From: Deven Sharma, President
Sent: Friday, October 24, 2008 9:59 AM
Subject: Testimony to U.S. Congress Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
On Wednesday I joined with leaders of the two other major credit rating firms in appearing before the US Congress at the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. It was at times a spirited hearing with our integrity and credibility questioned on more than one occasion. I was proud to have presented our perspective on the ongoing global credit situation and to have the opportunity to say what I deeply believe: namely, that at Standard & Poor's independence, integrity and the importance of our role in the marketplace are things that we take very seriously. I would like to share with you a few points from my testimony to the Committee about the role we can play in the recovery of the markets.
We are all aware of the severity of the current market dislocation and the pain it is causing worldwide. Restoring confidence in the credit markets is critical. Achieving this goal will require a systemic effort in which credit rating firms will play an important role in conjunction with participants from all aspects of the financial markets. A broad range of market participants - including issuers, investors, regulators and others - must also come together with meaningful solutions that will strengthen our financial system at its core to help prevent a recurrence of the present situation.
From my conversations with all of you, I know that we are ready and willing to do our share. It is easy to criticize with hindsight, but there is no doubt that a constant commitment to improvement and analytical quality remains a core principle of our business. We have actively sought, listened to, and reflected on the many comments and concerns that have been expressed in the markets, and we have focused our efforts to enhance our ratings process, provide better and more information to investors, and promote confidence in our ratings. As the financial landscape continues to undergo change, we will continue to improve our processes and the quality of our data, and strengthen our criteria, to help the effective functioning of the financial markets.
There was much discussion at the hearing and in later media articles about several emails that have come to light that contained inappropriate language. As I said at the hearing, I do not believe that the language of these emails is representative of our culture, and this should remind us that protecting our brand takes individual effort by every one of us. I know how seriously each of us takes our work and our dedication to integrity and quality. Our reputation is something we all must promote and protect every day through our words and our deeds.
I want to again express my gratitude for your continuing hard work and contributions to our mission.