Rating Agency Developments

On March 25, Moody’s released its approach to rating RMBS using the MILAN framework.  Moody’s Report.

On March 25, Moody’s released its approach to assessing incremental risk posed by ability to repay rules in US RMBSMoody’s Report.

On March 24, DBRS released its modified methodology for rating European Structured Finance transactions.  DBRS Report.

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Rating Agency Developments

On March 6, Moody’s released its updated methodology for rating CDOs backed by structured finance assetsMoody’s Report.

On March 5, Fitch released its criteria for granular corporate balance-sheet securitizations (SME CLOs).  Fitch Report.

On March 3, DBRS released its U.S. RMBS securities model and rating methodology.  DBRS Report.

On March 3, DBRS released its methodology for rating U.S. private student loan securitizationsDBRS Report.

On March 3, DBRS released its methodology for rating U.S. federal family education loan program (FFELP) securitizations.  DBRS Report.

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Rating Agency Developments

On February 14, Fitch released its criteria for rating U.S. commercial mortgage servicersFitch Report.

On February 13, Fitch released its criteria for rating RMBS in Latin AmericaFitch Report.

On February 11, Moody’s released its criteria for rating resecuritizations backed by RMBS and CMBSMoody’s Report.

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Rating Agency Developments

On January 30, Fitch released its criteria for rating structured finance servicers of various products, including RMBS, CMBS and ABSFitch Report.

On January 30, Fitch released its criteria for rating operational risk of U.S. servicers of RMBS and small balance commercial securities (SBC). Fitch Report. 

On January 30, Moody’s released its methodology for rating securitizations backed by loans granted to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Moody’s Report.

On January 30, DBRS released its methodology for rating European covered bonds. DBRS Report.

On January 29, Fitch released its criteria for rating U.S. private student loan ABS. Fitch Report.

On January 29, DBRS released its criteria setting forth the financial ratios and accounting treatments used to analyze non-financial companies. DBRS Report.

On January 28, Fitch released its criteria for rating non-performing loan (NPL) securitizations. Fitch Report.

On January 27, Fitch released its criteria for rating variable-rate demand obligations (VRDOs) and commercial paper (CP) issued with external liquidity support. Fitch Report.

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Rating Agency Developments

On December 24, S&P released its methodology for rating U.S. RMBS Synthetic Risk TransfersS&P Report.

On December 23, S&P released its methodology for rating U.S. RMBS surveillance credit and cash flow analysis for pre-2009 originationsS&P Report.

On December 19, DBRS released its methodology for preferred shares and hybrids for corporate issuers other than financial institutions.  DBRS Report.

On December 17, Moody’s released its methodology for rating ABS backed by equipment leases and loansMoody’s Report.

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Rating Agency Developments

On December 12, Moody’s released its methodology for rating intellectual property ABS.  Moody’s Report.

On December 12, Fitch released its criteria for rating pooled multifamily housing bonds.  Fitch Report.

On December 11, Fitch released its criteria for surveillance of existing U.S. CMBS fixed-rate and multi-borrower transactions.  Fitch Report.

On December 9, DBRS issued a request for comment on rating CLOs and CDOs of large corporate credit.  Comments must be received by January 6, 2014.  DBRS Report.

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Rating Agency Developments

On December 2, Moody’s released its updated approach to rating Europe, Middle East and Africa CMBS.  Moody’s Report.

On December 2, DBRS released its methodology for rating U.S. credit card ABSDBRS Report.

On November 28, DBRS released its operational risk assessment procedures for servicers of European Structured Finance (ESF) products.  DBRS Report.

On December 5, Kroll released its request for comment on its proposed methodology for assessing non-Qualified Mortgage risk in U.S. RMBS.  Kroll Request.

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Rating Agency Developments

On November 20, S&P released a request for comment on its methodology for rating CDOs of project finance debt.  Comments must be submitted by December 21.  S&P Request for Comment.

On November 19, Moody’s released its updated approach to rating CLOsMoody’s Report.

On November 19, Moody’s released its approach to rating corporate synthetic CDOsMoody’s Report.

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Liquidators of Bear Stearns Hedge Funds Accuse Rating Agencies of Fraud

On November 12, the liquidators for two Bear Stearns overseas hedge funds filed their complaint against McGraw Hill, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch (collectively the rating agencies) in an action in New York Supreme Court alleging that fraudulent ratings led to over $1 billion in losses for the funds’ investors.  According to the complaint, the funds invested in a portfolio of high-grade structured finance products, including CDOs and RMBS, where “at least 90% had the highest rating available,” and therefore depended heavily on ratings in making investment decisions.  The complaint alleges that the rating agencies knew that the ratings assigned to the securities in which the funds invested were false.  Plaintiffs claim that the rating agencies lacked independence from the issuers of the securities and that their ratings were tainted by a desire to maintain market share in a profitable industry.  The funds also allege that the rating agencies used relaxed standards in their initial ratings and subsequently failed to conduct proper ongoing surveillance of rated securities, leading to delays in downgrading ratings for allegedly faulty securities.  The liquidators initially commenced the action in July through New York’s summons with notice procedure.  Complaint.