Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Fitch downgrades target of Spitzer-insurance investigation: What upset the apple cart?

Supposedly the rigged prices were well known in the insurance industry, yet few were saying much.

Surprise! After the bad news is out and the music slows, the rating companies then decide to chirp.

Lovely. Can you say, "Where have you been?"

High fees approved and paid, yet why are the analysts getting kudos? If they were truly "as close as they needed to be" one would think this risk was already factored into the rating.

What kind of incentives did the bond-rating companies have to not adequately include the "well known" practice into the risk equation?

This "thanks for poiting to the naked Emperor" isn't isolated to the securities industry.

We've seen it in the legal community. It took three years for the leading bar association representatives to make a comment about violation of human rights at Guantanamo.

Mind you, this announcement only came after the Supreme Court chirped. DoD has yet to awaken. A roar might be needed to get lawyers before the tribunal.

Leadership in the markets and the nation depends on looking forward and calling like it is, not waiting until the disaster is self-evident.

Risk-rating is about assessing risk going forward, not telling us what's history. This is analogous to downgrading the debt after it was a foregone conclusion that the Asian debt-crisis could no longer be hidden.

The risk of debt-default, downgrade, and devaluation were always there. Whether the rating companies include reality in their ratings remains a mystery.

Buyer beware.