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Global rating agencies

There are a lot of various rating agencies in the world. As a rule, they are all private independent organizations. The crux of suchlike organizations is to assess solvency, debt instruments, market value, quality of asset management, and other important indicators of a company. Besides, based on this data the agencies rate the companies with the credit worthiness grades. Usually, the marking system is letter-based. For instance, the highest rating is AAA. Then the classification goes in the descending order: AA, A, BBB, etc. The lowest level is marked with the letter D and means “default” – inability of a company to repay a given debt. Those business corporations that retain the highest ratings from AAA to BBB are considered to be investment profitable, whereas lower rating reflects the risk of non-payment of a debt obligation. As a result, such a company has to pay out higher interest on loans.

Moreover, the rating agencies can give an outlook of 3 types:

  • Positive – in case some positive shifts are expected contributing to the rating’s increase.
  • Stable – the possibility of negative effects is low, rating does not change.
  • Negative – there is a high probability of negative changes.

There are more than 100 rating agencies around the world that assign national and global ratings to the companies. Here is a brief description and basic assessment criteria of three most authoritative rating agencies in the world:

  • Fitch Ratings is dual-headquartered in New York and London, has more than 50 offices around the globe.
  • Moody’s. The USA, Boston. More than 4,500 experts from 26 countries work at the agency.
  • Standard & Poor’s., USA, New York, subsidiary of McGraw-Hill.
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