Standard & Poor's

S&P's timing gives scant cause for Monitor tirade

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 12:00am

It is sad when columnists run out of ideas and have to resort to creating controversy where there is none. This seems to be the case with Jake van der Kamp recently in his Monitor column regarding Standard & Poor's. His argument that S&P somehow has an obligation to wait until market close before announcing rating changes is, in my view, ridiculous. To suggest that S&P is morally obligated to take the concerns of investors into account simply because it has significant market influence is disingenuous.

Maybe Mr van der Kamp could suggest how the rating agency should go about announcing a sovereign rating change. Such a rating change influences exchange rates (currencies are traded on a 24-hour basis), bond spreads and stocks of companies closely associated with the sovereign, among others. Which time zone should S&P then be more sensitive to in such a case? Which market should it be more concerned about - the forex market or the bond market?

S&P has no obligation to investors of companies that it rates and therefore it should not be influenced by the concerns of such investors. It should be independent and that means it can and should announce ratings when it so pleases. Mr van der Kamp's tirade is meaningless and preposterous. I am sure there is something more meaningful to write about.


North Point