RAISING CAPITAL THROUGH RATED SECURITIES
Issuers, including corporations, financial institutions, national governments, states, cities and municipalities, use credit ratings to provide independent views of their creditworthiness and the credit quality of their debt issues.
Issuers may also use credit ratings to help communicate the relative credit quality of debt issues, thereby expanding the universe of investors. In addition, credit ratings may help them anticipate the interest rate to be offered on their new debt issues.
Investment bankers help facilitate the flow of capital from investors to issuers. They may use credit ratings to benchmark the relative credit risk of different debt issues, as well as to set the initial pricing for individual debt issues they structure. They also use credit ratings to help determine the interest rate these issues will pay.
Investment bankers may also serve as arrangers of debt issues. In this capacity, they may establish special purpose entities that package assets, such as retail mortgages and student loans, into securities or structured finance instruments, which they then market to investors.
Investors most often use credit ratings to help assess credit risk and to compare different issuers and debt issues when making investment decisions and managing their portfolios. Individual investors, for example, may use credit ratings in evaluating the purchase of a municipal or corporate bond from a risk tolerance perspective.
Institutional investors, including mutual funds, pension funds, banks, and insurance companies, often use credit ratings to supplement their own credit analysis of specific debt issues. In addition, institutional investors may use credit ratings to establish thresholds for credit risk and investment guidelines.
STEP BY STEP
Click on each step for more details on our ratings process.
CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGY
Standard & Poor’s Chief Credit Officer...
In this CreditMatters TV segment, Chief Credit Officers John Scowcroft and Mark Puccia assess the look and feel of our criteria, our immediate plan to improve its readability, and the long-term goal to systematically make our analytical approach to rating entities more rigorous.