Ethical and Systemic Dilemmas of Credit Ratings


Criticism of credit rating processes and the practices of major credit rating agencies (CRAs) peaked following the latest global financial crisis. Therefore, this study reviews the relevant literature, details the credit rating mechanism, and examines the criticism surrounding the three largest credit agencies: Standard & Poor’s Financial Services (S&P), Moody’s Investors Service (Moody’s), and Fitch Ratings. This study also focuses on the serious moral problems involved in credit rating processes and procedures and calls for more effective oversight of CRAs as well as the establishment of enforcement mechanisms. The overall purpose of this study is to present proposals that can mitigate such criticism and oversee the healthy and timely conduct of credit rating operations. The credit rating processes of Greece, Ireland, and the Republic of Cyprus, which were among the hardest hit by the global financial crisis, are specifically examined (using macroeconomic indicators) in order to highlight the problems of the ratings system. This study concludes by offering solutions to a number of identified problems, foremost among them being the small number of dominant players and the inaccuracies of the ratings.


Credit rating agencies (CRAs) Global financial crisis Sovereign ratings S&P Moody’s Fitch Rating Conflict of interests