All Three Rating Agencies Are Wrong on USA Rating

No one needs to take their hats off to S&P.  It’s late with this only-one-notch downgrade.  It didn’t show great “spine,” it played politics in trying to save its skin by spinning a story to cover-up its own incompetence.  S&P is still incompetent.  The U.S. political system has been dysfunctional and captured for years.  Moreover, the debt ceiling has always been an issue that as a legal matter is problematic for any “AAA” country.  There’s capacity to pay (Greece doesn’t have it), willingness to pay (Argentina doesn’t have it, although it has the capacity to pay), and there’s permission to pay (we have capacity and willingness, but have to ask Congress for permission).

S&P forgot to mention that the rest of the globe mistrusts the USA, because we haven’t reformed our financial system, we never addressed widespread fraud or punished criminals, and we bailed out and continue to bailout banks with no consequences to the banks.  We have unfunded wars, and S&P didn’t mention that in its interviews.

Most important, S&P’s timing and spin leave out its role and the role of Moody’s and Fitch in the great bank robberies and the fact that they drove the get-away cars.

Just to drive home its incompetence, S&P had to pull away from incompetently rating a CMBS deal (claiming bugs in its model), since now it is worried about lawsuits.  In its U.S. downgrade of only one notch, S&P got its math wrong, and it left out important elements of the argument that would have implicated itself.

This is the link to my report, “Tavakoli Structured Finance Revokes the Credit Rating Agencies’ NRSRO Designation: Issues and Solutions for Restoring Credibility to the Credit Rating Agencies and Rehabilitating the Alternative Banking System,” July 26, 2011.

Janet Tavakoli is the president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, a Chicago-based firm that provides consulting to financial institutions and institutional investors. Ms. Tavakoli has more than 20 years of experience in senior investment banking positions, trading, structuring and marketing structured financial products. She is a former adjunct associate professor of derivatives at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. Author of: Credit Derivatives & Synthetic Structures (1998, 2001), Collateralized Debt Obligations & Structured Finance (2003), Structured Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations (John Wiley & Sons, September 2008). Tavakoli’s book on the causes of the global financial meltdown and how to fix it is: Dear Mr. Buffett: What an Investor Learns 1,269 Miles from Wall Street (Wiley, 2009).

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About Janet Tavakoli 34 Articles

Affiliation: Tavakoli Structured Finance, Inc.

Janet Tavakoli is the founder and president of Tavakoli Structured Finance, Inc. (TSF), a Chicago based consulting firm providing expert experience and knowledge about maximizing value in the capital markets in the face of complexity and uncertainty. TSF provides consulting services to financial institutions, institutional investors, and hedge funds.

Ms. Tavakoli was years ahead of the financial industry predicting lax underwriting and misrating of structured financial products would result in the collapse of the global credit bubble. She also predicted the collapse of the thrift industry, Long Term Capital Management, and First Alliance Mortgage prompting Business Week to profile her as "The Cassandra of Credit Derivatives." [2008].

Ms. Tavakoli pointed out grave flaws in the methodology for rating structured financial products in her books, Structured Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations (2003, 2008), and Credit Derivatives (1998, 2001). She wrote the first letter the SEC posted in February 2007 in response to its proposed rules for the credit rating agencies; she made the case that the NRSRO designation for the rating agencies should be revoked for structured financial products.

Ms. Tavakoli is frequently published and quoted in financial journals including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Business Week, Fortune, Global Risk Review, RISK, IDD, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, LIPPER HedgeWorld, Asset Securitization Report, Journal of Structured Finance, Investor Dealers' Digest, International Securitization Report, Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Magazine, Credit, Derivatives Week,, Finance World, and others.

Frequent television appearances include CNN, CNBC, BNN, CBS Evening News, Bloomberg TV, First Business Morning News, Fox, ABC, and BBC.

Tavakoli is a former adjunct associate professor of finance at Chicago Booth (the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business) where she taught "Derivatives: Futures, Forwards, Options and Swaps".

Janet Tavakoli is the former Executive Director, Head of Financial Engineering in the Global Financial Markets Division at Westdeutsche Landesbank in London. She headed market risk management for the capital markets group for Bank One in Chicago. Tavakoli headed the asset swap trading desk at Merrill Lynch in New York, headed mortgage backed securities marketing for Merrill Lynch in New York, and headed mortgage backed securities marketing to Japanese clients for PaineWebber in New York. She also worked for Bear Stearns heading marketing for quantitative research.

She is the author of: Credit Derivatives & Synthetic Structures (1998, 2001), Collateralized Debt Obligations & Structured Finance (2003), Structured Finance & Collateralized Debt Obligations (John Wiley & Sons, September 2008), and Dear Mr. Buffett: What An Investor Learns 1,269 Miles From Wall Street (Wiley, 2009).

During her career, she has been registered and licensed with the SFA, NASD, ASE, CBOE, NYSE, PSE and the NFA and has passed the series 7, 63 and 3 qualifying exams.

Ms. Tavakoli has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and an MBA in Finance from University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

Visit: Tavakoli Structured Finance

1 Comment on All Three Rating Agencies Are Wrong on USA Rating

  1. Oh, yeah right, the U.S doesn’t have a HUGE debt problem and everything is just dandy… Now go to your closest bank and take out a third mortgage on your 40-50% depreciated house to go buy yourself a fancy car and that Gucci handbag and while you’re at it, buy a whole closet-full of designer clothes, because you deserve it and that is totally NOT what caused this whole mess, Right?

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