A Theoretical and Empirical Review of the EU Regulation on Credit Rating Agencies: In Search of Truth, Not Scapegoats


  • Panagiotis K. Staikouras

Panagiotis Staikouras Department of Banking and Financial Management University of Piraeus pstaik@unipi.gr


The undergoing financial turbulence has raised significant concerns over the role that credit rating agencies (CRAs) played in the inception, magnification and expansion of the crisis. In response, the EU legislature has adopted Regulation 1060/2009, which, for the first time, set out a legally binding pan-European authorization regime for CRAs, which issue ratings that have been used by EU-based financial institutions. As the turmoil turned into an unprecedented Eurozone debt crisis, EU politicians have been calling for tighter regulation of the credit rating industry. Drawing on the relevant empirical and theoretical research and building upon a comparative study of the corresponding US framework, the paper discusses critically the principles underlying EU Regulation 1060/2009 and the most recent suggestions for its reform. The paper argues that although, overall, the EU Regulation seems to be a well-balanced instrument in the sense that it introduces the essential checks upon CRAs’ behavior while avoiding excessive regulatory intervention, more fine-tuning is needed in certain fields, including, rating shopping, financial ties with rated entities, abuse of inside information, transparency and CRAs’ accountability.