These media sources are slightly to moderately conservative in bias. They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor conservative causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information, but may require further investigation. See all Right-Center sources.
- Overall, we rate Scope Ratings Right-Center biased based on financial support provided to right-leaning political parties. We also rate them Mostly Factual in reporting versus High due to a lack of transparency with funding.
Factual Reporting: MOSTLY FACTUAL
World Press Freedom Rank: Germany 11/180
Established in 2002, Scope Ratings is a German credit rating agency that provides credit ratings and fund analyses for corporate and financial institutions. According to an AFP interview Scope Ratings aim to challenge the oligopoly of big US rating agencies such as Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P Global. Scope Ratings is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. Torsten Hinrichs is the CEO. The Scope Group is the parent company and Florian Schoeller is the founder, largest shareholder, and Chief Executive Officer of the group.
Funded by / Ownership
Florian Schoeller (a member of Schoeller family) is listed as a major shareholder, however, there is no information regarding the other shareholders and percentages. Ownership is disclosed, however, it is on another web site (scopeanalysis.com) and hard to locate. The site states 48 private investors, which includes names such as Simon Fraser (former non-executive director and board member of Barclays Bank), Dr. Manfred Gentz (former CFO of Daimler-Benz) as well as the top investors such as Scope’s founder, Florian Schoeller, is listed as an ‘anchor investor’, and AQTON SE (holding company of Stefan Quandt). For the rest of the investors see here. Funding is not disclosed, but according to our research German insurance companies, HDI, and Signal Induna are some of the financial backers of Scope Ratings.
Analysis / Bias
In 2020 Reporters Without Borders ranked Germany 11/180 in their Press Freedom Index. The German equivalent of prime minister is Chancellor and the current Chancellor of Germany is Angela Merkel, who leans center-right.
In review, since the credit ratings are opinions and these opinions come in the form of letter grades, such as those used by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) and some other rating agencies: AAA, AA, A, BBB, BB, etc., they are biased. The bias can be related to ownership bias such as owners or top executives having connections to the government. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reports “Many credit rating agencies are paid by the obligors they rate or by the issuers of the securities they rate” and this creates “conflict of interest” and some credit rating agencies are paid by subscribers to their rating services, which are usually investors. Investors’ desire for low or high credit ratings, depending on their holdings and trading positions, may also present a conflict of interest.”
For example, Stefan Quandt who is the heir of BMW and served on the supervisory board of Dresdner Bank AG is one of the shareholders of Scope Ratings through his investment holding company, AQTON. Stefan Quandt donated 690,000 euros to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and DW reports BMW is a traditional source of Christian Democrats (CDU) income. Politico Europe also reports on BMW’s donations to Merkel’s Christian Democrats, “BMW’s major shareholder and billionaire Stefan Quandt gave €50,000 each to both the CDU and liberal FDP,”. In June 2020 The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) fined Scope Ratings €640,000 and issued public notice. Finally, they also publish research reports with minimally loaded language such as this, Is a euro area bad bank a good idea? This report is unsourced and consists of the opinions of a credit analyst and financial market commentator. In general, Scope Ratings leans right due to political affiliations with the right-leaning government.
Failed Fact Checks
- None to date
Overall, we rate Scope Ratings Right-Center biased based on financial support provided to right-leaning political parties. We also rate them Mostly Factual in reporting versus High due to a lack of transparency with funding. (M. Huitsing 6/24/2020)