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section heading icon     landmarks

This page highlights corporate rating industry landmarks.

It covers -

Context is provided by the broader media, business and technology timeline.

subsection heading icon     precursors

1841 Lewis Tappan establishes commercial credit service, the Mercantile Agency

1849 John Bradstreet establishes mercantile credit rating agency

1849 Henry Varnum Poor becomes editor of The American Railroad Journal

1857 Bradstreet publishes credit rating book

1859 Tappan's grandson incorporates RG Dun

1860 Poor founds Poor & Son

1868 Poor publishes annual Manual of the Railroads of the United States, forms Poor's Publishing Company

1888 Credit Clearing House in US

1899 AM Best founded by Alfred Magilton Best

1900 AM Best launches Best's Insurance Reports

1900 John Moody publishes Moody's Manual of Industrial & Miscellaneous Securities

1905 Best buys Insurers Reporting Company

subsection heading icon     beginnings

1907 Wall Street Panic

1909 Moody starts rating US railway bonds, publishes Analysis of Railroad Investments

1910 Moody starts rating US industrial and utility bonds

1914 Moody's Investors Service incorporated

1913 Fitch Ratings founded as Fitch Publishing Company by John Knowles Fitch

1916 Poor's Publishing Company begins rating stocks and bonds

1919 Foreign Credit Interchange Bureau (FCIB), later
Finance, Credit & International Business

1922 Standard Statistics Company, Inc. established

1924 Fitch starts rating bonds

1929 Wall Street Crash

1931 US federal government required banks to mark-to-market lower rated bonds

1933 Dun merges with The Bradstreet Companies (a competitor founded in 1849)

1936 US banks prohibited banks from purchasing speculative securities

1941 Poor merges with Standard Statistics as Standard & Poors (S&P)

1951 US government imposes higher capital requirements on
insurers' lower rated bonds

1962 Dun & Bradstreet acquires Moody's Investors Service

1966 McGraw-Hill buys Standard & Poors

1969 AM Best acquires United Statistical Associates, Inc., publisher of insurance company investment portfolios (later Best's Market Guide)

subsection heading icon     expansion

1970 Penn Central default

1971 S&P rates claims-paying ability of US insurers

1971 S&P rates US mortgage-backed bonds

1972 Canadian Bond Rating Service (CBRS) issues first ratings

1974 BankWatch established by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, issues first ratings

1974 Basel Committee established by Central Bank Governors of the Group of Ten countries

1975 US Securities & Exchange Commission starts relying on credit ratings issued by nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (NRSROs) in its rule 15c3-1

1975 McCarthy, Crisanti & Maffei enters US ratings market

1975 Mikuni & Co founded in Japan

1975 S&P rates its first Japanese issuer

1977 Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS) issues first ratings

1978 IBCA issues first ratings

1979 Japan Bond Research Institute (JBRI) established, absorbs bond rating unit of Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc (Nikkei)

1982 Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. begins providing formal bond ratings (having researched public utility companies since 1932)

1983 S&P rates US mutual funds

1984 Dun & Bradstreet acquires ACNielsen audience measurement group (spun off in 1996)

1984 Joe Mansueto founds Morningstar mutual fund info service

1985 McCarthy, Crisanti & Maffei acquired by Xerox

1985 S&P rates US asset-backed securities

1985 Nippon Investor Service (NIS) issues first ratings

1985 Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCRA) issues first ratings

1986 S&P opens full office in Tokyo

1987 US government permits margin lending against AA domestic and foreign bonds

subsection heading icon     Basel

1988 Basel Committee introduces Basel Capital Accord capital measurement system

1988 Dun & Bradstreet acquires Intercontinental Medical Statistics (IMS) (spun off as Cognizant in 1996)

1989 US government permits pension funds to invest in high-rated asset-backed securities

1989 Keefe Bruyette Woods sells Bankwatch to Thomson

1989 US Savings & Loans prohibited from investing in below-investment-grade bonds

1991 US government requires money market mutual funds to limit holdings of low-rated paper

1991 Duff & Phelps acquires credit analysis and ratings division of McCarthy, Crisanti & Maffei, becomes McCarthyPhelps

1992 remainder of McCarthy, Crisanti & Maffei absorbs Fintrend SA, becomes MCM - online financial and energy markets information provider

1992 French conglomerate Fimalac SA acquires London-based IBCA

1997 AM Best establishes AM Best Europe Ltd. in London

subsection heading icon     consolidation

1997 Fitch merges with IBCA

1998 US Department of Transportation can only extend credit assistance to projects with an investment grade rating

1998 MCM merges with Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) as Global Decisions Group

2000 Moody's spun off by Dun & Bradstreet

2000 Fitch IBCA acquires Chicago-based Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co.

2000 AM Best establishes AM Best Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong

2000 Fitch IBCA acquires Thomson BankWatch from Thomson

2000 Canadian Bond Rating Service acquired by S&P

2001 Basel II Capital Accord places greater emphasis on role of external ratings (inc by commercial agencies) to assess sovereign credit risk

2001 Informa buys MCM for £30.5m

2002 Dun & Bradstreet rebadges as D&B, pays US$117m for Hoovers information service

2003 Pearson buys S&P ComStock real-time information service for US$115m

2003 merger of Nippon Investor Service (NIS) and JBRI to form Rating & Investment Information, Inc (R&I)

2006 Hearst agrees to acquire 20% stake in Fitch and all of Algorithmics for US$592m

2007 Subprime Meltdown raises questions about effectiveness (and self-interest) of major rating services


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