Ambac Financial Group and MBIA are no longer an item. Late last month, the triple-A rated financial guarantors announced that they were restructuring the international joint marketing and reinsurance arrangements that have been in place since 1995.

"Our international joint venture with Ambac has been successful by all measures, with a compound annual growth rate of adjusted gross premium exceeding 71% since 1995," said Joseph W. Brown, Jr., MBIA's chairman. "However, it has become apparent that the rapid expansion of the international market has increased the complexity of running a joint venture. Our agreement to market and originate business separately will permit both companies to increase operational flexibility and effectiveness globally, and to reap greater rewards from expected continued growth in the international markets."

While MBIA and Ambac will continue with reciprocal reinsurance and surveillance arrangements for international business, the companies will market and originate international financial guarantee insurance independently.

"I think that bankers and issuers might view this in a positive light because it will create more competition," said a source.

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