Bank One Capital Markets called the move "somewhat haphazard." JPMorgan Securities called the move "sloppy in execution and bordering on reckless in terms of understanding the market impact." The Street reacted harshly to Standard & Poor's placement of 32 classes of auto lease ABS - including three that are no longer outstanding - on watch for a downgrade last Monday, due to potential exposure to federal government entity Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. in the event of a seller bankruptcy.
The announcement spurred a flurry of bank research criticizing the rating agency, and prompted both Fitch Ratings and Moody's Investors Service to issue clarifications on their respective stances on the issue. Both confirmed they were comfortable with the risks associated with potential PBGC action on auto lease ABS. "Moody's has looked at this risk from a deal's inception and it has been part of our approach to rating this asset class all along," said Moody's Managing Director Michael Kanef.