Congress eyes credit-rating agencies

Moody's logoThe Congressionally sponsored bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission now has cast its eyes on the credit-rating agencies and the impact they may have had on the Great Crash of 2008.  Law Professor Elizabeth Nowicki, a veteran attorney from both Wall Street and the Securities and Exchange Commission, says the agencies are both hopelessly plagued by conflicts and in a position to undermine the very stability of the capital markets.

Nowicki: “Today’s hearings, then, will serve only as a political tool to emphasize the need for a dramatic response to the financial crisis.”

Meantime, School of Management master lecturer Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve Bank examiner and author of “Uncontrolled Risk” about the fall of Lehman Brothers, says that while the rating agencies weren’t the main cause of the credit crisis, but they left the gate open and let the market and its participants¬†behave in a more destructive manner.

Williams: “Meaningful financial reform will require that rating firms devise compensation plans that reward for high rating standards and provide penalties for intentional ratings manipulation.”

Contact Elizabeth Nowicki, 518-867-5355, enowicki@bu.edu; or Mark Williams, 617-358-2789, williams@bu.edu

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