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Fitch Rates 2 BlackRock Institutional Cash Series plc Money Market Funds 'AAAmmf'
April 5, 2017 / 4:08 PM / 8 months ago

Fitch Rates 2 BlackRock Institutional Cash Series plc Money Market Funds 'AAAmmf'

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) LONDON, April 05 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has assigned two short-term money market funds managed by BlackRock 'AAAmmf' ratings as follows: BlackRock ICS Institutional Sterling Liquidity Fund: 'AAAmmf' BlackRock ICS Institutional Sterling Government Liquidity Fund: 'AAAmmf' The funds are sub-funds of the Irish-domiciled umbrella fund, BlackRock Institutional Cash Series plc. KEY RATINGS DRIVERS The main drivers of the ratings are: - The portfolios' high credit quality, diversification and short maturity profile; - Minimal exposure to interest rate and spread risks; - Overnight and one-week liquidity profiles consistent with Fitch's rating criteria; - The capabilities and resources of BlackRock as investment manager. Portfolio Credit Quality/Diversification The funds seek to maintain a high credit quality, consistent with Fitch's money market fund rating criteria at the 'AAAmmf' level, by investing exclusively in securities rated at least 'A-'/'F1' or equivalent and by entering into repurchase agreements with counterparties rated at least 'A' or 'F1' or equivalent. The sterling fund may also invest in asset-backed commercial paper. The credit quality of the sterling government fund is extremely high, reflecting its exposure to UK government and government-guaranteed securities and repurchase agreements collateralised by such securities only. The funds limit their exposures to individual issuers at 10% of the respective funds' assets, with no more than 5% for those above seven days in tenor. The sterling fund's Portfolio Credit Factor (PCF) was 1.15 as at end-March 2017, which meets Fitch's 'AAAmmf' rating criterion of 1.50 or less. The PCF is a risk-weighted measure of the fund's portfolio assets that accounts for the credit quality and maturity profile of securities. It does not apply to government funds. Maturity Profile The funds seek to limit interest rate and spread risk by maintaining their weighted average maturity (WAM) and weighted average life (WAL) below 60 days and 120 days, respectively. The maturity date of any single investment is kept below 397 days. The WAM and WAL of both funds were well within the 'AAAmmf' ranges set out in Fitch's applicable rating criteria as of end-March 2017. Liquidity Profile The funds' investment restrictions are aimed at maintaining sufficient daily and weekly liquidity to meet investors' redemption requests. There are no material investor concentrations in the sterling fund. The sterling government fund has a large investor concentration, which is mitigated by the high liquidity profile of the fund. The levels of overnight and one-week liquidity in both funds are well in excess of the minimum levels specified in Fitch's applicable rating criteria as of end-March 2017. Funds' Objectives The sterling fund seeks to maximise current income consistent with the preservation of principal and liquidity through the maintenance of a portfolio of high-quality short-term money market instruments. The sterling government fund seeks a moderate level of current income that is consistent with the liquidity and stability of principal. As of end-March 2017 the sterling fund had GBP35.3 billion in assets under management (AUM) and the sterling government fund GBP3 billion. Investment Advisor Fitch views the investment advisers' capabilities, financial and resource commitments, operational controls, corporate governance and compliance procedures as consistent with the 'AAAmmf' rating assigned to the funds. BlackRock is a leading global asset manager with USD5.2 trillion of AUM as of end-December 2016. It is the second-largest provider of constant net asset value money market funds in Europe. RATING SENSITIVITIES The ratings may be sensitive to material changes in the credit quality or market risk profile of the funds. A material adverse deviation from Fitch guidelines for any key rating drivers could cause the ratings to be downgraded. For additional information about Fitch money market fund ratings guidelines, see the criteria referenced below. Contact: Primary Analyst Evangelia Gkeka Associate Director +44 20 3530 1829 Fitch Ratings Ltd 30 North Colonnade London E14 5GN Secondary Analyst Alastair Sewell, CFA Senior Director +44 20 3530 1147 Committee Chairperson Greg Fayvilevich Senior Director +1-212-908-9151 Media Relations: Rose Connolly, London, Tel: +44 203 530 1741, Email: Additional information is available on Applicable Criteria Global Money Market Fund Rating Criteria (pub. 10 Dec 2015) here Additional Disclosures Dodd-Frank Rating Information Disclosure Form here _id=1021695 Solicitation Status here Endorsement Policy here ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEB SITE AT <a href="">WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM.. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA, AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE CODE OF CONDUCT SECTION OF THIS SITE. DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS RELEVANT INTERESTS ARE AVAILABLE AT <a href="">HTTPS://WWW. FITCHRATINGS.COM /SITE/REGULATORY. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE. Copyright © 2017 by Fitch Ratings, Inc., Fitch Ratings Ltd. and its subsidiaries. 33 Whitehall Street, NY, NY 10004. Telephone: 1-800-753-4824, (212) 908-0500. Fax: (212) 480-4435. Reproduction or retransmission in whole or in part is prohibited except by permission. All rights reserved. In issuing and maintaining its ratings and in making other reports (including forecast information), Fitch relies on factual information it receives from issuers and underwriters and from other sources Fitch believes to be credible. Fitch conducts a reasonable investigation of the factual information relied upon by it in accordance with its ratings methodology, and obtains reasonable verification of that information from independent sources, to the extent such sources are available for a given security or in a given jurisdiction. The manner of Fitch’s factual investigation and the scope of the third-party verification it obtains will vary depending on the nature of the rated security and its issuer, the requirements and practices in the jurisdiction in which the rated security is offered and sold and/or the issuer is located, the availability and nature of relevant public information, access to the management of the issuer and its advisers, the availability of pre-existing third-party verifications such as audit reports, agreed-upon procedures letters, appraisals, actuarial reports, engineering reports, legal opinions and other reports provided by third parties, the availability of independent and competent third- party verification sources with respect to the particular security or in the particular jurisdiction of the issuer, and a variety of other factors. Users of Fitch’s ratings and reports should understand that neither an enhanced factual investigation nor any third-party verification can ensure that all of the information Fitch relies on in connection with a rating or a report will be accurate and complete. Ultimately, the issuer and its advisers are responsible for the accuracy of the information they provide to Fitch and to the market in offering documents and other reports. In issuing its ratings and its reports, Fitch must rely on the work of experts, including independent auditors with respect to financial statements and attorneys with respect to legal and tax matters. Further, ratings and forecasts of financial and other information are inherently forward-looking and embody assumptions and predictions about future events that by their nature cannot be verified as facts. As a result, despite any verification of current facts, ratings and forecasts can be affected by future events or conditions that were not anticipated at the time a rating or forecast was issued or affirmed. The information in this report is provided “as is” without any representation or warranty of any kind, and Fitch does not represent or warrant that the report or any of its contents will meet any of the requirements of a recipient of the report. A Fitch rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness of a security. This opinion and reports made by Fitch are based on established criteria and methodologies that Fitch is continuously evaluating and updating. Therefore, ratings and reports are the collective work product of Fitch and no individual, or group of individuals, is solely responsible for a rating or a report. The rating does not address the risk of loss due to risks other than credit risk, unless such risk is specifically mentioned. Fitch is not engaged in the offer or sale of any security. All Fitch reports have shared authorship. Individuals identified in a Fitch report were involved in, but are not solely responsible for, the opinions stated therein. The individuals are named for contact purposes only. A report providing a Fitch rating is neither a prospectus nor a substitute for the information assembled, verified and presented to investors by the issuer and its agents in connection with the sale of the securities. Ratings may be changed or withdrawn at any time for any reason in the sole discretion of Fitch. Fitch does not provide investment advice of any sort. Ratings are not a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Ratings do not comment on the adequacy of market price, the suitability of any security for a particular investor, or the tax-exempt nature or taxability of payments made in respect to any security. Fitch receives fees from issuers, insurers, guarantors, other obligors, and underwriters for rating securities. Such fees generally vary from US$1,000 to US$750,000 (or the applicable currency equivalent) per issue. In certain cases, Fitch will rate all or a number of issues issued by a particular issuer, or insured or guaranteed by a particular insurer or guarantor, for a single annual fee. Such fees are expected to vary from US$10,000 to US$1,500,000 (or the applicable currency equivalent). The assignment, publication, or dissemination of a rating by Fitch shall not constitute a consent by Fitch to use its name as an expert in connection with any registration statement filed under the United States securities laws, the Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000 of the United Kingdom, or the securities laws of any particular jurisdiction. Due to the relative efficiency of electronic publishing and distribution, Fitch research may be available to electronic subscribers up to three days earlier than to print subscribers. For Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and South Korea only: Fitch Australia Pty Ltd holds an Australian financial services license (AFS license no. 337123) which authorizes it to provide credit ratings to wholesale clients only. Credit ratings information published by Fitch is not intended to be used by persons who are retail clients within the meaning of the Corporations Act 2001

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