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Introducing ESG Relevance Scores for Structured Finance and Covered Bonds

Fitch Ratings says social and governance risks have the most impact on its new environmental, social and governance relevance scores for structured finance and covered bonds (SF and CvB) ratings globally. Initial results show on aggregate 21.1% of transactions and programs across SF and CvB asset classes contain contributing ESG factors or credit rating drivers.

Introducing ESG Relevance Scores for Structured Finance and Covered

We are proud to be the first rating agency to introduce scores to the Structured Finance and Covered Bond market to show the relevance and materiality of ESG to our rating decisions. Our ESG Relevance Scores are integrated into our ABS, CMBS and RMBS transaction reportsand covered bonds program research, to transparently and consistently display the impact of ESG elements on our credit ratings.

Watch the VideoIntroducing ESG Relevance Scores - Update for Structured Finance and Covered Bonds

Known Risks Can Be Amplified in CLOs with High 'CCC' Limits

Collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) with allowance for high 'CCC' exposure ("High CCC CLOs") may not have sufficient protections against losses or downgrades.

Reinvestment in Amortization Period Can Extend U.S. CLO Notes

U.S. CLOs' rates of amortization post their reinvestment periods (RIPs) vary widely as managers are often able to reinvest heavily. Proceeds ineligible for reinvestment during a CLO's amortization period are generally limited to discretionary sales, scheduled payments (such as loan maturities and amortizations), and sometimes recoveries on defaulted assets.

Uneven IBOR Progress Leaves Key Uncertainties for Structured Finance

Industry initiatives and adaptations in market practices continue in anticipation of the discontinuation of IBOR indices. But progress is uneven across jurisdictions and asset classes. For structured finance (SF), like other markets, key uncertainties relating to legacy contracts and transition in consumer products remain.

ESG Restriction Credit-Neutral to European CLOs

New environmental, social and governance (ESG) restrictions incorporated in some European CLOs (ESG CLOs) have no credit impact. These ESG CLOs typically restrict the purchase of obligations in specific sectors. In Fitch view, the restrictions currently observed do not materially impact the universe of investible obligations compared with other European CLOs, given the absence of material leveraged loans and high-yield bonds issuance in these restricted sectors.

Virtual Investor Meeting

Virtual Investor Meeting- EMEA CLOs

In our latest virtual investor meeting on European CLOs, Head of EMEA structured credit, Matthias Neugebauer, discusses the latest trends in loan documentation and key risks for the sector.

View More: EMEA RMBSCMBSABSCovered Bonds

US CLOs Fairly Insulated from Pharma Sector's Opioid Issue

US collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) have some exposure to pharmaceutical companies that are in the spotlight due to litigation arising from the opioid crisis but diversification and concentration limitations are likely to insulate portfolios from material risk, says Fitch Ratings. Overall, exposure to the pharma sector is relatively small and not all of the issuers in opioid settlement discussions are held within Fitch-rated CLO portfolios.

ARRC Fall-Back Language Reduces CLO Operational Uncertainty

Fitch Ratings believes that CLOs issued with recommended language for transitioning from LIBOR is a positive for market stability. However, regulatory pressure is likely to be needed for widespread adoption.

Focus on Risk-Return at US CLO & Leveraged Loan Conference in Japan

Opinion was polarised on how new capital requirements for securitisation products, including CLOs, would affect Japanese investors' US CLO investments; 52% of attendees said it would lower investment, while 48% said it would not have a significant impact.

Middle Market Illiquidity Can Affect CLO Collateral Cushions

CLO indentures specify a hierarchy of market value sources that typically starts with a nationally recognized loan pricing service, such as IHS Markit or Loan Pricing Corporation, and then looks to the average price from three independent broker-dealers, or the lower of two, if only two bids are available, or the bid in the case of a sole bid.

Economic Factors Magnify Tail End Risks in U.S. TruPS CDOs

Mezzanine investors are facing a more challenging assessment of the risk-return trade-off following the record level of redemptions across Fitch-rated trust preferred (TruPS) CDOs observed in 2018, according to Fitch Ratings in a new report. Fitch believes that additional redemptions will be idiosyncratic in nature and unlikely to continue at the same pace as in the recent past. 

Global CLO Quarterly

2Q19 CLO Activity Up Globally; Spreads Stabilise

U.S. and European CLO issuance rose in 2Q19 from the previous quarter, supported by flexible structures and spread stability. Due to brisk activity in the U.S. in April, 63 new and re-issued CLOs with broadly syndicated loan portfolios (BSL CLOs) priced USD31.2 billion of notes and equity in 2Q19, and a high of 12 middle-market (MM) CLOs with USD6.3 billion were also priced. Europe saw 19 new transactions, bringing the year-to-date issuance to EUR14.7 billion. 

Late Cycle Risk Foremost on Minds of U.S. CLO Investors

While both the leveraged loan and U.S. CLO markets are seeing more late cycle behavior emerging, the make-up of the markets themselves has changed quite radically of late, according to Fitch Ratings in its 2019 Virtual Investor Video Series for Structured Finance.

Recovery Rates Decline as Middle Market CLO Issuance Picks Up

Lower expected recovery prospects resulted in a declining weighted average recovery rate (WARR) across Fitch-rated middle market (MM) CLOs in 2Q19, averaging 70.3% in the quarter compared with 71% in 1Q19, according to Fitch Ratings' latest U.S. MM CLO Snapshot.

Fitch Ratings U.S. CLO Index: Second-Quarter 2019 Spreads Change Course

The average weighted average spread (WAS) for U.S. broadly syndicated loan (BSL) CLOs inched up in the second quarter of 2019, a trend shift from past quarters, Fitch Ratings says in its latest U.S. CLO Index. This supported fewer WAS test failures, which in the past quarter had come from loosening covenant levels. 

Fitch Ratings U.S. Bank TruPS CDO Index: Exposure to Distressed Collateral Decreases in 2Q19

The combined notional of defaults and deferrals for U.S. bank trust preferred securities (TruPS) collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) declined to 8.2% of the original collateral balance of $37.7 billion at the end of the second quarter in 2019 (2Q19) from 8.8% at the end of 1Q19, according to the latest index results published by Fitch Ratings.

CLO Reinvestment Criteria Oversight Highlights Operational Risk

Fitch Ratings says a breach by a European CLO manager of their transaction's reinvestment criteria underlines the importance of compliance testing in managing operational risk. The manager had failed to comply with the maturity replacement condition, which extended the portfolio's weighted average life (WAL) in a transaction post reinvestment period.


Testing the Resilience of European CLOs to a Credit Cycle Downturn

Over the last few months Fitch has been testing the resilience of our portfolio of post-crisis European CLOs against a credit cycle downturn. Senior analysts from Fitch’s structured credit team discussed the topic and gave an insight into the parameters of our tests and the conclusions in this webinar.


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European CLOs Resilient to a Credit Cycle Downturn

Post-crisis European CLO 'AAAsf' ratings would avoid downgrades, even if faced with stresses similar to those experienced during the height of the financial crisis. Pre-crisis European senior CLO tranches rated 'AAAsf' had a high resistance to downgrade, while post-crisis European CLOs have greater credit enhancement, enhanced structure and increased diversification.

Collateral Quality Tests Remains Stable in European CLOs

Collateral quality tests remains stable in the European CLOs that we rate while obligor diversification continues to increase, Fitch Ratings says. The number of obligors per CLO averaged 129 as of end-2Q19 and the top 10 exposure fell to 16.6% from 17.9% at end-2Q18.

Structured Finance 2000-2018 Issuance Loss Estimates Down

Total losses on US and Canadian structured finance (SF) bonds are concentrated in crisis-era transactions (2005-2007 vintages) and primarily consist of losses on US RMBS, Fitch Ratings says in a new report. Losses on SF tranches issued prior to 2009 contribute 99.9% of total SF losses. Approximately 95% of pre-crisis bond issuance is resolved (repaid or loss realized) or withdrawn. 

2019 Late Cycle Roundtable

What Peak Cycle Conditions and Economic Deceleration Means for U.S. Leveraged Finance

How will U.S. CLOs, asset managers, and the Leveraged Finance markets overall fare under peak cycle conditions and a potentially decelerating economy? Justin Patrie, head of Fitch Wire, leads the discussion in the latest installment of the Late Cycle Roundtable series.
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EU IG CLO Notes Resilient to Recovery Shocks

European investment-grade (IG) CLO note ratings would remain broadly resilient to leveraged loan recovery falls by 20%-50%, a significant shock when considering both average and peak historical default rates and the stresses the agency applies in its rating analysis.

CLO Indentures Vary the View of 'CCC' Exposure

 U.S. broadly syndicated loan (BSL), CLO triple-C (Caa/CCC) concentration limitations, and excess haircuts exposures are not easily comparable or transparent across CLOs due to variety of indenture definitions

EMEA CLOs: Limited Selling But Reinvestment To Continue In Downturn

EMEA CLOs are set to continue to reinvest proceeds even during a downturn in the credit cycle but sales of non-distressed assets will be curtailed

Survey Highlights Decades of Experience at CLOs

US broadly syndicated loan CLO platforms have the most experienced portfolio management teams by proportion of those with long service as compared with US middle market loans and Europe CLO, according to survey responses of over 100 CLO asset managers who participated in the Fitch Ratings 2019 CLO Asset Manager Handbook.

Unclear Euribor Definitions Could Overstate the WAS in European CLOs

Unclear Euribor definitions could overstate the reported weighted average spread (WAS) of European collateral loan obligations (CLOs). Investors should examine the WAS definitions carefully to gain awareness of the possible WAS uplift due to negative Euribor and evaluate the impact of WAS adjustments when comparing CLO transactions. 


EMEA Structured Finance Losses Remain Very Low

Total losses on EMEA structured finance (SF) are low and are concentrated in certain crisis-era transactions, Fitch Ratings says in a new report. More than three-quarters of all expected losses have now been realised. 

Available On-demand: Fitch Discusses EMEA Structured Finance Losses 2000-2018

EMEA CLOs Largely Resilient to Underlying Asset Downgrades

EMEA CLO ratings show high resilience to negative migration in the underlying loan portfolio. Our stress test shows that the CLO rating impact would be limited even if all underlying assets rated 'B-' were downgraded to 'CCC'. The stress scenario is comparable to the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008-2009

U.S. Bank TruPS CDO Portfolio Notional Continues to Decline in 1Q19

The number of combined defaults and deferrals for U.S. bank trust preferred securities (TruPS) collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) declined to 8.8% of the original collateral balance of $37.7 billion at the end of first-quarter 2019 (1Q19) from 9.4% at the end of 4Q18


Special report on TruPS CDOs

Global CLO Chart Book

Spreads Dampen CLO Reset Activity in Europe and U.S.

Increasing senior spread on collateralized loan obligation (CLO) notes in the U.S. and Europe has dampened reset and refinancing activity in both markets, Fitch Ratings says in its latest Global CLO Chart Book. New issuance was up slightly in the prior quarter in Europe to EUR6.9 billion in first-quarter 2019 (1Q19), while new and re-issue levels were flat at $26.8 billion in the U.S. 

U.S. LevLoan Chart Book

Limited Loan Activity Logged in 1Q2019

U.S. institutional leveraged loan issuance had an anaemic start to the year, with limited refinancing and repricing activity to supplement the new deals coming to market. 

CLO Asset Manager Handbook

109 CLO managers are profiled in Fitch Ratings’ latest CLO Asset Manager Handbook and accompanying Excel-based data sheet. Profiles include key manager facts such as corporate structure, key personnel, assets under management and the number of CLOs outstanding. The handbook provides profile reports in a standardized manager, providing investors with a consistent framework for evaluating and comparing managers.

European CLOs Start to Amortise as Refinancings, Resets Slow

European CLOs are starting to amortise as higher liability spreads make refinancing and resets less attractive. Until recently, liability repayments have been relatively small due to the limited scheduled and unscheduled principal payments of underlying assets.

Fitch Ratings: Collateral Competition Persists; Four New Defaults in U.S. Middle Markets

Competition for collateral continues to persist, translating in compression of the average weighted average spread (WAS) in Fitch-rated U.S. middle market (MM) CLOs and overlap in portfolios of MM and broadly syndicated loan (BSL) CLOs. These and other trends are reported in Fitch's 1Q19 MM Snapshot.

Auto Sector Downturn Unlikely to Impact U.S. CLOs

A slowdown in global auto demand is unlikely to have an impact on U.S. CLOs through their auto-related exposure. U.S. broadly syndicated loan (BSL) collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) under Fitch's surveillance are underweighted in their exposure to the auto sector compared to the broader market. 


Loan Default Rate Drops, Neiman Debt Exchange, Asset Sale Provisions

The March TTM US institutional leveraged loan default rate is expected to fall to 1.1% from 1.7% last month – the lowest level since 2011. Fitch Ratings looks at leverage-based sweeps of proceeds from asset sales as one example of recent documentation changes in its latest terms and conditions special report series.


IBOR Transition Webinar

Available On-Demand

Fitch’s Chief Credit Officer, Jeremy Carter, and Group Credit Officer, Andreas Wilgen, discuss the progress which has been made to prepare financial markets for the discontinuation of IBOR indices and highlight the risks which still remain.

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IBOR Transition Makes Progress, but Key Risks Unaddressed

Substantial progress in recent months will better prepare financial markets for the discontinuation of IBOR indices, but transition risks remain, Fitch Ratings says in a new report. Our ratings address the payment of interest (and principal) in accordance with the underlying terms of an obligation and would not be directly affected by transition from one reference rate to another or any accompanying spread adjustment. 


Ben McCarthy


Ben McCarthy


+61 2 8256 0388

Matthias Neugebauer


Matthias Neugebauer


+44 20 3530 1099

Kevin Kendra

North America

Kevin Kendra


+1 212 908 0760

Winnie Fong

North America

Winnie Fong


+1 212 908 9139

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