EC watchdog to be set on credit raters

THE European Commission yesterday proposed the formation of a watchdog to oversee credit-rating agencies, with the power to fine them if they don't explain their reasons for downgrading company or government debt.

Meanwhile in the US, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission quizzed directors of ratings agency Moody's on its role in the financial crisis.

Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings have been widely faulted for fuelling the crisis by assigning unreasonably high ratings on investment products that turned sour.

EU commissioner Michel Barnier also launched a review of bank management, suggesting directors should sit on a maximum of three management boards, and promised to renew efforts to curb banker pay.