February 21, 2019 / 4:21 PM / 3 months ago

Russia's ratings agency ACRA aims to woo new clients

MOSCOW, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Russia’s ACRA ratings agency plans to adjust prices for its ratings for medium and small-size business as it wants to attract more clients, the agency’s new head, Igor Zelezetskii, said on Thursday.

ACRA was set up in 2015 following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and the resulting sanctions. The sovereign downgrades of Russia automatically affected the ratings of Russian companies, creating a market for Russian domestic ratings.

The agency has been promoted by the Russian government and central bank, and Russian firms need ACRA ratings to access most state funds.

Zelezetskii, appointed ACRA’s head last month, told Reuters, the agency aimed to extend their coverage and hire more analysts.

Since mid-2017, Russia has relied on its own rating agencies to manage its domestic debt market. ACRA was under pressure to gain a reputation for conservative ratings, making it unpopular in some business circles.

Ekaterina Trofimova, who oversaw the establishment of ACRA and served as its head for three years, left last month. She was known for her conservative approach towards ratings and her opposition to lower prices. (Writing by Katya Golubkova Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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