It’s our birthday! We are proud to announce that GCR Ratings (“GCR”) has been operating as an African-focused Credit Rating Agency for 25 years.
GCR was established with a vision of becoming the #1 provider of quality, objective, and independent credit opinions in Africa, and of building the largest African ratings coverage through an expanded geographic footprint.
We are delighted and humbled with our achievements to date, and would like to take this opportunity to share twenty-five defining moments in our journey thus far:
- 1996: GCR was established by a handful of staff with a vision to create the leading provider of quality, objective, and independent credit opinions across Africa.
- GCR’s mission statement, in respect of each individual country in which it establishes a presence, is to:
☞ Maintain the highest international rating standards with regards to independence, confidentiality, and technical expertise.
☞ Provide an information service to investors which is unparalleled in terms of quality.
☞Pro-actively facilitate the development of local capital markets.
- Rating Services: GCR is a full-service ratings agency with analytical units covering Insurance, Financial Institutions, Structured Finance & Securitisation, and Corporates & Public Sector Debt.
- Regulatory Recognition: It is the norm for rating agencies to be “accredited” by the relevant market authority. Such accreditation is granted once the rating agency has demonstrated very stringent technical competence and market acceptance. GCR has regulatory accreditation in every jurisdiction where this is a requirement.
- GCR’s credit ratings provide an independent and forward-looking opinion on the creditworthiness of an issuer or issue. GCR accords both national scale ratings and international scale ratings. GCR’s underlying analytical approach and methodology are exactly the same for both types of ratings and they use the same rating categories to express relative risk, save for the fact GCR’s international scale ratings incorporate transfer and convertibility risk to enable differentiation of creditworthiness relative to a global pool of issuers and issues, whilst GCR’s national scale ratings measure creditworthiness relative to issuers and issues within a given country.
- Our Offices: GCR has permanent, fully staffed offices in Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. Each of GCR’s African offices are led by highly respected management indigenous to their countries of origin and regions of oversight and responsibility, and who have uniquely robust collective local and international experience encompassing over 200 years.
- Our people: GCR’s employees are the foundations of who and what we strive to be. GCR is extremely proud of the fact that its employees possess diverse backgrounds in terms of ethnicity, gender (40% of GCR staff are female), and expertise, aligned to the primary African markets within which we have a local presence.
- The core values that define GCR employees are honesty, integrity, independence, humility, respect, and pride. GCR has a collective staff compliment of some 70 employees, encompassing more than 40 analysts strategically located on the ground throughout Africa. Ensuring unparalleled local market knowledge and expertise of the markets within which we operate.
- GCR’s credit ratings framework is robust, transparent, and aligned to international best practice, suitably tailored to African markets. GCR’s credit ratings framework is unique insofar as enabling comparison of ratings across sectors and markets/countries. This is particularly relevant to entities operating across different markets.
- Rating Coverage: GCR is the market leader in Africa, with in excess of 500 monitored credit ratings across 27 countries. This is accompanied by regular, robust, credit research and thought leadership.
- GCR’s Code of Conduct is aligned to international best practice (“IOSCO”: International Organization of Securities Commissions) and recognises the importance we place on compliance and the independent credit ratings we issue. GCR has stringent policies, procedures, and firewalls between its commercial and analytical unit, underpinning the integrity of the ratings that we issue.
- GCR’s corporate governance and compliance is overseen by a diverse, highly experienced Board of Directors, which includes strong independent non-executive representation.
- 2000: GCR was the first company to be Registered as a credit rating agency in Kenya under the provisions of the Capital Markets Act (Cap 485A of the Laws of Kenya).
- 2001: Renamed as Global Credit Rating Company, to reflect the vastly expanding underlying markets within which we operate.
- 2002: GCR was registered as a credit rating agency by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria.
- 2005: GCR was accredited by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to conduct the business of a credit ratings agency in Zimbabwe.
- 2007: KfW/DEG, one of the largest Development Finance Institutions in the world, acquired a significant stake in GCR.
- 2013: In South Africa, GCR was the first rating agency to be registered as a Credit Rating Services Provider by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, License No: CRA001, in accordance with Section 5(1) of the Credit Rating Services Act, 24 of 2012.
- 2015: In South Africa, GCR was recognised as an eligible External Credit Assessment Institution (“ECAI”) by the South African Reserve Bank in terms of regulation 51 of the Regulations relating to Banks.
- 2016: The Carlyle Group, a multinational private equity alternative management and financial services corporation, acquired a significant stake in GCR.
- 2017: GCR was granted a Credit Rating Agency Licence (Licence No: C116016526) by the Financial Services Commission, Mauritius.
- 2019: Rebranded as GCR Ratings, reinforcing our position as Africa’s leading credit rating agency.
- 2019: GCR Analytics was launched as a separate company responsible for non-rating activities, encompassing economic and industry research, financial intelligence, analytical tools, and training.
- 2020: GCR was recognised as an eligible External Credit Assessment Institution (“ECAI”) by the Bank of Mauritius, under the Direct Recognition method in the corporate sector.
- 2021: GCR acquired a significant majority stake in West Africa Rating Agency, aligned to our strategy of enhancing our presence and ratings coverage across Francophone Africa.
GCR’s success on the continent is testament to its truly “Africanized” strategy, local presence, unique methodological approach, and most importantly its people.
Our primary focus over the next 25 years is broader independent rating coverage, geared towards further demystification and development of African capital markets.
As a truly valued stakeholder, GCR would like to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation for your support through the years.
Chief Executive Officer
About GCR Ratings
With a 25-year track record, GCR has developed a very substantial, market leading, pan African credit ratings business, encompassing over 500 credit ratings across 27 countries in Africa.
GCR is licensed as a credit rating agency in a number of markets, including Kenya with the Capital Markets Authority, Nigeria with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Zimbabwe with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Mauritius with the Financial Services Commission and in West Africa by the CREPMF. In South Africa, GCR is registered as a Credit Rating Services Provider by the Financial Services Conduct Authority. GCR is also recognized as an eligible External Credit Assessment Institution (ECAI) by the South African Reserve Bank and the Bank of Mauritius.
For more information about GCR please watch our new video created to celebrate our anniversary; download our company timeline; or visit our website. Please also follow GCR on LinkedIn for updates on our research publications and forthcoming events.
Figure 1: GCR’s Credit Rating Portfolio in Africa