Fitch Ratings has launched a Ratings Assessment Service for clients contemplating strategic transactions.

The service will include the ratings agency providing clients with an opinion on how a transaction like an acquisition, capital restructuring or off balance sheet financing would affect their credit rating.

Clients will also be able to obtain information on how their ratings would change under a range of different scenarios. Fitch will then allocate conditional ratings to each scenario provided by the client.

Fitch said that under normal circumstances, this conditional rating given to the scenario would become Fitch's formal published rating when the company announces the details of the transaction.

The service is targeted at insurance companies, corporates and banks with long-term debt ratings from Fitch.

Martin Johnson will head up the new service.