Regulating Credit Rating Agencies after the Financial Crisis: The Long and Winding Road Toward Accountability
Université de Montréal - Faculty of Law
July 23, 2009
Capital Markets Institute Research Paper
The credit crisis that started in the American mortgage subprime market in 2007 is having profound social and economic consequences. In this context, lawmakers, regulators, and commentators have questioned the role of rating agencies in the market turmoil. In light of the critiques, a strong consensus emerged that regulatory intervention was needed. The consensus was encapsulated in the Group of Twenty (G20) communiqué of April 2009 that stated that 'We have agreed on more effective oversight of the activities of Credit Rating Agencies, as they are essential market participants.' Thus, a number of reform initiatives are under way in Canada, Europe and the United States to address the concerns raised by credit rating agencies’ activities in the context of structured finance products.
The paper provides a critical assessment of the regulatory initiatives put forward on both sides of the Atlantic to address the problems which have affected the accuracy of the ratings as well as the integrity of the ratings process. The first part of the paper offers some background relating to the subprime credit crisis. The second part moves to an analysis of the role of CRAs in the context of the structured finance products. Finally, after having highlighted the failings of CRAs’ in the asset-backed securities market, the paper presents the reform initiatives. It offers a critical comparative examination of the strategies for enhancing the accountability and effectiveness of CRAs.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 57
Keywords: credit ratings, rating agencies, structured finance, financial regulation
JEL Classification: G18, G28, G38, K22, K23
Date posted: August 19, 2009