We present a reference guide for corporate bond investors related to ratings protocols and techniques of the three major ratings agencies: Moody’s, S&P’s, and Fitch.

Despite coming under pressure during the 2008-2009 recession, the three largest ratings agencies remain the go-to for investors who need to assess quickly companies’ credit quality. Each agency has its own methodology and basis for conclusion when assigning or revising ratings.

Investors use companies’ ratings to assess whether credit risk is consistent with investment objectives. As such, investors who are new to the bond market should understand the three NRSROs’ ratings scales and definitions, along with recent notable trends for these agencies.

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