The Big Three credit-rating agencies came under a great deal of criticism in the wake of the 2007-08 implosion in mortgage-related securities and financial institutions in the United States, and also over their questionable judgments about European sovereigns and banks during the financial crisis which went on to unfold there.

These agencies–Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s–stood accused of defrauding investors by offering overly favorable assessments in prior years, and also of exacerbating consequent financial turmoil. Governments in both the United States and Europe subsequently took steps to regulate the three main agencies, and to promote greater transparency and competition in the industry.

Now there is a growing risk that a deterioration in the creditworthiness of emerging-market countries in 2016 and beyond will leave the Big Three exposed to justified criticism once again…

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