GUIDE TO CREDIT RATING ESSENTIALS Find out what credit ratings are, and are not, who uses them, and how they may be useful to the capital markets.


  • Apr 16, 2014

Since the financial crisis that began in late 2008 and the slow recovery since, more attention than ever is on credit ratings. But a key question that is often overlooked is: How well do credit ratings do the job they are designed for? The track record of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' corporate ratings as indicators of default risk is very strong and has remained so over the long term. A… More

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  • Feb 07, 2014

What are Standard & Poor’s issuer credit ratings? In this CreditMatters TV episode, Matthew Batrouney and Faith Rees from Standard & Poor's client business management team provide an overview of what issuer credit ratings are, how they're determined, and why market participants find them of value. Watch

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  • Jan 22, 2014
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In this CreditMatters TV segment, Standard & Poor's Head of Client Business Management in Western Europe, Richard Anthony-Smith, discusses the benefits of a rating to Corporate issuers and reviews some of the new rating trends seen in 2013. Watch

  • Jan 01, 2014

At Standard & Poor's, our rating process is generally similar for all issuers, including corporations, governments and financial institutions. The may be some differences, including with respect to rating structured finance instruments. These differences involve the way the process is initiated and conducted, the rating criteria and assumptions that apply, as well as the specific kinds of… More

  • Sep 13, 2013

On Sept. 10, 2013, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services President Douglas L. Peterson participated in a United Nations thematic debate. The speech he delivered, published here, touched on the important role ratings play in the global capital markets and the changes that have occurred since the financial crisis. Participants also considered competition among credit rating agencies, the role… More

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  • Apr 16, 2014
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A credit rating is an opinion about the creditworthiness of an issuer or the credit quality of an individual debt issue, from strongest to weakest, within a universe of credit risk. And the track record for Standard & Poor’s corporate ratings as indicators of default risk has been very strong. In… Watch

  • Mar 21, 2014

The analyses, including ratings, of Standard & Poor's and its affiliates (together, Standard & Poor's) are statements of opinion as of the date they are expressed and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, hold, or sell any securities or make any investment decisions. Standard & Poor's assumes no obligation to update any information following publication. Users of ratings or other … More

  • Jun 03, 2009

Standard & Poor's is committed to taking action to help restore confidence in ratings. As one example, over the past year, we have launched a number of initiatives designed to foster greater transparency in our analytics and processes. These initiatives have included publishing "what-if" scenario analyses discussing factors that could cause ratings to change, more explicit discussions of… More

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  • Jan 07, 2014
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Why have a Loan Rating? Join Associate Director, Taron Wade, and Head of Loan Ratings EMEA, Product Management, Chris Porter as they discuss the trends in the loan market and the benefits of a Loan Rating for Issuers, for both investment and non-investment grade. Watch

  • Apr 10, 2009

Credit rating organizations have served investors and the markets well for over 90 years, but, regrettably, ratings on U. S. housing-related structured securities in recent years have not, generally speaking, performed as well as intended. Subsequently, ratings firms have made many changes and are working with regulators and policymakers around the world to help restore confidence in the… More


  • Mar 19, 2014

Despite market turmoil during the summer--mainly because of announcements from the Federal Reserve that it was considering beginning to taper its bond purchases--corporate borrowers ultimately had a relatively stable 2013. In the full year, 81 global corporate issuers defaulted, relatively unchanged from 83 in 2012. These 81 defaulted issuers accounted for a total of $97.3 billion in debt, up… More

  • Mar 31, 2014

Every year, Standard & Poor's publishes default studies that cover many different asset classes ranging from corporates, structured finance, public finance, and sovereigns, among others. Here, we will examine some of the more common questions we encounter regarding our annual global corporate default study. When using examples to clarify an answer, we will be referring to exhibits as they… More

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  • Jan 03, 2011

Critics of traditional fundamental credit analysis have suggested that price signals from the bond and credit default swap markets may be superior to credit ratings. But understanding credit market dynamics is far more complicated and requires far more insight. The truth is that while credit… Watch

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  • Mar 19, 2014
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Each year, we publish our global corporate default and rating transitions study. The performance of our global corporate ratings last year remains broadly in line with our expectations. In this CreditMatters TV segment, Global Head of Fixed Income Research Diane Vazza discusses the outcomes. Watch

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  • Feb 06, 2013

Standard & Poor’s recently completed its five-year study comparing recovery ratings at the point of origination and default. The key conclusions? Ratings remain very good predictors of recovery, and there's a clear delineation of a rank ordering of recovery levels. In this CreditMatters TV segment, … Watch

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  • Apr 11, 2013

Standard & Poor’s has published its sovereign default and ratings transition study annually since 1999. In this CreditMatters TV segment, John Chambers, chairman of the sovereign rating committee, highlights the key findings of the 2012 study, including how our updated data illustrates a higher… Watch


  • Apr 03, 2014

Here, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services provides a step-by-step summary of how we use our insurance criteria to produce an issuer credit rating or a financial strength rating (ICR or FSR). First, using reported data and our own metrics, we evaluate an insurer's business risk profile and financial risk profile. For the business risk profile, we undertake a detailed analysis of industry and… More

  • Nov 19, 2013

The criteria describe the methodology we use to determine the SACP and ICR for corporate industrial companies and utilities. Our assessment reflects these companies' business risk profiles, their financial risk profiles, and other factors that may modify the SACP outcome. The criteria provide clarity on how we determine an issuer's SACP and ICR and are more specific in detailing the various… More

  • Jul 08, 2013

This article provides in summary form a step-by-step guide to how our bank criteria work to produce an issuer credit rating. The process starts with our Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment (BICRA) methodology, a macro analysis of economic and industry risk. Next, we look at bank-specific characteristics: business position, capital and earnings, risk position, and funding and liquidity.… More

  • Dec 31, 2013

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services' criteria provide the analytical framework within which Standard & Poor's derives its rating opinions. Our criteria encompass broad principles for assessing our view of creditworthiness, the rating factors that are specific to the issuers and issues we rate, and the assumptions we generally make in our analyses. Our criteria entail a large body of analytical… More

  • Oct 22, 2013

Respondents were generally supportive of the increased transparency in the corporate criteria framework proposal as well as the flexibility to address risk mitigants that may pertain to a particular issuer. Respondents commented favorably on the latitude for analytical judgment embodied in the proposed methodology. However, many sought even greater clarity on the interdependencies of various… More

  • Sep 25, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions Why is Standard & Poor's publishing new insurance criteria? This series represents the insurance part of our commitment to the market, undertaken in 2008, to enhance the transparency, rigor, and specificity of our criteria across sectors and asset classes. Our objective is to provide the market with greater insight … More