Moody's Investors Service


Investment grade refers to the quality of a company's credit. In order to be considered an investment grade issue, the company must be rated at 'BBB' or higher by Standard and Poor's or Moody's.

There is, however, also a supply-side reason for rating triggers to reduce the cost of debt. Faced with having to put more capital against lower rated securities, investors such as banks, pension funds and insurance companies sought to sell their residential mortgage-backed securities RMBS and collateralized debt obligation CDO holdings. Dunham 18 July

The Globe and Mail

Moody's Investors Service, often referred to as Moody's, is the bond credit rating business of Moody's Corporation, representing the company's traditional line of business and its historical name. Moody's Investors Service provides international financial research on bonds issued by commercial and government entities.

Moody's Investors Service rates debt securities in several bond market segments. These include government , municipal and corporate bonds ; managed investments such as money market funds and fixed-income funds; financial institutions including banks and non-bank finance companies; and asset classes in structured finance. Moody's was founded by John Moody in to produce manuals of statistics related to stocks and bonds and bond ratings.

Securities and Exchange Commission. Moody's Corporation was established as a holding company. Together, they are sometimes referred to as the Big Three credit rating agencies. All three operate worldwide, maintaining offices on six continents, and rating tens of trillions of dollars in securities.

However, only Moody's Corporation is a free-standing company. Moody's Investors Service and its close competitors play a key role in global capital markets as three supplementary credit analysis provider for banks and other financial institutions in assessing the credit risk of particular securities.

This form of third party analysis is particularly useful for smaller and less sophisticated investors, as well as for all investors to use as an external comparison for their own judgments.

Credit rating agencies also play an important role in the laws and regulations of the United States and several other countries, such as those of the European Union. In the United States their credit ratings are used in regulation by the U.

In October , the Financial Stability Board FSB created a set of "principles to reduce reliance" on credit ranges agencies in the laws, regulations and market practices of G member countries.

Best , which focuses on obligations of insurance companies. Companies with which Moody's competes in specific areas include investment research company Morningstar, Inc.

Especially since the early s, Moody's frequently makes its analysts available to journalists, and issues regular public statements on credit conditions. According to Moody's, the purpose of its ratings is to "provide investors with a simple system of gradation by which future relative creditworthiness of securities may be gauged".

To each of its ratings from Aa through Caa, Moody's appends numerical modifiers 1, 2 and 3; the lower the number, the higher-end the rating. Aaa, Ca and C are not modified this way. As Moody's explains, its ratings are "not to be construed as recommendations", nor are they intended to be a sole basis for investment decisions. Moody's traces its history back to two publishing companies established by John Moody , the inventor of modern bond credit ratings.

It experienced early success, selling out its first print run in its first two months. By , Moody's Manual was a nationally recognized publication. Moody returned in with a new publication focused solely on railroad bonds, Analysis of Railroad Investments , [3] [12] and a new company, Moody's Analyses Publishing Company.

The following year, Moody incorporated the company as Moody's Investors Service. The relationship between the U. As the market grew beyond that of traditional investment banking institutions, new investors again called for increased transparency, leading to the passage of new, mandatory disclosure laws for issuers, and the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC.

Banks were permitted only to hold "investment grade" bonds, following the judgment of Moody's, along with Standard, Poor's and Fitch. In the decades that followed, state insurance regulators approved similar requirements. In the late s and s, commercial paper and bank deposits began to be rated. As well, the major agencies began charging the issuers of bonds as well as investors — Moody's began doing this in [5] — thanks in part to a growing free rider problem related to the increasing availability of inexpensive photocopy machines , [14] and the increased complexity of the financial markets.

The end of the Bretton Woods system in led to the liberalization of financial regulations, and the global expansion of capital markets in the s and s. Moody's and nine other agencies later five, due to consolidation were identified by the SEC as "nationally recognized statistical ratings organizations" NRSROs for broker-dealers to use in meeting these requirements.

The s and beyond saw the global capital market expand; Moody's opened its first overseas offices in Japan in , followed by offices in the United Kingdom in , France in , Germany in , Hong Kong in , India in and China in Department of Justice , [19] as well as criticism following the collapse of Enron , the U.

From to , revenues from rating structured financial instruments increased more than fourfold. Its new model was based on trends from the previous 20 years, during which time housing prices had been rising, mortgage delinquencies very low, and nontraditional mortgage products a very small niche of the market. Open this photo in gallery: David Parkinson Economics Reporter. Published December 5, Updated May 10, What we're looking for The credit markets have a lot to say about corporate debt — which can provide useful signals about our confidence in investing in the stocks of those corporations, too.

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Read most recent letters to the editor. See "Default rate" in "Estimated spreads and default rates by rating grade" table to right. Over a longer period, it stated "the order is by and large, but not exactly, preserved".

Another study in Journal of Finance calculated the additional interest rate or "spread" corporate bonds pay over that of "riskless" US Treasury bonds, according to the bonds' rating. See "Basis point spread" in table to right. Different rating agencies may use variations of an alphabetical combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, with either plus or minus signs or numbers added to further fine-tune the rating see colored chart.

It goes as follows, from excellent to poor: The short-term ratings often map to long-term ratings though there is room for exceptions at the high or low side of each equivalent. Ratings in Europe have been under close scrutiny, particularly the highest ratings given to countries like Spain, Ireland and Italy, because they affect how much banks can borrow against sovereign debt they hold. Best rates from excellent to poor in the following manner: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Credit Rating and the Impact on Capital Structure.

Originally a bi-annual survey which monitors the political and economic stability of sovereign countries, according to ratings agencies and market experts. The New Masters of Capital: Retrieved 21 September