EU securities watchdog fines Fitch 1.38M euros

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PARIS: The European Union’s securities watchdog fined Fitch Rating agency 1.38 million euros ($1.52 million) on Thursday (Friday in Manila) for breaking the bloc’s credit ratings regulations.

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The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said that senior analysts at Fitch has passed on information to senior figures at a parent company before the information was public.

The ratings agency also did not give Slovenia the minimum 12 hours to respond to a sovereign rating downgrade before announcing the move.

“ESMA found certain senior analysts in Fitch transmitted information about upcoming rating actions on sovereign ratings to certain senior persons in a parent company of Fitch before it was made public,” ESMA said in a statement.

“Further, ESMA found that Fitch failed to have proper internal controls in place to ensure it provided a rated entity with the minimum time period to consider and respond to a rating action before making it public.”

ESMA said that information about the ratings downgrades of Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain in 2012 had been shared with people working for a Fitch parent company before the public announcement.

In January 2012 the agency gave Slovenia just a three hour advance warning before announcing its downgrade, ESMA said.

According to ESMA’s statement Fitch has made changes to ensure such breaches do not happen again, and it said this had been taken into account when deciding on the amount to fine the agency.

AFP

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