US, UK and French corporate treasury associations, with the support of the international grouping of treasury associations, have issued an exposure draft of a ratings industry code of practice. Between them, the associations represent the majority of corporate issuers of rated debt and many users of ratings. The code covers the needs for regulators to avoid unnecessary barriers to entry for new rating agencies and for ratings agencies to avoid any perception of conflicts of interest while enhancing the transparency of the ratings process. In addition, ratings agencies would also be required to safeguard non-public information provided to them by issuers and to deal openly with issuers. The Association of Corporate Treasurers’ Chief Executive, Richard Raeburn, commented: ‘This draft code is a very important development. We hope that with the help of comments and participation from a wide range of interested parties it will form the basis of a major contribution to confidence in debt markets around the world.’ He continued: ‘Issuers and investors have a keen interest in the standing of the credit rating industry. Members of treasury associations are heavily involved as rated issuers and as users of credit ratings, which, we believe, gives us a useful perspective from which to launch this initiative.’
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