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The European Union is retreating from a vow to defang credit-rating companies as reforms prompted by the 2008 crisis collide with the needs of bond investors.

“More than taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, Europe is using TNT,” said Jonathan Pitkanen, who helps oversee about $43 billion of fixed-income as head of credit research at Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd. in London. “Then the law of unintended consequences kicks in and they have to back off.”


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