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  • Final EU Guidelines on EU Credit Rating Agency Disclosure Obligations and Advice on Sustainable Finance in the Credit Rating Market
    07/18/2019
    The European Securities and Markets Authority has published two documents relating to sustainable finance in the credit rating sector. The first document is technical advice for the European Commission, responding to the Commission's mandate in its 2018 Action Plan for Sustainable Finance for ESMA to assess the current practice within the credit rating market concerning sustainability considerations. ESMA has assessed the extent to which environmental, social or governance factors are considered within credit rating agencies' credit assessments. ESMA concludes that CRAs are including ESG factors in their ratings, but it is difficult to assess the extent to which each factor is being considered in the various asset classes. ESMA warns that credit ratings should not be understood as providing an opinion on sustainability characteristics of an issuer or entity and recommends that the CRA Regulation should not be revised to require the consideration of sustainability characteristics in CRAs' credit assessments. However, ESMA advises that it may be appropriate to update the disclosure requirements in the CRA Regulation to enhance the transparency on how CRAs are considering the ESG factors.

    The second document is a final report and final guidelines on the disclosure obligations of CRAs under the CRA Regulation. ESMA is responsible for direct supervision of EU CRAs registered with it. The final report sets out ESMA's response to feedback on its consultation. The final guidelines will apply to CRAs established in the EU and registered with ESMA, which cover:
    • Guidance to improve the quality and consistency of the information disclosed following a credit rating action; and
    • Guidance to improve the transparency of the extent to which sustainability factors have influenced a credit rating action.

    The Guidelines will be translated and published on ESMA's website and ESMA will apply them from March 30, 2020.

    View the technical advice and guidelines on a CRA's disclosure obligations.

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