Acuité Ratings Code of Conduct (Code) based on the fundamental principles laid down by IOSCO

Introduction

As a credit rating agency, Acuité Ratings & Research Limited. (Acuité) is committed to observe highest standards of integrity and fairness in all its dealings. Acuité's mission is to provide high quality, objective, independent, impartial, professional and rigorous analytical information to the marketplace. Acuité is committed to continuously reviewing and monitoring its policies and procedures in light of the contemporary developments. This Code will be available to public without charge on Acuité's website at www.acuite.in. However, Acuité does not assume any responsibility or liability to any party arising out of or relating to this Code except as specifically agreed to by Acuité in an Agreement signed by Acuité with that party.

This Code shall not form a part of any contract with any third party and no third party shall have any right (contractual or otherwise) to enforce any of this Code's provisions, either directly or indirectly. Acuité in its sole discretion may revise this Code to reflect changes in market, legal and regulatory circumstances and/ or changes in Acuité's policies and procedures.

Acuité requires all its employees to comply with this Code and the related policies and procedures. Any exceptions to this Code or the related policies and procedures should be approved in writing by the CEO of Acuité who shall be responsible for interpretation of this Code and the related policies and procedures. Failure to comply with this Code and the related policies and procedures could be sufficient reason for disciplinary action, including dismissal from service and possible legal action.

  1. QUALITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE CREDIT RATING PROCESS
    1. Quality of the Credit Rating Process
      1. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce a credit rating methodology for each class of entity or obligation for which Acuité issues credit ratings. Each credit rating methodology would be rigorous, capable of being applied consistently, and, where possible, result in credit ratings that can be subjected to some form of objective validation based on historical experience.
      2. Acuité's ratings would reflect all information known and believed to be relevant to Acuité, consistent with the applicable credit rating methodology that is in effect. Therefore, Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls to ensure that the credit ratings and related reports it disseminates are based on a thorough analysis of all such information.
      3. Acuité would adopt reasonable measures designed to ensure that it has the appropriate knowledge and expertise, and that the information it uses in determining credit ratings is of sufficient quality and obtained from reliable sources to support a high quality credit rating.
      4. Acuité would avoid issuing credit ratings for entities or obligations for which it does not have appropriate information, knowledge, and expertise. For example, where the complexity of a security or the structure of a type of security, or the lack of robust data about the assets underlying the security raise serious questions as to whether Acuité can determine a high quality credit rating for the security, Acuité would refrain from issuing a credit rating.
      5. In assessing creditworthiness, analysts involved in the credit rating action should use the credit rating methodology established by Acuité for the type of entity or obligation that is subject to the credit rating action. The credit rating methodology should be applied in a manner that is consistent across all entities or obligations for which that methodology is used.
      6. Acuité would define the meaning of each category in its rating scales and apply those categories consistently across all classes of rated entities and obligations to which a given rating scale applies.
      7. Credit ratings would be assigned by Acuité as an entity (not by an analyst or other employee of Acuité).
      8. Acuité would assign analysts who, individually or collectively (particularly where credit rating committees are used), have appropriate knowledge and experience for assessing the creditworthiness of the type of entity or obligation being rated.
      9. Acuité would maintain internal records that are accurate and sufficiently detailed and comprehensive to reconstruct the credit rating process for a given credit rating action. The records would be retained for as long as necessary to promote the integrity of Acuité's credit rating process, including to permit internal audit, compliance, and quality control functions to review past credit rating actions in order to carry out the responsibilities of those functions. Further, Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls designed to ensure that its employees comply with Acuité's internal record maintenance, retention, and disposition requirements and with applicable laws and regulations governing the maintenance, retention, and disposition of Acuité records
      10. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls designed to avoid issuing credit ratings, analyses, or reports that contain misrepresentations or are otherwise misleading as to the general creditworthiness of a rated entity or obligation.
      11. Acuité would ensure that it has and devotes sufficient resources to carry out and maintain high quality credit ratings.

        When deciding whether to issue a credit rating for an entity or obligation, Acuité would assess whether it is able to devote a sufficient number of analysts with the skill sets to determine high quality credit ratings, and whether the analysts will have access to sufficient information in order to determine a high quality credit rating.

      12. Acuité would establish and maintain a review function made up of one or more senior managers with appropriate experience to review the feasibility of providing a credit rating for a type of entity or obligation that is materially different from the entities or obligations Acuité currently rates.

        Acuité would establish and maintain a review function made up of one or more senior managers responsible for conducting a rigorous, formal, and periodic review, on a regular basis pursuant to an established timeframe, of all aspects of Acuité's credit rating methodologies (including models and key assumptions) and significant changes to the credit rating methodologies.

        Where feasible and appropriate for the size and scope of its credit rating business, this function would be independent of the employees who are principally responsible for determining credit ratings.

      13. Acuité, in selecting the analyst or analysts who will participate in determining a credit rating, would seek to promote continuity and also to avoid bias in the credit rating process. For example, in seeking to balance the objectives of continuity and bias avoidance, Acuité could assign a team of analysts to participate in determining the credit rating - some for whom the rated entity or obligation is within their area of primary analytical responsibility and some of whom have other areas of primary analytical responsibility.
      14. Acuité would ensure that sufficient employees and financial resources are allocated to monitoring and updating all its credit ratings. Except for a credit rating that clearly indicates that it does not entail on-going surveillance, once a credit rating is published, Acuité would monitor the credit rating on an on-going basis by:
        1. reviewing the creditworthiness of the rated entity or obligation regularly;
        2. initiating a review of the status of the credit rating upon becoming aware of any information that might reasonably be expected to result in a credit rating action (including withdrawal of a credit rating), consistent with the applicable credit rating methodology;
        3. reviewing the impact of and applying a change in the credit rating methodologies, models or key rating assumptions on the relevant credit ratings within a reasonable period of time;
        4. updating on a timely basis the credit rating, as appropriate, based on the results of such review; and
        5. incorporating all cumulative experience obtained.
      15. If Acuité uses separate analytical teams for determining initial credit ratings and for subsequent monitoring of existing credit ratings, each team would have the requisite level of expertise and resources to perform their respective functions in a timely manner.
      16. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies and procedures that clearly set forth guidelines for disseminating credit ratings that are the result or subject of credit rating actions and the related reports, and for when a credit rating will be withdrawn.

    2. Integrity of the Credit Rating Process
      1. Acuité and its employees would deal fairly honestly with rated entities, obligors, originators, underwriters, arrangers, and users of credit ratings.
      2. Acuité's employees would be held to the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour, and Acuité would have policies and procedures in place that are designed to ensure that individuals with demonstrably compromised integrity are not employed.
      3. Acuité and its employees would not, either implicitly or explicitly, give any assurance or guarantee to an entity subject to a rating action, obligor, originator, underwriter, arranger, or user of Acuité's credit ratings about the outcome of a particular credit rating action. This does not preclude Acuité from developing preliminary indications in a manner that is consistent with Section Nos. A 2(v) and B 2(i)(d) (below) of Acuité's Code under IOSCO.
      4. Acuité and its employees would not make promises or threats about potential credit rating actions to influence rated entities, obligors, originators, underwriters, arrangers, or users of Acuité's credit ratings to pay for credit ratings or other services.
      5. Acuité and its employees would not make proposals or recommendations regarding the activities of rated entities or obligors that could impact a credit rating of the rated entity or obligation, including but not limited to proposals or recommendations about corporate or legal structure, assets and liabilities, business operations, investment plans, lines of financing, business combinations, and the design of structured finance products.
      6. In each jurisdiction in which Acuité operates, Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls designed to ensure that Acuité and its employees comply with Acuité's code of conduct and applicable laws and regulations.
        1. Acuité would establish a compliance function responsible for monitoring and reviewing the compliance of Acuité and its employees with the provisions of Acuité's code of conduct and with applicable laws and regulations
        2. The compliance function would also be responsible for reviewing the adequacy of Acuité's policies, procedures, and controls designed to ensure compliance with Acuité's code of conduct and applicable laws and regulations.
        3. Acuité would assign a senior level employee with the requisite skill set to serve as Acuité's compliance officer in charge of the compliance function. The compliance officer's reporting lines and compensation would be independent of Acuité's credit rating operations.
        4. Any employee of Acuité upon becoming aware that another employee or an affiliate of Acuité is or has engaged in conduct that is illegal, unethical, or contrary to Acuité's code of conduct, shall report such information immediately to the compliance officer or another officer of Acuité, as appropriate, so that proper action may be taken. The concerned Acuité's employees are not necessarily expected to be experts in the law. Nonetheless, Acuité employees are expected to report activities that a reasonable person would question. Upon receiving such a report from an employee, Acuité would be obligated to take appropriate action, as determined by the laws and regulations of the jurisdiction and the policies, procedures, and controls established, maintained, documented, and enforced by Acuité. Acuité would prohibit retaliation by Acuité or an employee against any employees who, in good faith, make such reports.

  2. Acuité's INDEPENDENCE AND AVOIDANCE OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

    1. General
      1. Acuité would not delay or refrain from taking a credit rating action based on the potential effect (economic, political, or otherwise) of the action on Acuité, a rated entity, obligor, originator, underwriter, arranger, investor, or other market participant.
      2. Acuité and its employees would use care and professional judgment to maintain both the substance and appearance of Acuité's and its employees' independence and objectivity.
      3. Acuité's determination of a credit rating would be influenced only by factors relevant to assessing the creditworthiness of the rated entity or obligation.
      4. The credit rating Acuité assigns to an entity or obligation would not be affected by whether there is an existing or potential business relationship between Acuité (or its affiliates) and the rated entity, obligor, originator, underwriter, or arranger (or any of their affiliates), or any other party.
      5. Acuité would operationally, legally, and if practicable, physically separate its credit rating business and its analysts from any other businesses of Acuité that may present a conflict of interest. For other businesses that do not necessarily present a conflict of interest, Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls designed to minimize the likelihood that conflicts of interest will arise.

    2. Acuité's Policies, Procedures, Controls and Disclosures
      1. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls to identify and eliminate, or manage and disclose, as appropriate, any actual or potential conflicts of interest that may influence the credit rating methodologies, credit rating actions, or analyses of Acuité or the judgment and analyses of the Acuité's employees. Among other things, the policies, procedures, and controls would address (as applicable to the Acuité's business model) how the following conflicts can potentially influence Acuité's credit rating methodologies or credit rating actions:
        1. being paid to issue a credit rating by the rated entity or by the obligor, originator, underwriter, or arranger of the rated obligation;
        2. being paid by subscribers with a financial interest that could be affected by a credit rating action of Acuité;
        3. being paid by rated entities, obligors, originators, underwriters, arrangers, or subscribers for services other than issuing credit ratings or providing access to Acuité's credit ratings;
        4. providing a preliminary indication or similar indication of credit quality to an entity, obligor, originator, underwriter, or arranger prior to being hired to determine the final credit rating for the entity, obligor, originator, underwriter, or arranger; and
        5. having a direct or indirect ownership interest in a rated entity or obligor, or having a rated entity or obligor have a direct or indirect ownership interest in the Acuité.
      2. Acuité would disclose actual and potential conflicts of interest (including, but not limited to, those conflicts of interest identified in Section B 2(i) (above) in a complete, timely, clear, concise, specific, and prominent manner. When the actual or potential conflict of interest is unique or specific to a credit rating action with respect to a particular rated entity, obligor, originator, lead underwriter, arranger, or obligation, such conflict of interest would be disclosed in the same form and through the same means as the relevant credit rating action.
      3. Acuité would disclose the general nature of its compensation arrangements with rated entities, obligors, lead underwriters, or arrangers.
        1. When Acuité receives from a rated entity, obligor, originator, lead underwriter, or arranger compensation unrelated to its credit rating services, Acuité would disclose such unrelated compensation as a percentage of total annual compensation received from such rated entity, obligor, lead underwriter, or arranger in the relevant credit rating report or elsewhere, as appropriate.
        2. Acuité would disclose in the relevant credit rating report or elsewhere, as appropriate, if it receives 10 percent or more of its annual revenue from a single client (e.g., a rated entity, obligor, originator, lead underwriter, arranger, or subscriber, or any of their affiliates).
      4. Acuité would disclose in its credit rating announcement whether the issuer of a structured finance product has informed Acuité that it is publicly disclosing all relevant information about the obligation being rated or if the information remains non - public.
      5. Acuité would not hold or transact in trading instruments presenting a conflict of interest with Acuité's credit rating activities.
      6. In instances where rated entities or obligors (e.g., sovereign nations or states) have, or are simultaneously pursuing, oversight functions related to Acuité, the employees responsible for interacting with the officials of the rated entity or the obligor (e.g., government regulators) regarding supervisory matters would be separate from the employees that participate in taking credit rating actions or developing or modifying credit rating methodologies that apply to such rated entity or obligor.

    3. Independence of the Employees of Acuité
      1. Reporting lines for Acuité's employees and their compensation arrangements would be structured with a view to eliminating or effectively managing actual and potential conflicts of interest
        1. Acuité's employee who participates in or who might otherwise have an effect on a credit rating action with respect to an entity or obligation would not be compensated or evaluated on the basis of the amount of revenue that Acuité would derive from that entity or obligor.
        2. Acuité would conduct formal and periodic reviews of its compensation policies, procedures, and practices for Acuité's employees who participate in or who might otherwise have an effect on a credit rating action to ensure that these policies, procedures, and practices have not compromised and do not compromise the objectivity of Acuité's credit rating process.
      2. Acuité's employees who participate in or who might otherwise have an effect on a credit rating action would not initiate or participate in discussions with rated entities, obligors, arrangers, or subscribers regarding fees or payments charged to such rated entity, obligor, arranger, or subscriber.
      3. Acuité's employee would not participate in or otherwise influence a Acuité's credit rating action with respect to an entity or obligation if the employee, an immediate family member of the employee (e.g., spouse, domestic partner, or dependent), or an entity managed by the employee (e.g., a trust)
        1. holds or transacts in a trading instrument issued by the rated entity or obligor;
        2. holds or transacts in a trading instrument (other than a diversified collective investment scheme like a Mutual Fund Scheme ) that itself owns an interest in the rated entity or obligor, or is a derivative based on a trading instrument issued by the rated entity or obligor;
        3. holds or transacts in a trading instrument issued by an affiliate of the rated entity or obligor, the ownership of which may cause or may be perceived as causing a conflict of interest with respect to the employee or Acuité;
        4. holds or transacts in a trading instrument issued by a lead underwriter or arranger of the rated obligation, the ownership of which may cause or may be perceived as causing a conflict of interest with respect to the employee of Acuité;
        5. is currently employed by, or had a recent employment or other significant business relationship with the rated entity or obligor or a lead underwriter or arranger of the rated obligation that may cause or may be perceived as causing a conflict of interest;
        6. is a director of the rated entity or obligor, or lead underwriter or arranger of the rated obligation; or
        7. has or had, another relationship with or interest in the rated entity, obligor, or the lead underwriter or arranger of the rated obligation (or any of their affiliates) that may cause or may be perceived as causing a conflict of interest.
      4. Acuité's analyst would not hold or transact in a trading instrument issued by a rated entity or obligor in the analyst's area of primary analytical responsibility. This would not preclude an analyst from holding or trading a diversified collective investment scheme (like Mutual Funds Scheme) that owns a trading instrument issued by a rated entity or obligor in the analyst's area of primary analytical responsibility.
      5. Acuité's employee would be prohibited from soliciting money, gifts, or favours from anyone with whom Acuité does business and would be prohibited from accepting gifts offered in the form of cash or cash equivalents or any gifts exceeding a minimal monetary value.
      6. Acuité's employee who becomes involved in a personal relationship (including, for example, a personal relationship with an employee of a rated entity, obligor, or originator, or the lead underwriter or arranger of a rated obligation) that creates an actual or potential conflict of interest would be required under Acuité's policies, procedures, and controls to disclose the relationship to the compliance officer or another officer of Acuité, as appropriate.
      7. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls for reviewing without unnecessary delay the past work of an analyst who leaves the employ of Acuité and joins an entity that the employee participated in rating, an obligor whose obligation the employee participated in rating, an originator, underwriter, or arranger with which the employee had significant dealings as part of his or her duties at Acuité, or any of its affiliates.

  3. Acuité's RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE INVESTING PUBLIC, RATED ENTITIES, OBLIGORS, ORIGINATORS, UNDERWRITERS, AND ARRANGER

    1. Transparency and Timeliness of Credit Ratings Disclosure
      1. Acuité would assist investors and other users of credit ratings in developing a greater understanding of credit ratings by disclosing in plain language, among other things, the nature and limitations of credit ratings and the risks of unduly relying on them to make investment or other financial decisions. Acuité would not state or imply that SEBI/ RBI endorses its credit ratings or use its registration status to advertise the quality of its credit ratings.
      2. Acuité would disclose sufficient information about its credit rating process and its credit rating methodologies, so that investors and other users of credit ratings can understand how a credit rating was determined by Acuité.
      3. Acuité would disclose a material modification to a credit rating methodology prior to the modification taking effect unless doing so would negatively impact the integrity of a credit rating by unduly delaying the taking of a credit rating action. In either case, Acuité would disclose the material modification in a non-selective manner.
      4. Acuité would disclose its policies and procedures that address the issuance of unsolicited credit ratings.
      5. Acuité would disclose its policies and procedures for distributing credit ratings and reports, and when a credit rating would be withdrawn.
      6. Acuité would disclose clear definitions of the meaning of each category in its rating scales, including the definition of default.
      7. Acuité would differentiate credit ratings of structured finance products from credit ratings of other types of entities or obligations, preferably through a different credit rating identifier. Acuité would also disclose how this differentiation functions.
      8. Acuité would be transparent with investors, rated entities, obligors, originators, underwriters, and arrangers about how the relevant entity or obligation is rated.
      9. Where feasible and appropriate, Acuité would inform the rated entity, or the obligor or arranger of the rated obligation about the critical information and principal considerations upon which a credit rating would be based prior to disseminating a credit rating that is the result or subject of the credit rating action and afford such rated entity, obligor, or arranger an adequate opportunity to clarify any factual errors, factual omissions, or factual misperceptions that would have a material effect on the credit rating. Acuité would duly evaluate any response from such rated entity, obligor, or arranger. Where in particular circumstances Acuité has not informed such rated entity, obligor, or arranger prior to disseminating a credit rating action, Acuité would inform such rated entity, obligor, or arranger as soon as practical thereafter and, generally, would explain why Acuité did not inform such rated entity, obligor, or arranger prior to disseminating the credit rating action.
      10. When Acuité publicly discloses or distributes to its subscribers (depending on the Acuité's business model) a credit rating that is the result or subject of the credit rating action, it would do so as soon as practicable after taking such action.
      11. When Acuité publicly discloses or distributes to its subscribers (depending on Acuité's business model) a credit rating that is the result or subject of a credit rating action, it would do so on a non-selective basis.
      12. Acuité would disclose with a credit rating that is the result or subject of a credit rating action whether the rated entity, obligor, or originator, or the underwriter or arranger of the rated obligation participated in the credit rating process, if such a practice is followed by Acuité. Each credit rating not initiated at the request of the rated entity, obligor, or originator, or the underwriter or arranger of the rated obligation would be identified as such.
      13. Acuité would clearly indicate the attributes and limitations of each credit rating, and the extent to which Acuité verifies information provided to it by the rated entity, obligor, or originator, or the underwriter or arranger of the rated obligation. For example, if the credit rating involves a type of entity or obligation for which there is limited historical data, Acuité would disclose this fact and how it may limit the credit rating.
      14. Acuité would indicate in the announcement of a credit rating that is the result or the subject of a credit rating action when the credit rating was last updated or reviewed. The credit rating announcement would also indicate the principal credit rating methodology that was used in determining the credit rating and where a description of that credit rating methodology can be found. Acuité would explain this fact in the credit rating announcement, and indicate where to find a discussion of how the different credit rating methodologies and other important aspects factored into the credit rating decision.
      15. When rating a structured finance product, at its sole discretion, Acuité would publicly disclose or distribute to its subscribers (depending on Acuité's business model) sufficient information about its loss and cash-flow analysis with the credit rating, so that investors in the product, other users of credit ratings, and/or subscribers can understand the basis for Acuité's credit rating. Acuité would also publicly disclose or distribute information about the degree to which it analyzes how sensitive a credit rating of a structured finance product is to changes in the assumptions underlying the applicable credit rating methodology.
      16. When issuing or revising a credit rating, Acuité would explain in its announcement and/or report the key assumptions and data underlying the credit rating, including financial statement adjustments that deviate materially from those contained in the published financial statements of the relevant rated entity or obligor.
      17. If Acuité discontinues monitoring a credit rating for a rated entity or obligation it would either withdraw the credit rating or disclose such discontinuation to the public or to its subscribers (depending on Acuité's business model) as soon as practicable. A publication by Acuité of a credit rating that is no longer being monitored would indicate the date the credit rating was last updated or reviewed, the reason the credit rating is no longer monitored, and the fact that the credit rating is no longer being updated.
      18. To promote transparency and to enable investors and other users of credit ratings to compare the performance of different CRAs, Acuité would disclose sufficient information about the historical transition and default rates of its credit rating categories with respect to the classes of entities and obligations it rates. This information would include verifiable, quantifiable historical information, organized over a period of time, and, where possible, standardized in such a way to assist investors and other users of credit ratings in comparing different CRAs. If the nature of the rated entity or obligation or other circumstances make such historical transition or default rates inappropriate, statistically invalid, or otherwise likely to mislead investors or other users of credit ratings, Acuité would disclose why this is the case.

    2. The Treatment of Confidential Information
      1. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls to protect confidential and/or material non-public information, including confidential information received from a rated entity, obligor, or originator, or the underwriter or arranger of a rated obligation, and non-public information about a credit rating action (e.g., information about a credit rating action before the credit rating is publicly disclosed or disseminated to subscribers).
        1. The policies, procedures, and controls would prohibit Acuité and its employees from using or disclosing confidential and/or material non-public information for any purpose unrelated to Acuité's credit rating activities, including disclosing such information to other employees where the disclosure is not necessary in connection with Acuité's credit rating activities, unless disclosure is required by applicable law or regulation.
        2. The policies, procedures, and controls would require Acuité and its employees to take reasonable steps to protect confidential and/or material non-public information from fraud, theft, misuse, or inadvertent disclosure.
        3. With respect to confidential information received from a rated entity, obligor, originator, underwriter, or arranger, the policies, procedures, and controls would prohibit Acuité and its employees from using or disclosing such information in violation of the terms of any applicable agreement or mutual understanding that Acuité will keep the information confidential, unless disclosure is required by applicable law or regulation.
        4. With respect to a pending credit rating action, the policies, procedures, and controls would prohibit Acuité and its employees from selectively disclosing information about the pending credit rating action, except to the rated entity, obligor, arranger, or their designated agents, or as required by applicable law or regulation.
      2. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls designed to prevent violations of applicable laws and regulations governing the treatment and use of confidential and/or material non-public information.
      3. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls that prohibit employees that possess confidential and/or material non-public information concerning a trading instrument from engaging in a transaction in the trading instrument or using the information to advise or otherwise advantage another person in transacting in the trading instrument

  4. GOVERNANCE, RISK MANAGEMENT, AND EMPLOYEE TRAINING
    1. Acuité's Board of Directors (or similar body) would have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that Acuité establishes, maintains, documents, and enforces a code of conduct that gives full effect to the IOSCO Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agencies.
    2. Acuité would establish a risk management function made up of one or more senior managers or employees with the appropriate level of experience responsible for identifying, assessing, monitoring, and reporting the risks arising from its activities, including, but not limited to legal risk, reputational risk, operational risk, and strategic risk. The function would be independent of the internal audit function (if practicable given Acuité's size) and at the sole discretion of Acuité make periodic reports to the Board of Directors (or similar body) and senior management to assist them in assessing the adequacy of the policies, procedures, and controls Acuité establishes, maintains, documents, and enforces to manage risk, including the policies, procedures, and controls specified in the IOSCO Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agencies.
    3. Acuité would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls requiring employees to undergo formal on-going training at reasonably regular time intervals. The subject matter covered by the training should be relevant to the employee's responsibilities and should cover, as applicable, Acuité's code of conduct, Acuité's credit rating methodologies, the laws governing Acuité's credit rating activities, Acuité's policies, procedures, and controls for managing conflicts of interest and governing the holding and transacting in trading instruments, and Acuité's policies and procedures for handling confidential and/or material non-public information. The policies, procedures, and controls would include measures designed to verify that employees undergo required training.

  5. DISCLOSURE AND COMMUNICATION WITH MARKET PARTICIPANTS
    1. Acuité's disclosures, including those specified in the provisions of the IOSCO CRA Code, would be complete, fair, accurate, timely, and understandable to investors and other users of credit ratings.
    2. Acuité would disclose with its code of conduct a description of how the provisions of its code of conduct fully implement the provisions of the IOSCO Statement of Principles Regarding the Activities of Credit Rating Agencies and the IOSCO Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agencies (collectively, the "IOSCO provisions"). If Acuité's code of conduct deviates from an IOSCO provision, Acuité would identify the relevant IOSCO provision, explain the reason for the deviation, and explain how the deviation nonetheless achieves the objectives contained in the IOSCO provisions. Acuité would describe how it implements and enforces its code of conduct. Acuité also would disclose as soon as practicable any changes to its code of conduct or changes as to how it is being implemented or enforced.
    3. Acuité would establish and maintain a function within its organization charged with receiving, retaining, and handling complaints from market participants and the public. The function would establish, maintain, document, and enforce policies, procedures, and controls for receiving, retaining, and handling complaints, including those that are provided on a confidential basis. The policies, procedures, and controls would specify the circumstances under which a complaint must be reported to senior management and/or the Board of Directors (or similar body).
    4. Acuité would publicly and prominently disclose free of charge on its primary website:
      1. Acuité's code of conduct;
      2. a description of Acuité's credit rating methodologies;
      3. information about Acuité's historic performance data; and
      4. any other disclosures specified in the provisions of the IOSCO CRA Code as applicable given Acuité's business model.

  6. DEVIATIONS WITH IOSCO CODE OF CONDUCT FUNDAMENTALS FOR CREDIT RATING AGENCIES

    Acuité's Code of Conduct is generally aligned with the Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agencies issued by the Technical Committee of the International Organization of Securities Commissions with the exception of the following areas where there is a deviation with the provisions of the IOSCO Code:

    1. Operational and legal separation between ratings and other businesses:
      Acuité provides shared human resources, technology, finance and legal services across all its businesses. However, Acuité has also ensured that there are proper firewalls in place to prevent any conflict of interest, arising out of such sharing.
    2. Periodic reviews of compensation policies and practices for analysts:
      While compensation policies and practices are periodically reviewed in Acuité and are structured to ensure that objectivity of the rating process is not compromised.
    3. Disclosure of rating methodology with each rating announcement:
      As per Clause 3.3 of the IOSCO Code, each rating announcement should also indicate the principal methodology that was used in determining the rating and where a description of that methodology can be found. As Acuité's Rating Methodologies are freely available on its website, a specific reference to a specific rating methodology is not given in each rating announcement.
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Our exciting journey started in 2005 with rating of bank borrowers most of whom were small and medium enterprises. At that time, credit rating was a concept known only to large issuers of capital market instruments. Since then, like a caterpillar transforms itself into a beautiful butterfly, we transformed to rate bonds, bank facilities of large corporates and issuers across industries. Along came many achievements - SEBI Registration in 2011, RBI accreditation in 2012, 50,000 ratings in 2018, 5,000 Bond and Bank Loan Ratings in 2017, launch of India's first Android and iPhone app to disseminate rating, tamper-proof QR-code-enabled rating rationales, and SMERA Terminal to name a few.

Now is the time to re-emphasize our increasing footprint across all segments of ratings through the launch of our new name - 'Acuité'.

The name has changed. The spirit of upholding highest standards of analytical rigour, continuous improvement, excellence in our processes and quest for innovation remains the same. We would like to re-emphasize that we will continue to work hard to provide independent, unbiased and timely opinion of highest standard.

Acuité means 'sharpness and clarity of thought and vision'. Let our research and ratings help you take decisions with confidence.


Sankar Chakraborti
CEO