Standard and Poor’s was notorious during the Crash for having given AAA rated mortgage-backed securities in the CDO market that assured investors that derivatives were safe. When these turned toxic Standard and Poor’s was accused of conflict of interest because the bond issuers were paying them for the ratings.
As one S&P analyst wrote in an email, “[A bond] could be structured by cows and we would rate it.” Another analyst emailed a colleague: “Let’s hope we’re all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters.”
In 2015, Standard and Poor’s paid $1.5 billion to the U.S. Justice Department, various state governments, and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to settle lawsuits asserting its inaccurate ratings defrauded investors
Kathleen Corbet resigned amid a wave of criticism in 2007. She later founded and is principal of Cross Ridge Capital, LLC – a venture capital and management consulting firm offering services in financial and operational best practices to early stage venture firms, state and local government agencies and municipalities and non-profit enterprises.