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The Regulation of Credit Rating Agencies: An Analysis of the Transgressions of the Rating Industry and a Measured Proposal for Reform

CASH, DANIEL (2016) The Regulation of Credit Rating Agencies: An Analysis of the Transgressions of the Rating Industry and a Measured Proposal for Reform. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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In February 2015 the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed that it had reached an agreement with Standard & Poor’s, the largest credit rating agency, so that it would pay a record $1.375 billion fine for defrauding investors during the Financial Crisis. This record fine has been heralded as an indicator of the State’s ability to effectively punish transgressions within the financial markets. However, upon closer inspection, the credit rating agencies have continued transgressing. Therefore, this thesis aims to show why this discipline has been ineffective in terms of impacting upon the credit rating agencies’ appetite, and ability, to transgress. In focusing upon one small, yet significant, aspect of the credit rating industry, this thesis examines the effect of ancillary service provision upon the conduct of the credit rating agencies. It is found that the revenues and profits garnered from the ancillary service divisions of Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s far outweigh the record fines that are being given to them. This fact, when combined with the understanding that these divisions have no positive impact upon the transparency, or indeed the accuracy of credit rating agency output, means that the discipline deemed appropriate by the State is being entirely nullified by divisions that can be removed; this thesis therefore calls for that removal and presents a detailed proposal to that end. This thesis embarks upon this endeavour in an attempt to reduce the ability of such a critically-important component of the financial sector to transgress. This is important because the impact of destructive finance upon society in 2008, and ever since, has not been witnessed since the Great Depression. In order to spare society from bearing the brunt of another collapse because of the iniquities of the marketplace, this thesis also calls for the reimagining of the economic reform process so that the safeguarding of society, and in particular the most vulnerable in society, is prioritised over the extraction of wealth by a small number of people. [math mode missing closing $]

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Credit Rating Agencies; Financial Regulation; Financial Crisis
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Nov 2016 09:07

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