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Fitch affirms BGC Partners on benefits from GFI Group merger

Fitch Ratings has affirmed the long-term issuer defaultrating of BGC PartnersInc., citing its strength in the inter-dealer broker space and itsacquisition of

The rating agency affirmed the company's "BBB-"rating with a stable outlook. It also affirmed the "BBB-" rating ofCantor Fitzgerald LP, its parent company.

Fitch expects the GFI Group deal to result in betterearnings for BGC Partners. The rating agency also praised the company's growingcommercial real estate business, which is diversifying its revenue and"over time should add some stability to earnings."

BGC Partners’ ratings could be lowered if the company failsto improve its earnings or reduce its debt, which increased in connection withthe GFI Group merger. Higher dividends, "outsized" buybacks or thedeparture of Cantor Fitzgerald's CFO would also be credit negative, Fitch said.