Credit Rating Agencies And Their Potential Impact On Developing Countries
Credit rating agencies (CRAs) play a key role in financial markets by helping to reduce the informative asymmetry between lenders and investors, on one side, and issuers on the other side, about the creditworthiness of companies or countries. CRAs´ role has expanded with financial globalization and has received an additional boost from Basel II which incorporates the ratings of CRAs into the rules for setting weights for credit risk. Ratings tend to be sticky, lagging markets, and overreact when they do change. This overreaction may have aggravated financial crises in the recent past, contributing to financial instability and cross-country contagion. The recent bankruptcies of Enron, WorldCom, and Parmalat have prompted legislative scrutiny of the agencies. Criticism has been especially directed towards the high degree of concentration of the industry. Promotion of competition may require policy action at national and international level to encourage the establishment of new agencies and to channel business generated by new regulatory requirements in their direction.
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