The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has sanctioned rating agency S&P Global Ratings Europe Ltd. for breaching the rules governing ratings.

ESMA fined S&P €1.1 million after finding that the firm published credit ratings before the securities being rated had been announced to the market or issued.

In particular, ESMA found that flaws in S&P’s internal controls, and the way in which those controls were implemented, led the firm to release credit ratings prematurely.

The regulator also said the firm violated its ratings transparency obligations by removing ratings from its public platforms without explanation.

“Today’s action against S&P emphasizes the importance ESMA places on [credit rating agencies] complying with their obligations of timely disclosure of information regarding ratings to the market,” said Verena Ross, chair of ESMA, in a release.

“Publishing a credit rating before the issuance of the rated securities may result in harm to the issuer, to investors and more generally to the orderly functioning of the financial markets,” she added.