Addressing industry sentiment, last week Moody's Investors Service announced it would sponsor an independent, academic investigation into the differences in ratings methodologies, transitions and other disparities between the agency's structured finance ratings, tackling head-on (so says Moody's) the current debate over notching (see ASR 6/18/01, 6/25/01 and 9/3/01). Moody's expects to announce its candidates for carrying out the study this week.

"We're trying very hard to be above board and be very transparent about this issue," said Brian Clarkson, senior managing director of asset finance at Moody's. Since it's announcement, Moody's has received positive feedback from the securitization community, Clarkson said.

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