Standard & Poor's

Independence, integrity the hallmarks of objective credit ratings

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 May, 2002, 12:00am

In our business of providing credit ratings around the globe, Standard & Poor's is frequently a recipient of genuine and helpful contrasting opinions. It is our view that multiple sources of opinion benefit the financial community and the efficient workings of capital markets. In this context the Monitor columns by Jake van der Kamp in the South China Morning Post have contributed to the marketplace of ideas. He is often sceptical and irreverent, and occasionally amusing. Standard & Poor's among others is sometimes on the receiving end of his less than flattering opinions. In our business of providing publicly available analytical opinions, we expect that not everyone will agree with our views and we encourage intelligent and respectful debate.

Standard & Poor's role in the market is characterised not just by our skill as analysts, but importantly by our independence and objectivity and the respect in the financial community that this engenders. Jake van der Kamp's column in yesterday's Business 2 directly questions Standard & Poor's integrity, but adds the caveat that 'I have no evidence'. To speculatively raise the notion of dishonesty without the slightest shred of evidence is irresponsible at best, and at worst a misuse of his position as a journalist.

At no point in Standard & Poor's history has there ever been a hint of conflict of interest in our rating decisions. We have strict rules on our rating process to obviate that risk. We believe this distinguishes Standard & Poor's in the financial marketplace of opinion and analysis.

As for the other issues raised, well, we will live with Mr van der Kamp's disapproval, errors of fact and misunderstandings. If he had any interest in the factual matters he could have easily checked them with us, but he chose not to do so.

As an aside, I recall that in his column on December 6, 2001, Mr van der Kamp disclosed his share ownership in Hong Kong property companies, a fact he perhaps might have reiterated in his column yesterday.


Managing Director, Standard & Poor's Credit Market Services, Greater China Region, Central, Hong Kong