Category Archives: News Media

Chinese citizen journalist jailed for Wuhan virus reporting

Yahoo – AFP, 28 December 2020 

Authoroties said former Chinese lawyer and citizen journalist
Zhang Zhan had spread "False remarks" online.

A Chinese citizen journalist was jailed for four years Monday for her reporting from Wuhan as the Covid-19 outbreak began, her lawyer said, almost a year after details of an "unknown viral pneumonia" surfaced in the central China city. 

Zhang Zhan, a former lawyer who arrived at court in a wheelchair, was sentenced at a brief hearing in a Shanghai court for allegedly "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" during her reporting in the chaotic initial stages of the outbreak. 

Her live reports and essays were shared on social media platforms in February, grabbing the attention of authorities, who have punished eight virus whistleblowers so far as they curb criticism of the government's response to the outbreak. 

Beijing has congratulated itself for "extraordinary" success in controlling the virus inside its borders, with an economy on the rebound while much of the rest of the world stutters through painful lockdowns and surging caseloads a year on from the start of the pandemic in Wuhan. 

Controlling the information flow during an unprecedented global health crisis has been pivotal in allowing China's communist authorities to reframe the narrative in their favour, with President Xi Jinping being garlanded for his leadership by the country's ruling party. 

But that has come at a serious cost to anyone who has picked holes in the official storyline. 

The court said Zhang Zhan had spread "false remarks" online, according to one of her lawyers Zhang Keke, but the prosecution did not fully divulge its evidence in court. 

"We had no way of understanding what exactly Zhang Zhan was accused of doing," he added, describing it as "a speedy, rushed hearing." 

In return the defendant "didn't respond [to questions]... She refused to answer when the judge asked her to confirm her identity." 

The defendant's mother sobbed loudly as the verdict was read out, Ren Quanniu, another member of Zhang's defence team, told reporters who were barred from entering the court. 

Concerns are mounting over the health of 37-year-old Zhang, who began a hunger strike in June and has been force-fed via a nasal tube. 

Her legal team said her health was in decline and she suffered from headaches, dizziness and stomach pain, and that she had appeared in court in a wheelchair. 

"She said when I visited her (last week): 'If they give me a heavy sentence then I will refuse food until the very end.'... She thinks she will die in prison," Ren said before the trial. 

"It's an extreme method of protesting against this society and this environment." 

China's communist authorities have a history of putting dissidents on trial in opaque courts between Christmas and New Year in an effort to minimise Western scrutiny. 

Example made

The sentencing comes just weeks before an international team of World Health Organization experts is expected to arrive in China to investigate the origins of Covid-19. 

Zhang was critical of the early response in Wuhan, writing in a February essay that the government "didn't give people enough information, then simply locked down the city". 

"This is a great violation of human rights," she wrote. 

Rights groups and embassies have also drawn attention to her case, although diplomats from several countries were denied requests to monitor the hearing. 

"Zhang Zhan's case raises serious concerns about media freedom in China," the British embassy in Beijing said, urging "China to release all those detained for their reporting." 

Authorities "want to use her case as an example to scare off other dissidents from raising questions about the pandemic situation in Wuhan earlier this year", added Leo Lan, research and advocacy consultant at the Chinese Human Rights Defenders NGO. 

A United Nations official following the trial also expressed "deep concern" about the verdict. 

"We raised her case with the authorities throughout 2020 as an example of the excessive clampdown on freedom of expression linked to #COVID19 & continue to call for her release," the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said in a tweet. 

Zhang is the first of a group of four citizen journalists detained by authorities after reporting from Wuhan to face trial. 

Previous attempts by AFP to contact the other three -- Chen Qiushi, Fang Bin and Li Zehua -- were unsuccessful. 

Related Article:

(>13.46 Min - Reference to the Global Coronavirus crisis)

Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.

The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.

"We shouldn't blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country," Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.

He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.

The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.

"Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest," Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. "The people's whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies."

Mixed messages

Greece's ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor

Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.

"Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure," Whyte said. "But they can't have it both ways."

For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's will remain the major players.

In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.

He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.

"When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate," Klinz said in his report. "What we need is greater responsibility and accountability."

A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.

But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.

"I am not exactly sure what is desired here," he told Deutsche Welle. "If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter."

The future of Frankfurt

On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange "in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main."

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company's global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to "reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings." He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.

Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.

"They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced," he said. "But one person's balance is another person's susceptibility to political pressure."

Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles:



Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.

The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.

"We shouldn't blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country," Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.

He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.

The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.

"Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest," Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. "The people's whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies."

Mixed messages

Greece's ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor

Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.

"Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure," Whyte said. "But they can't have it both ways."

For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's will remain the major players.

In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.

He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.

"When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate," Klinz said in his report. "What we need is greater responsibility and accountability."

A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.

But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.

"I am not exactly sure what is desired here," he told Deutsche Welle. "If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter."

The future of Frankfurt

On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange "in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main."

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company's global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to "reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings." He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.

Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.

"They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced," he said. "But one person's balance is another person's susceptibility to political pressure."

Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles:



Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.

The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.

"We shouldn't blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country," Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.

He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.

The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.

"Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest," Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. "The people's whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies."

Mixed messages

Greece's ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor

Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.

"Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure," Whyte said. "But they can't have it both ways."

For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's will remain the major players.

In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.

He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.

"When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate," Klinz said in his report. "What we need is greater responsibility and accountability."

A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.

But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.

"I am not exactly sure what is desired here," he told Deutsche Welle. "If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter."

The future of Frankfurt

On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange "in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main."

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company's global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to "reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings." He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.

Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.

"They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced," he said. "But one person's balance is another person's susceptibility to political pressure."

Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles:



Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.

The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.

"We shouldn't blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country," Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.

He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.

The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.

"Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest," Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. "The people's whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies."

Mixed messages

Greece's ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor

Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.

"Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure," Whyte said. "But they can't have it both ways."

For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's will remain the major players.

In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.

He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.

"When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate," Klinz said in his report. "What we need is greater responsibility and accountability."

A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.

But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.

"I am not exactly sure what is desired here," he told Deutsche Welle. "If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter."

The future of Frankfurt

On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange "in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main."

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company's global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to "reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings." He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.

Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.

"They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced," he said. "But one person's balance is another person's susceptibility to political pressure."

Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles:



Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.
The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.
“We shouldn’t blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country,” Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.
He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.
The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.
“Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest,” Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. “The people’s whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies.”
Mixed messages
Greece’s ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor
Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.
“Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure,” Whyte said. “But they can’t have it both ways.”
For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s will remain the major players.
In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.
He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.
“When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate,” Klinz said in his report. “What we need is greater responsibility and accountability.”
A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.
But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.
“I am not exactly sure what is desired here,” he told Deutsche Welle. “If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter.”
The future of Frankfurt
On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange “in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main.”

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company’s global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to “reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings.” He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.
Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.
“They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced,” he said. “But one person’s balance is another person’s susceptibility to political pressure.”
Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles:



Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.

The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.

"We shouldn't blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country," Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.

He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.

The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.

"Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest," Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. "The people's whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies."

Mixed messages

Greece's ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor

Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.

"Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure," Whyte said. "But they can't have it both ways."

For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's will remain the major players.

In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.

He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.

"When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate," Klinz said in his report. "What we need is greater responsibility and accountability."

A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.

But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.

"I am not exactly sure what is desired here," he told Deutsche Welle. "If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter."

The future of Frankfurt

On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange "in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main."

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company's global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to "reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings." He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.

Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.

"They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced," he said. "But one person's balance is another person's susceptibility to political pressure."

Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles:



Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.
The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.
“We shouldn’t blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country,” Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.
He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.
The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.
“Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest,” Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. “The people’s whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies.”
Mixed messages
Greece’s ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor
Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.
“Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure,” Whyte said. “But they can’t have it both ways.”
For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s will remain the major players.
In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.
He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.
“When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate,” Klinz said in his report. “What we need is greater responsibility and accountability.”
A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.
But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.
“I am not exactly sure what is desired here,” he told Deutsche Welle. “If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter.”
The future of Frankfurt
On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange “in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main.”

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company’s global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to “reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings.” He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.
Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.
“They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced,” he said. “But one person’s balance is another person’s susceptibility to political pressure.”
Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles:



Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.

The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.

"We shouldn't blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country," Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.

He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.

The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.

"Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest," Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. "The people's whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies."

Mixed messages

Greece's ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor

Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.

"Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure," Whyte said. "But they can't have it both ways."

For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody's and Standard and Poor's will remain the major players.

In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.

He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.

"When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate," Klinz said in his report. "What we need is greater responsibility and accountability."

A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.

But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.

"I am not exactly sure what is desired here," he told Deutsche Welle. "If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter."

The future of Frankfurt

On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange "in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main."

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company's global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to "reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings." He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.

Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.

"They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced," he said. "But one person's balance is another person's susceptibility to political pressure."

Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

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Europe aims to set the credit rating rules

Deutsche Welle, 24 June 2011

Europe wants to ensure ratings
agencies operate by EU rules
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) warns US credit ratings agencies that they will need to play by EU rules if they want a license to continue operating within the bloc.
The head of the European Securities and Markets Authority, Steven Maijoor, said Europe wants to break the monopoly currently held by major US ratings companies, and enforce its own operating regulations.
“We shouldn’t blindly adopt the regulatory system of a third country,” Maijoor told the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the guidelines governing the behavior of ratings companies in the United States.
He said any agency seeking a license to operate within Europe would be expected to supply extensive paperwork with their application. ESMA said this has not yet been forthcoming.
The biggest agencies, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the latter two of which are American, have been widely criticized since the global financial meltdown.
“Everyone knows that after the crisis there was a big problem with ratings agencies, and that was a conflict of interest,” Philip Whyte, senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in London told Deutsche Welle. “The people’s whose papers were being rated were the people who paid the agencies.”
Mixed messages
Greece’s ratings have been slashed by Standard and Poor
Yet he added that it is sometimes hard to disentangle what politicians say about the behavior of the agencies in the run up to the financial crisis and what they are saying now in the face of sovereign debt woes.
“Either politicians want them to be independent and to do a good job of rating paper, or they want them to be political puppets who respond to European political pressure,” Whyte said. “But they can’t have it both ways.”
For the past year, Europe has been promising to curb the power of the major three agencies, which the Financial Times Deutschland reported as having a collective market share of 95 percent. Although as of July 1, ESMA will hold the sole responsibility for the supervision of credit rating agencies in Europe, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s will remain the major players.
In a recent EU report on the reform of the ratings industry, Wolf Klinz, a German member of the European Parliament, called on central banks, investors and private banks to practice risk assessment themselves, thereby reducing dependency on the main agencies.
He also said ratings companies should be held accountable for the economic consequences of their actions.
“When the agencies say they are only expressing opinions, it is inaccurate,” Klinz said in his report. “What we need is greater responsibility and accountability.”
A European ratings entity

Fitch is owned by a European financial group

The MEP is one of many EU politicians, including Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the group of eurozone finance ministers, to back the proposal of the creation of a European ratings agency.
But as Nicolas Veron, a senior fellow with the European think tank Bruegel, was quick to point out, the idea is a very old one, and would be hard to pull off.
“I am not exactly sure what is desired here,” he told Deutsche Welle. “If it is a state controlled ratings agency, it would be hard to establish credibility, and it if is about creating a state monopoly, I think it would be a non-starter.”
The future of Frankfurt
On Friday, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants announced that it is in talks with the German state of Hesse, the association Frankfurt Main Finance and the Frankfurt Stock exchange “in order to promote, establish and develop a European rating agency in Frankfurt am Main.”

Could Frankfurt become home to
an European ratings agency?
The company’s global head of risk management, Markus Krall, said in a statement that it was crucial to “reduce conflicts of interest and restore credibility of and confidence in ratings.” He added that Roland Berger was inviting companies and institutions across Europe to participate in setting up the initiative.
Whyte, however, said he is skeptical of both the wish and the need for such an entity. He said he believes the EU is angry with rating agencies for downgrading sovereign debt and is looking for ways to make them stop.
“They always think Anglo-Saxons have an inherent bias and that an EU agency would be more balanced,” he said. “But one person’s balance is another person’s susceptibility to political pressure.”
Reporter: Tamsin Walker
Editor: Sean Sinico

Related Articles: