Downgrading Moody’s

Moody’s threatened to downgrade Spain’s debt yesterday. Why do we pay any attention to anything they, or the other ratings agencies, say?

In conclusion, I have tried to show that Moody’s managers deliberately engineered a change to its culture intended to ensure that rating analysis never jeopardized market share and revenue. They accomplished this both by rewarding those who collaborated and punishing those who resisted…The adjusted European CLO Rating Factor Table appears to have been adopted for the sole purpose of preserving Moody’s European CLO market share despite the fact that it might have resulted in Moody’s assigning ratings that were wrong by as much as one and a half to two notches….every single investor in a Moody’s rated European CLO may have a claim against Moody’s for damages associated with the fact that their CLO investments were not priced correctly.

Testimony from Mark Froeba, former Moody’s Senior Vice President, to the US Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, June 2nd 2010.

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