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Assured Guaranty Ltd. (“Assured Guaranty” or “the Company”) (NYSE:AGO) today released the following statement in response to the announcement by Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) that it has placed the debt ratings of Assured Guaranty and its subsidiaries and the insurance financial strength ratings of Assured Guaranty’s insurance subsidiaries under review for possible downgrade. In its announcement, Moody’s cites constrained business opportunities for financial guaranty insurance and continued economic stress for U.S. municipal, mortgage, and European exposures. In response to the announcement, Dominic Frederico, President and CEO of Assured Guaranty, said:
We have been working with Moody’s for some time, emphasizing the improvements in our credit profile since their last review in 2009. As the current rating process is not yet complete, we are surprised that Moody’s decided it had enough information to place Assured Guaranty on review for a possible downgrade. In light of our improved financial strength over the last two years, Moody’s action was unjustified and unwarranted. Assured Guaranty has not just, as Moody’s writes, "survived" the financial crisis but has demonstrated its resiliency, resourcefulness and financial strength. While we have paid nearly $4 billion in claims since the onset of the mortgage crisis to protect investors from losses related to our insured residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”), our claims-paying resources to protect policyholders have grown from $11.2 billion in 2007 to over $12.8 billion today.
Since our last rating assignment, we have achieved record operating income of $664 million and $604 million, with operating ROEs of 14.9% and 12.1%, in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Further, since the second quarter of 2009 - the period Moody’s last analyzed - we have reduced our insured portfolio’s exposure by approximately $105 billion overall, including $62 billion in structured finance, of which $11 billion was in the RMBS portfolio. Additionally, to further strengthen our capital position, in January 2012 we entered into a $435 million excess-of-loss transaction for our U.S. public finance portfolio.