After being granted the status of a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization by the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, A.M. Best Co. intends to penetrate the securitization and banking arenas, while plans to broaden its scope in the insurance industry remain the ratings agency's main goal.

Since 1999, A.M. Best has assigned financial strength ratings to the corporate debt, preferred stock and commercial paper of insurance companies worldwide and has over 600 outstanding ratings on securities issued by 129 insurance and reinsurance companies, according to Larry Mayewski, executive vice president and chief ratings officer at A.M. Best. Now the ratings agency is looking to become more involved in the structured finance market.

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