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S&P Got Casual With Their Ratings

Here’s a story that the Securities and Exchange Commission tells about Standard & Poor’s 2010 holiday party. Specifically, it’s about Barbara Duka, the managing director in charge of S&P’s ratings of commercial mortgage-backed securities at the time, who wanted to make a change to S&P’s ratings methodology:

At S&P’s holiday party, she and one or two other members of the CMBS Group approached the new CMBS criteria officer, who had just joined S&P earlier on the same day, and pushed him to agree to use blended constants. When he demurred, Duka approached the chief of S&P’s structured finance criteria organization with the same request early the next morning. After a brief meeting, Duka unilaterally concluded that she had obtained his approval for use of the blended constants, but she made no record of the meeting or this decision.

We’ll get to blended constants in a moment, but don’t you just love this scene? For one thing, I mean, what a fun party. And ambushing the new guy at a party on his first day to get him to sign off on your aggressive changes is really just such a power move. Herodotus says of the Persians:

via S&P Office Parties Were Cool and Good – Bloomberg View.

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