Sunday 22 July 2018

Rating agency follows banks to Frankfurt

DBRS wants to ensure it can keep operating in the EU after Brexit. Stock image
DBRS wants to ensure it can keep operating in the EU after Brexit. Stock image

Marc Jones

Credit rating agency DBRS is to open a new office in Germany's financial capital Frankfurt and transfer some staff from London to ensure it can keep operating in the EU after Brexit.

The new base is required to maintain an EU licence, which DBRS needs to sell its services in Europe and remain one of the European Central Bank's four recognised rating firms.

The firm's European head, Detlef Scholz, told Reuters just months after the 2016 Brexit vote that DBRS was likely to need an EU office.

However, on Tuesday he said that there would be no mass shift from London, where it employs around 100 staff.

"Our London office has a very international and diverse workforce, so it will be attractive for some to relocate," Scholz said.

"These are discussions that will need to be had around the kitchen table... but I'm confident several people will transfer, and we will then supplement those with local hires," he said.

The Brexit problem is bigger for Canada's DBRS because all of its European analysts are based in London. Meanwhile, the big three of S&P, Moody's and Fitch already have sizable offices in cities such as Frankfurt, Paris and Madrid.

Pressure has also been cranked up by the Paris-based industry regulator, the

European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), which only last month ordered agencies to ensure their Brexit plans were in place by the end of the year.

ESMA wants to ensure that there are no last-minute headaches for an industry that quality-checks trillions of euro and pounds worth of financial assets, ranging from government bonds to complex securitised loans. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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