Challenge of maintaining independence
The Analytical Credit Rating Agency, Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that establishes areas for cooperation between the aforementioned parties, the key goal of which is to stimulate economic growth in the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation. The document was signed by Minister of Finance of the Republic of Armenia Tigran Khachatryan, Chairman of the Management Board of EDB Nikolai Podguzov, and ACRA CEO Mikhail Sukhov.
The Memorandum, among other things, provides for the creation of conditions for assigning a sovereign credit rating to the Republic of Armenia, increasing the availability of rating services, and expanding the rating coverage of companies that are residents of the Armenian financial market. In addition, in accordance with the Memorandum, ACRA will assign ratings to bonds issued by Armenian issuers within the framework of projects involving the EDB. A separate area of partnership will be cooperation in the field of sustainable development in the Republic of Armenia, including through the use of green finance instruments.
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The obligation to register for rating agencies, which has now been implemented in almost all parts of the world, especially in Europe, America and Asia, has sparked an academic discussion as to whether a registration obligation already hijacks dependency relationships that could influence the independence and neutrality of the rating agency in its ratings. Through close partnership relationships, the rating agency becomes a virtual external department of ministries or banks. If the partnership is abandoned, this may have consequences for the rating agency, which could pose an existential threat to the agency.
“Using money from our Technical Assistance Fund, the EDB intends to allocate a grant on an irrevocable basis, at the expense of which ACRA will carry out actions to assign a sovereign rating to the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia. This will encourage the development of ties within the Eurasian Economic Union and with other EAEU member states and pave the way for providing rating services to companies that are residents of the Republic of Armenia and have an interest in entering the Russian financial market,” commented Chairman of the Management Board of EDB Nikolai Podguzov.
“Credit ratings are an integral part of the market economy and help ensure the formation of a stable financial market with a broad base of investors. Our cooperation with the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia and the EDB will contribute to unlocking investment potential and the expansion of trade and economic ties within the EAEU,” commented ACRA CEO Mikhail Sukhov.