LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union’s markets watchdog has fined credit rating agency Fitch a record 5.13 million euros (£4.4 million) for breaching rules aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said on Thursday that, between June 2013 and April 2018, 20 percent of Fitch subsidiaries in Britain, France and Spain were indirectly owned by an individual through an entity in France.
At the same time the shareholder, which ESMA does not name, was sitting on boards of three entities being rated by the three subsidiaries of Fitch.
Fitch is owned by U.S. publisher Hearst after buying stakes from France’s Fimalac. It is one of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies that dominate the sector globally.
ESMA authorises and regulates ratings agencies in the EU.
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)