Fitch Ratings withdrew the 'CAM2' CDO asset manager rating assigned to Cohen & Co. Financial Management  as a manager of CDOs backed by trust preferred securities or TruPS.

A 'CAM2' rating reflects asset manager operations demonstrating low vulnerability to operational and investment management failure.

Since Fitch's downgrade of Cohen's CAM rating to 'CAM2' from 'CAM2+' on August 5, 2008, the firm has seen continued organizational and staffing changes, according to Fitch. This occurrd along with the "marketwide underperformance of TruPS CDOs."

The rating agency thinks Cohen is facing several emerging and continuing challenges such as ongoing underperformance of managed TruPS CDOs and financial pressure given reduced management fees. 

To offset reduced management fees, Cohen has expanded its institutional sales and trading operations and its fund management businesses. Fitch would also note that Cohen's Feb. 20, 2009 announcement of its intent to merge with a specialty finance REIT  Alesco Financial could cause changes to the firm's strategy or organizational framework.

Considering the lack of future access to senior management, the rating agency does not think it has enough information in order to maintain the CAM rating at this time.

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