Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let us thank our lucky star the credit rating agencies were not that good

Bank regulators gave tremendous importance to credit ratings, especially in the Basel II package approved in June 2004. 

One of the problems with that is that if a credit rating has already been issued, and if it is good one, like an AAA, there is absolutely no incentive for a second opinion, as no one is going to pay the price of a second opinion that might differ from the first opinion, only once in awhile. And this is especially true if the First and Official Opinionater, has had access to privileged information about the borrower, as they very often have. 

Though we are indeed already suffering seriously the consequences of some of the credit ratings being wrong… can you imagine where we would be if they had delayed making their mistakes ten more years, and the banks and regulators had had the time to invest so much more trust in them? Can you imagine the altitude from which we would have fallen? 

Indeed there is someone looking after us! So at least let us be grateful for that and make amends! 

PS. What on earth do you think I was referring to, when in January 2003, in a letter to the Financial Times I wrote, “Everyone knows that, sooner or later, the ratings issued by the credit agencies are just a new breed of systemic errors, about to be propagated at modern speeds”?