There has been little discussion regarding credit rating agencies (CRAs) at SIBOS 2009, although there have been many interesting topics covered. CRAs can be useful, when used in moderation. They can be incredibly useless when relied upon by pension funds and the like as the sole source of risk analysis. It is generally agreed that you can no longer rely on CRAs for risk analysis, and that the barriers of entry into the market need to be decreased.
But maybe another rating agency growing in our midst. Many have to strive to achieve SWIFT accreditation in order to be taken seriously by some clients. This can be a good thing, as we all need standards to be held up against. But if these standards are taken for granted, much like triple-AAA ratings by pension funds and regulators, then systemic problems can occur. Luckily, SWIFT seems to be very good at what it does and is often drowned with compliments at every SIBOS, although according to some at SIBOS 2009, this competence comes at a significantly high cost, despite reductions by SWIFT in messaging costs.
Obviously SWIFT will not turn into another CRA debacle because there are not the same conflicts of interest. But could there be a case greater competition in some areas, mainly in terms of accreditation, and for SWIFT, is there a case of quis custodiet ipsos custodes? That might make an interesting seminar.