Moody's' Warning Labels (Sub-Prime Version)

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Includes: MCO, SPGI
by: Barry Ritholtz

From Tuesday's WSJ:

"In an acknowledgment that the system it used to rate billions of dollars of mortgage-related securities was potentially flawed, Moody's Corp. (NYSE:MCO) said it is considering a new way of rating those and other sometimes-volatile structured finance vehicles.

The credit-rating firm is considering an overhaul of its rating procedures that could include new labels to help investors distinguish collateralized debt obligations and other structured-finance investments from corporate bonds and Treasury securities."


Let me make sure I understand this:

1. Moody's (and S&P and Fitch's) labeled a bunch of horrific junk -- RMBS, CDOs, CDS, and other stuff -- high quality AAA.

2. The banks and brokers all shoveled this crap to their clients around the world, many of whom then promptly blew up.

3. Once the music stopped, these banks and brokers got caught holding loads of this AAA rated shit paper, leading to $130 billion (and counting) in write downs.

4. The banks then saw their credit ratings get downgraded by the same companies that rated the original crappy paper AAA.

AND NOW THE SOLUTION PROPOSED BY THOSE SELF SAME RATING AGENCIES IS TO PUT A WARNING LABEL ON THEIR RATINGS?

Are you shitting me? Words fail me . . .

I'm thinking waterboarding the entire staff is the way to go with these criminal idiots, and instead, they think a mattress tag is a solution?

Well that's just fine. I'll write the warning for them:

WARNING: THESE BONDS HAVE BEEN RATED AAA BY A MAJOR RATING FIRM. THEY HAVE PROVEN THEMSELVES TO BE CLUELESS, MONEY-LOSING INCOMPETENTS IN EXCESS OF A TRILLION DOLLARS. THESE FIRMS WERE PAID HANDSOMELY BY THE UNDERWRITER, AND ARE HOPELESSLY COMPROMISED. PURCHASERS OF THESE BONDS ARE ADVISED TO IMMEDIATELY KILL THEMSELVES, THUS SPARING THEIR LOVED ONES EMBARRASSMENT IN THE FUTURE. ALSO, THESE BONDS MAY LOSE VALUE. I JUST WET MYSELF MERELY THINKING ABOUT THIS PAPER. WHILE PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RETURNS, YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT PAST PERFORMANCE ALSO SUCKED. DON'T BLAME US IF YOU LOSE ANY MONEY, AS WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE F--K WE ARE DOING ANYWAY. REALLY, YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

Now that's a disclosure . . .

Source:
Moody's Weighs Warning Labels For Its Rating
AARON LUCCHETTI
WSJ, February 5, 2008; Page C1
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120215330254641705.html