The Commission has opened formal proceedings with respect to Standard & Poor's behaviour towards end users of ISINs, for possible breaches of the EC Treaty's rules on abuse of a dominant market position.
The Commission has opened formal proceedings with respect to Standard & Poor's behaviour towards end users of ISINs, for possible breaches of the EC Treaty's rules on abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). The Commission believes that S&P may abuse its monopoly position as the US national numbering agency by forcing financial institutions to pay licensing fees for the use of US ISIN codes in their own databases.
The initiation of proceedings against S&P originates from a complaint filed by several associations representing investors (financial institutions and asset managers).
The alleged infringement consists of an abuse by S&P of its monopoly position by requesting licensing fees from financial institutions located in the EU for the use of US ISINs and certain descriptive elements attached to these numbers each time such an ISIN is used in order to access value-added financial information provided by information services providers.
Allegedly financial institutions are obliged to pay for a service that they are not interested in and do not actually use, i.e. the S&P's ISIN database as such. Moreover, it is alleged that S&P forces its contractual partners, the information services providers, to cut off financial institutions from data feeds on US securities unless the latter enter into licensing agreements with S&P for the use of US ISINs.
The opening of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has conclusive proof of an infringement but merely means that the Commission will deal with the case as a matter of priority.
© European Commission
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