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Oxford Brookes Business School
+44 (0) 1865 485700
Sandra's main research interest is to investigate how accountability is achieved in the investment intermediary chain. Past and current research projects include credit ratings agencies, state-controlled banks and fund managers. Sandra has published widely in journals like British Accounting Review, Journal of Business Ethics and a range of professional journals.
Sandra was the visiting research fellow for the ifs School of Finance/Henry Grunfeld Foundation from 2010 to 2011.
€3,500 Study on the State of the Credit Rating Market, FISMA (EU), with Europe Economics
£3,000 Credit Ratings Agencies, Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland/University of the West of Scotland, with A. Duff, and T. Ndlovu.
£22,500 Risks and Challenges of the Recent UK Bank Nationalisations, Institute of Financial Services/Henry Grunfeld Foundation.
£16,000 Effectiveness of Interventions in the Investment Chain, HM Treasury, with LF Spira and M Wang.
The 2007-9 global economic crisis had a multiplicity of inter-related causal factors but one factor often highlighted concerns the role of credit rating agencies (CRAs) in the crisis. Following the crisis, the European Commission, (EC) implemented new regulations designed to control the worst excesses of the CRAs as well as reduce the chances of such events re-occurring in future. This paper focuses on the implementation of the EC regulations on CRAs with the aim of understanding how participants working in the UK financial markets perceived the EC Credit Rating Agency regulations and their impact on market practices. The empirical research undertaken for this paper leads to a conclusion that the EC CRA regulations were seen to fall short of what was required for effective regulation and are unlikely to inhibit the role of CRAs in future or prevent such crises. This situation poses major challenges to public policy which must be addressed by governments at national and supra-national levels.
Interest in credit ratings agencies and their role in financial markets is at an all-time high. Concerns about a lack of transparency concerning process, conflicts of interest, and limited competition are frequently discussed by politicians, regulators and other commentators. These issues we term the credit ratings agency (CRA) trinity of solicitude. We shed some light on this trinity by considering the unique relationship that exists between corporate borrowers (debt issuers) and the CRAs they engage to rate their securities. The exchange relationships literature is used to create a model where commitment plays a central role. Technical qualities, relationship qualities and dependence are theorised as antecedents of commitment, which is described by two constructs of affective commitment and calculative commitment. The issuer’s intention to remain with the CRA, their loyalty, is the consequence of commitment. The model is operationalized by means of a survey questionnaire administered to issuers of corporate debt in the United Kingdom. As expected, perceptions of the quality of the relationship and affective commitment play an important role in CRA-issuer relations. However, contrary to expectations, the technical quality of the rating and issuer dependence on the CRA play little role in determining commitment and continuance. The implications of these findings are discussed along with areas for future research.
This paper investigates the impact of online multiple choice questions (MCQs) on students' learning in an undergraduate Accounting module at a British university. The impact is considered from three perspectives: an analysis of how students use the MCQs; students' perceptions expressed in a questionnaire survey; and an investigation of the correlation between MCQ usage and examination performance. The study reveals a number of interesting findings. First, students use the MCQs in different ways, indicating that MCQs are suitable for different learning styles. Second, the MCQs are perceived as being useful by virtually all students. Third, the statistical analysis shows a statistically significant correlation between regular MCQ usage and higher examination performance while controlling for a number of other confounding variables. These findings lead to the conclusion that MCQs are useful tools that can effectively support students' learning. Therefore the use of MCQs on other Accounting and Business modules is encouraged.
The global credit crunch of 2008 and related sub-prime mortgage crisis of 2007 have made credit ratings agencies (CRAs) the focus of international attention. In particular, the quality of ratings information and the responsibilities CRAs owe to financial markets have come under intense scrutiny. Specifically, commentators, politicians, and regulators have expressed concern at the involvement CRAs might have had in creating global financial instability. However, the term ratings quality remains largely absent from the academic literature. This paper constructs a measurement instrument to capture ratings quality provided by CRAs, and assesses differences in perceptions of ratings quality amongst four stakeholder groups in public debt markets. Two macro-constructs of ratings quality are identified, labelled Technical Qualities and Relationship Qualities. The two macro-constructs are measured by ten micro-attributes, labelled: Cooperation; Independence; Internal Processes; Issuer Orientation; Methodology; Reputation; Service Quality; Shared Values and Norms; Transparency; and Trust. Each micro-attribute is operationalised into individual items, and then empirically tested using data obtained in the UK from 121 issuers, 75 non-debt issuing financial managers, 90 investors, and 120 other interested parties. The data suggest that ratings quality involves, in order of importance: the CRA's reputation; those values and norms of the CRA shared by users; the methodologies employed by the CRA; the independence of the CRA; and internal processes within the CRA. Multivariate analysis of variance finds no statistically significant variation between the groups for Technical Qualities factors. However, issuers rate Relationship Qualities and its micro-attributes of Trust, Issuer Orientation, and Service Quality higher than other market participants; a finding that reflects the dyadic relationship between the issuer's treasurer and lead analyst of the CRA. The paper concludes with a number of policy-relevant issues.
This study seeks to identify: (i) the demand for corporate bond ratings provided by credit ratings agencies (CRAs); (ii) how issuers select CRAs; and (iii) to better understand ratings quality, a term widely used by commentators, politicians and regulators, but under-explored in the academic literature. Interviews identify the principal source of demand for rating information is to reduce agency conflicts between issuers and investors. Issuers typically engage between one and three credit ratings agencies to rate their debt, implying a heterogeneous demand for ratings services, and different levels of ratings quality. However, ratings quality extends beyond competence and independence to include factors relating to professional judgment, communication, transparency, and the quality and continuity of analytic staff. Findings were discussed in the light of the ongoing international policy debate concerning CRAs.