Assured Guaranty Ltd. (together with its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty or the Company) (NYSE:AGO) today released the following statement by Dominic Frederico, President and Chief Executive Officer, in response to the announcement by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. (Moody’s) of new credit ratings for Assured Guaranty and its subsidiaries, including revised insurance financial strength ratings of A2 (stable outlook) for Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (AGM), A3 (stable outlook) for Assured Guaranty Corp. (AGC) and Baa1 (stable outlook) for Assured Guaranty Re Ltd. (AG Re):
“We strongly disagree with Moody’s assignment of an A2 rating to AGM, especially given Moody’s statements in its own release that AGM has capital adequacy ‘corresponding to a high Aa score’ and insured portfolio characteristics that are ‘high investment grade.’ Moody’s based its downgrade on its subjective, qualitative factors of ‘Franchise Value and Strategy,’ ‘Profitability’ and ‘Financial Flexibility,’ which we will refute later in this release.
“Moody’s ratings now appear to be determined by unsupported qualitative factors and assumptions about future product demand, future profitability and future stock price that have little or no relevance to the Company’s actual ability to meet all of its financial obligations with the highest certainty. When a company’s financial strength and the quality of its insured portfolio are no longer the dominant factors in its ‘financial strength rating,’ there is a serious flaw in the rating process. A close reading of Moody’s release also reveals contradictions and inconsistencies that essentially discredit it.
“After announcing its credit watch for Assured Guaranty companies in March 2012, Moody’s published a Summary Rating Rationale, which cited their key rating factors, including their qualitative factors, and placed AGM and AGC clearly in the Aa category. In yesterday’s report, Moody’s rated our performance on those same qualitative factors significantly below where Moody’s rated them just ten months ago, even though our actual performance on each of those factors has since been stable or improved and there is general agreement, even at Moody’s, that the economy has improved. This is further evidence that a downgrade is unjustified.