Governor Nikki Haley’s first financial summit on July 27 in Columbia featured panels of experts that included representatives from an international credit rating agency. However, absent from the proceedings was State Treasurer Curtis Loftis.
Loftis said he did not attend because the state could be harmed by “dragging” discussions of credit agencies into the open because such a practice may be frowned upon by the Securities & Exchange Commission. He said the agency might suspect collusion, “This is a very complex relationship,” Loftis said, “The agencies by law and by regulation should not be on TV. They do not like to do press… To have them in a room, be on TV, to have these varied presentations, is bad policy in my opinion.”
South Carolina is one of 15 states that enjoy a AAA bond rating. Loftis says that rating has been maintained over the years by the relationships the state has with the rating services cultivated by the State Treasurer’s Office. He said that requires behind-the-scenes work.
“A businessman wouldn’t want to go ask for a loan or have in-depth conversations in front of a whole bunch of people,” Loftis said, “He doesn’t want his board of directors and his top employees in there all stating individual cases.”
Loftis says he will continue to meet with rating services in the future to maintain his position as the informed, accurate source that credit houses can turn to for accurate economic and fiscal information pertaining to the state of South Carolina.