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Jules Kroll

Jules Kroll isn’t slowing down, said Janet Morrissey in The New York Times. At 69, “an age when other multimillionaires are working on their backswings,” Kroll is plunging into the credit-ratings business. The founder of Kroll Inc. (now owned by Altegrity), he “practically invented the business of corporate intelligence” and knows all there is to know about “the dark side of money.” Kroll, who hunted assets hidden by former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and ferreted out “the oil wealth of Saddam Hussein,” now wants to “marry hard-nosed credit analysis” with his “trademark corporate sleuthing.”

It might be a good time to enter the game. The incumbents of the $4 billion per year ratings business—Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch—disgraced themselves in the run-up to the financial crisis by handing out “sterling ratings” to bonds later revealed as “nearly worthless.” Kroll’s goal is relatively modest—​10 percent of the market within five years. Prominent investors Michael Price, Frederick Adler, and William Mack are bankrolling the venture, dubbed Kroll Bond Ratings. Altegrity CEO Michael Cherkasky, a former Kroll employee, says, “If anyone can do it, it’s Jules Kroll.” Kroll himself isn’t promising anything, but, he says, “I’ve always enjoyed a challenge.”

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