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Credit Rating Agencies: The Complete List and Big Three

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Updated on: June 12, 2020

Credit Rating Agencies we mean an agency providing a rating of “credit” taken by any company i.e. if any company wants to take any loan from the market they hire a credit rating agency to rate their loan so that the intended person providing the loan will have a fair idea about the risk associated with the loan they are providing to the company.

These credit-rating agencies came to use in the market from the early 20th Century when big three credit rating agencies were formed which are Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Fitch and Moody’s,and offer a great career in finance.

Later on, many more credit rating agencies came into existence.

How does the Credit Rating Agency work 

When any company wants to issue any bonds or securities into the market, they tend to rate this debt instrument by any Credit Rating Agency so that they can attract more customers.

Higher the rating of the debt lower is the risk associated with that debt and vice-versa.

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The intended buyer of the debt instrument often looks at the credit rating of the debt before investing their funds so that they can have a fair idea about the risk associated with their investments.

Once the companies approach the credit rating agencies to evaluate their debt and rate the same the credit ratings agencies check the following parameters:

  • Subjective evaluation of the capacity of the company to repay the debt.
  • Overall total debt of the company and its impact on the financial position.
  • A thorough analysis of the finances of the company to ascertain the areas through which the principal and interest would be paid.
  • Past debt repayment history of the company.
  • A general study of the economy and industry in which the company is operating.
  • The willingness of the company to repay its debt.

For example Bank Loan Rating Process & Methodology – by Fitch Ratings (In India) Source: www.fitchratings.com

The rating process typically takes six to eight weeks, and the steps involved are:

Step – 1 – Initiate Rating Process

Step – 2 – Collect publicly available information

Step – 3 – Perform pre-analysis & request non-public information, if appropriate

Step – 4 – Prepare a detailed questionnaire

Step – 5 – Hold meetings with entity management and other Stakeholders

Step – 6 – Perform in-depth analysis

Step – 7 – Draft report

Step – 8 – Hold rating Committee

Step – 9 – Assign ratings, write & publish commentary

Step – 10 – Conduct ongoing surveillance

Repeat Step 2 to Step 10 (as required) before giving the final ratings

The above list is indicative and not exhaustive, and there are various other factors considered by credit rating agencies before giving a certificate on their credit rating.

While issuing the rating certificate they also give an annexure wherein details are provided as to what assumptions they have taken or the method they have chosen to arrive at the ratings.

Investment Grade by Credit Rating Agencies

Ratings are divided into

  1. High investment grade
  2. Upper medium grade
  3. Lower medium grade
  4. Non-investment grade speculative
  5. Highly speculative
  6. Substantial credit risk or near default
  7. In default

However, there can be another grading also adopted by the agencies that shall be given in detail in their report. But the basic fundamental remains the same – Highest – High – Moderate – Weak – Poor – Default.

In this article, we will cover a list of credit rating agencies sites in the world.

Credit rating is an important aspect of securities, especially bonds. There are several rating agencies in the world that analyze and give ratings to bonds and other securities.  Let’s see the credit rating agencies listed as per their country.

The United States

1. A.M. Best Company, Inc.

2. Demotech, Inc.

3. Egan-Jones Rating Company

4. Fitch Ratings, Ltd.

5. Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc.

6. Moody's Investors Service

7. Realpoint, LLC

8. Standard and Poors (S&P)

9. TheStreet.com Ratings, Inc.

10. Veribanc, Inc.

Canada

Equifax

The United Kingdom

1. European Rating Agency (ERA)

2. Fitch Ratings, Ltd.

Colombia

1. BRC Investor Services S.A.

2. Duff & Phelps de Colombia, S.A., S.C.V

China

1. Chengxin International Credit Rating Co., Ltd.

2. China Lianhe Credit Rating, Co. Ltd.

3. Dagong Global Credit Rating Co., Ltd.

4. Shanghai Credit Information Services Co., Ltd.

5. Shanghai Far East Credit Rating Co., Ltd.

Turkey

1. Istanbul International Rating Services, Inc.

2. JCR Avrasya Derecelendime A.S.

3. Kobirate Uluslararası Kredi Derecelendirme ve Kurumsal Yönetim Hizmetleri A.Ş.

4. Saha Kurumsal Yönetim ve Kredi Derecelendirme Hizmetleri A.Ş

5. TCR Kurumsal Yonetim ve Kredi Derecelendirme Hizmetleri A.S.

Nigeria

1. Agusto & Co. Ltd.

2. CMC International, Ltd.

Rating organizations in India

1. Credit Analysis & Research Ltd (CARE)

2. CRISIL, Ltd.

3. Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency (ICRA)

4. ONICRA Credit Rating Agency of India, Ltd.

5. SME Rating Agency of India Limited (SMERA)

Mexico

1. HR Ratings de Mexico, S.A. de C.V.

2. Interfax Rating Agency (IRA)

Ecuador

1. Bank Watch Ratings S.A.

2. Ecuability, SA

Japan

1. Japan Credit Rating Agency, Ltd. (JCR)

2. Mikuni & Co., Ltd.

3. Rating and Investment Information, Inc. (R&I)

Poland

1. Central European Rating Agency (CERA)

Korea

1. Korea Investors Service, Inc. (KIS)

2. Korea Ratings Corporation

3. National Information & Credit Evaluation, Inc. (NICE)

4. Seoul Credit Rating & Information, Inc.

Peru

1. Apoyo & Asociados Internacionales S.A.C.

2. Class y Asociados S.A. Clasificadora de Riesgo

3. Equilibrium Clasificadora de Riesgo

4. Pacific Credit Rating (PCR)

This is a partial list. You may Google to find out rating organizations in other countries.

Credit Rating Agency

To sum up, in today’s date rating organizations play an important role in debt instruments, investors often decide on their investment decision based on the ratings provided by the credit rating agencies since it is a third party rating and an unbiased one.

At the same time it also has its limitations since the method of ratings are not universal rating agencies can have their methodology of ratings the debt of the company further, the company themselves appoint the agencies to rate their debt, and the payment is made by the company, so there are chances that the company manipulates the agencies to obtain a better credit rating.

So it's up to the investors to decide on the ratings and as such the goodwill of the rating agencies matters the most.

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