Endorsement is one of two regimes provided in the CRA Regulation that allow credit ratings issued in a third country to be used for regulatory purposes in the EU – the other being equivalence/certification. Article 21(3) of the CRA Regulation requires ESMA to issue and update guidelines on the application of the endorsement regime specified under Article 4(3) of the same Regulation. This Consultation Paper proposes to update the previously issued 2011 Guidelines on Endorsement.
The proposed update of the 2011 Guidelines on Endorsement is mainly driven by the need to reflect the changes to Articles 6-12 and Annex I introduced by CRA 3, which will enter into force for the purposes of equivalence and endorsement on 1 June 2018. On that basis, ESMA has to update the Methodological Framework on which ESMA relies for assessing a third-country legal and supervisory framework for the purposes of endorsement and equivalence. This Methodological Framework is provided in Annex II of the 2011 Guidelines on Endorsement. By 1 June 2018, ESMA should also have completed a reassessment of all the previously assessed third-country legal and regulatory frameworks against the new requirements based on the updated Methodological Framework (provided in Annex III).
ESMA has taken this opportunity to reassess its approach to endorsement more broadly, based on the supervisory experience acquired since the adoption of the 2011 Guidelines on Endorsement. The proposed changes and clarification of the 2011 Guidelines on Endorsement focus in particular on ESMA’s understanding of points (b), (c), (d), and (e) of Article 4(3) of the CRA Regulation.
Furthermore, some parts of the 2011 Guidelines on Endorsement relate to the establishment of ESMA, the initial registration of CRAs and various transitional arrangements. The proposed updated Guidelines on Endorsement do not include these parts, as they are no longer relevant. Finally, some information in the 2011 Guidelines on Endorsement was not addressed to market participants but referred to ESMA’s internal processes. This information has also been excluded from the proposed updated guidelines on Endorsement, but is, for context, summarised in Section 4 of this Consultation Paper.