Responding to potential growth opportunities in its structured finance business, Fitch Ratings has announced the relocation of Rachel Hardee to its Hong Kong offices. Upon her arrival at the beginning of 2006 from London, Hardee will become head of the Asia-Pacific structured finance team.

In the newly created role, Hardee will report to Kevin Stephenson, Fitch's Sydney-based managing director of structured finance group, Asia-Pacific. She will focus the majority of her attention on the expanding Asia collaterized debt obligation (CDO) business, joining two dedicated analysts in Hong Kong.

Hardee transfers internally to the Hong Kong-based role from her current position as head of Fitch's European leveraged finance team, where she has worked for five years. Previously, she held an array of positions at Lloyds Corporate Banking, which included stretches in its credit and structured finance teams.

Prior to starting her tenure as head of the Asia-Pacific structured credit team, Hardee will sit in on the London CDO team and focus on cash and synthetics.

"Fitch has carved out a leading position in structured finance ratings in Asia and Rachel's appointment shows our commitment to structured credit in the region," says Stephenson. "The group had a record year in 2004 and the growth continues in 2005. I'm confident that Rachel's leveraged finance expertise will add to this success."

Her appointment follows several senior moves in Fitch's structured finance division recently. In June, Wit Solberg was called on to head up the non-Japan Asia structured finance group in Hong Kong. The same month saw associate director Tino Jang move from Fitch's financial institutions group to rate structured finance credits in Taiwan and director Charles Chang transfers from the corporate ratings group to cover international structured finance ratings in Hong Kong.