Friday, May 14, 2010

We need to stop the credibility asymmetry that exists in the credit risk information market

One of the problems with credit ratings is that they are never sufficiently publicly debated, unless when it is too late, and when that happens then it is mostly the case of a small questioner against the mother of all father authorities in the markets.

Too often have I heard bankers ask me “Per, how on earth do you think I could convince my colleagues on the Board that the credit rating agencies were getting it so extraordinarily wrong that we should exit from what seemed to be an extraordinarily good business for us?”

In our efforts to solve the asymmetry in information we have increased the asymmetry of the credibility with respect to financial information, making it now almost impossible for divergent opinions to nudge the markets on the margin, and being only considered when the causes for the divergence become much too apparent, which is of course then much too late.

The first thing that should happen is that the credit rating agencies should be required to post, real time, all the questions and answers received with respect to every particular ratings, so to allow the market to express their viewpoints and to allow configure the necessary opinion majorities that could force the credit rating agencies to revise what they are doing.

If that Bank Director friend of mine could have referred to a place where those same suspicions were uttered by others, then he would stand a much better chance of being heard.

I repeat. We need an official online forum where we can question each and every single credit rating. That’s transparency!