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  • UK Draft Regulations on Credit Ratings in Preparation for Brexit
    11/30/2018
    HM Treasury has laid before Parliament the draft Credit Rating Agencies (Amendment, etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 to onshore the EU Credit Rating Agencies Regulation for Brexit. This follows the publication of related explanatory information on October 8, 2018.

    The EU CRA Regulation regulates CRAs established in the EU. The European Securities and Markets Authority directly supervises EU CRAs registered with it under the CRA Regulation. The CRA Regulation provides that banks, investment firms, insurers, reinsurers, management companies, investment companies, alternative investment fund managers and CCPs may only use credit ratings for certain regulatory purposes if a rating is issued by: (i) an EU CRA registered with ESMA; (ii) a third-country CRA under the endorsement regime; or (iii) a third-country CRA under the equivalence/certification regime. Endorsement allows credit ratings issued by a third-country CRA to be used for regulatory purposes in the EU, provided that the rating has been endorsed by an EU CRA. The equivalence/certification regime allows credit ratings issued by a third-country CRA in relation to a third-country entity or financial instrument to be used in the EU for regulatory purposes. It does not cover ratings issued by a third-country CRA for an EU entity or a financial instrument issued in the EU.

    The CRA Regulation will be brought into U.K. law under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. HM Treasury is proposing to amend the CRA Regulation and existing U.K. legislation to ensure that U.K. CRAs can continue to operate and U.K. firms can continue to use credit ratings for regulatory purposes without interruption. The draft SI will transfer ESMA's powers and functions in relation to U.K. CRAs to the Financial Conduct Authority from March 30, 2019. It will also grant additional powers and functions to the FCA so that it is able to effectively register and supervise CRAs.

    The draft SI will establish a "conversion regime" under which CRAs that are already established in the U.K. will be able to convert their registration with ESMA to an FCA registration. Third-country CRAs that are currently certified by ESMA will be able to extend their certification to the U.K. Each of these steps will require a written notification to be given to the FCA before exit day.

    A temporary registration regime will also be available for legal entities established in the U.K. before exit day that are part of a group of CRAs with an existing ESMA registration on exit day. Firms that have submitted an application for registration to the FCA prior to exit day, and whose application is still to be determined, will enter the TRR. Such temporary registration will be for a period of three years from exit day. Other firms that wish to apply for registration as a U.K. CRA will need to submit an application to the FCA and will not be able to use the TRR.

    Ratings issued by a U.K. CRA that is registered with the FCA, or by a third-country CRA under the endorsement or certification regime, will be permitted for regulated usages in the U.K. Where a rating has been issued before exit day in the EU by firms that register or apply for registration with the FCA, a transitional period of one year will allow firms to use credit ratings for regulatory purposes.

    View the draft Credit Rating Agencies (Amendment, etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

    View the explanatory guidance.

    View the FCA's webpage on registering as a CRA.

    View details of the FCA's consultation.

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