Moody's Investors Service of New York will offer ratings for asset managers, custodians and transfer agents of European, Asian and Latin American businesses, the company has announced.

An increase in pension fund privatization in those regions prompted Moody's to offer the new rating system.

The mutual fund custodial business of Societe Generale of Paris was the first company rated under the new system. The company last week received a rating of two, the second highest rating possible.

The service will be offered for a flat fee to businesses competing in markets where defined benefit plans are giving way to defined contribution plans.

Companies will be rated on a scale of one to five based on financial stability, risk management procedures, human resources and organizational structures.

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