Follow-up obligations Regulated Market

Follow-up obligations Open Market

Submission of a company or bond rating

The capital market is kept continuously up to date on the creditworthiness of the respective issuer by means of ratings published by a rating agency.

 Obliged are issuers

  • in Scale for corporate bonds

Briefly, this needs to be done:

  • The issuer must have a current and valid company or bond rating and
  • submit the latest version of the rating immediately upon receipt
  • to Deutsche Börse AG via the Exchange Reporting System (ERS)

Legal basis

This obligation is regulated in the General Terms and Conditions of Deutsche Börse AG for the Regulated Unofficial Market on Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse (GTC DBAG). In detail, the requirement results from Sect. 22 Paragraph 1 Let. a) and Sect. 19 Paragraph 2 let. b) GTC DBAG for issuers of corporate bonds.

Having a continuous valid and current company or bond rating

Issuers must have a continuous current and valid company or bond rating. This means that every subsequent rating must follow on seamlessly from the expiry of the previously valid rating. As it generally takes several weeks to prepare ratings, issuers should apply for a follow-on rating in a timely manner before the expiry date of the current rating.

Submission of current version

After every rating update, whether by reaching the end of the regular period of validity or due to a rating change as a result of monitoring during the year, issuers must submit the current version of the rating.

Submission is also required when the rating score of the new rating has simply been confirmed and thus corresponds to the rating score of the previous rating or when merely rating additions have been assigned or amended, for example, when the rating has been put on "watch".

Content and scope of the ratings documents to be submitted

The submission of a rating report is required (summary).  A rating report must contain at least the name of the issuing rating agency, the rating score, the name of the respective issuer or respective bond and the rationale for the rating score i.e. how it was arrived at.  The submission of a so-called rating certificate (document on the assigned rating score without any explanatory statement) is generally not sufficient to meet the inclusion follow-up obligations; however, the rating certificate can be submitted voluntarily in addition to the rating report (summary).

Furthermore, the rating type must not change in the interim. This means that if issuers have a company rating, they must submit a company rating as a follow-up rating. In the same way, issuers that have previously submitted a bond rating must submit a bond rating as a follow-up rating.  

Language requirements

The rating documents have to be transmitted either in German or in English.

Requirements regarding the submission

The rating documents have to be transmitted via the Exchange Reporting System-interface (ERS).

Time requirements

The rating is considered as having been assigned as soon as the issuer has had the opportunity to be informed of the rating update. As a rule, Deutsche Börse AG assumes that this is the case at the latest on the day of the publication of the rating update on the internet site of the rating agency.

Frequently asked questions

Are there exceptions to the rating requirement?

Exceptions to the rating requirement are governed by Sect. 22 Paragraph 1 Let. a) aa) and bb) GTC DBAG.

Issuers of bonds that at the same time have issued shares or certificates representing shares that are admitted to trading in an EU regulated market or are included in one are exempt from the rating obligation. Issuers whose annual turnover in the previous three years amounted to at least 300 million euros annually or a corresponding amount in another currency are likewise exempt. 

Issuers are requested to check whether one of the aforementioned exceptions applies to them. Issuers that, despite an exemption, have submitted ratings on a voluntary basis to Deutsche Börse AG should continue to do so in order to avoid irritation in the market due to an incomplete publication history. However, if such voluntary publication of ratings by the issuer is in future to be discontinued, Deutsche Börse AG will mask the rating history on the internet site of Deutsche Börse AG after receiving corresponding notification from the issuer. 

How does Deutsche Börse AG sanction violations of this follow-up obligation?

Deutsche Börse AG can impose a contractual penalty on the negligent issuer. The precise amount of the penalty imposed by Deutsche Börse AG depends in particular on the duration and extent of the violation and the significance of the violation for the capital market.

Deutsche Börse AG may also publish the penalty imposed, naming the issuer and the specific violation, on its internet site.

As a last resort, Deutsche Börse AG can terminate without notice the inclusion in Scale subsequent to the elapsing to no effect of a further deadline set by DBAG. The reason for termination is independent of culpability on the part of the issuer. 


Rule Enforcement

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