Last week several announcements of job cuts were made by three of the top four rating agencies.

The McGraw-Hill Cos., parent of the Standard & Poor's rating agency, eliminated 172 jobs from that division globally, as part of efforts to restructure several struggling business divisions and to shore up its long-term growth prospects. Word of job cuts at the rating agency had been reported by ASR last week.

Cuts at McGraw-Hill's financial services segment, which includes S&P, were driven by the current business environment as well as the consolidation of several support functions across Standard & Poor's global operations, the company said. The restructuring affected both Standard & Poor's ratings and non-ratings businesses.

Market sources say Joanne W. Rose, who was executive managing director for structured finance ratings, was named executive managing director for risk and productivity quality policy, a role that will involve examining and if necessary, improving all S&P businesses. A McGraw Hill statement said that the financial services segment accounts for $18.8 million of the $43.7 million restructuring charge for the whole company. The firm eliminated 600 positions across the corporation worldwide.

Moody's Corp. announced in an 8-K filing that it plans to reduce its global staff by approximately 275 people, or 7.5% of its total headcount. In association with the layoffs, Moody's said it will incur a restructuring charge of approximately $43 million to $48 million. Sources from the rating agency said that job cuts will be coming from both Moody's Investors Service and Moody's Analytics, as the company

is seeking to combine some of its analytics functions.

Back in August, Moody's Corp. announced the reorganization of its businesses into two operating units which are Moody's Investors Service, the rating agency and a new division called Moody's Analytics.

Under the latter fell Moody's KMV, Moody's and other units outside the rating agency, including sales and marketing for all of Moody's Corp. At the time, Moody's said that this new structure would be aimed at capturing a broad range of debt market growth opportunities worldwide and at reinforcing the independence of the company's ratings business.

In another rating agency casualty, DBRS closed its European offices and cut jobs in its New York and Toronto branches as well. All of the reductions took place on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the rating agency said.

The closure of DBRS's European offices in Paris, London and Frankfurt will affect all of Europe's 43 staff members and another 27 are said to have been cut in New York and Toronto, although the spokeswoman would not confirm these numbers. The majority of layoffs in Toronto were in back office positions that supported the European offices. Coverage of European credit is expected to continue from the rating agency's North American-based offices, the spokeswoman said, noting that the rating agency intends to return to Europe once market conditions improve.

DBRS' expansion to Europe never got much traction. The first European office opened in London in 2005 with the creation of a financial institutions group and spread to Frankfurt later that year. In June 2006, the rating agency opened a structured finance office in Paris and hired Managing Director Catherine Gerst to run it. Gerst joined from Moody's Investors Service and was charged with expanding the rating agency's structured finance rating activities in the European markets. She also came on to develop the rating agency's structured finance ratings coverage in France, Spain and Italy. Gerst reported to Apea Koranteng, managing director, structured finance group, EMEA. - DM/GS

(c) 2008 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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