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Drop Moody’s Into the Volcano Why Wall Street's big ratings agencies should go the way of Arthur

• Newsweek
 Why haven't the rating agencies that were complicit in the subprime-mortgage securities scandal suffered the fate of Arthur Andersen? Despite some moves in Congress to change their behavior, U.S. authorities are still treating the agencies with extreme gentleness. Moody's and Standard & Poor's, the two giants of the industry, are still around despite causing the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars by badly rating subprime-mortgage-backed securities. Not only that, they are basically doing business the same way, taking fat fees from the investment banks whose securities they rate. In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday, a former Moody's managing director, Eric Kolchinsky, alleged that the firm was criminally deceiving investors by purportedly inflating ratings on securities even into the current year, long after the subprime scam had been exposed and the market crash had occurred. Richard Cantor, the firm's chief risk officer, dismissed the allegation as "without merit" at the hearing, but allowed that Moody's did "not give a high grade" to its own performance.
 
Why haven't the rating agencies that were complicit in the subprime-mortgage securities scandal suffered the fate of Arthur Andersen? Despite some moves in Congress to change their behavior, U.S. authorities are still treating the agencies with extreme gentleness. Moody's and Standard & Poor's, the two giants of the industry, are still around despite causing the loss of hundreds of billions of dollars by badly rating subprime-mortgage-backed securities. Not only that, they are basically doing business the same way, taking fat fees from the investment banks whose securities they rate. In testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday, a former Moody's managing director, Eric Kolchinsky, alleged that the firm was criminally deceiving investors by purportedly inflating ratings on securities even into the current year, long after the subprime scam had been exposed and the market crash had occurred. Richard Cantor, the firm's chief risk officer, dismissed the allegation as "without merit" at the hearing, but allowed that Moody's did "not give a high grade" to its own performance.

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