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CFOs lambast rating agencies

Over half of CFOs and treasurers believe their credit ratings are not timely enough and that more needs to be done to increase competition between them, according to a survey by the Association for Financial Professionals in the US.

The survey, which was conducted recently by the AFP among its 14,000 members, found that 58% of respondents considered changes to their ratings to be ?not on a timely basis? and that 59% thought the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should encourage greater competition.

On the subject of oversight, 75% of respondents believed that the SEC should review rating agencies after granting them recognition and 83% believed that regulators should require agencies to document the procedures they use to prevent the disclosure of non-public information.

Unsurprisingly, many respondents felt that their rating was inaccurate, with 34% overall considering it to be incorrect and 50% of companies that had recently been downgraded considering it to be wrong.

The survey also exposed a degree of ignorance among finance professionals as to the information rating agencies publish. For example, 91% of respondents believed the agencies should document the internal controls they have against conflicts of interest, something all four SEC-recognised agencies already do.

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