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What Credit Ratings Mean

by Credit Policy Group of Fitch Ratings

August 2007

Abstract: Fitch's credit ratings provide an independent, timely and prospective opinion on the creditworthiness of an entity or transaction. Fitch has built a reputation for insightful research and analytical excellence and has developed many different rating scales to address creditworthiness and other areas of relative financial strength. These include credit ratings using the traditional 'AAA' scale, first introduced by John Knowles Fitch in 1924. Fitch has since added Individual (financial strength) and Support ratings for banks, Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) ratings for insurance companies, Recovery Ratings and Distressed Recovery ratings for securities, asset manager ratings, managed fund volatility ratings and National scale ratings. This report will focus primarily on the traditional international long-term credit ratings of the 'AAA' scale - the scale with the broadest usage and the highest profile within the international capital markets.

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