Ratings companies, whose scores have helped determine the costof money for governments and businesses for more than a century,are no longer trusted by the world's biggest investors, accordingto the former head of structured finance at Standard &Poor's.

“They're there because people have to have them, not becausepeople believe in them,” David Jacob, who was fired from S&P inDecember, said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in NewYork. “Maybe retail investors do, that's the unfortunate part, butI think institutional investors don't.”

After helping ignite the worst financial crisis since the GreatDepression by inflating grades on securities backed by subprimemortgages, the ratings firms' reputations are being diminishedfurther in the bond market. When S&P downgraded the U.S.government in August, Treasury yields fell to record lows, and thecost of protecting financial debt declined following last month'sdowngrades of 15 global investment banks by Moody's InvestorsService.

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