Information can quickly become obsolete and be replaced by updates, so it quickly loses economic value. To identify and eliminate risks, investors need to identify, collect and combine relevant information to make complex investment decisions. Often it is impossible for them because the necessary information is missing and its procurement is associated with high costs. Another obstacle is the asymmetry of information, where one party has less information regarding such subject matters than the other party. Furthermore, information written in a foreign language as well as the differences in legal systems and cultures of each country hinders one from analysing the information appropriately or getting access to it.This is where the rating agencies come into play and take over the role of the intermediary. Through the creation of credit ratings, these agencies provide valuable information about a company, an industry or even a country. Because the ratings are represented by symbols, it is easier for investors to evaluate potential risks and to compare them to different countries. The three major rating agencies - Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings ? are active worldwide and currently cover approximately 95% of market demand. The smaller agencies specialize locally, or in particular industries or financial instruments.The three largest rating agencies reacted differently to the financial crisis in the affected countries: in some countries, they delayed the ratings (i.e., Mexico), in others they did not respond or they responded too little (i.e., the Philippines, the USA). In part, they reacted really well and provided relevant information to the participants of the international financial markets (i.e., South Korea, Russia the European financial crisis).