Fitch Ratings last week packaged its global CDO and structured credit services into a stand-alone company called Derivative Fitch - a move that is expected to allow the agency's derivatives ratings much needed breathing room from the one-dimensional nature of traditional bond ratings. Derivative Fitch will eventually offer credit ratings on a differentiated scale from the agency's traditional ratings, along with market risk analytics aimed to help to lift the veil of opacity long associated with the market.

"Investors can expect to see a whole new, redefined rating agency," said Kimberly Slawek, a group managing director in Fitch's London office who has been instrumental in Fitch's rash of derivative and CDO developments. The announcement comes on the heels of some 18 months of developments within Fitch's CDO and derivative product offerings, most recently evidenced by an agreement between the rating agency and Markit Partners that will allow Fitch to diversify its derivative pricing and analytics offerings.

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