SEBI Modifies Ratings Withdrawal Norms
The headquarters of the Securities and Exchange Board of India in Bandra-Kurla Complex, Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Sajeet Manghat/BloombergQuint)

SEBI Modifies Ratings Withdrawal Norms

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Credit rating agencies can downgrade the rating assigned to firms or instruments to non-investment grade with issuer not cooperating status, if an issuer has all the outstanding ratings as non-cooperative for over 6 months, regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India on Friday.

If non-cooperation by the issuer continues for another six months from the date of downgrade to non-investment grade, no new ratings to such issuer should be assigned until it resumes cooperation or rating is withdrawn, the regulator said in a fresh guideline on 'issuer not cooperating' ratings.

The new guidelines will come into effect from July 1, 2020, SEBI said. The regulator also modified norms with respect to withdrawal of ratings assigned to an instrument.

In case of multiple ratings on an instrument, where there is no regulatory mandate for it, a credit rating agency may withdraw a rating within stipulated time under certain conditions.

Laying down the conditions, Sebi said that the CRA should have rated the instrument continuously for 3 years or for 50 percent of the tenure of the instrument, whichever is higher.

Additionally, the CRA must have received no-objection certificate from 75 percent of bond holders of the outstanding debt for withdrawal of rating and received an undertaking from the issuer that another rating is available on that instrument, it added.

Further, at the time of withdrawal, the CRA should assign a rating to such instrument and issue a press release in the prescribed format mentioning the reason for withdrawal of rating. These norms will be applicable with immediate effect, SEBI noted.

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