Fitch Ratings has announced some major changes to its Asia Pacific structured finance team, which the agency says are designed to meet the growing demand for its services in the region. New members have been added to Fitch's teams in Hong Kong, Australia, India, Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, bringing the overall number of Asia-Pacific analysts to 57, a 40% increase over the same time last year.

One significant change sees Kevin Stephenson, Fitch's Asia-Pacific head of structured finance and structured credit; relocate from Sydney to Hong Kong. Fitch believes this will allow him to more effectively manage business in the region.

Ben McCarthy will now be responsible for the Sydney office, as well as leading the securitization ratings business in Australia and New Zealand. Two new analysts, Richard Couch and Leanne Vallelonga, have been brought in to cover Australian servicers and ABCP ratings.

In Hong Kong, Stan Ho has been promoted to head the structured finance ratings team for non-Japan Asia, and will also oversee operations in the Beijing and Taipei offices. He replaces Wit Solberg, who is rumored to end up at Deutsche Bank, where he will look to build up real estate securitization activity in the region.

From London to Asia

Another move sees Asina Ajwani transfer from Fitch's London office to lead the agency's structured finance group in India. While activity in the emerging ABS market has been temporarily stunted since the Reserve Bank of India's securitization guidelines were issued earlier this year, Fitch feels the world's second most populous nation will provide substantial opportunities going forward.

Dipesh Patel joins the London exiles, heading to Hong Kong to work in the structured credit team headed by Rachel Hardee. Meanwhile, Marjan van der Weidjen has been appointed senior director for the global structured finance group in Singapore.

It is likely further resources will be added to the region's structured finance business in 2006. "Fitch will continue investing in this area of strong growth, with expectations that we will add 13 more analysts to the region during 2006," comments Andrea Muller, Asia-Pacific head of Fitch.

(c) 2006 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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