The decision by ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) to downgrade the United States’ sovereign debt from AAA to AA+ elicited an avalanche of commentary from the industry, the media, the government and the public.
The main dialogue focused on whether or not S&P made an appropriate decision (not to mention the issue of that $2 trillion calculation error). But the controversial move also reignited ongoing debates over the state of the credit rating industry – specifically the role and position of the “big three” (S&P, Moody’s and Fitch) – in the wake of the financial crisis where the ratings agencies gave AAA status to mortgage-backed assets that quickly turned toxic.
This offered up a powerful opportunity for a new market entrant to voice its perspective on the significant and systemic problems with the credit ratings “status quo,” and the changes needed to re-establish credibility.
Cue Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), a nationally recognized statistical ratings organization (NRSRO) that launched in August 2010. CooperKatz began work with KBRA in June in an effort to support the company’s mission to restore trust in – and bring new competition to – the beleaguered ratings industry.
News of the S&P downgrade decision provided an unequaled opportunity for KBRA to get out in front of the public to share its approach for transforming the role and performance of the ratings agencies. KBRA’s founder and visionary, Jules Kroll, had recently testified about the ratings industry in front of Congress and was ready to elaborate on his thoughts – with no punches pulled.
The CooperKatz KBRA team snapped into action. High level media outreach kicked off to key contacts following the breaking downgrade news the evening of Friday, August 5. Over the weekend and throughout the course of the next two weeks, the interview requests for Kroll and KBRA flooded in.
Working closely with the internal team at KBRA, CooperKatz coordinated interviews and appearances with a variety of print, broadcast and digital outlets for Jules Kroll, KBRA President / COO Jim Nadler and KBRA EVP Jerome Fons.
Coverage highlights include:
- ABC World News Tonight
- American Banker
- Bloomberg TV
- The Financial Times
- Fox Business
- McClatchy News
- Reuters TV
- The Wall Street Journal
By focusing on KBRA’s strong stance on the state of the ratings industry and capitalizing on a significant news cycle, CooperKatz helped this challenger amplify its voice and, hopefully, provided those who tuned in with a fresh perspective.