Credit agency regulation and the impact of credit ratings in the international bond market
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.
Volume (Year): 6 (2000)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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