December 07, 2011

The blame lies squarely with the regulators not with the credit rating agencies

Sir, Quentin Peel in “Agency’s debt warning provokes angry response” December 7, reports that Christian Noyer the president of Banque de France held that “the rating agencies were one of the motors of the crisis in 2008. 

Mr. Moyer should know better, the motor of the crisis, were the ridiculous low capital requirements for banks allowed by his regulating colleagues in the Basel Committee based on the credit ratings, as if these were infallible and as if doing so would not incentivize the growth of dangerous exposures to what was ex-ante perceived as not risky. 

In January 2003, while being an Executive Director of the World Bank, the Financial Times published a letter where I wrote: “Everyone knows that, sooner or later, the ratings issued by the credit agencies are just a new breed of systemic errors, about to be propagated at modern speeds”. But it looks like Mr. Noyer and his colleagues did not know that!