Posts Tagged ‘credit ratings’

Corporate Credit Ratings Data

3 March 2016 Leave a comment

Corporate credit ratingCorporate credit ratings data is one of the criteria used in assessing a firm’s ability to service its financial obligations. They can address a specific company’s financial instrument i.e. debt security such as a bond or assess a company’s overall creditworthiness. Through corporate credit ratings, one can determine how a firm is performing and its financial situation.  Well, that is the theory anyway…

Currently, three major rating agencies Moody’s, Standard &Poor’s and Fitch Ratings control approximately 95% of the credit ratings business. While Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have approximately 40% each, Fitch has around 15%.

The three are commonly known as the “Big Three credit rating agencies”

Types of rating data

Issue vs. issuer ratings

Credit ratings agencies’ ratings can be assigned to a specific issue of debt by a company such as a loan, a bond etc. There are also ratings that are called issuer ratings. These ratings are assigned to the corporate who issues debt securities.

Long term vs.  short term issuer ratings

Long term ratings are opinions of the rating agencies of a company’s capacity and willingness to meet its financial commitments as its debt becomes due in 12 months or beyond

Short term ratings asses the repayment capabilities of a company for its issued debts matured within 12 months.

Local Currency  vs.  Foreign Currency Ratings

When assigning issuer credit ratings, rating agencies make a distinction between foreign currency ratings and local currency ratings. An issuer’s foreign currency rating will differ from its local currency rating when the company has a different capacity to meet its obligations denominated in its local currency, vs. obligations denominated in a foreign currency.

For details of rating scales, please  check out Corporate credite ratings on Wikipedia.

The University of Manchester Library subscribes to a few databases which provide corporate credit ratings data:

Databases which provide credit rating data

Database Data coverage Access Note
Bankscope Current and historical Fitch ratings for banks Via web, WRDS Database licence does not permit download of data
Bloomberg Current and historical ratings data Via Bloomberg terminal only Only one company at a time
Compustat S & P ratings only Via WRDS
Datastream Current and historical 10 occurrences Via Datastream terminal only Using static datatype only
Mergent FISD US current and historical bond ratings data Via WRDS Ratings are also available for bond issuers Current and historical ratings data Via web (Internet Explorer) – one company at a time Using Thomson Reuters Spreadsheet Link Excel add-in for historical data

Please also read our blog post on `Obtaining historical credit ratings data’.

Obtaining historical corporate credit ratings data from

2 February 2016 1 comment

Corporate credit ratings data are useful to assess the financial capabilities of companies to pay back their debt obligations.

Current ratings market is dominated by three rating agencies, the so called ‘big three’. They are Standard & Poor’s (S&P, circa 40%), Moody’s (circa 40%), and Fitch Group (circa 15%).

Ratings could be assigned to debt obligations due within one year (short term rating), or beyond one year (long term rating). They could also be assigned to debt securities that are in local currency or in foreign currencies.

The University of Manchester Library subscribes to a few databases that provide current and historical corporate credit ratings data. One of them is

1.     From portal, a company’s current and historical ratings data can be accessed via the company’s Debt Overview page.

This shows Pfizer’s corporate ratings by the big three agencies since 1972. Data could also be downloaded into Microsoft Excel:

(1) for one company's credit rating

Corporate ratings on for one company at a time

However, this works well only if one needs data for one or a small number of companies. In finance research, we normally need data for hundreds if not more companies over a period of time.  This is when Excel add-in becomes very useful.

2.’s Excel add-in is efficient when it comes to extract multiple years of data for a portfolio of companies.

The Excel add-in for, called Thomson Reuters Spreadsheet Link (TRSL), allows for more complex data gathering requests. Below is an example of getting S&P’s Long term issuer ratings for FTSE100 companies from 1996-2015

List of companies

Step 1: Upload FTSE100 companies with their respective Thomson Tickers (identifiers such as ISIN, CUSIP, and Datastream Code also work), with years 1996-2015 across, with the TRSL add-in


Step 2: Select Items look up, and type in ‘Rating’ at the search box. The first item S&P Long Term Issuer Rating will appear. Highlight this item


Step 3: Input Date and Identifier with cell referencing. So that date cell is C$1, and identifiers cell is $B3. Click on Export


Step 4: Getting the data: At export option box, select ‘Excludes Headings and Dates’, and press OK




Copied across… and under…

Where to find Thomson Reuters Spreadsheet Link

TRSL is available in the Library Finance Zone (currently Dover Street Building G.010). Please see information signs in the rooms for how to set it up.

Alternative sources of credit rating data

Good sources of historical corporate credit ratings data include Bankscope, Bloomberg (through the terminal only), Mergent FISD and Compustat. Datastream only provides current data only.

Where can I find bond credit ratings for a particular company?

Bond credit ratings are available from several of the databases we subscribe to.

For S&P, Moody and Fitch ratings on bond issues, use Thomson You can look for one company at a time.

Bonds deals in 1 Select company. 2 Choose Company Views > Deals. 3 Change filter to Product: Bonds. 4 Scroll to Deal Statistics.

Alternatively use Screening & Analsysis to look for multiple companies. Include datatypes SP, MDY, FITCH (all have descriptions Ratings…) in your report.

Bonds deals analysis - Go to Screening & Analysis > Deals & League Tables > Bonds > Advanced Search. Build your search and add

Thomson Research

Fitch ratings are available on Thomson Research. Select Fitch Ratings as contributor.

Thomson Research Fitch Reports

Thomson Research: search for Contributor: Fitch Reports.

Factiva Moody's reportsFactiva

Moody’s Investors Service reports are available on Factiva. Search for Moody as source, with company name or upgrade/downgrade in text.


As with Thomson, credit ratings are available on Datastream by searching for a company’s bonds and then selecting the relevant datatypes. A similar approach can be taken with Capital IQ.

Note: What is a Corporate Credit rating?