Fitch celebrates 10 years of being on top of ratings in Sri Lanka

Friday, 19 November 2010 02:28 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Fitch Ratings Lanka Limited (FRL) celebrates 10 years of being on top of the ratings, and continues to cover a diverse spectrum of corporate institutions and debt instruments within Sri Lanka. FRL brings Fitch Ratings’ global competencies and best practices to local credit ratings, working closely with its regional offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, and India.


Fitch Ratings India Managing Director Amit Tandon (right) and Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka current CEO Maninda Wickremesinghe (second from right) with the first Fitch Sri Lanka CEO Ravi Abeysuriya (second from left), the second CEO Alistair Corera and the third Chanaka Wickramasuriya pose for a group picture at the reception held early this week to mark the rating agency’s 10th anniversary in Sri Lanka.

Fitch Ratings is one of the top three globally recognised credit rating agencies and has nearly seven decades of experience in global credit markets. Fitch Ratings’ global presence spans capital markets in over 150 countries, with over 50 offices worldwide, and is jointly-headquartered in New York and London.

FRL is a joint venture between Fitch Ratings Inc. USA, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Central Bank of Sri Lanka, and several leading local financial institutions. FRL has signed a technical collaboration with Fitch Ratings. UK, and maintains the same global standards in reviewing and assigning credit ratings locally.

Code of Conduct: Fitch Ratings’ Code of Conduct is based on the provisions of the International Organisation of Securities Commission’s (IOSCO), Principles Regarding the Activities of Credit Rating Agencies, and the IOSCO Code of Conduct, Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agencies.

Fitch Rating’s Commitment: Committed to serving the world’s credit markets, Fitch has modeled its business on forward-thinking attitudes and an investor-first orientation. Fitch Ratings is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards in providing credit ratings, and is not engaged in any other business that could create conflicts of interests.

Transparency: It takes an open approach and shares its rating methodologies and approaches to rating different types of securities with the market.

Leadership: It consistently demonstrates credit leadership by producing relevant and timely research, and updating and refining its approach to rating a wide variety of securities.

Responsiveness: Its analysts are accessible and provide quick responses to investors’ inquiries as well as produce timely ratings actions, market commentaries, methodologies and research.

Perspective: It is a global company with local focus that reflects multiple points of view through its analysis and research.

Fitch Ratings provides analysis of the world’s credit markets, covering Corporate Finance – including Financial Institutions and Insurance – Structured Finance, Sovereigns and Public Finance, Global Infrastructure and Project Finance, Investment Funds and Asset Managers.

Fitch Ratings Inc is the originator of the current rating scale that spans from AAA to D, which has subsequently been adopted by most other rating agencies worldwide, and is currently widely accepted as the benchmark in credit ratings.

Gathering and analysing a variety of financial, industry, market and economic information, the analysts at Fitch Ratings synthesise that information and publish independent assessments of the creditworthiness of securities and issuers. This provides investors with an independent source of opinion and research to help them judge the credit quality of various investment options.

Financial Institutions: Fitch Ratings rates more financial institutions world-wide than any other rating agency and consistently delivers broad coverage and insightful analysis on issues including systemic risk, default and failure, and support from third parties. The agency’s coverage includes not only banks, but also finance and leasing companies, securities firms, and asset management organisations. In addition, the group supports dedicated teams for rating specialised securities such as covered bonds.

Corporate Finance: The Corporate Finance group provides public and private ratings on companies and their debt instruments, including bank loans, senior and subordinated debt, commercial paper, and preferred stock. Analysts cover the securities of a wide range of corporate sectors including aerospace and defense, telecommunications, ports and shipping, chemicals, energy, power and gas, project finance, and retail.

Insurance: Fitch Ratings has a leading market presence in all insurance market sectors including life, non-life, and health. The group’s analysts produce timely ratings and research on major issues affecting the insurance industry, such as asset quality, underwriting cycles and natural catastrophes. The analytical process is supported by a careful mix of both quantitative and qualitative considerations. In addition, the group supports the insurance-linked securitisation ratings team.

Structured Finance: Fitch Ratings provides ratings, research and surveillance for structured finance transactions. The firm provides investors with direct access to senior analysts to discuss ratings methodologies and publishes independent credit opinions, transaction research and market commentary.

The Structured Finance group is comprised of four main areas: Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) including credit card and lease receivables, Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS) including single or multi-borrower transactions, performing and non-performing loans, credit tenant leases, Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities (RMBS), and Structured Credit which covers collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) and collateralised loan obligations (CLOs).

Sovereigns and Public Finance: The Public Finance groups are comprised of U.S. Public Finance, International Public Finance and Sovereigns. These groups provide ratings and research for all types of government entities and financings worldwide, including on state and local governments and their authorities, as well as not-for-profit issuers and municipal structured finance issues.

The Sovereigns group includes economists drawn from both the private and public sectors, who cover the foreign and local currency debt of over 100 sovereign governments and related ratings.

Global Infrastructure and Project Finance: The Global Infrastructure and Project Finance group consists of analysts with backgrounds in corporate, structured, project and public finance and is responsible for rating all types of debt related to financing global projects and infrastructure assets in the transportation, energy, water and social infrastructure sectors. The group has analytical presence in the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

Emerging markets: With over 30 offices across Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Fitch Ratings has established a strong presence in emerging markets. The firm’s emerging markets team rates more financial institutions than any other and provides national and international scale ratings for all major ratings categories mentioned above.

Emerging market specialists work in partnership with the agency’s global rating groups to ensure comprehensive and consistent analysis, combining global product and sector expertise with local knowledge, to provide a regional perspective in a global marketplace.

In Sri Lanka: FRL pioneered credit ratings in Sri Lanka in 2000, and to-date has publicly rated over 26 banks including insurance companies, over 22 registered finance and leasing companies, over 14 corporates institutions, and four structured finance transactions, on both its national and international rating scales.

In Sri Lanka, most ratings have hitherto been assigned on the National Scale, and carry the suffix ‘(lka)’. Nationally, the lowest/best risk is assigned an AAA (lka) rating. All national ratings are only comparable against other national ratings within the same country. Locally, institutions such as Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and the Government of Sri Lanka have been assigned ratings on the International Scale, which are internationally comparable, against other international ratings.

Credit ratings remain a vital part of the global financial services industry, providing a relative measure of credit risk for, investors and creditors into corporate debt, and depositors of financial institutions. FRL foresees a greater need for the wider adoption of credit ratings in Sri Lanka, in line with the expected developments in the local financial services industry over the coming years.

FRL’s Board of Directors comprise of the following members:

Dayani De Silva (Chairperson): Retired Commissioner-General of the Department of Inland Revenue of Sri Lanka and former member of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and Insurance Board of Sri Lanka.

Vivek Goyal: Managing Director of Fitch Ratings Singapore and Head of Fitch’s Asset Management Ratings in Asia.

Amit Tandon: Country Head, MD/CEO Fitch Ratings India.

Maninda Wickramasinghe: Country Head, MD/CEO Fitch Ratings Lanka Limited.

Dr. D. S Wijesinghe: Retired Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Nalin Abeyesekere: President’s Counsel and Attorney-at-Law.