Ratings firm Scope sets sights on bank credit

LONDON (Reuters) - German-based Scope Ratings said it plans to start rating European and global banks as part of its push to challenge the established U.S. credit ratings firms.

The banks analysts will mostly be based in London and be led by Sam Theodore, who has previously worked at Moody's, DBRS and recently at Britain's Financial Services Authority and the European Banking Authority.

Politicians and regulators have called for more competition and a wider diversity of opinions for credit ratings, and Scope said its move into bank ratings met those needs.

Theodore said there is a need for more transparent and forward-looking methodologies more suitable to the post-crisis banking realities, for standard bank ratings and also covered bonds and capital instruments.

"Senior debt investors and lately segments of depositors alike have come to recognize that the risk of loss for bank liabilities is increasingly real and no longer automatically covered on a timely basis by public support," Theodore said in a statement.

(Reporting by Steve Slater; Editing by Louise Heavens)