First in the firing line

US lawmakers allowed markets to become heavily reliant on rating agencies, blamed by many for failing to predict subprime losses. Tighter regulations were recently put in place but are unlikely to have the desired effect

The crisis in the US credit markets of 2007 has again put the spotlight on a group of much-maligned institutions whose lack of clairvoyance has regularly been cited as a convenient scapegoat by politicians, investors and consumers. Yes - the credit rating agencies. First, following the Enron debacle, and now on the heels of the subprime meltdown, the rating agencies have taken centre stage, but not to a standing ovation nor even to a smattering of polite applause - instead, to a chorus of boos.


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