In a move which has shaken the global financial industry to its very foundations, a leading credit rating agency has today downgraded its own stock to junk status.
The agency took the “bold step” after accepting what everyone else has known since the 2008 financial crash: that its view on the soundness or otherwise of a whole range of global businesses and their financial instruments is not worth the crinkled betting slips of paper they are written on.
But the agency has asked not to be named, claiming that coming to terms with its own existential failings are enough for its analysts to be getting on with, without having to deal with not existing at all.
Speaking at a press conference at a secret location, one of the agency’s anonymous vice-presidents, Maurice Turps, said: “We gave hundreds of billions of dollars worth of dodgy collateralised debt obligations sold by various leading US banks triple-A ratings. We were wrong.
“That’s because we gave packages of sub-prime mortgages given to unemployed people, and others with no ability to pay, a triple-A bill of health. We were wrong.
“We have consistently given Far Eastern companies – particularly in China – low ratings on the basis that they’re not American or European and, therefore, couldn’t run a successful business for toffee. We were wrong.
“Hell, we even thought that Dick Van Dyke’s performance in Mary Poppins as a loveable, dancing, bandy-legged chimney sweep – complete with idiotically outrageous Cockney-sparrow accent – was an authentic portrayal of gritty, working class life in the Victorian-era East End of London. Christ! We couldn’t have been more wrong if we’d tried.
‘We’re shit and we know we are’
“So, bearing all this in mind, all we can say is: why oh why oh why oh why would anyone listen to a single word we have to say about anything? Because we don’t know – and we’ve been wracking our brains on this particular question for years.”
At which point, before the massed ranks of the world’s press and media, the corporate executive launched into a short but rousing rendition of the English football song: “We’re shit and we know we are!”
However, Mr Turps was keen to stress that many of the recent credit rating downgrades his agency has handed out to a number of multinational companies and sovereign states are actually “quite accurate”.
He said: “If you accept our judgement on the relative health of corporations and investments world-wide, then there’s a price to pay. The price being that we’ll downgrade the pants off you.”