : A Global Perspective," Finance Working Papers 22815, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    14. Poon, Winnie P.H. & Chan, Kam C. & Firth, Michael A., 2013. "Does having a credit rating leave less money on the table when raising capital? A study of credit ratings and seasoned equity offerings in China," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 88-106.
    15. Patrick Roy, 2013. "Is There a Difference Between Solicited and Unsolicited Bank Ratings and, If So, Why?," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 44(1), pages 53-86, August.
    16. Bernal, Oscar & Girard, Alexandre & Gnabo, Jean-Yves, 2016. "The importance of conflicts of interest in attributing sovereign credit ratings," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 48-66.
    17. Cimadomo, Jacopo & Hauptmeier, Sebastian & Zimmermann, Tom, 2014. "Fiscal consolidations and bank balance sheets," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 74-90.
    18. Behr, Patrick & Güttler, André, 2008. "The informational content of unsolicited ratings," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 587-599, April.
    19. Byoun, Soku & Fulkerson, Jon A. & Han, Seung Hun & Shin, Yoon S., 2014. "Are unsolicited ratings biased? Evidence from long-run stock performance," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 326-338.
    20. Hubert Tchakoute Tchuigoua, 2015. "Capital Structure of Microfinance Institutions," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 47(3), pages 313-340, June.
    21. Volkova, Olga & Lvova, Irina, 2016. "Effect of financial indicators on international ratings of russian banks," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 177-195, February.
    22. Duan, Jin-Chuan & Van Laere, Elisabeth, 2012. "A public good approach to credit ratings – From concept to reality," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 3239-3247.
    23. Tchakoute Tchuigoua, Hubert, 2015. "Determinants of the governance quality of microfinance institutions," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 32-43.
    24. Seung Han & William Moore & Yoon Shin & Seongbaek Yi, 2013. "Unsolicited Versus Solicited: Credit Ratings and Bond Yields," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 43(3), pages 293-319, June.

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