Credit Rating denotes a summary Credit Risk indicator (also Credit Risk Rating) that places the risk profile of an entity or product on a defined Rating Scale. It is an assessment of Creditworthiness of a borrower generally or with respect to a particular debt or financial obligation
Credit ratings, scales, along with other quantitative and qualitative tools and methodologies form together a Credit Rating System. A credit rating can in principle be produced by anybody possessing adequate credit related information about a borrower.
Typically, a credit rating is provided as a detailed report based on the financial history of borrowing or lending and creditworthiness of the entity or person derived from income statements, historical records related to borrowing, etc. with an aim to determine their ability to meet debt obligations.
Legally , a credit rating means an opinion regarding the creditworthiness of an entity, a debt or financial obligation, debt security, preferred share or other financial instrument, or of an issuer of such a debt or financial obligation, debt security, preferred share or other financial instrument, issued using an established and defined ranking system of rating categories (Regulation 1060/2009 Article 3(1)(a))
Credit Rating Types
Credit Ratings can vary widely in nature. They can be categorized along several dimensions, reflecting the fact that a relatively simple labelling framework is applied across a large variety of different credit relationships:
- Whether they concern a long or short term risk assessment
- Whether they concern an issuer or a specific debt instrument risk assessment
- Liabilities of regular entities versus liabilities of special purpose vehicles (structured finance / securitization)
- The type of issuer. Typical subcategories reflecting the peculiarities of different legal entities are
- Insurance Companies
Issues and Challenges
Over the course of several decades of application credit ratings have revealed various pathologies. They can categorized broadly along the following two lines:
Relating to the Credit Rating concept itself
- Ability to capture (be risk sensitive) the stated risk
- Ability to communicate unambiguously the meaning of the rating
Relating to the organization of Credit Rating issuance by third parties
- Availability of adequate information to form fit-for-purpose ratings
- Prevalence of the right incentives to form fit-for-purpose ratings
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- ESMA, Report on CRA Market Share Calculation, 2017