The FT profiles portfolio company Sigma Ratings and founders Stuart Jones, a former US government counter-terrorism expert, and Gabrielle Haddad, an emerging markets healthcare lawyer. Sigma is poised to launch a new rating agency for conduct risk, as the world’s banks struggle to avoid doing business with terrorists, drug dealers and other organised criminals. They will publish their first batch of ratings, focused on the conduct of 500 financial groups in 16 emerging markets, from Saudi Arabia to Panama this summer.
Sigma is launching with research on 500 emerging market financial groups, including the local branches of global banks, although that number is set to grow to several thousand by the end of the year. The initial focus is on correspondent banks — small, regional lenders that interact with clients on the ground and then plug into the global groups. Regulators have become increasingly concerned that such relationships can facilitate money laundering. Sigma recently closed a $2.4m financing round