Searching for moats: Moody’s, S&P, and the credit rating industry

New year, new government (radical change, in fact) but same old way of looking at companies – searching for firms with wide economic moats. No matter how crazy Trump’s cabinet pickings will be, how radical his ideas for change may be, or how Russia might act, there will always be some that will be resilient to the noise.

Sometimes it’s not just companies that have moats, but entire industries. An example would be the payments network industry – Visa and Mastercard enjoy a virtual duopoly with very high barriers to entry. New entrants looking to compete in this industry must first comply with a myriad of financial regulations, then install expensive infrastructure and hope that financial institutions are willing to trust their payment flows with them, and then hope that merchants and consumers would bother to switch from Visa or Mastercard to them – relinquishing a ton of benefits for …

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