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Standard & Poor's

Designing and Delivering Accredited Finance Program to International Ratings Agency

Organizational Challenge
In 2008, Standard & Poor’s announced a number of changes that it believed would help transform its business in light of the financial crisis. S&P focused on changes that further improve the quality of its analytics. The organization believes that by investing in its analysts, it can provide the market with more insightful ratings and research. The program focused on expanding analysts’ knowledge of capital markets, fortifying ratings and further understanding financial markets from the investors’ perspective.

  • Create a global, organization-wide credit analyst certificate program for existing and new analysts to enhance their understanding of complex financial instruments and to strengthen market/consumer confidence (1400 analysts, 30 worldwide offices)
  • Supplement analysts’ knowledge by providing a broader financial perspective that includes an enhanced understanding of the sell side in conjunction with the buy side
  • Reinforce work across internal informational silos
  • Designed, delivered, and continue to deliver a complex, large scale custom program to multiple groups of credit analysts in the US and Europe
  • Provided comprehensive tools and frameworks in financial statement analysis, statistics, valuation, fixed income basics, derivatives and credit scoring to educate analysts beyond their silos of expertise, to prepare for job rotation
  • Facilitated a blended learning curriculum with appropriate content and intellectual rigor
  • Provided oversight and guidance of curriculum for a multi-level examination, to ensure uniform learning and compliance across the organization
Program Outcomes
  • Analysts leave with a broader understanding of areas outside of their respective analytical areas and improved critical analysis capabilities
  • Standard and Poor’s continues to improve the high standard of its credit analysts
"S&P is committed to delivering independent, insightful, and objective credit analysis. By teaming with NYU Stern and ACT, we have developed a rigorous program that will complement the training our analysts already receive and further develop their skills."
- Deven Sharma, President

"By working with NYU Stern's top finance faculty and executive education staff, we've developed the premier program for credit ratings analysts. Analysts now have broadened their knowledge of capital markets and have developed key analytical skills including: financial statement analysis, statistics, valuation, fixed income basics, derivatives and credit scoring capabilities. By deepening our analysts' understanding of these instruments, we can revitalize the market's confidence in our ratings."
- Jeffrey Crane, Senior Director, Rating Analyst Education

Participants from Standard & Poor’s say:

"It was a privilege to study under Damodaran and Altman, two gods of finance."

"The professors did a great job in presenting the information clearly and in an interesting manner. [The] concepts covered are very relevant."

"I will better understand concerns of our Public Finance and Corporate analysts."

"[The session] gave me insights into how reporting and accounting can be used by a company to its advantage."

In the News
S&P Takes Finance Lessons from Stern
By Rebecca Knight
As excerpted from The Financial Times online, January 4, 2010.

" 'While the global economy was in chaos, Standard & Poor's was cast as one of the villains in the story. Now the US ratings agency is trying to rebuild its reputation,' writes Rebecca Knight."

"It is working with New York University's Stern School of Business to develop an in-house credit analyst certification programme focusing on skills such as financial statement analysis, advanced statistical analysis, valuation, derivative basics and credit scoring models."

"The programme is one of 27 steps S&P is taking to strengthen the ratings process. Other measures include establishing an independent risk assessment oversight committee."

Read the full article at FT.com