While Fitch recognizes the benefits such status canbring in the current environment, it is not a panacea for the current economicand credit cycle. While generally a conversion to a BHC is a positive in the current environment,as this structure affords greater financial flexibility, Fitch views positiverating momentum to be limited to those entities where conversion preventsfurther liquidity issues. Fitch would expect only limited positive ratingactions as a direct result of becoming a BHC. In many respects, such conversionsmay serve to maintain ratings at existing levels and reduce, but not necessarilyeliminate, downgrade risk. Thus, a BHC conversion will in most cases be ratingneutral in the near term. Fitch expects that fundamental performance will be further stressed due toeconomic conditions, and BHC status will not eliminate this fact. This view isfurther reinforced by the route some applicants have had to take to achieve BHCstatus, such as dilutive equity offerings and debt exchanges.
("Assured"), the principal direct financial guarantysubsidiary of Assured Guaranty Ltd. (NYSE:AGO), announced today the closing ofthe reinsurance transaction with CIFG Assurance North America, Inc. ("CIFG NA")that was previously announced on October 23, 2008. In addition, pursuant to aseparate agreement, effective immediately, Assured has been appointed by CIFG NAas its exclusive agent to provide all administrative and other services withrespect to the CIFG NAs entire U.S public finance portfolio. On behalf of CIFGNA, Assured will be responsible for processing all claims for losses from CIFGNAs U.S. public finance policies as well as for providing surveillance, otherrisk management services and other administrative functions for this portfolio.For additional information regarding the administrative services to be providedby Assured, CIFG NA policyholders should review the notice posted on Assuredswebsite at "We are pleased to close this transaction which provides CIFG NAs policyholderswith the financial strength and protection of Assured," commented DominicFrederico, President and Chief Executive Officer of Assured Guaranty Ltd.
"Inthese turbulent times it is important that the market recognizes the necessityand value of financial guaranty insurance. publicfinance and infrastructure policies (the "covered policies") coveringapproximately $13 billion of par outstanding. The covered policies principallyconsist of investment grade credits and do not contain any below investmentgrade credits, any credit default swaps or any credits for which a loss reservehad been established by CIFG NA. As previously announced, CIFG NA and Assured have agreed to work together afterthe closing of the reinsurance transaction to secure written agreements from theholders of each covered policy to transfer by novation the covered policy fromCIFG NA to Assured. Until novated, all covered policies will remain directguarantee obligations of CIFG NA. The novation process for each covered policywill be determined in conjunction with representatives for each underlyinginsured credit based on the applicable legal requirements and the particularfacts and circumstances of each such insured credit.