EU watchdog launches credit ratings database
London, February 2, 2012
The European Union's markets watchdog launched a free online database on Thursday for investors to compare credit ratings from rival agencies as part of wider efforts to increase transparency and competition.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (Esma) supervises the 15 ratings agencies authorised to operate in the EU, a sector dominated by a so-called "Big Three" - Fitch, Moody's, and Standard & Poor's.
The central rating repository (Cerep) will be updated twice a year, allowing investors for the first time to assess on a single platform a wide range of ratings.
"Cerep allows the general public to assess the historical performance of credit ratings and helps to evaluate their reliability," Esma chairman Steven Maijoor said.
Policymakers across the world have been injecting more transparency into a sector accused of helping to sow the seeds for the financial crisis and being too slow to warn investors.
A draft EU law being approved aims to increase competition in the sector by requiring users to "rotate" or switch the credit rating agency they use after a certain period of time. – Reuters