HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS ON MOODY’S INVESTOR SERVICES INC

Moody's Investor Services

Undisputed Legal | Process Service 

The bond credit rating business of Moody’s Corporation is called Moody’s Investors Service (MIS)  wherein bonds issued by commercial and government companies as well as governments themselves. One of the Big Three credit rating agencies, Moody’s, along with Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Group, has achieved distinction in its field. There is also a seat on the Fortune 500 list of 2021 that is designated for this venture. A Delaware-based corporation, Moody’s Investor Services currently is registered with the New York Department of State as a foreign business corporation.

A standardized scale that gauges the predicted investor loss in the case of failure is used to rate the creditworthiness of borrowers. Bond securities issued by various sectors are rated by Moody’s Investors Service. This encompasses government, municipal, and corporate bonds; managed investments such as money market funds and fixed-income funds; financial institutions, such as banks and non-bank finance firms; and asset classes that feature in structured finance.   Moody’s Investors Service uses a four-level rating system for securities, ranging from AAA (the highest) to C (the lowest).

[1.0] HISTORY

Moody was formed in 1909 by John Moody to provide publications on various types of financial information, such as bond ratings and stock prices. The US Securities and Exchange Commission classified the firm as a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) in 1975. Moody’s Investors Service separated from Dun & Bradstreet in 2000 after it had been under the firm’s control for around twenty years and came out from their erstwhile holding company structure.

The Big Three credit rating organizations are dubbed as such mostly because of their interactions. Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch all assign different ratings to bonds; S&P and Fitch use probability-based credit ratings, whereas Moody’s assigns predicted loss-based ratings. All three of them operate on six continents, keeping an office on every single one, and they grade billions of dollars worth of assets. It is also the case, however, that only Moody’s Corporation is a free-standing enterprise. Banks and other financial institutions worldwide rely on Moody’s Investors Service and its rival agencies for important additional credit assessments. For investors of all skill levels, this kind of third-party study is a beneficial complement to their own judgment.

As significant as the function credit rating agencies play in the legislative laws and regulations of the United States and a number of other nations are, they also serve an equally essential function in implementing the rules and regulations in regionalities like the European Union. Regulation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission uses the credit ratings of the U.S. NRSROs in a number of ways. The use of mechanical ratings to reinforce ‘pro-cyclical and ‘cliff effects’ of downgrades, however, is just one facet of regulatory bodies’ use of ratings. To lessen dependence on credit rating firms, the Financial Stability Board (FSB) established a set of ‘principles’ in October 2010

Seven additional organizations, including A.M. Best, have been identified as NRSROs by the SEC, and among them are businesses like Fitch which specialize in insurance company responsibilities. Competing with firms such as Morningstar, Inc. and financial publishers such as Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg L.P. in the areas of investment research and publications is a focus of Moody’s.

Moody’s analysts have, in particular, been much more accessible to the media since the early 2000s, and Moody has made itself available to the press on credit conditions with regularity.

In a similar manner to S&P, Moody hosts educational sessions for first-time securities issuers, helping them learn the material used in its analysis of debt instruments.

[2.0] HOW TO SUBMIT A REQUEST FORM FOR INFORMATION

Before the requestor submits a Request Form, it is important that the Request Form is completed in full, with Moody’s materials that are being requested (to disseminate) attached. Incomplete forms are notably not considered for evaluation, but even the submission of the Request Form does not constitute permission to use Moody’s materials referenced in this form. It is stated that the request is not approved unless express approval from Moody’s referencing this form has been obtained. Requests usually take up to two weeks in processing time, with time utilized for the review of the requests. If the request is in the nature of a commercial license, Moody’s may elect to charge for the request and will notify the requestor of any such fee in Moody’s response to the Request Form.

It must be remembered that if a request is in the nature of a commercial license, Moody’s usually will elect to charge for this request and will notify the requestor of any such fee in Moody’s response to the Request Form. However,  separate permission is needed for each one of Moody’s materials. Moody’s consent to the request in one instance will not be deemed to confer Moody’s consent to any other permission requests, even if the requests are similar in nature.

Any permission granted will be subject to Moody’s Content Usage Terms and Conditions that are included in the Request Form. It is necessary to review the aforementioned terms to confirm that the individual can comply with the same before submitting the Request Form. The submission of a Request Form constitutes the agreement to these terms and conditions.

[3.0] HOW TO SERVE A SUBPOENA ON MOODY’S

Moody’s Corporation & Subsidiaries, is a Delaware corporation headquartered in New York.  They operate a credit rating agency that analyses financial information and also generates and publishes opinions concerning debt instruments and securities (credit ratings.)

A  subpoena duces tecum requiring the production of any books, papers, or other things must be issued by a Justice of the Supreme Court in the district in which the book, paper, or other thing is located or by a  judge of the court in which an action for which it is required is triable. Unless the court orders otherwise, a motion for this subpoena should be made on at least one day’s notice to the officer having custody of the document and the adverse party.  This subpoena must be served upon said officer at least twenty-four hours before the time fixed for the production of such records. A notable caveat is that in the case of an emergency, the court can dispense with such notice through the appropriate order.  

Process Service compliance with a  subpoena duces tecum may be made by producing a full-sized legible reproduction of the item or items required to be produced certified as complete and accurate by the person in charge of and no personal appearance to certify these items shall be required unless the court orders otherwise.   

[3.1] HOW DOES MOODY’S COMPLY WITH LEGAL PROCESS

Before responding to any queries from attorneys or representatives of other parties who may be engaged in or considering launching a lawsuit against Moody’s customers, it has been strongly recommended by the company that both employees and requesters contact the Legal department. The Legal Department has established a necessity to notify Moody and customers before sharing any information or records.  Record Retention and Preservation Directives documents must be preserved as required by law and under Moody’s record-retention policies, Process Service requirements, and guidelines. All documents and records (in whatever form) must be preserved for the given Process Service time periods. 

In response to an inquiry or litigation by a government body or a lawsuit filed by a private citizen, Moody’s issues a record preservation directive to all staff who have access to relevant documents. It is very possible, therefore, that in the course of employment of an individual in Moody’s, they may be given instructions from the Legal department instructing them to preserve all the documents they have or control. It must be kept in mind that even if the employee has received the said directive, they cannot delete or discard any documents pertaining to the subject matter listed in the directive and must not delete or otherwise discard any Process Service records dealing with the topic mentioned in the directive, no matter how they are preserved. 

If the employee suspects they have documents that pertain to a subpoena, inquiry, or other instruments of Process Service, they should inform the Legal department immediately. In these kinds of instances, they automatically will need to save and preserve all relevant documents until notified by the Legal department as to how to proceed. Furthermore, if an employee discovers that a subpoena has been issued, or that an inquiry or lawsuit is underway, or even that they themselves are being investigated by the government,  the Legal department must be alerted immediately. 

It must be mentioned,  furthermore, that active safeguards should be put in action to preserve any pertinent documents against destruction. If these documents were left to auto-destruction, they would be irretrievable (such as voice mail messages). Even if accidental, the destruction of these documents might severely impair the company. For the obstruction of justice charge to apply, the perpetrator must have meant to hinder an inquiry, audit, or examination or that act was done with the effect of obstructing such an inquiry, which is clearly provided by virtue of the destruction of these documents in question.

In order to do their job, Moody’s staff is required to keep a number of documents at their offices. If these documents are outside of Moody’s offices, staff will be required to provide them to the Legal department upon request according to Process Service guidelines. Also, to the extent provided in Moody’s internal Code, all relevant personnel must cooperate with any requests for the retrieval of Moody’s documents relating to an ongoing investigation and lawsuit. 

Every piece of paper and all electronic data, with the exception of very sensitive papers, are considered fair game in investigations and litigation related to the company according to Process Service. One should be aware that placing papers labeled ‘restricted’ or ‘confidential’ under seal in court will not always prevent their disclosure. It is necessary according to Process Service guidelines to obtain confirmation on whether a lawyer’s conversations are ‘privileged’ and, as such, shielded from disclosure from Moody’s Legal department.

The steps taken to comply with court directions do not constitute a waiver of any audit or inspection rights to which the company is otherwise entitled or prohibits any rights under the law. One of the purposes of engaging in these activities may be to protect Moody’s data, documents, information, and systems, to maintain quality standards, or to provide business continuity and record retention when an employee is absent (for whatever reason) or when an employee has left the Company. Review, audit, inspection, interception, access, or disclosure of such information may be utilized in the course of an investigation, legal action, or otherwise as authorized by relevant law and an indication of Process Service.  The employee’s consent is implicit in this case; the use of company computers, voice mail, and electronic communications systems, as authorized by relevant law, indicates their acceptance and acceptance of these rights.

[4.0] SERVICE OF PROCESS ON MOODY’S

Process Service on Moody’s might be done upon their registered agent, CT Corporation, in this case.  The Department of State– while the Secretary of State is capable of accepting Process Service process on the entity’s behalf– forwards the process it receives to CT Corporation. The agent’s main goal is to create essentially a state authority location (that is, not a P.O. Box) that is operational during the usual business hours and serves as a suitable location for legal Process Service activities. The registered agent is often the state’s point of contact for any official paperwork which must be provided in order for the state to legally take action or collect taxes or provide Process Service. The licensed agent is in charge of notifying the company about any such lawsuit papers and notifications. An important part of a registered representative’s duties is to provide business groups with guidance as to their filing status in their respective states. These reports use the licensed agent’s capacity to justify them since it is practically impossible for a private organization to keep track of and disclose the multiple regulations for many states that it will have to deal with.

The termination of a firm or limited liability company’s legal status, the imposition of penalty costs on an employee, or both might occur if an agent has not been properly authorized.

To renew the company’s charter of business, the State sends out the documentation to the agent’s address each period (if so required by  Process Service). When a corporation or other entity uses an intermediary as a registered representative, the intermediary may be an employee, such as in-house counsel, or a third party, such as a service provider. If a licensed agent is managed improperly, this might have a damaging influence on a corporation.

Many organizations choose to work with a third party, called a registered agent, to act as their official representative. A registered agent may function as their own registered agent, which bypasses the  Process Service’s delay in replying. Businesses must keep a registered agent in order to keep corporate status. It is vital that this agent be able to act as a representative of the company for serving of process, and this agent should be on record with the Secretaries of the States.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact a Process Service (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1. Principal Executive Office

MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC.

7 WORLD TRADE CENTER

250 GREENWICH STREET

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10007

2. DOS ID #:146479

3. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ‘Annual Report on Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations,’ Page 15.

4. Chief Executive Officer

RAYMOND W. MCDANIEL JR.

7 WORLD TRADE CENTER

250 GREENWICH STREET

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10007

5. NRSRO ratings have been used by the SEC since the early 1990s to examine money market fund commercial paper holdings.

6.  Submit the Request Form atclientservices@moodys.com.

7. Fiscal Panel Subpoenas Documents of Moody’s The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/business/22moodys.html (last visited Jun 2021) 

8. Where a  statement would serve the same purpose as production of the document and the subpoena is required because the parties will not stipulate,  the judge may impose terms on any party, including the cost of production of the document, and require such cost to be paid as an additional fee to the officer.

9. This is including any rights of access, disclosure, inspection, audit, or correction of electronically stored information.

10. Registered Agent

C T CORPORATION SYSTEM

28 LIBERTY ST.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10005

11. DOS Process (Address to which DOS will mail process if accepted on behalf of the entity)

C T CORPORATION SYSTEM

28 LIBERTY ST.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10005

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