Standard & Poor’s

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Overview: Standard & Poor’s (S&P;) is a division of publicly-traded McGraw-Hill, headquartered in New York. Its main lines of business include:

  • Credit Ratings
  • Market Indices
  • Investment Research
  • Risk Evaluation
  • Financial Data and Information

Job Openings: See this current list of job openings.

Size: Standard & Poor’s reports these figures as of June, 2008:

  • Employees = over 8,500
  • Employees in 23 countries and markets
  • Equity Research covers over 2,000 stocks
  • Value of debt rated globally = over $32 trillion
  • Ratings published in 2007(new and revised) = over 510,000

Positives: Standard & Poor’s is the leader among rating agencies, both in terms of the size of its professional staff and in the breadth of its coverage of securities issuers. S&P; entered this business in 1923. Its corporate parent, McGraw-Hill, is a leader in business publishing and business data services, offering potential career opportunities there as well. However, in 2011 rumors began to grow concerning possible plans to divest some of its divisions.

Negatives: See the rating agencies overview.

S&P; is the defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on February 4, 2013 which seeks a stunning $5 billion in damages. The suit claims that Standard & Poor’s defrauded banks by issuing unduly positive ratings on collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and mortgage backed securities (MBS) that subsequently fell precipitously in value during the financial crisis of 2008, when large numbers of the underlying mortgages went into default.

The $5 billion in damages being sought equals approximately all the earnings from all divisions of parent company McGraw-Hill over the prior 7 years (“U.S., S&P; Settle In For Bitter Combat,” The Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2013).

Additionally, just a day after the federal action, 13 states and the District of Columbia filed their own separate suits against S&P.; California alone is seeking $4 billion, to reimburse two of its msssive pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS. Source: “States Could Add to S&P; Exposure,” The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2013.

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