Rating Definitions

Three Different Types of Weiss Ratings

We provide three types of ratings that should not be confused:

  1. Weiss Investment Ratings on stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. These are in the same realm as “buy,” “sell” and “hold” ratings. They are designed to help investors make more informed decisions with the goal of maximizing gains and minimizing risk. When using our investment ratings, you should always remember that, by definition, all investments involve some element of risk.
  2. Weiss Crypto Ratings on Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 coins and tokens. These are designed to help both investors and users make more informed decisions with the goal of maximizing gains or benefits and minimizing risk. Since most crypto assets are new and experimental, they often tend to be more volatile than other asset classes.
  3. Weiss Safety Ratings on banks, credit unions and insurance companies. These are similar in purpose to credit ratings, designed to help consumers find the best institutions to entrust with their savings, retirement funds, or insurance premiums. The higher the rating, the more likely the institution will remain financially stable or strong in good times or bad.

Please be aware that many banks and insurance companies are rated in two ways:

As common stocks: The shares of their holding companies, traded on major exchanges, receive a Weiss Investment Rating.

As financial institutions: Their financial viability, which can affect the security of deposits or insurance policies, receive a Weiss Safety Rating.

With Bank of America, for example, investors could buy its shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange. And, at the same time, depositors could open a savings or checking account.

These are two entirely different destinations for their money and merit entirely different kinds of ratings:

When deciding to buy, sell, hold or avoid their shares, refer to the Weiss Investment Rating. When shopping for savings or checking accounts, refer to the Weiss Safety Rating.

The same holds true for insurance companies: For their shares, refer to the Weiss Investment Rating. For their insurance policies, refer to the Weiss Safety Rating.

What Does Each Letter Grade Mean?

All three types of Weiss Ratings — Investment Ratings (for stocks, ETFs and mutual funds), Crypto Ratings (for cryptocurrency coins and tokens) and Weiss Safety Ratings (for banks, credit unions and insurers) — use the same grade scale, as follows:

A = excellent
B = good
C = fair
D = weak
E = very weak

Plus sign (+): upper third of each grade
Minus sign (-): lower third of each grade

In addition, in certain industries, we may also use F for failed and U for unrated due to insufficient data.

Since some financial institutions receive both Weiss Investment Ratings and Weiss Safety Ratings, to readily distinguish between them, please refer to the table below:

How Weiss Investment Ratings Differ from Weiss Safety Ratings
  Weiss Investment Rating  Weiss Safety Rating
A Strong Buy High probability of stability even in a severely adverse environment, such as a depression or debt crisis.
B Buy Probably stable even in an adverse business or economic environment. However, its stability should be re-evaluated at that time. 
C Hold or Avoid Probably stable in a favorable environment, but may encounter financial difficulties in an adverse environment.
D Sell May encounter financial difficulties, including failure, in an adverse business or economic environment.
E Strong Sell May encounter financial difficulties, including failure, even in a favorable business or economic environment.
Weiss Ratings