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Rating Action:

MOODY'S ASSIGNS Aa3/P-1/C- BANK DEPOSIT AND FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS TO IXIS INVESTOR SERVICES (FRANCE)

03 Jan 2005
MOODY'S ASSIGNS Aa3/P-1/C- BANK DEPOSIT AND FINANCIAL STRENGTH RATINGS TO IXIS INVESTOR SERVICES (FRANCE)

First time rating

Paris, January 03, 2005 -- Moody's Investors Services assigned Aa3/Prime-1 long- and short-term bank deposit and C- bank financial strength rating (FSR) to Ixis Investor Services (Ixis IS), a newly created subsidiary of the Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne et de Prevoyance (CNCE), the central entity of the French Savings Banks group. The outlook on these new ratings is stable.

Moody's said Ixis IS's Aa3/P-1 deposit ratings reflected the high level of integration and important role played by the institution in the broader institutional asset management services and securities activities of the Savings Banks group, its close business relationships with other group subsidiaries and the expected credit support from its parent CNCE.

Created at end-2004 by a business line spin off from CDC Ixis -- which is another CNCE's subsidiary -- Ixis IS' primary business is global securities custody and related services (e.g. clearing and settlement) for institutional clients (asset management companies, insurers, securitization vehicles, banks and other financial institutions). The company operates on major exchanges, principally Euronext, and is member of Europe's main clearing houses.

Ixis IS also provides paying agent services and -- through separate subsidiaries -- mutual funds administration and issuer services in France. Regulated as a credit institution, the bank has inherited a whole business originally created by Caisse des Depôts et Consignations, and subsequently transferred to CDC Ixis, which is now controlled by CNCE.

Moody's also said that Ixis IS' C- FSR reflected the institution's access to the group's entrusted assets, low risk profile, good solvency and adequate profitability, mitigated by the industry competitive forces and increased concentration, margin pressure and Ixis IS more modest autonomous franchise and profit diversification. With around € 600 billion of assets under custody, Ixis IS has a good position, notably amongst other group subsidiaries or related parties, with together account for around 85% of entrusted assets and total revenues. As such, the institution benefits from a highly stable captive customer base, and is strongly integrated in the group's broader wholesale banking offering. Moody's noted that Ixis IS exhibits a highly predictable earnings profile, which is constrained however, by margin pressure and the cost burden associated with significant systems investments required to maintain best in class technology and client services. Ixis IS' main risk exposure is operational, but is efficiently mitigated by the company's strong operating capabilities, good risk environment and increased automation of its systems and back office processes. Credit risk is also low and well diversified. Finally, the bank's initial capitalization appears satisfactory in relation to its risks, and is further enhanced by additional support provided by CNCE.

The rating agency underlined that Ixis IS' assigned ratings also take into consideration the implications of the recent announcement that the Savings banks and Credit Agricole groups have agreed to combine their respective custody activities within a joint venture. Both groups are committed to manage the combined entity as a strategic component of their broader financial services offering for institutional clients in France and abroad. Therefore, after the combination is completed by June-end 2005, Moody's would expect Ixis IS' credit ratings to remain underpinned by support from the entity's two shareholders CNCE and Credit Agricole SA, both rated Aa2 by Moody's.

With € 1,200 billion of entrusted assets, the combined entity would become a more meaningful player in global institutional custody and fund administration, catering for some of the largest insurance companies and asset managers in France. The combination would also afford opportunities to leverage the resulting entity's strong domestic franchise to pool human and technology resources, and to compete more aggressively for third party business. Moody's concluded that the successful completion of the merger could therefore have positive long-term implications for Ixis IS' business and financial position, but that the outlook on its assigned C- financial strength rating was currently stable.

The following ratings were assigned:

Ixis Investor Services -- long-term bank deposit at Aa3, short-term bank deposit at Prime-1 and bank financial strength at C-.

Based in Paris, Ixis Investor Services had pro forma total assets of € 5.5 billion at year-end 2004.

London
Samuel S. Theodore
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Paris
Jean-Luc Lepreux
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's France S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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