S&P Emails and IMs Part of Government Suit

When will people learn that internal communications can go public? The federal government is suing Standard & Poor's for knowingly rating securities too highly, in effect, bolstering deals before the 2008 financial crisis. Internal emails and instant messages support this claim.

In one IM exchange, two analysts discuss a pending crash, and one admits that "we give in anyway."

In another exchange, one analyst IMs to another that "we rate every deal...it could be structured by cows." And in an email exchange, an analyst describes the pressure at S&P, and a client questions the built-in conflict of interest.

S&P email

Although the video doesn't seem to be available online, analysts created a parody of the song, "Burning Down the House," by the Talking Heads.

What was apparently clear to some pockets of Wall Street took a while to hit Main Street, where the real damage was done. 

Discussion Starters:

  • How else could these analysts have handled the pressure they were under?
  • Why did these analysts feel comfortable communicating this way? Do you think S&P doesn't have a clear email policy? What else could be going on?