Credit rating agencies must be covered by banking crisis inquiry (if only there was one)
Posted on 14 February 2012 | 9:02am
Having ranted and raved (moderately) whenever credit rating agencies have delivered their Deus Ex Cathedra pronouncements on other European economies, I intend to do so again now that they have turned their attention to Britain.
They, this time, are Moody’s, though they might as well be Standard and Poor, or any of the others who seem without questioning to be described by the media as ‘a leading credit ratings agency’, the word ‘leading’ granting them an authority and esteem essential to the deep tones that must accompany lead stories on the news bulletins.
But every time I hear of their pronouncements, I want to know – who are they? What do they do? How do they do it? And do they or their clients make money from the currency movements which their pronouncements herald?
These are questions which ought to be answered in part by the media, and I have been dropping twitter hints to the BBC’s Evan Davies that he might fancy the subject. if not him, then Robert Peston, but please, someone, take an hour of telly’s time to lift the lid on these people and organisations.
They are also questions that should, more importantly, be covered by the public inquiry which ought to be taking place, country by country, into the banking crisis which has cost every family dear.
These so-called leading credit rating agencies were part of the financial establishment giving a clean bill of health to bankers and regulators and others as the crash developed. How did they get it so wrong? A question worth bearing in mind as they pronounce to the world now.
I know very little about them, which is why I want others better qualified than I to dig around them. But I also want to see them, the bankers, the regulators, the politicians and policy-makers give their account of what happened.
We have Chilcot for Iraq, Leveson for phone-hacking, yet nothing remotely comparable for a series of events that took the world economy to the brink, and the consequences of which are still costing all of us. I am genuinely baffled as to why there is not a greater demand for such an inquiry. And intrigued as to what such an Inquiry would show about these mysterious agencies.