Eliminating the Rating Agencies
, I felt there was room for improvement. Part of that stems from
reading critiques of the rating agencies that really don't
understand why ratings exist. Ratings don't exist to help average
people, they exist to allow regulators to evaluate the credit risks
of financial institutions.
The beauty of my prior proposal is that it can be applied to any
credit instrument, even private placements for which there is no
market. Let me give an example. In mid-2002 with the10-year
Treasury yielding 4.5%, an investment banker approached me with a
private bond deal - $50 million in total to finance the owner of
real estate where the U.S. Government had old computers that would
be difficult to do away with. The yield offered was 8% for 10
years, and S&P shadow-rated it "A." We bought 20% of the deal.
We were the biggest holder at $10 million.
Following my procedure in the prior article, the amount of
capital that would have to be put up would be almost $2.2 million.
Now, that is likely too severe, but maybe the regulators would
choose a percentage of that amount as the right amount for all
fixed income securities. Other securities that are not hedges would
be considered deductions from capital.
Is the bond illiquid? More spread -> more capital required.
The beauty of this system is that it does not care where the excess
spread is coming from. It just measures the present value of the
uncertain spread, and realizes that it is a very good proxy for
credit risk. It can be applied to any bond, preferred stock, etc.
There would have to an additional analysis for asset-liability
mismatch, but existing methods for measuring that are adequate. In
any case, the rating agencies would no longer be needed for
measuring credit risk. Regulators would simply review the
calculations of the actuaries/quants, as they file their
annual/quarterly statements. The value of the uncertain portion of
the fixed income assets would be the proxy for the total credit
risk of the firm. No rating agency needed to calculate that.
Oshkosh Corporation: Thirteenth Straight Beat