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Is there a difference in treatment between solicited and unsolicited bank ratings and, if so, why?

Listed author(s):
  • Patrick Van Roy

    (National Bank of Belgium, Brussels)

This paper analyses the effect of soliciting a rating on the rating outcome of banks. This type of analysis sheds light on an important policy question, namely whether there is a difference in treatment between banks which request a rating and those which do not. Using a sample of Asian banks rated by Fitch Ratings, I find evidence that unsolicited ratings tend to be lower than solicited ones after accounting for differences in financial and non-financial characteristics between banks. This downward bias does not seem to be explained by the self-selection hypothesis, which states that banks with more favourable private information self-select into the solicited group because they can obtain higher ratings by doing so. Rather, unsolicited ratings appear to be lower because they are only based on public information and, as a result, they tend to be more conservative than solicited ones. This is shown by testing the public disclosure hypothesis, which states that the difference in treatment between solicited and unsolicited ratings disappears when banks with an unsolicited rating release enough public information to compensate for the absence of private information. Overall, the findings of this study have important policy implications for the reform of the credit rating industry and for the Third Pillar of the New Basel Accord.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Finance with number 0509012.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 11 Sep 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpfi:0509012
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 46
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  1. H. Kent Baker & Sattar A. Mansi, 2002. "Assessing Credit Rating Agencies by Bond Issuers and Institutional Investors," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(9&10), pages 1367-1398.
  2. Poon, Winnie P. H., 2003. "Are unsolicited credit ratings biased downward?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 593-614, April.
  3. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  4. repec:adr:anecst:y:1999:i:55-56:p:09 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(5), pages 1017-1098, September.
  6. Martin Feinberg & Roger Shelor & James Jiang, 2004. "The Effect of Solicitation and Independence on Corporate Bond Ratings," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(9-10), pages 1327-1353.
  7. Cantor, Richard & Packer, Frank, 1997. "Differences of opinion and selection bias in the credit rating industry," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1395-1417, October.
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