Open main menu

DBRS is a global credit rating agency (CRA) founded in 1976 (originally known as Dominion Bond Rating Service) in Toronto. Its current ownership group, led by The Carlyle Group and Warburg Pincus, announced the purchase of the company in December 2014.[1]

IndustryCredit Rating, Financial Services
PredecessorDominion Bond Rating Service
Founded1976 (1976)
FounderWalter Schroeder
DBRS Tower, 181 University Avenue, Suite 700
ProductsCredit Ratings, Financial Research
DivisionsDBRS Limited; DBRS, Inc.; and DBRS Ratings Limited; DBRS Ratings GmbH; and DBRS Ratings GmbH, Sucursal en España

DBRS, which has offices in Toronto, New York, Chicago, London, Frankfurt and Madrid, is the fourth-largest credit rating agency by global market share, with approximately between 2% and 3% of global market share.[2] DBRS comprises four affiliated operating companies – DBRS Limited; DBRS, Inc.; DBRS Ratings Limited; DBRS Ratings GmbH; and DBRS Ratings GmbH, Sucursal en España.

Stephen Joynt was named CEO in August 2016, having previously served as chairman of the board. Mr. Joynt previous served as CEO of Fitch Ratings.[3]

Registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) pursuant to the Credit Rating Agency Reform Act of 2006 (CRA Reform Act) and the rules adopted thereunder.

DBRS is registered as a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization from the United States' Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), one of only 10 companies to hold the designation.[4]

Registered as a CRA in the European Union (EU) in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 of the European Parliament, amended by Regulation (EU) No 513/2011 and No 462/2013 on CRAs (the EU CRA Regulation).and with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) in Canada.

The company is one of only four CRAs, including larger competitors Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service, and Fitch Ratings, to receive ECAI recognition from the European Central Bank (ECB). That designation indicates CRAs whose ratings can be used by the ECB to determine collateral requirements for borrowing from the ECB.[5] In recent years, DBRS's sovereign ratings on European nations, including Portugal, Ireland and Italy, were used by the ECB for such purposes.[6]

On May 29th, 2019, Morningstar, Inc. Announced their acquisition of DBRS which is subject to regulatory approval.



The company was founded by Walter Schroeder, who started sketching out a business plan while driving to Montreal on a family vacation. He developed the rating agency from scratch, starting the company with less than $1,000. The company opened its first office, a tiny 1,500-square-foot office, in Toronto.[7] Mr. Schroeder and his family sold the company to current ownership.[8]

Since those beginnings, DBRS has expanded to become the largest rating agency in Canada with operations in the U.S. and Europe. It first opened offices in Chicago and New York in 2003; opened its current office in London in 2010; opened in Frankfurt in 2018[9] and Madrid in 2019[10]. In 2008, the organization changed its name from Dominion Bond Rating Service to DBRS.

Today, DBRS has nearly 500 employees worldwide and rates more than 2,400 issuer families and nearly 50,000 securities worldwide.[11]

Corporate and Operating StructuresEdit

DBRS Limited is the operating company in Canada. DBRS, Inc. is the operating company in the United States. DBRS Ratings Limited is the operating entity based in London and is home to the agency's broader European operations. DBRS Ratings GmbH is the German operating unit and DBRS Ratings GmbH, Sucursal en España is the operating company in Spain.


DBRS provides independent credit rating services for financial institutions, corporate and sovereign entities and structured finance products and instruments throughout all geographies where it operates. Credit ratings are forward-looking opinions about credit risk that reflect the creditworthiness of an entity or security. The Rating Committee process facilitates rating decisions, which are a collective assessment of DBRS opinion rather than the view of an individual analyst, are based on sufficient information that incorporates both global and local considerations and the use of approved methodologies and are independent of any actual or perceived conflicts of interest.[12]

DBRS ViewpointEdit

DBRS Viewpoint is an online platform launched in 2016 (previously known as iReports) that provides interactive access to commercial mortgage-backed securities transaction information, as well as commentaries and work product, for DBRS-rated deals. Users receive greater transparency into credit analysis and supporting data through the platform.[13]


In Canada, DBRS is regulated through the Canadian Securities Administrators with its principal regulator being the OSC. CRAs in Canada must become a "designated rating organization" in order for their opinions to be eligible for use under securities laws.[14]

In the U.S., DBRS is regulated by the SEC, which has proposed rules as part of the Dodd-Frank Act that will impose additional governance, transparency, conflicts of interest and performance measurement requirements on the CRA industry.

In Europe, DBRS Ratings Limited is regulated by ESMA. Additional rules – CRA III – have been adopted in Europe focused on increasing competition, ratings transparency and independence, standardizing Sovereign ratings and adding new liability whether or not a contract is in place.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The acquisition closed in March 2015.
  2. ^ Martin, Timothy W. (2015-03-02). "Carlyle, Warburg to Go After Big Three Ratings Firms With DBRS Purchase". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  3. ^ "DBRS Appoints Stephen W. Joynt as Interim Chief Executive Officer".
  4. ^ " | Credit Rating Agencies and Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations (NRSROs)". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  5. ^ "External Credit Assessment Institutions (ECAI) - European Banking Authority". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  6. ^ Wise, Peter (2017-04-21). "Portugal retains investment-grade rating at DBRS". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  7. ^ "Is DBRS right on Europe?". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  8. ^ "The Carlyle Group and Warburg Pincus to Acquire DBRS | The Carlyle Group". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  9. ^ Jones, Marc. "Rating firm DBRS picks Frankfurt as post-Brexit EU base". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  10. ^ "Madrid Opening Marks DBRS's Third Office in Europe". Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  11. ^ "About DBRS".
  12. ^ "About DBRS Ratings".
  13. ^ "DBRS Products - Viewpoint".
  14. ^ "Canada to impose code of conduct on debt raters". Retrieved 2018-03-19.
  15. ^ Bernard, Stephen L. (2012-10-09). "DBRS Pitches Increased Competition for Rating European Debt". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-03-19.

External linksEdit