Some great new tools have arrived in muniland that begin to stretch the boundaries of how we organize and process our endless information. Staying on top of 80,000 municipal issuers, 50 states and unlimited private activity issuers is no easy task. Check out some of the new arrivals:
Standard & Poor’s
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced the launch of a free interactive web application that gives muniland participants the ability to create and compare credit scenarios. Users can model different capital structures and see possible ratings based on Standard & Poor’s general obligation ratings framework and their own data inputs. This web app follows last year’s launch of the iPad-based S&P U.S. Local Governments Credit Scenario Builder. Log on and have fun. The Bond Buyer lays out some specs:
The app includes the seven criteria Standard & Poor’s uses to assign a credit to a municipality: economy, management, budgetary flexibility, budgetary performance, liquidity, debt and contingent liability, and institutional framework.
If a user has some data about a local government based on a previous agency report or from financial documents, he or she can duplicate the rating and then project how it might change under certain conditions. The app produces ratings in all lowercase letters to distinguish it from real Standard and Poor’s ratings, which are given in uppercase letters.
By clicking on the economy tab, for example, users can adjust the per capita income to indicate a thriving economy or a struggling one. By clicking on the liquidity tab, they can adjust the amount of cash available to the government as a percentage of its debt service. Users can name and save their scenarios and compare them with one another to see how events like a major expenditure of cash reserves might move a local government’s credit rating.