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Rating updates for AMP and Suncorp

Standard and Poor’s has reconfirmed the ratings of AMP Life and Asteron’s parent company Suncorp Metway, but changed its view on their outlooks.

Thursday, September 18th 2008, 8:35AM
The rating agency says AMP Life in New Zealand keeps its AA- rating and the outlokk for all four AMP companies reviewed has been revised from positive to stable.

"The outlook revisions reflect a diminished possibility of raising the AMP group ratings given the ongoing volatility in the global financial markets and the expected weakening of the domestic economy," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Sharad Jain said. “Income from fund management activities could weaken due to shrinkage in funds under management arising from a fall in market prices, and investors shifting their funds to more conservative products (which typically attract lower management fees).”

Jain says an upgrade on AMP group entities will depend on “our confidence that the group's business and financial profile will continue to consolidate, and that the capital profile will be maintained at a very strong level.”

Conversely, the ratings could come under pressure if there is a significant damage to AMP's franchise, a deterioration in the quality or reach of AMP's financial-planner distribution network, or a substantial reduction in the AMP group's capital adequacy.

Meanwhile it has affirmed its ‘A+/A-1’ ratings on Suncorp Metway and Suncorp’s core operating companies.

Like AMP the outlook was revised to stable from positive. This outlook revision reflects continuing financial market disruption, which has lessened the likelihood of a rating upgrade on the Suncorp group of companies.

S&P says Suncorp's banking business and the underlying insurance business continue to perform solidly and in line with Standard & Poor's expectations. "The stable outlook reflects an expectation that Suncorp's success to date in integrating Promina will continue and that earnings will improve as weather volatility subsides”

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