Legal Liabilities of Credit Rating Agencies in Structured Finance (CDO): Based upon the Business Ethics for Investor Protection
Hyeon Tak Shin
HWANG MOK PARK P.C. (Law Firm)
December 17, 2009
U.C. Berkeley School of Law Doctoral Dissertation, 2009
This doctoral dissertation examined the legal liabilities of credit rating agencies (CRAs) in providing credit ratings of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), which are pointed to cause the current financial crisis. Until now, CRAs abused the favorable legal and regulatory environments of credit rating business, and finally lost the ability of self-purification.
In considering tort liability of CRAs, First Amendment protection should not be allowed to CRAs, when they were hired to participate in structuring CDOs, which substantially impaired the objectivity of their rating business.
Contractual liability should be considered as well. From the particularities of the CDO transactions, an agency relationship could be inferred between issuers and investors, and then investors could be regarded as clients of CDO ratings, to whom CRAs are liable for theirs CDO ratings.
Keywords: Credit Rating Agency, Collateralized Debt Obligation (CDO), Subprime Mortgage Crisis, Business Ethics, Investor Protection
JEL Classification: G18, G24, K22, L13, M14
Date posted: April 12, 2010 ; Last revised: January 17, 2014