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Credit agency regulation and the impact of credit ratings in the international bond market

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  • David Brookfield
  • Phillip Ormrod

Abstract

The use of credit ratings in financial and other legal documents — both in the USA and Europe —, has led to a situation in which the major rating agencies have become (largely unwilling) participants in the legislative process. This situation has become partly formalized in the US (and is being repeated elsewhere in the European Union, Eastern Europe and Latin America) through the creation of officially 'recognized' agencies whose ratings now carry the imprimatur of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the debate on the necessity for formal legal status to be sustained in the market for bond credit ratings. In this context, the criteria for a credible rating agency are examined and evidence is provided on one element of the criteria which is under-researched: namely, the impact of the ratings in the market place. The influence of rating agencies in international capital markets is assessed through an analysis of the impact of ratings on the yields of bonds, represented by a comprehensive sample of actively traded debt. The sample contains analysis of ratings introductions on both new and seasoned debt and also examines the impact of ratings revisions. It is concluded that official recognition has no market-based role and it is argued that ratings are used by regulators because of the success of the major agencies in performing their market function.

Suggested Citation

  • David Brookfield & Phillip Ormrod, 2000. "Credit agency regulation and the impact of credit ratings in the international bond market," The European Journal of Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 311-331.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjfi:v:6:y:2000:i:4:p:311-331 DOI: 10.1080/13518470050195092
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Cantor & Frank Packer, 1995. "Multiple ratings and credit standards: differences of opinion in the credit rating industry," Research Paper 9527, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. Millon, Marcia H & Thakor, Anjan V, 1985. " Moral Hazard and Information Sharing: A Model of Financial Information Gathering Agencies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(5), pages 1403-1422, December.
    3. Altman, Edward I, 1989. " Measuring Corporate Bond Mortality and Performance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(4), pages 909-922, September.
    4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    5. Ram T. S. Ramakrishnan & Anjan V. Thakor, 1984. "Information Reliability and a Theory of Financial Intermediation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 415-432.
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    Cited by:

    1. Clark, Ephraim & Lakshmi, Geeta, 2007. "Assymetric information and the pricing of sovereign eurobonds: India 1990-1992," Global Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 124-142.

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