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4 Nordic banks' regulatory fines over 'shadow ratings' revoked after appeal

Nordea Bank Abp, Swedbank AB (publ), Svenska Handelsbanken AB (publ) and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB had €1.98 million in collective regulatory fines revoked after a court ruled they were not acting negligently, Reuters reported.

The four Nordic banks had appealed the fines, which were levied by the European Securities and Markets Authority in July 2018 over issuing "shadow ratings" without regulatory approval, mostly between 2011 and 2016. The banks had been offering these shadow ratings to smaller companies as a cheaper alternative to official credit ratings from authorized agencies like S&P Global Ratings or Fitch Ratings.

The board of appeal upheld the watchdog's decision but revoked the fines with the reasoning that the infringements were not committed negligently, the report said.

Nordea told Reuters it will review and analyze the decision in detail and then decide whether to appeal the decision further in the European Court of Justice.

"Our publications of shadow ratings were made in reliance on what we thought was a clear exemption for credit research," the bank said in an email to Reuters.