Standard & Poor's, the financial services and publishing company, announced changes to bolster confidence in credit markets and the firm's analytical integrity. A highlight of the plan is the establishment of an Ombuds to address concerns about transparency and potential conflicts of interest in the rating process as well as analytical and governance processes that market participants may raise. (Wall Street Journal; Bloomberg; RTT News.)
Market pressures are pushing the financial services industry to become more responsive, transparent and ethical. These forces will certainly create additional opportunities for Organizational Ombuds. The announcement by S&P is just the latest example of the trend. (See these related posts: Job Posting at Merrill Lynch; SEC Affirms Role of NASD Ombuds; Lawyers Advised Wall Street Journal Owners to Hire Internal Ombuds; NASDAQ and Banking Lobby Endorse Ombuds for Accounting Oversight.) It would also seem that financial institutions are (or should be) reassured by existing Ombuds programs at Alliance Bernstein, American Express, The Hartford, Putnam, Royal Bank of Canada, ScotiaBank, and TD Bank Financial Group.