NEW YORK (1/20/11)--Jules Kroll has created Kroll Bond Ratings Agency Inc.--a new competitor for the Big Three credit rating firms of Standard &Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. Kroll created the new firm in in 2004. The company has provided financial strength ratings to banks and credit unions and others through a boutique ratings company called LACE Financial--which it acquired in August. Wednesday was the first day it began rating individual securities through Kroll Bond Ratings (Dow Jones Newswires Jan. 19). Then new agency promises a more forensic approach to assessing risks of mortgage-backed securities and other structured -finance transactions, Dow Jones said. The exiting rating agencies avoid doing due diligence, Kroll, 69, said to Dow Jones, referring to the three better-known rivals: Standard & Poor’s, a unit of the McGraw Hill Cos.; Moody’s Investors Service (MCO); and Fitch Ratings, a subsidiary of Fimalac SA of France. The new firm has hired 30 people and plans to add 20 more, eventually expanding outside the U.S., starting with London and either Hong Kong or Singapore, Dow Jones said.