Anyone with half a brain knows that the ratings agencies (and not just Moody's) were deeply involved in covering up the whole industry built around toxic derivatives. My question, as always, is: What is anyone going to do about it? Is anyone at the top of this crappy pyramid scheme ever going to jail?
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An ex-Moody's Corp derivatives analyst said the credit-rating agency intimidated and pressured analysts to issue glowing ratings of toxic complex, structured mortgage securities.
In a 78-page letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, William Harrington outlined how the committees that make the ratings decisions are not independent and how managers often intimidated analysts.
"The management of Moody's, the management of Moody's Corporation and the board of Moody's Corporation are squarely responsible for the poor quality of previous Moody's opinions that ushered in the financial crisis," he wrote.
"The track record of management influence in committees speaks for itself -- it produced hollowed-out (collateralized debt obligation) opinions that were at great odds with the private opinions of committees and which were not durable for even a short period after publication," he added.
Harrington's August 8 letter, which was sent in response to a 517-page proposal by the SEC on credit-rating regulations, raises similar issues that are already at the heart of a Justice Department probe into McGraw-Hill's Standard & Poor's.
"We cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance Moody's places on the quality of our ratings and the integrity of our ratings process," said Moody's Corp spokesman Michael Adler. "For that very reason, we have robust protections in place to separate the commercial and analytical aspects of our business, and our ratings are assigned by a committee -- not by any individual analyst."
The Justice Department has been looking into what S&P analysts wanted to do with ratings during the financial crisis, and what they were told to do, according to one source familiar with the matter.