AMA: Big 3 Ratings Agency

Hi all,

After a while of lurking on this website I thought I'd give back to WSO and answer any questions about the big 3 ratings agencys.

There was a thread from 2013 which was similar but thought i'd give some fresh thoughts as it has been 6 years since. I have just started work at a LevFin BB so I cannot echo enough that a ratings agency is a legitimate pathway to high finance if you put in the effort. Have some other colleagues who have also moved to buyside debt shops and other LevFin roles from the RA's.

Ask away! Culture, hours, exits, pay, etc

Comments (5)

Sep 9, 2019

From what I understand it is more like the Big 1...

Sep 9, 2019

Surely you were helped by the fact that literally everyone is leaving levfin.

Why don't you explain what you did there and how that helps you in your current role

    • 1
Sep 9, 2019

A few questions:
1) Comp / Career progession with RAs
2) High level day to day (ie are you updating models all day or having more qualitative on an
issuer's business model / go forward dynamics on an industry?)
3) High level overview of the discussions on assigning a credit rating after a RAP presentation (general themes / hot topic issues)
4) Exits / thoughts on RA as career.... would imagine the comp to work / life balance is fairly solid but intellectual stimulation may be lacking

Sep 10, 2019

1) Comp: is much lower than the street, any comparable role front/middle office at a bank would pay more. This is the main downside of CRA's. The career progression is solid, it is quite simple to move up through the levels of associate to lead analyst, just about putting the time in.

2) Day to day: will be building out projection models using your own/analyst assumptions, updating credit opinions, putting together all aspects of the rating committee. The most valuable part of the job is the high level of communication/face time with management teams as a junior level employee. In constant contact with C-level individuals and join in issuer meetings with the deal teams.

4) The exits are relatively quite good. Have seen many friends make the jump to IB industry teams, and high-yield credit analyst positions at top banks, also ratings advisory for IB is typical but not ideal as this is where you will get pigeonholed. Obviously you aren't going PE or HF though.

Thoughts: the CRA's give you an opportunity to get your foot in the door of finance early on in your career, you need to have the drive to make moves from there. The comp is low but the work-life balance is unbeatable, most individuals are 9-5/6, no weekends. Great place to begin or end a career, not recommended for peak earning years.

Sep 9, 2019