The report is based on an IOSCO review of CRAs that focused on the internal controls established by CRAs to enhance the integrity of the credit rating process and on the procedures to manage conflicts of interest. The review was motivated by the role of CRAs in the 2008 financial crisis, which raised concerns about the quality of credit ratings and credit rating methodologies, the timeliness of adjustments to credit ratings, and, more generally, the integrity of the credit rating process. The 2008 financial crisis also raised concerns about how conflicts of interest are being managed by CRAs.
The internal controls and procedures described by the Consultation Report are divided into six categories.
Quality of the rating process
Structural support to ensure the quality of the rating process
Monitoring and Updating
Integrity of the Rating Process
Managing Firm-Level Conflicts
Managing Employee-level Conflicts
Despite concerns about their performance during the crisis, CRAs continue to play an important role in most modern capital markets. Issuers and corporate borrowers rely on the opinions of CRAs to raise capital. Lenders and investors use credit ratings in assessing the likely risks they face when lending money to, or investing in, securities of a particular entity. Institutional investors and fiduciary investors, likewise, use credit ratings to help them allocate investments in a diversified risk portfolio. Finally, laws and regulations use credit ratings to distinguish creditworthiness.
This report seeks to describe the operational practices of the CRAs that are designed to give effect to the relevant provisions of the IOSCO Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating agencies, which was published in December 2004 and revised in May 2008.
The closing date for responses to the consultation is on Monday July 9th 2012.