Sir George Mathewson, the former chairman and CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and director of a small credit rating agency, has called for a change in the way that credit ratings agencies operate.
He told Today programme business presenter Simon Jack that ratings need to be "as accurate, fair and balanced as possible," adding: "I don't understand why there is so much emphasis on protecting a status quo which has been clearly see to have failed."
The three big credit ratings agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard & Poors, have been accused both of being inattentive and then meddling too much in international politics. The agencies have been widely criticised for not only failing to address the recent crisis over US subprime mortgages but also for downgrading France and then, significantly, the US.
And Sir George explained that forcing companies to use a wider range of credit agencies in rotation would introduce a "healthier industry and financial a sector with less risk".
As an alternative to agency rotation, The Bertelsmann Foundation in Washington is outlining plans for a not for profit credit rating agency. Its executive director Annette Heuser told Simon Jack that their model "tries to make the imperfect world a little bit more perfect".
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