European Commission opens S&P monopoly case

Losses & Lawsuits

Brussels - The European Commission (EC) has opened formal proceedings against US credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P). It says the firm abused its dominant market position by forcing companies to pay for using its US securities code numbers when accessing data via third party data providers such as Bloomberg.

The probe comes after complaints filed by industry associations on behalf of affected financial firms and asset managers.

The EC claims S&P might have broken competition rules by forcing licence fees for the use of its US International Securities Identification Number codes. These allow for cross-border identification of securities, issued by national numbering agencies.

S&P is also accused of forcing the third party providers to cut off financial institutions from data feeds on US securities unless they agreed to pay the licence fee. S&P described the Commission's case as "without merit".

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