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Rapid Ratings establishes business in Singapore

Media Release

August 16, 2004

Rapid Ratings establishes business in Singapore with SIAS partnership

Rapid Ratings announced today they have signed an agreement with the Securities Investors Association of Singapore (SIAS) to distribute Rapid Ratings' equity and credit risk ratings and reports to SIAS members as well as investment funds, banks and other interested parties in Singapore starting October 15th. Under the agreement, SIAS' 63,000 members will have an opportunity to access Rapid Ratings' ratings and reports via the SIAS website [http://www.sias.org.sg] for the next five years. The service will offer members corporate risk ratings, industry reports, Top 50 -Top 100 etc Reports, stock recommendations and research newsletters at discounted rates, while Rapid Ratings regular discounts for volume will be available for corporate and institutional clients.

Rapid Ratings is a new generation corporate credit rating and investment grading agency that takes a scientific approach to ratings. Its sole inputs are audited corporate financials. In 10 seconds (per company), it produces an automated 35-page report with text, graphs and tables, covering short term, medium term and long-term ratings, financial strengths and weaknesses analysis of 62 financial ratios, historical trend analysis, and Dupont analysis.

The ratings and reports will cover all Singapore listed companies as well as listed companies in other countries. Currently, Rapid Ratings provides credit and investment risk ratings to clients for 15,000 companies. "The design of this partnership between a shareholders' association and a rating agency is a global first," noted Dr Patrick Caragata, CEO of Rapid Ratings, "and we are pleased that SIAS is also leading its industry segment by taking this step." SIAS will co-brand Rapid Ratings' products in Singapore.

Rapid Ratings (www.rapidratings.com), a majority owned subsidiary of Australian Stock Exchange listed company, Collection House, is an independent corporate rating and research house that employs a quantitative based set of industry-specific models using publicly available financial data to rate corporates and corporate debt securities as well as to provide recommendations on listed stocks. The software which is the basis of Rapid Ratings' research was developed by the Company's CEO, Dr Patrick Caragata, a leading expert on global early warning systems. "Through our software we were able to identify risks in many high profile cases, such as Enron and Parmalat, years ahead of our competitors. This has propelled us onto the global stage," said Dr Caragata, "While the software based models are the foundation of our success, our independence and objectivity, which are free of client and investment banking conflicts, adds another layer of credibility to our work."

For SIAS, this a logical step forward for an organisation that places strong emphasis on investor education, corporate governance and transparency, independent research and shareholders' rights. "The tie-up brings a tremendous value to our members who are retail investors. They can now rely on Rapid Ratings' business early warning systems as a primary consideration to avoid companies that exhibit financial distress," said Mr David Gerald, CEO/ President of SIAS.

Dr. Caragata stated that Singapore was the best beachhead for Rapid Ratings to establish its ratings business in Asia because of its adherence to international accounting standards, the quality of corporate financial data and the high standards for ethics and integrity in the business sector. He indicated that this relationship with SIAS would have a long term, material effect on Rapid Ratings' global growth.

The Securities Investors Association of Singapore (www.sias.org.sg), is a non-profit organisation which was formed in June 1999. SIAS stated mission is to:

- Empower securities investors through education and information;

- Safeguard the rights of securities investors; and

- Promote corporate transparency and corporate governance.

"Both organisations have strong common buy-side interests in terms of defending and protecting shareholders' rights and interests," said Dr Caragata, noting that Rapid Ratings is a certified member of the Investorside Research Association in Washington DC. He stated that, " SIAS places a strong emphasis on independent research, while Rapid Ratings has an excellent track record in providing valuable, realistic, independent ratings and reports."

David Gerald, SIAS President added, "We both have a strong interest in, and an outstanding reputation for, promoting good corporate governance. At SIAS we view our role as a corporate integrity watchdog protecting the interests of small investors and minority shareholders. Our investor forums have been structured to educate and inform members on the possibilities and pitfalls of investing in the share markets."

The partnership will provide Rapid Ratings with access to an established network of potential customers, "It's really a win-win situation, SIAS' is leveraging its significant membership so that members can access Rapid Ratings' research at discounted prices, Dr. Caragata said"

Background

Dr. Patrick Caragata was born in Toronto in 1948 and completed a PhD at the University of Toronto in 1981. He has worked as Manager International Policy with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (1981-83), Senior Economist International with the Toronto-Dominion Bank (1983-1986) in charge of TD's country risk analysis group. After being seconded for 20 months as Senior Policy Advisor with Investment Canada where he examined the investment risk of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, he moved to New Zealand in 1988 where he became Chief Economist at the Ministry of Energy. In 1991, he became Chief Tax Policy Advisor with New Zealand's Inland Revenue Department. He started the precursor to Rapid Ratings in 1997 with McCallum Petterson in Wellington.

Dr. Caragata is a Canadian and New Zealand citizen and a permanent resident of Australia. He is also the author of 5 books including Business Early Warning Systems: Corporate Governance for the New Millennium (Butterworths,1999). He was named a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management in 2003.

Highlights

Rapid Ratings was formed in June 2001, after 4 years of modelling, the initial software development, and several years of alpha and beta testing. The company moved its head office from Wellington, New Zealand to Brisbane, Australia in December 2001 after Collection House (www.collectionhouse.com.au) became the majority shareholder. Rapid Ratings now has offices in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Toronto and New York.

In June 2002, Rapid Ratings completed development of its global webservice and converted its software from Microsoft to Java Enterprise (www.rapidratings.com). Using its current capacity, Rapid Ratings has the the potential to screen 40,000 companies per day.

In January 2003, Rapid Ratings launched its ratings service for listed debt security issuers in Australian market as well as its business partnership with Lonsdale Securities in Melbourne, a subsidiary of Zurich Financial Services of Switzerland.

In August 2003. Rapid Ratings became a member of the Investorside Research Association in Washington D.C.

(http://www.investorside.org/). Rapid Ratings is certified as being free of investment banking conflict of interest.

In September 2003, Rapid Ratings launched its Top 50 Report for the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

In October 2003, Rapid Ratings developed a strategic partnership with the Accountability Research Corporation in Toronto, a subsidiary of Rosen Associates. Dr. Al Rosen, CEO of Rosen and Associates, is one of Canada's most respected forensic accountants and securities and accounting litigation specialists. http://www.accountabilityresearch.com/

In October 2003, Rapid Ratings signed two contracts with the Bank of New York Jaywalk to promote its ratings in the US market.

In November 2003, Rapid Ratings became the first rating agency in Australia to receive the new AFS license from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.

In November 2003, Dr. Caragata was invited by the SEC in Washington to make a submission on the Concept Release for the new regulatory regime affecting NRSRO (national recognised statistical rating organizations) rating agencies in the US. http://www.sec.gov/rules/concept/s71203.shtml

In April 2004, Rapid Ratings launched its NZDX Report, which rates all of the debt securities issued in the New Zealand market.

In May 2004 Rapid Ratings launched its new Composite Risk Report in the US market. This report examines the level of equity risk relative to the credit rating level and issues a buy/sell/hold assessment. This report is produced in 10 seconds.

www.rapidratings.com


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