Ratings firms under threat from EU

The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) threatens sanctions - public notice, fine, withdrawing a license - against the big three ratings agencies (Fitch, MCO, MHFI) after a report from the regulator pointed to flaws in the credit rating process.

It's not just a question of being upset at an EU state being downgraded, the report also raised failings about the way the agencies handled sensitive information on sovereign ratings.

The ratings agencies, of course, came under heavy political attack for their serial sovereign downgrades during the EU debt crisis. It seems lately, they're more likely to upgrade rather than downgrade - might the issue soon fade from Eurocrats' front burner?

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