Why one asset manager refuses to use the word 'junk'

Asset manager Citadel has dumped the term "junk status". Find out why.

Words matter in the business world.

JOHANNESBURG - "Junk status". Just hearing it has been sending shivers down the spines of business people, politicians and consumers in the last four weeks.

Standard & Poor's Global (S&P) started the spike when it downgraded South Africa's sovereign credit rating to BB+ from BBB- on 3 April days after President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his Cabinet, firing five ministers, including Pravin Gordhan as Finance minister. Just four days later Fitch threw SA's credit rating in the trash, hitting the country with a double whammy in less than one week.

Around the same time, Moody's announced it had placed South Africa's credit rating on review for a possible downgrade.

Now, it's interesting to note that the ratings agencies themselves don't actually use the term "junk status".

And this is just one of the reasons asset manager Citadel doesn't use the term either.

LISTEN: The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Citadel Chief Investment Officer George Herman.