Updated: Sept. 3, 2012 (Initial publication: Aug. 29, 2012)

Breaking news

On August 10, 2012, the German association of public banks seized the European Banking Authority (EBA), believing that the rating agencies practice monopoly pricing.


Rating agencies are in the eye of the cyclone, due to the ambiguity of the situation: by their status, they are simple operators but by their role are almost regulators. Governing the markets, the banks can not for the moment dispense with them. However, the rating market is oligopolistic. On August 1, 2012, the association of German public banks complained that the prices practiced by rating agencies are monopoly pricing. What is remarkable is that this a complaint is made not to the European Competition Authority, the Commission, but to the European Banking Authority (EBA). Thus, regulation is a tool and a wider tool more than is the competition.

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The Europe of Banking regulation is being built. Before that "the banking union" makes fully, lineaments of regulatory authorities are already put in place. Thus, a settlement of 2010 has built the European Banking Authority (EBA), which centralizes information and seek to coordinate the action of the national banking regulators.

It is as such that it is a kind of resonance chamber that the « Bundesverband öffentlicher Banken Deutschlands » - VOB (the Association of German Public Banks) had complained to it of the prices charged by the rating agencies. Indeed, the amount of invoices have considerably increased, banks stating that it will not correspond to a supplement of quantitative or qualitative service. However, because the notation market is oligopolistic, the mechanism is the one of monopolistic price, offerors may changing them in the way they wish, while the plaintiffs here banks cannot deprive them of the notation.

Since the competitive mechanisms are, according to the association, stopped, banks are turning to Bank supervisor that it move immediately to discipline rating agencies and imposes more transparency on benefits and prices. This is the regulation that aims to resolve the difficulties currently related to the status of rating agencies. This is why operators are turning to sectorial regulators, here the European Banking Authority (EBA), and not competition authorities.

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