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Assured Guaranty Ltd AGO
Q3 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/09/2012

Operator: Good morning and welcome to the Assured Guaranty's Third Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in a listen-only mode. After today's presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. Please note, this event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Robert Tucker. Please go ahead.

Robert Tucker - Managing Director, IR and Corporate Communications: Thank you, operator. Good morning and thank you for joining Assured Guaranty for our third quarter 2012 financial results conference call.

Today's presentation is made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. It may contain forward-looking statements about our new business and credit outlooks, market conditions, credit spreads, financial ratings, loss reserves, financial results, future rep and warranty settlement agreements or other items that may affect our future results. These statements are subject to change due to new information or future events. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on them as we do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise them, except as required by law.

If you're listening to a replay of this call or if you're reading the transcript of the call, please note that our statements made today may have been updated since this call. Please refer to the Investor Information section of our website for our recent presentations, SEC filings, most current financial filings or for the risk factors.

Turning to the presentation, our speakers today are Dominic Frederico, President and Chief Executive Officer of Assured Guaranty Limited and Rob Bailenson, our Chief Financial Officer. After their remarks, we'll open the call to your questions. As the webcast is not enabled for Q&A, please dial into the call if you'd like to ask a question.

I will now turn the call over to Dominic.

Dominic J. Frederico - President and CEO: Thank you, Robert, and thank you all for joining Assured Guaranty for our third quarter 2012 earnings call. During the third quarter, we continued to deal with the challenging business environment by pursuing our core strategies that have allowed us to achieve positive operating earnings every quarter through the financial crisis. These include disciplined new business origination within the constraints of our rigorous underwriting and pricing standards; the recapture of business previously seeded to reinsurers; the purchase of our uninsured bonds in order to mitigate loss, improve rating agency capital and acquire assets with attractive yields; the pursuits of recoveries for breaches of rep and warranties and residential mortgage securitizations and agreeing to the termination of selected transactions to reduce rating agency capital charges while retaining our premium income.

Our operating income in the third quarter was $166 million, up dramatically from the $38 million in the third quarter of 2011 due primarily to higher net earned premiums, lower loss expense and a lower effective tax rate on operating income.

As most of you are aware, we are now in the eighth month of Moody's review of our financial strength rating. Moody's has stated that it anticipates resolving its review during the first half of this month. After publishing a scorecard in March showing us solidly in the AA category, we cannot comprehend how Moody's could consider it downgrade when we have only grown stronger since March through $38 billion of exposure runoff, $85 million of present value new business production and a greater certainty about the performance of our insured portfolio as it matures and amortizes. We believe that Moody's arguments suggesting a possible downgrade are mainly subjective and unsupported by the facts. We are still in discussions with Moody's and believe that there will be no justification for a downgrade. I know that many policyholders and shareholders have expressed the same view to Moody's.

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