Via Yahoo Finance

LONDON (Reuters) – German investment funds and insurers have called on the European Union to force credit rating agencies to provide more transparency on the fees they charge for data.

U.S. Moody’s <MCO.N>, S&P Global <SPGI.N> and Fitch Ratings, dubbed the Big Three that dominate credit ratings in Europe, had no immediate comment.

German funds association BVI and insurance industry body GDV said they were making a joint appeal to the EU’s executive European Commission to force raters to provide more transparency on prices.

“The major US rating agencies are exploiting their dominant market position to set their pricing, but the EU securities authority ESMA lacks the regulatory tools to bring such abusive licence and fee demands to an end,” Thomas Richter, chief executive of BVI, said in a statement on Monday.

Fund managers and insurers need ratings data for determining risks from investment portfolios, and for complying with accounting and regulatory reporting rules.

All data providers within the same rating group must be subject to the EU’s rules for raters, which is currently not the case, BVI and GDV said.

The price of data was becoming an increasingly important “competitive” factor for European asset managers, they said.

Investments funds are already pressing Brussels to force stock exchanges to cut the cost of data fees on stock transactions.

European policymakers have long chafed at U.S. rating agencies dominating the region but attempts to create major “home grown” alternatives have made only modest headway.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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