Kroll Bond Ratings got one step closer to rating muni credits last week by announcing its first big public finance hire. The next step is to release a comprehensive default study to show the market it can be a serious rival to the three dominant rating agencies.

The new hire is Thomas Randazzo, a credit expert who was head of public finance at XL Capital Assurance for six years until 2008, and first vice president at Ambac Assurance from 1993 to 2002. More recently, he was president of the Municipal and Infrastructure Assurance Corp., the bond insurer set up three years ago by Macquarie Group and later sold as a shell company to Radian Asset Assurance.

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