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Major German pension providers invest in rating agency Scope

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German insurance companies HDI and Signal Induna are among the newest financial backers of European rating agency Scope.

The research and rating company – which aims to break the oligopoly of the big three US credit rating agencies – has raised capital from a number of investors, including several Pensionskassen operators.

“Institutional investors who buy into the company are primarily motivated by their interest in establishing a European rating alternative, in addition to expectations around Scope’s value development,” said Florian Schoeller, CEO and founder of the Scope Group.

Following recent investments from Switzerland, Scope has sought permission to offer its services in the country and was granted a license by the Swiss financial authority FINMA.

“Financial market regulation in Switzerland stipulates that supervised institutions may use the credit ratings of registered credit rating agencies for regulatory purposes,” Scope said.

Scope is the only EU-based independent full-service rating agency that operates internationally. It currently has offices in London, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Oslo and Frankfurt with Berlin as the headquarter.

Although the company is unlisted, roughly 70 shareholders are invested directly in Scope. These include institutional investors from Austria – such as Vienna-based B&C Beteiligungsmanagement – and insurers from Switzerland (Mobiliar) and Luxembourg (Foyer).

HDI, the parent company of insurer Talanx, and Signal Iduna are major players in the German pension market, running some of the largest Pensionskassen in the second pillar and featuring in IPE’s Top 1000 Pension Funds ranking last year.

In addition, Scope has appointed Ralf Garrn as head of digital development to “shape its digital future”.

Garrn founded rating agency Euler Hermes Rating in 2001, with a focus on small and medium-sized companies. He was managing director until last year, having previously spent three years at its insurer parent company as director of credit risk management.

“Garrn is one of the innovators driving the rating industry’s digitalisation,” said Schoeller.

The Euler Hermes rating agency is co-owned by Moody’s, and in June 2018 François Bourgeois took over as managing director.

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