Real estate analytics firm Realpoint is launching a new operational risk assessment unit to evaluate the performance of mortgage servicers. The new practice is part of Realpoint's credit rating business and will broaden the Horsham, Pa.-based company's analytical scope, according to Chief Executive Officer Robert Dobilas. "We can now enhance our transaction-level ratings and analysis of mortgage-backed securities with a comprehensive assessment of the operational risk of the parties to the securitization process," Dobilas commented. Mike Gutierrez recently joined Realpoint's parent company, Morningstar Inc., to head up this initiative. Morningstar acquired Realpoint in May 2010 in a $42 million cash transaction. Gutierrez is the former managing director and head of servicer evaluations at Standard & Poor's credit rating agency. He along with senior operational analysts Michael Merriam, Richard Koch and Mary Chamberlain will staff the new operational risk assessment unit. The analytics team told HousingWire they have different criteria for evaluating servicers on the residential and commercial sides, but will generally looking at an overall performance scope. This includes ways investors will be impacted by servicer actions, conflicts of interest, how well a servicer handles cash flow, servicer payment reporting, the amount of headline risk and other "things we don't feel have been detailed in other reports." Gutierrez said this capability will take operational risk analytics to "an entirely new level." "It is increasingly apparent that mortgage servicing, as well as origination, and the ancillary service providers involved in both businesses, play a crucial role in the performance of structured transactions," Gutierrez said. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.