Ratings agency Dagong said yesterday it was linking with United States and Russian partners to form an "independent" group to rival US-based agencies it claims have "proven inadequate". The Chinese firm would set up the joint venture with Egan-Jones Ratings (EJR), based in Pennsylvania, and Russia's RusRating JSC, it said in an invitation for a press conference today to unveil the new company. The joint venture, which is called Universal Credit Rating Group, would engage in global ratings affairs "as an entirely independent rating service provider", Dagong said in the letter. "The current international credit rating system has proved inadequate to the task of producing responsible and reliable ratings," it said. The three partners "do not represent the interest of any particular country or group" and Universal Credit will "provide impartial rating information to the global capital markets", it said. US-based agencies Fitch, Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service - responsible for giving risk assessments to investors - were widely criticised for failing to warn about the impending global financial crisis in 2008. Many of the debt instruments linked to the US housing market that sparked the crisis were given the highest rating by the groups. Dagong chairman Guan Jianzhong insisted his agency was fully independent and stood by his criticism of his rivals, whose ratings were crucial in determining the interest rates at which countries and companies could borrow. EJR was granted status as a "nationally recognised statistical rating organisation" by the US Securities and Exchange Commission at the end of 2007, according to the SEC website. EJR says on its website that it exclusively serves "buy-side institutional investors". RusRating, based in Moscow, focuses on ratings for the banking sector.