Six companies including Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investor Services have applied for a newly-required licence to continue doing credit rating work in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) said on Wednesday.
The licences are part of reforms aimed at developing the debt market of the world’s top oil exporter, which wants companies to issue more bonds as a way to reduce excessive dependence on bank loans.
As well as the three global agencies, two other companies – The Islamic International Rating Agency and and A.M. Best Europe-Rating Services – also met the Sept. 1 deadline to submit a licence request, a statement from the regulator said.
This quintet can continue to operate until they receive their licences, which will happen by the end of August 2016.
The sixth firm to apply – Saudi Credit Bureau – missed the deadline and so is now banned from doing credit agency work but can request to resume such operations, a CMA spokesman told Reuters.
Last November, the CMA issued new regulations governing credit agencies’ operations in Saudi Arabia. These were effective Sept. 1.