Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in the next month will unveil the list of insurers that have been granted its new Financial Enhancement Rating. The agency announced details of the FER in July (ASRI 7/17/2000 p.1), in the hopes that the initiative will identify the elite players in the asset-backed and corporate-bond markets. When announced earlier this year, S&P said it was reacting to investor fears at a number of multiline insurers entering the market with commitments to timely pay in the even of a deal hiccup may differ from that of the more traditional monoline insurers. Around 40 companies are thought to have made the list, sources said.

UBS Warburg was recently awarded the mandate to lead manage a E665 million ($582 million) residential mortgage backed deal for SNS Bank of the Netherlands. Called Hermes 2, the transaction will be split into three floating-rate tranches. An official at Warburg said he expects the deal will be launched at the end of this month.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter will begin marketing another Dutch MBS at the end of this week, this time for Fortis Bank. The two parties will act as co-lead managers on the transaction.

The Bank of Scotland is believed to be mulling over a return to the European market. The bank launched the GBP750 million ($1.1 billion) Mound Financing No.1 transaction in April, a deal backed by a portfolio of residential mortgages, and may return next time with a different asset class, most likely auto loans, some sources say.

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