Fitch Ratings

Reviewed by Annapoorna | Updated on Aug 27, 2020

Introduction to Fitch Ratings

Fitch Ratings is a multinational credit rating agency with offices in New York and London. Investors use the ratings of this company to refer to investments that are not going default and yield a good return.

Fitch arrives at the ratings based on factors such as what kind of debt a company carries and how sensitive it is to structural shifts, such as interest rates.

Decoding Fitch Rating Process

Fitch, along with Moody's and Standard & Poor's (S&P's), is one of the world's top three credit rating agencies. The Fitch rating system is somewhat similar to S&P's since they both use a letter scheme. For instance, a company which is rated AAA is of the highest quality and reliable cash flows. Whereas, a company that has been rated D has defaulted.

The steps taken by Fitch for credit rating is as follows:

Step 1: Rating process initiates when an issuer/underwriter approaches the rating agency, and a primary and back-up analyst is then assigned

*Step 2: *Agency collects the publicly available information such as financials and data reports

*Step 3: *Analyst performs a pre-analysis & requests non-public information if suitable

*Step 4: *The analytical team prepares a detailed questionnaire

*Step 5: *Face-to-face meetings or site visits are conducted with the management and stakeholders of the entity being rated

*Step 6: *In-depth analysis is performed, involving an application of sector-specific rating criteria and methodologies

*Step 7: *The primary and secondary analyst drafts a report of rating recommendation and rationale in a committee package

*Step 8: *The rating committee reviews the rating information after considering several qualitative and quantitative factors, keeping in mind the current and prospective performance of the company

*Step 9: *Assigning the ratings and publishing of commentary

*Step 10: *Conducting an ongoing surveillance

What are the class of grades under Fitch rating?

Fitch's rating system or grade or class can be classified as follows:

Investment class

  • AAA: Exceptionally high-quality company (established with stable cash flows)
  • AA: Company with high quality, yet with a risk slightly greater than AAA
  • A: Company where the risk of default is low but slightly more vulnerable to the economic or business factors
  • BBB: Company having low default expectations. However, it can adversely be impacted by economic or business factors

Non-investment class

  • BB: Increased susceptibility to default risk and more prone to unfavourable market or economic shifts
  • B: Financial condition is deteriorating and highly speculative
  • CCC: Default is a real possibility
  • CC: The default probability is very strong
  • C: Started with default or default-like process
  • RD: Payment default by the issuer has been recorded
  • D: Company has defaulted