In what he described as an amicable parting, Chin Gan will leave his post at rating agency Fitch IBCA at the end of July and return to Scotland with his wife and four children. "When my wife and I came to Hong Kong in 1994 we had planned to stay for three years," says Gan. "It has now been seven years and we think it is time for us to move on. My children have reached a stage in their life where education has become important and we would like them to attend school in Scotland."
Gan, who has headed Fitch IBCA's Asia ex-Japan operation since June last year, says the company's management has accepted his reason for leaving Asia and will soon make a formal announcement on how the transition will be handled.
It is likely that his role will be split among other Fitch executives. Managing director Vivek Goyal, for example, will take over Gan's marketing responsibilities from his base in Singapore, while the work Gan conducted on corporate ratings will be co-ordinated more closely with a team in London. "We also plan to relocate two Australians to the Hong Kong office," says Gan. "Jonathan Cornish, an expert in telecommunications, will be relocating along with Ben McCarthy who will head up the securitization team."
Gan says the last few years have been difficult for rating agencies in Asia, including Standard & Poor's and Moody's, due to sluggish capital markets activity. "It has been difficult for us in the area of corporate debt ratings due to the low level of activity, but in other areas Fitch has done very well. With the purchase of Thomson BankWatch, we now offer the largest coverage of bank ratings in Asia. And on the securitization front we have won a lot of awards, coming second only to Moody's in terms of market share in Asia ex-Japan. Standard & Poor's is a long way behind us."
During his term, Gan has also made headway in the corporate sector, completing a number of Fitch-only ratings on a few notable transactions. These included a term-loan facility for Amway International; a private placement deal for Singapore-based International SOS; and a securitization of future flows for Korean airline, Asiana.