09:40 Mar. 18, 2016
Kremlin had condemned barrage of downgrades as political
Vladimir Putin's homegrown credit-ratings firm is up and running and foreign competitors are already feeling the heat.
In the past three weeks, Moody's Investors Service Inc. and Fitch Ratings Ltd. have said they plan to stop issuing local ratings rather than agree to having their Moscow branches regulated by the Russian government at the cost of breaking international sanctions.
As the New York-based firms scale back, the venture known as ACRA is poised to fill the void when it starts publishing opinions in the second half.
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Russia is squeezing the business of foreign-ratings assessors since downgrades it condemned as politically motivated last year pushed the sovereign below investment grade for the first time in more than a decade. The finance ministry and central bank plan to use ACRA to replace the so-called big three as their yardstick to measure credit quality of investments.
"Cutting off international agencies from national ratings, the state is protecting the local provider," said Ivan Guminov, chief fund manager at Ronin Trust in Moscow. "Until this moment all important ratings were provided by big three and a new local player would have had a hard time to conquer a share on this market if it had to compete with them." Full story