Carl Dincesen is Founder of Benchmark Bond Ratings, Inc. The firm opened for business February 15, 2011. Benchmark provides private municipal bond credit ratings on a fee paid basis to bond investors on a by request basis. Carl feels investors in municipal bonds have not been served as well as they could be.The company is premised on the simple fact that performance (an individual issue or portfolio) can sustain short and long-term damage without money default.The issuer pay model for ratings has well recognized limitations, but no alternative other than in-house research or limiting choices to a narrow sub-set of issues. Our conclusion: the public rating agencies are necessary but not sufficient. We see private ratings as a supplement to in house resources and a necessity for municipal investors who rely solely on public ratings. When that is the case, many investors severely limit their choices to “very high credit quality.” Even there, widespread assumptions may but less than billed. Not enough attention is given to what hard pledges and rights are afforded. Our ratings are designed primarily for high net worth investors, and their advisors.