Friday, September 3, 2010

Warning: Insurance TruPS

In an atypical, ominous maneuver, rating agency A.M. Best has today placed on negative watch the ratings of (we believe) all tranches of all trust preferred CDOs rated by them. From the most junior notes to the most senior notes, all in one fell swoop.

The insurance trust preferred CDO securities -- the area in which A.M. Best focused -- have thus far outperformed their bank or REIT TruPS counterparts, which is one of the reasons behind the comparatively stronger performance of A.M. Best's ratings versus others in the TruPS CDO space, thus far (click here for details).

The reason for the negative attention according to A.M. Best?

The rating actions reflect concerns in a number of areas including (1) the growing number of “defaulted securities” and capital securities whose periodic interest payments are in a deferral mode in the various pools; (2) capital securities redemption activity occurring in the pools; (3) increased stress upon the various credit support/enhancement mechanisms; and (4) deterioration in the issuer credit ratings of individual insurance companies and deposit taking institutions within the transaction pools.

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