ESG Ratings Providers Fall Short on Transparency – ESMA

Users of ESG ratings tend to subscribe to more than one provider due to shortcomings in the breadth, type and transparency of individual ratings agencies’ coverage, the European Union’s securities markets regulator has found. There are 59 ESG ratings providers active in the EU, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said in a letter to the European Commission outlining responses to its call for evidence. Most users – 77% of respondents — pay for several providers at the same time to broaden their assetclass and geographic spread, with most highlighting some degree of shortcoming, particularly when it comes to transparency about methodology, the regulator said. The findings indicate an “immature but growing market,” said the ESMA. Similar to the credit ratings market, there are a large number of smaller, more specialised EU providers, and a small number of very large non-EU providers which provide more comprehensive services. Most of the users surveyed contract with the same ratings providers, suggesting a degree of concentration, the report said. Recent research has shown that ESG ratings diverge substantially across agencies. 

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