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EC proposes new investor powers

People with investments could soon gain greater powers to take legal action against credit rating agencies which break European regulations.

Proposals published by the European Commission (EC) seek to enable investors to sue agencies which have broken laws "intentionally or with gross negligence".

In addition to the proposed legal changes, the Commission intends to improve how transparent agencies are when it comes to their credit rating decisions.

It also believes bond issuers should be told of rating changes a day before they are officially announced to the markets by agencies.

The Commission has rejected claims made by credit rating agencies that their assessments are opinions and should therefore be protected by freedom of speech laws.

Questions have been raised about the decisions made by credit rating agencies as a result of the 2008 credit crunch and the sovereign debt crisis which continues to unravel in the eurozone.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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