Find out what credit ratings are, and are not, who uses them, and how they may be useful to the capital markets.

How Standard & Poor's Ratings Can Inform Investment Decisions
Paul Coughlin, executive managing director, global analytics and operations, clarifies how our ratings can codify credit risk, serve as comparable benchmarks across markets, and provide insight ahead of the markets.
00:10:48 min
A Global Investor Survey Sheds Light On How Investors Use Standard & Poor's Credit Ratings And Research
In this CreditMatters TV segment, Executive Managing Director Paul Coughlin discusses the findings of this survey, as well as the role of credit ratings in the research processes of those surveyed.
00:11:53 min
What Are S&P's Corporate Credit Ratings?
What exactly is a Standard & Poor's corporate credit rating, and what role does it play in the global financial markets?
00:04:18 min
The Fiscal Cliff, Eurozone Economy, And China's Growth Top List Of Investor Questions For 2013
Pension plan boards play an important role in establishing appropriate risk management policies for their organizations.
On The Use Of Models By S&P's Ratings Services
This report summarizes our definition of models, briefly describes what S&P's models are and are not used for, and discusses in general terms our view on methods of combining qualitative and quantitative considerations in the ratings process.
Credit FAQ: Why Did Standard & Poor's Revise Its Ratings Definitions?
Today, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services published revised ratings definitions. The ratings definitions explain the meaning of our ratings symbology, and what the ratings mean. This revision accomplishes two important goals.
An Examination Of How Investor Needs Are Served By Various Ratings Business Models
In this article, Standard & Poor's examines the advantages and disadvantages of several ratings business models.
S&P's Ratings Are Not "Self-Fulfilling Prophecies"
A recently published discussion paper by Prof. Manfred Gärtner and Björn Griesbach of the University of St. Gallen repeats many common misconceptions about capital markets and rating agencies.
READ our report Global Aging 2013: Rising To The Challenge
Sovereign Defaults And Rating Transition Data, 2012 Update
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services has updated its data on the performance and default rates of sovereign ratings through year-end 2012.
Corporate And Government Ratings That Exceed The Sovereign Rating
One hundred fourteen corporate (including financial institution) and local or regional government (LRG) ratings exceed the rating on the sovereign in the country of domicile, on a foreign-currency basis.
The U.S. Economy, Companies, And States And Municipalities Are Prepared To Weather The Storm Of Sequestration
The federal sequestration cuts that took effect on March 1 and Washington's deadline to prevent nonessential governmental functions from shutting down could have far-reaching, although probably shallow, effects on the U.S. economy.
Softer Traction In Some Asia-Pacific Economies But Growth Expected To Hold Steady
Although Asia-Pacific continues to record strong real GDP growth relative to other regions, activity indicators in early 2013 suggest that the rebound that began in the second half of 2012 has lost some traction.
How We Rate Sovereigns
The concept of sovereign default risk is not a new one, of course, with many high-profile defaults having occurred throughout history, including in the recent past the Latin American crisis in the 1980s and the Russian crisis in 1998.
The Factors Underlying Rated Sovereign Defaults
In this CreditMatters TV segment, Managing Director Marie Cavanaugh discusses the characteristics of rated sovereigns prior to default.
2/15/13 | 16:08
Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Give Policymakers A Chance To Address U.S. Credit Weaknesses
In this CreditMatters TV segment, John Chambers, chairman of Standard & Poor’s sovereign rating committee, discusses the implications of the fiscal cliff negotiations on the U.S. sovereign rating.
11/12/12 | 01:50
Eurozone Sovereigns: Ratings Outlook And An Update Of the Eurozone Crisis
In this CreditMatters TV segment, Standard & Poor's Managing Director Moritz Kraemer discusses our outlook for the sovereign ratings in the Eurozone.
11/2/12 | 00:14:29 min
WATCH Diane Vazza, managing director and head of Global Fixed Income Research, discusses what the Standard & Poor's 2012 Annual Global Corporate Default Study entails, its key findings, and why investors use it.
00:04:49 min
"The overall consistency of rating performance demonstrated by our default and credit rating transition studies we believe has helped to establish S&P's ratings as useful benchmarks of relative credit risk."

Depressed Markets Will Continue To Elevate Standard & Poor's U.S. Distress Ratio
Standard & Poor's calculates its U.S. distress ratio by dividing the number of distressed securities by the number of speculative-grade-rated issues.
5/25/12 | 00:03:59 min
Do Credit Spreads Measure Credit Risks?
In this CreditMatters TV segment, Senior Director Peter Rigby discusses whether credit spreads measure credit risks.
12/13/10 | 00:10:43 min
Standard & Poor’s Recovery Ratings Study: The Key Findings
Standard & Poor’s recently completed its five-year study comparing recovery ratings at the point of origination and default.
2/6/13 | 00:02:52 min
2012 Annual Global Corporate Default Study And Rating Transitions
In the full year, 84 global corporate issuers defaulted, up from 53 in 2011 and nearly the same as the 2010 total of 83. These 84 defaulted issuers accounted for a total of $86.7 billion in debt, up from $84.3 billion in 2011.
The Relationship Between Corporate Credit Ratings And Debt Cost Across The Maturity Curve And Through Stress Periods: 1945-Present
Corporate credit ratings, outlooks, and CreditWatch listings serve as useful benchmarks for the cost of debt. When looking at data from 1945 to February 2011, Standard & Poor's observes a close relationship between borrowing costs and credit ratings.
Rating Performance And Comparability: 2011 Update On The Modified Gini Coefficient Study
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is committed to maintaining the comparability of its ratings across asset classes and geographies.
Should 'AAA' Be The Only Way For Structured Finance?
Investors in structured finance securities remain highly focused on 'AAA' ratings—and consequently, so do issuers. But with banking system and sovereign risks recently increasing, 'AAA' ratings are becoming more difficult to achieve.
Why Settle For Average?: Understanding The Variation In Corporate Default Rates And Ratings Transitions
The global economic and financial downturn that began in the U.S. in late 2008 has proven to be the most severe since the Great Depression. The downturn's negative effects are still being felt globally in the form of higher default rates, higher costs of
READ Multilateral Lending Institutions And Other Supranational Institutions Ratings Methodology
Find out what S&P’s credit ratings criteria are, how they are applied in the rating process, and how our criteria are governed and refined over time.

Request for Comment: Corporate Criteria
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is requesting comments on changes it is proposing to its criteria for rating corporate industrial companies and utilities.
How We Rate Banks
Given the recent rise in variations to standard representations and warranties (R&Ws), Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is commenting on how it evaluates R&Ws provided on specific rated U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) transactions.
Credit FAQ: How Standard & Poor's Evaluates Representation And Warranty Variations In U.S. RMBS Transactions
Given the recent rise in variations to standard representations and warranties (R&Ws), Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is commenting on how it evaluates R&Ws provided on specific rated U.S. residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) transactions.
Credit FAQ: An Overview Of Standard & Poor's New Insurance Criteria
This series represents the insurance part of our commitment to the market, undertaken in 2008, to enhance the transparency, rigor, and specificity of our criteria across sectors and asset classes.
Understanding Standard & Poor's Rating Definitions
Standard & Poor's credit ratings are designed primarily to provide relative rankings among issuers and obligations of overall creditworthiness; the ratings are not measures of absolute default probability.
What Are The Objectives And Next Steps For The Request For Comment On The Proposed Insurance Ratings Criteria?
Standard & Poor's Managing Directors Rodney Clark and Emmanuel Dubois-Pelerin discuss broadly what the objectives are and why we are taking this action now. They also discuss what the next steps are before the criteria is finalized and the
7/10/12 | 00:06:35 min
Bank Ratings Framework
A collection of the related criteria documents, supporting commentaries, and related videos, media releases and rating reports, as well as an interactive PDF that illustrates our bank ratings framework in a very clear and concise way.

What are credit ratings and how do they work?

How does Standard & Poor's measure performance?

Why are criteria important and how are they applied?