Chin Gan leaves the helm of Fitch IBCA

A top level shake-up takes place, as the rating agency struggles to compete with the two incumbents, Standard & Poor''s and Moody''s.
Just a year after the merger between Fitch IBCA and Duff & Phelps Credit  Rating Co (DCR), the man at the helm of the rating agency in Asia is to leave.

It is believed Chin Gan is departing under somewhat acrimonious circumstances, and will vacate the head of Asia Pacific post at the end of the month. FinanceAsia's sources say senior managers at Fitch's headquarters in Paris are unhappy with the company's performance in Asia.

Gan, who spent several years as managing director of DCR prior to the merger, has had the unenviable task of trying to compete with two, much larger rating agencies in a market where capital issuance has still not fully picked up since the financial crisis. A specialist in debt ratings, Fitch has battled to win business from Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investor Services.

"The only companies that have been able to issue in this market are those that have a track record in the bond markets," says the source. "That means they already have a rating from the big two and have been reluctant to buy a third one from Fitch. It isn't an easy market to build a business in."

Fitch's Asian office has experienced a string of resignations since the merger last year including Christopher Chau, former director of international structured finance, who is now working at Nomura.

It is not clear who will replace Gan. The decision may be in the hands of Paris-based Bernard Delarttre who holds the title of head of Asia, and oversees Gan's region plus Japan. For now, people at the Paris headquarters are unwilling to discuss the departure, denying that there are any high-level changes to be announced.

It is not known whether Gan will stay in Asia; it is rumoured he is considering a move to Scotland.