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Independent Ratings Advisory

We help clients optimise their ratings to minimise borrowing costs whilst maximising flexibility

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Why us?

All large corporates, insurance companies and banks have to constantly balance the needs of their shareholders and debt investors. Every decision a company makes - whether it is to invest in growth or return funds to shareholders - has a trade off between these two parties. The rating agencies, by assigning credit ratings, give a relative comparison of how each company manages these balances.

Our mission is to demystify this process and enable clients to understand the consequences of potential actions that they take. We advocate on behalf of clients with the agencies using our extensive case knowledge to get them the best outcomes. Clients can go to Investment Banks for this service but what differentiates us is our complete independence, our focus on a select group of clients and our greater level of expertise.

Focusing on a select group of clients means we are agile and can react to client needs with speed. We only do this one thing but we do it in far more depth and with a higher degree of focus than clients can get anywhere else. Malcolm Cruickshanks, Ray Travis and Andrew Canwell led the teams of three leading investment banks and left because of the constraints placed by being within large organisations. Thanks to Cap Structure, they now focus purely on ratings advisory and are able to react quickly to solve the more complex problems with interests fully aligned with clients.

Our wealth of expertise puts us in a unique position to tackle the most difficult challenges in this sphere for clients.

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Case Studies

« We assisted our client in repositioning ratings story which resulted in removal of negative outlooks and upgrades from all three rating agencies. »

Client A

« We helped our client manage ratings in the context of an acquisition. We repositioned the credit story which resulted in an extra half a turn of leverage per rating category. The client retained ratings without the need to issue hybrids or equity capital which had been their base case. »

Client B

« We supported our client to undertake a first time rating with a new rating agency. This enabled them to drop an existing rating and released a turn of EBITDA of headroom. »

Client C

« We helped our client manage ratings in the context of an acquisition. We repositioned the credit story which resulted in an extra half a turn of leverage per rating category. The client retained ratings without the need to issue hybrids or equity capital which had been their base case. »

Client B

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Independent ratings advisor

Analysing the Numbers
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Rating management through M&A or stress events

M&A and capital structure scenario analysis

First time ratings

Annual reviews and ongoing rating management

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Our ultimate objective is the highest leverage point for any given rating

We aim to get the best rating at any given leverage point for clients to ensure the maximum flexibility. Our thesis, which is borne out with credentials, is that proactive management of the agencies translates into real savings for companies. Many companies simply engage with the agencies prior to a refinancing and so there is limited time to challenge the status quo assumptions (often based on analysis that is stale and not fully reflective of the resilience and strength of your business model). By being on the front foot it is possible to challenge assumptions, to accelerate upgrades or build more financial flexibility and headroom.

Typical client engagement - aligning incentives

We can be flexible around work approach. Typically, the structure is a project fee with a high discretionary element. In essence we are able to be on call for the “normal” course of business rating discussions including working on scenarios regarding bond issuance during the year, annual review and interim updates. We align our fees to project success.

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Malcolm Cruickshanks

After over 20 years as a Managing Director in the ratings advisory team for J.P. Morgan, Malcolm Cruickshanks founded Cap Structure in 2021 to advise companies directly with regards to corporate ratings and capital structure. The ambition of going it alone was to be able to work more deeply with clients, whilst providing an independent service that has the highest levels of expertise. Malcolm's area of expertise lies in corporate credit ratings.

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Ray Travis

In 2022, Ray Travis joined the Cap Structure team. Previously Ray was Head of Ratings Advisory at Barclays for the same 20-year period as Malcolm was at J.P. Morgan. Prior to Barclays, Ray was a Vice President / Senior Credit Officer at Moody’s. Ray’s expertise lies in corporate, financial institutions and infrastructure ratings.

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Douglas Rowlings

In 2023, Douglas Rowlings joined the Cap Structure team. Previously Douglas was a Senior Vice President for the Middle East and Africa at Moody’s Investors Service. Before Moody’s, Douglas professional experience included stints at JP Morgan, Johannesburg and at the University of Cape Town as a lecturer in the Finance Section. Douglas expertise lies in corporates, sovereigns, utilities and financial institutions.

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Natalie Goncharova

In 2023, Natalie Goncharova joined the Cap Structure team. Previously Natalie was an Executive Director leading EMEA Rating Advisory team at Morgan Stanley in London. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Natalie was a Director / Lead Analyst for Media and Leisure sectors at S&P. Natalie’s expertise lies in corporate and infrastructure ratings in Europe, CIS and Eastern Europe.

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We have extensive project expertise across Europe, Middle East & Africa

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Contact Us

Although we work with clients all over the world, our team members are primarily based in London, Madrid and Cape Town.

+44 207 959 2659

Merci pour votre envoi !

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