Noter les noteurs

CAMBRIDGE – La refonte des agences de notation de crédit devrait endosser un rôle primordial dans le nouvel ordre financier mis en place par les régulateurs de par le monde. Ces agences, qui ont la part belle sur les marchés de capitaux contemporains, n’ont servi à rien pendant les années qui ont précédé la crise financière. En fait, il faut nous équiper d’un mécanisme efficace pour noter ces agences de notation.

Il est notoire que ces agences ont laissé tomber les investisseurs. Bon nombre des instruments financiers relevant des prêts immobiliers notés « sans risque » par Standard & Poor, Moody’s et Fitch pendant les années de croissance se sont révélés plus que délétères. Or, le problème ne se limite pas à de tels produits : comme les émetteurs de titres de dettes sélectionnent et dédommagent les sociétés qui les notent, les agences ont toujours de bonnes raisons de rendre la pareille avec de bonnes notes.

Que faire hélas ? Une solution serait de minimiser l’importance de l’opinion des noteurs. Dans de nombreux cas, l’importance des notes vient en partie du fait que les investisseurs institutionnels sont contraints ou encouragés légalement à suivre des instruments de placement et à maintenir des portefeuilles d’actifs qui ont été suffisamment bien notés par les agences reconnues.

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