Rating in the Leasing Business

Books

Hans-Michael Heitmüller, Marijan Nemet and Oliver Everling (Publisher): Rating in the Leasing Business: Significance and Requirements Against the Background of Current Market Developments, Fritz Knapp Verlag GmbH, http://www.knapp-verlag.de/, Frankfurt am Main 2010 , 363 pages, ISBN 978-3-8314-0834-4.

The rating of leasing companies is becoming increasingly important. Because of the financial crisis, the refinancing of leasing companies is made more difficult. This makes the rating a success factor for them in the context of a broader investor approach. But even rating judgments are not free of criticism and contradiction. Appropriate standards must therefore be discussed and questioned as well as the optimal operating structure and size of the leasing company itself. The requirements for operations management and especially for risk management are constantly increasing.

For the first time in the literature, the rating of leasing companies is addressed in this book. Here, the focus is on opportunities and default risks, as they are to be assessed according to Basel II using rating scales. The aim is to clarify the procedures and assessment benchmarks with regard to leasing companies, to show approaches to implementation and to clarify the benefits and functions of ratings for leasing companies in addition to legal, tax and technical aspects.

The book is a valuable guide for anyone involved in investment and finance issues related to leasing companies. In other words, executives and professionals in banking, insurance, accounting and tax consulting firms, consulting and IT companies, law firms, regulators and authorities, credit rating agencies and research firms, and universities benefit from this book.

Hans-Michael Heitmüller, Marijan Nemet und Oliver Everling (Hrsg.): Rating im Leasinggeschäft: Bedeutung und Anforderungen vor dem Hintergrund aktueller Marktentwicklungen, Fritz Knapp Verlag GmbH, http://www.knapp-verlag.de/, Frankfurt am Main 2010, 363 Seiten, ISBN 978-3-8314-0834-4.

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Management Board Members Must Submit a Certificate of Good Conduct for Official Purposes

Certifications, Read, Registrations, Regulations

Depending on their nationality and place of residence, management board members must submit the original copy of a “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority (certificate of good conduct for official purposes)” (document type “O”) issued by the Federal Office of Justice (Bundesamt für Justiz – BfJ). This document is issued in accordance with section 30 (5) of the German Federal Central Register Act (Bundeszentralregistergesetz – BZRG). Alternatively, it could be a “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” in accordance with sections 30 (5) and 30b of the BZRG or certificates of good conduct equivalent to those named above, or certifications of reputation assessments performed by supervisory authorities in the country of residence after consultation with the relevant division of BaFin (“equivalent documents”).

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin) provides information on what certificate is used to establish a bank management board member’s reputation rating in its Guidance Notice on management board members. This is pursuant to the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG), the German Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG) and the German Capital Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch – KAGB).

Management board members who have resided in different countries in the previous ten years must submit certificates of good conduct and relevant documents from each country. The relevant division of BaFin has to be provided with detailed information regarding any legal obstacles to their furnishment. If the relevant documents are already available, they have to be submitted to BaFin together with the other documents to be appended to the notification of intent. However, subsequent submission is also possible.

In countries in which certificates of good conduct are issued by a public agency, other documents may not be used as a substitute. The “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” should not be confused with the “extended certificate of good conduct” referred to in section 30a of the BZRG.

Section 30a of the BZRG determines the following: An extended certificate of good conduct is issued to a person on request, if the grant is provided for in statutory provisions with reference to this provision or if this certificate of good conduct is required for professional or voluntary supervision, care, education or training of minors or an activity which, in a manner comparable to letter a, is suitable for making contact with minors. Anyone who applies for an extended certificate of good conduct must submit a written request in which the person who requests the extended certificate of good conduct from the applicant confirms that the requirements are met.

Every person who has reached the age of 14 is given a certificate on the contents of the register concerning them on request (certificate of good conduct). If they have legal representation, this is also entitled to apply. The application must be submitted in writing to the registration authority in person or with an officially or publicly certified signature. When submitting the application, the identity and, in the case of legal representation, the power of representation must be proven. The applicant and their legal representative cannot be represented by an authorized representative when submitting the application. The registration authority receives the fee for the certificate of good conduct, keeps two fifths of it and pays the remaining amount to the federal treasury.

If the person making the application lives outside Germany, they can submit the application directly to the registry authority. Sending the certificate of good conduct is only permitted to the applicant. If the certificate of good conduct is requested to be presented to an authority, it must be sent to the authority immediately. The authority must allow the applicant to inspect the certificate of good conduct upon request. The applicant can demand that the certificate of good conduct, if it contains entries, is first sent to a local court designated by him for inspection by him. The registration authority must inform the applicant of this possibility in the cases in which the application is submitted to them. The district court may only grant the applicant person access to it personally. After inspection, the certificate of good conduct is to be forwarded to the authority or, if the applicant objects, to be destroyed by the local court. A foreign applicant can demand that the certificate of good conduct, if it contains entries, is first sent to an official representation of the Federal Republic of Germany designated by him for inspection.

The management board member must submit a request for a “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” and a “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” to his or her local registration office (Meldebehörde) (section 30 (2) sentence 1 of the BZRG) or electronically to the Federal Office of Justice (section 30c of the BZRG). German nationals who reside outside the Federal Republic of Germany may apply directly to the Federal Office of Justice as the registration authority (section 30 (3) sentence 1 of the BZRG).

To allow BaFin to allocate the certificates of good conduct which it receives to the undertaking to which the relevant management board member is to be appointed, the name of the notifying undertaking and the BAK number have to be indicated as the reference. The BAK number is a six-digit number which BaFin assigns to each institution for internal classification purposes. It forms part of the BaFin reference number under which correspondence with an institution is registered and is listed in BaFin’s database of undertakings as the “ID”. BaFin is responsible for issuing and publishing a BAK number. The BAK number of an institute can be found on the website of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (www.bafin.de).

The certificate of good conduct for official purposes must be up-to-date, i.e. at the time of notification of intent it may not be more than three months old. The date of the document’s issue will be key for this purpose.

In the event that a certificate of good conduct is to be used within BaFin for further checks as to the reputation of a person, this document may not be more than twelve months old. The Federal Office of Justice will send both the “certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” and the “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” directly to BaFin. There is no need to request additional copies for the Deutsche Bundesbank or the auditing association, in the case of credit institutions that are members of one.

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Professional and Personal Requirements for Persons Appointed as Management Board Members

Certifications, Compliances, Read, Registrations, Regulations

The Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht – BaFin) provided a Guidance Notice on management board members pursuant to the German Banking Act (Kreditwesengesetz – KWG), the German Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG) and the German Capital Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch – KAGB). The following introduces the approach how to check compliance with the law in the context of a forensic rating of financial institutions.

The methodology applies to all credit institutions and financial services institutions supervised by Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht- BaFin) under the Banking Act (Gesetz über das Kreditwesen – KWG) and all payment and electronic money institutions supervised by BaFin under the Payment Services Supervision Act (Zahlungsdiensteaufsichtsgesetz – ZAG). It is also intended for undertakings supervised by BaFin under the Capital Investment Code (Kapitalanlagegesetzbuch – KAGB). The Banking Act, the Payment Services Supervision Act and the Capital Investment Code impose stringent requirements regarding the qualifications of a management board member. The major significance of these requirements is reflected in the fact that it is the claim of BaFin to issue a licence only when all conditions are met to conduct banking business and e-money business and to provide financial services and payment services.  The licences under the Investment Code, too, are only issued if the management board members fulfil the professional and personal requirements stipulated in the respective law. BaFin may withdraw this licence if these requirements are no longer fulfilled.

The European provisions were enshrined in the Banking Act through the ” Act on the Implementation of the Directive 2013/36/EU on Access to the Activity of Credit Institutions and the Prudential Supervision of Credit Institutions and Investment Firms and on the Regulatory Alignment to the Regulation (EU) No 575/2013 on Prudential Requirements for Credit Institutions and Investment Firms” (Gesetz zur Umsetzung der Richtlinie 2013/36/EU über den Zugang zur Tätigkeit von Kreditinstituten und die Beaufsichtigung von Kreditinstituten und Wertpapierfirmen und zur Anpassung des Aufsichtsrechts an die Verordnung (EU) Nr. 575/2013 über Aufsichtsanforderungen an Kreditinstitute und Wertpapierfirmen – CRD IVUmsetzungsgesetz) of 28 August 2013, Federal Law Gazette I p. 3395, and the ” Act Amending Laws Relating to the Financial Market” (Gesetz zur Anpassung von Gesetzen auf dem Gebiet des Finanzmarktes – FinMarktAnpG) of 15 July 2014, Federal Law Gazette I p. 934. Moreover, the recommendations of the European Banking Authority “EBA Guidelines on Internal Governance” (GL 44) of 27 September 2011 and the “EBA Guidelines on the Assessment of the Suitability of Members of the Management Body and Key Function Holders” of 22 November 2012 have been transposed into German law. The second edition of this Guidance Notice outlines the professional and personal requirements for persons appointed as management board members under the relevant supervisory legislation. It provides an overview of the associated notification obligations, including the documents which must be submitted. It considers in detail the expanded requirements for management board members resulting from the changes to the Banking Act.

The credit institutions which are members of a cooperative auditing association (genossenschaftlicher Prüfungsverband) or which are audited by the auditing body of a savings bank and giro association (Sparkassen- und Giroverband) are to send the notification and any documents to be appended via their association, together with an extra copy intended for that association. The role of the associations must be observed in Germany.

Since 4 November 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) has served as the supervisory authority for significant German credit institutions within the scope of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). The ECB supervises these significant institutions on the basis of national supervisory legislation, except where European law is directly applicable. Significant institutions submit notifications concerning the appointment and resignation of management board members – including all of the documents to be appended – to BaFin and the Deutsche Bundesbank.

The European Central Bank is responsible for assessing the professional suitability, the reputation and the available time of a management board member and will notify the institution of the result of its assessment directly. This assessment is made on the basis of the provisions of the Banking Act. However, the ECB is not bound by an existing national interpretation or administrative practice.

The European Central Bank, BaFin and the Deutsche Bundesbank shall be notified of other activities of a management board member of a significant institution and of any direct participating interests. The notifications and all documents and declarations to be appended must be submitted in German. The following deviating provisions apply to significant institutions directly by the ECB. Where documents are not issued in German, a certified translation or a translation prepared by a publicly appointed or sworn interpreter or translator will be required in addition to the original version. The relevant BaFin division may waive the translation of English-language documents. Significant institutions directly supervised by the ECB may submit the notification as well as all documents to be appended in either German or in English. The notifications prescribed by the Banking Act, the Payment Services Supervision Act and the Capital Investment Code shall be submitted without delay. As a rule, BaFin will no longer assume that a notification has been submitted without delay if a period of four weeks has been exceeded following the decision made by the relevant body. BaFin may require further documents and information if this appears necessary in an individual case. BaFin will not assume the costs associated with the required documents.

On their websites, BaFin and the Deutsche Bundesbank provide the following forms which are to be used for the individual notifications and for the declarations to be made.

Banking Act

  • Personnel changes relating to management board members,
  • Details of reputation, available time and additional mandates,
    • Declaration concerning criminal proceedings and proceedings for administrative offences, decisions under trade law and insolvency or enforcement proceedings,
    • Declaration concerning familial relationships,
    • Declaration concerning business relationships,
    • Details of additional mandates as a management board member or as a member of administrative and supervisory bodies,
    • Details of available time,
  • Secondary activities of management board members,
  • Participating interests of management board members.

Capital Investment Code

  • Personnel changes relating to management board members,
  • Details of reputation,
    • Declaration concerning criminal proceedings and proceedings for administrative offences, decisions under trade law and insolvency or enforcement proceedings,
    • Declaration concerning familial relationships,
    • Declaration concerning business relationships,
  • Secondary activities of management board members,
  • Participating interests of management board members.

Payment Services Supervision Act

  • Details of reputation,
  • Secondary activities of management board members,
  • Participating interests of management board members,

An intention to make an appointment, its realisation, its withdrawal (Banking Act) or a change of this intention to appoint (Banking Act) a management board member shall be reported without delay. The institution or the KAGB undertaking must submit this notification. Management board members within the meaning of the Banking Act and the Payment Services Supervision Act are those natural persons who are appointed according to law, articles of association, articles of incorporation or a partnership agreement to manage the business of and represent an institution organized in the form of a legal person or a commercial partnership. Management board members within the meaning of the Capital Investment Code are those natural persons who are appointed according to law, articles of association, articles of incorporation or a partnership agreement to manage the business of and represent a capital management company as well as natural persons who actually manage the business of the capital management company without being formally appointed as management board members. This notification obligation also applies for the appointment of an acting management board member to fulfil the function of a management board member if the latter is unable to do so.

In its long-standing administrative practice, BaFin has refrained from forwarding appointment notifications submitted by the relevant association of auditors for credit cooperatives’ board members serving in an honorary capacity. However, notice must be provided of an intention to appoint a part-time management board member. Already the intention to appoint a management board member is subject to notification.

Basic documents

The following documents/declarations have to be appended to the notification:

  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Details of management board members’ reputation,
  • “Certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority”, “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” or “equivalent documents” from another country,
  • Excerpt from the Central Trade and Industry Register,
  • Details of additional mandates as a management board member and in administrative and supervisory bodies,
  • Details of available time.


By submitting the information and declarations from the management board member which have to be appended to the notification, the notifying institution or the notifying KAGB undertaking confirms that the information submitted is accurate to the best of its knowledge. If the management board member who is to be appointed has been, or is already a management board member or a member of the administrative or supervisory body of an undertaking supervised by BaFin, all of the documents/declarations to be presented in connection with this notification have to be re-submitted. BaFin may waive this requirement in individual cases.

A curriculum vitae has to be appended to the notification of intent. This curriculum vitae must be complete and truthful and must be personally signed and dated. The curriculum vitae shall focus primarily on the positions held during the management board member’s professional career. For these individual positions, the CV has to indicate not only the year, but also the month in which this position began or ended. In the description of positions held, in particular details of this person’s powers of representation, his or her internal decision-making powers and the divisions within the undertaking overseen by him or her shall be provided. Job references for employment positions within the last three years prior to submission of the notification have to be appended to the curriculum vitae, if available. Within the scope of the Capital Investment Code and the Payment Services Supervision Act, job references must only be submitted as required by BaFin. The curriculum vitae has to include the following details:

  • surname, all first names,
  • birth namedate of birth,
  • place of birth,
  • place of residence,
  • nationality,
  • a detailed description of relevant education and training,
  • the names of all undertakings for which the management board member currently works or has previously worked,
  • details of the nature and duration of the relevant activity, including secondary
    activities.

If a management board member has resided outside Germany within the last ten years, the period and country in question must be indicated. If the principal place of residence of the management board member and his or her place of work did not lie within the same country, this also has to be indicated. This information is relevant for BaFin insofar as this affects the register excerpts which must be submitted.

The social credit rating is comprehensively checked: Details of the management board member’s reputation, a “Certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority”, “European certificate of good conduct for presentation to a German authority” or “equivalent documents” from another country, excerpt from the Central Trade and Industry Register, details of additional mandates as a management board member or in administrative or supervisory bodies (Banking Act), details of available time (Banking Act). Comprehensive additional regulations must be observed for these points.

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Credit Rating Criteria for Leasing Companies

Agencies, Criteria, Read

Under the umbrella of the Auditing Association of German BanksGBB-Rating Gesellschaft für Bonitätsbeurteil mbH (hereinafter referred to as “GBB-Rating”) provides long-term credit ratings of leasing companies. GBB-Rating has published criteria for the rating of leasing companies in German on its website. Unfortunately there was (August 23, 2020) no English translation. In the following are summarized some of their criteria for rating leasing companies. Please do not confuse the representation with an official translation. The methodology is reported here in extracts. The rating agencies supervised by ESMA are obliged to disclose their methodologies, but not necessarily in English.

Ratings are based on an analysis and evaluation of essential quantitative and qualitative aspects of the financial and business profile of each leasing company. This is done by means of a system of indicators and criteria. The rating result is condensed into 22 classes (AAA to D) and expanded to include a rating outlook.

The rating outlook – positive, stable, negative and indefinite – is an early indicator of the direction in which a rating is likely to develop within the next 12 to 24 months. The rating outlook goes beyond the 12-month statement of the rating class, as it shows the development expected within the next 24 months based on the information available.

The focus of the rating process is the determination of an overall value (point value process) as a creditworthiness indicator that determines the allocation to the corresponding class. This results from weighted point contributions from the aggregated parameters financial profile and business profile. The procedure is basically geared towards assessing legally independent companies. Adjustments can be made to take appropriate account of business, legal or other particularities. GBB-Rating distinguishes between main criteria and characteristics. Analysis, assessment and evaluation of the key figures and criteria are carried out on the basis of the financial and business profile, taking into account defined internal rules and procedures. Intermediate scores arising from the analysis of the financial and business profiles are finally weighted and aggregated to obtain an overall score. Given the forward-looking nature of the business profile, it carries greater weight in the rating result.

The financial profile is assessed in a quantitative analysis of the annual financial statements based on indicators of the earnings position and capital position. In view of the very limited information furnished by the annual financial statements of leasing companies, the analysis also gives consideration to intrinsic value. Depending on the timing of the rating, current interim figures are analyzed as well.

The key figure system of GBB-Rating is based on the two essential aspects of the financial strength of a company – sustainable profitability and the substance for covering risks. A detailed rating manual supports the analysts in evaluating the financial data. In addition to taking certified figures from the annual financial statements into account in the key figure system, quarterly figures, budget figures and figures from internal reporting are included in the assessment of the financial profile. Because of the significantly limited informative value of the annual financial statements for leasing companies, the analysis must supplement them with the net asset value calculation according to the scheme of the Bundesverband Deutscher Leasing-Unternehmen e.V. (BDL, the Federal Association of German Leasing Companies) in order to record the economic equity and adequately depict the profit or loss for the period. This way the asynchronous expense and income trends typical in the leasing industry can be assessed, despite the strict periodization requirement according to the HGB principles.

The earnings situation is represented by seven key figures. In addition to gross and net profitability, these include the return on operating performance and cost (coverage) ratios. The key figures are translated into point values using individual transformation curves (polynomials). The transformed point values are subject to a specific weighting and are therefore included in the evaluation of the earnings situation to different degrees. It is not known how exactly the polynomials are calculated in GBB-Rating.

In the case of gross profitability, the return as the sum of the gross profit and the change in net asset value is compared with the risk potential in the form of the adjusted total assets. The gross profit is the result of the sales revenue plus the result from the sale of rental assets less all material and leasing expenses (including refinancing interest). In order for a result that is consistent with the period to be determined, the change in the net asset value must be added before administrative and risk costs (gross net asset value), because these costs do not reduce the gross profit. In the denominator, the main correction items of the balance sheet total are all items that prove the passing on of counterparty risks, especially the deferred income from non-recourse forfaiting (minus a margin for the remaining verity risk) and special rental payments. Forfaiting in the double-decker model, however, is not taken into account as a deduction, since the economic risk remains with the leasing company.

In the case of net profitability, the sum of the ordinary overall result and the change in the net asset value is compared with the risk potential in the form of the adjusted balance sheet total. The ordinary overall result is the sustainable overall result before taxes, adjusted for extraordinary earnings components, including the investment result. In order for a result that is consistent and consistent with the period to be determined, the change in the intrinsic value after administration and risk costs (net intrinsic value) must be added. In the denominator, the main correction items of the balance sheet total are all items that prove the passing on of counterparty risks, especially the deferred income from non-recourse forfaiting (minus a margin for the remaining verity risk) and special rental payments. Forfaiting in the double-decker model, however, is not taken into account as a deduction, since the economic risk remains with the leasing company. The operating performance return is compared to the sum of the ordinary operating result and the change in the net asset value of the operating performance. The ordinary operating result is the sustainable operating result before taxes adjusted for extraordinary earnings components. In order for a result that is consistent and consistent with the period to be determined, the change in the net asset value after administration and risk costs (net asset value) must be added. The operating performance is the result of the sales revenue plus the result from the sale of leased assets less refinancing interest.

The necessary amount of gross income is determined by the performance efficiency (operating costs) and the company’s willingness to take risks (risk costs). Both cost blocks are set in relation to the operating performance (operating and risk cost ratio) or to the value added as the sum of gross profit and change in the (gross) asset value before administration and risk costs (cost and risk-income ratio) and can therefore suit different business structures depict.

The capital ratios are represented by three key figures. These include two informational key figures and a rating-relevant figure. The key figures are translated into point values ​​using individual transformation curves (polynomials). The leasing company’s own liability is assessed using the modified equity ratio, which combines the equity and forfaiting ratio. Equity is set in relation to the company’s risk potential. The adjusted liability capital is the by non-assessable assets such as outstanding deposits adjusted equity. Without the equity capital already fully taken into account, only 50% of the net asset value is included in order to ensure that the taxed equity capital is treated equally with the untaxed net asset value. In the denominator, the main correction items of the balance sheet total are all items that prove the passing on of counterparty risks, especially the deferred income from non-recourse forfaiting (minus a margin for the remaining verity risk) and special rental payments. Forfaiting in the double-decker model, on the other hand, is not considered as a deduction, since the economic risk remains with the leasing company.

The development of the sustainable earnings situation, the sustainable capital ratios, the net asset value calculation as well as the particularities of the accounting can be assessed in the criterion “further aspects of the financial profile”. In addition to taking certified figures from the annual financial statements into account in the key figure system, quarterly figures, budget figures and figures from internal reporting are included. In order to assess a sustainable earnings situation, there is an expanded consideration of earnings factors, taking into account current developments and findings. With the aim of adequately reflecting the earnings position at the time of the rating and including deviations from the sustainable trend in business development in the rating result, the sustainable earnings position is supplemented by the analysis of current interim figures and budget figures. Changes in capital resources or structure during the year can be taken into account. Because of the significantly limited informative value of the annual financial statements for leasing companies, the analysis must supplement them with the net asset value calculation according to the BDL scheme in order to record the economic equity and adequately depict the profit or loss for the period.

The assessment of the business profile is based on an analysis of primarily qualitative and future-oriented external and internal influencing factors. Supporting key figures enable a plausibility check of the analyzes and evaluations. The assessment features are integrated according to a specified standard, which can be adapted to the specifics of the business model. In this way, the necessary objectivity and, at the same time, the necessary flexibility to be able to adequately take into account specific features are guaranteed.

The business profile is evaluated by analyzing chiefly qualitative and forward-looking external and internal influencing factors. The main criteria are market factors, organizational aspects and the risk profile. To facilitate an objective assessment, these criteria are subdivided into individual attributes. In particular when the business profile is being examined, the particularities of the individual leasing company are assessed, such as its asset portfolio and contract structures.

The business profile of the leasing rating method distinguishes the said three main criteria market, organization and risk profile. Each of these three main criteria is divided into assessment features and individual criteria. The criteria are based on fixed assessment scales. The individual assessment via the assessment scale is transformed into a point value. Only when the leading analyst and the second analyst have analyzed and assessed or checked all the criteria does the weighted point values ​​result in a decision-making overall “business profile” value. Descriptions, procedures and framework specifications for evaluation are available for all criteria in a detailed manual. The manual is subjected to a detailed check once a year to ensure that it is complete and up to date. The leading analyst uses this manual as a guide. Deviations from the requirements can only be made in justified exceptional cases after consultation with the following rating bodies. The specifications in the manual are used by the second analyst in the “Data & Controlling” department to check the plausibility of the evaluations.

The main criterion “market” is geared towards a medium to long-term time horizon. As part of an analysis of the market attractiveness, the market or markets in which the leasing company operates are analyzed (macroeconomic view). In addition to considerations of the size of the individual markets, aspects of market growth and profitability, which are determined for example by factors such as the intensity of competition, customer structures, market entry barriers, providers or substitutes, are taken into account in the assessment. Exogenous factors such as the economic development or changes in legal and regulatory provisions or the development of case law on special topics are of no insignificant importance. In addition to the leasing companies’ own statements, research by GBB-Rating is included in the assessments. In the course of a microeconomic consideration, aspects of the individual competitive position are analyzed. In this context, aspects of the market position are included in the assessment as well as the structure and scope of the range of products and services. Another important dimension is the sales policy and the associated sales channels used. A harmonious focus on the market, taking into account the available resources, an acceptable risk appetite and the specific strategic positioning (e.g. cost leadership, quality leadership, niche providers) are essential factors for a long-term successful competitive position. The strategic process can be seen as a direct bridge between the market and the organization. Its consideration includes the company’s internal processes that were set up for strategy development, implementation and monitoring.

The main criterion “organization” is based on a generally medium-term time horizon. As part of the considerations on more general criteria of corporate management, aspects such as the design of the organizational structure and personnel structure and policy are analyzed. The composition e.g. B. the supervisory body is taken into account as well as existing succession plans or potential or actual personnel dependencies or bottlenecks. The areas of controlling and planning as well as the design of accounting and IT are also examined. As part of the analysis of specific corporate management criteria, the design of the internal control systems is subjected to an assessment. The evaluation and analysis is based on the requirements of the current minimum regulatory requirements, particularly in terms of risk management. In addition to address risk management, z. B. the design and functionality of the internal audit as well as the concept for determining the risk-bearing capacity are considered.

The main criterion “risk profile” plays a crucial role when leasing companies are being rated. When the risk profile is being assessed, an inventory of all the credit, market and operational risks is produced. The experience accumulated by GBB-Rating indicates that the most critical risk types are those relating to counterparties, assets and interest rate changes. Following changes to the tax depreciation rules, accounting risks (e.g. loss-free measurement of leasing assets) are also gaining in importance.

The risk profile criterion is basically geared towards a rather short to medium-term time horizon. The risk profile is of paramount importance. When assessing the risk situation, an inventory of all credit, market and operational risks is carried out. GBB-Rating’s experience shows that counterparty, property and interest rate risks are usually of the greatest importance. Depending on the tax depreciation conditions, balance sheet risks (e.g. loss-free valuation of leased assets) also play a major role. In addition to assessing the risk situation, the analyzes of the risk profile also include a consideration of the generation of (liable) capital in terms of capital procurement potential (e.g. direct access to the capital market, retention policy) and the potential for support from the shareholder (s).

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The rating result consists of the assignment to a rating class, the justification of the rating and the rating outlook. A rating class reflects the condensed credit rating on the GBB-Rating rating scale; it generally covers a forecast period of 12 months. The findings of the analysis with regard to the financial and business profile are condensed by the analysts into a proposal for the rating result, which is the international known notation (22 rating classes from AAA to D). In the justification for the rating, essential rating-sensitive factors or drivers are shown, which can influence the rating result positively or negatively in the medium term. The drivers of the rating result are analyzed and presented as part of a consideration of the essential areas and criteria with regard to their sensitivity to the rating result.

Leasing Company Rating

Agencies, Associations, Methodologies, Read, Systems

Leasing companies have been analyzed by leading US credit rating agencies for decades. In addition to these rating agencies, there are other rating approaches for leasing companies. Three of these are briefly presented here. The first relates to a joint initiative by Landesbanken and other credit institutions to operate bank-internal system for rating leasing companies. The second is the offer from a company from the organization of the Association of German Banks. The third is the rating offer from a Bulgarian rating agency, which also rates German banks.

RSU Rating Service Unit

The history of RSU Rating Service Unit GmbH & Co. KG started in 2001, when German Landesbanken and the DekaBank launched a joint project for the development of internal rating systems, to satisfy the regulatory requirements for what is referred to as the Internal Ratings-based Approach (IRBA). During 2002 through 2003, an interdisciplinary project teams developed the methodology for rating ten different exposure classes. Once ready for use, it was integrated into the “LB-Rating” application. The joint effort allowed to draw on the experience and the portfolios of all RSU partners. In December 2003 the Landesbanken became shareholders that participated in the project and/or their legal successors.

The rating indicates a Probability of Default (PD). The main measure of the quality of a rating system is what RSU refers to as “discriminatory power”, i. e. the system’s ability to distinguish between high-risk and low-risk obligors. Some rating systems also determine the Loss Given Default ratio (LGD), which is another area where accuracy is crucial. Essentially, RSU’s methodological work focuses on the validation of the PD and LGD estimates computed. This involves, in particular, considering the defaults actually observed. At the same time, ratings are kept strictly confidential and data protection is ensured.

When developing rating systems, models for estimating probabilities of default and loss ratios are created based on historical information and solid expertise. However, empirically determined functional relationships may change or become less stable over time. For this reason, rating systems must, by law, be reviewed on a regular basis. RSU’s methodology department promisses to validate the rating systems every year in consultation with the institutions that contribute to RSU’s data pool. Reviews are performed according to a defined validation policy using professional information and statistical computing technology.

Having received supervisory clearance for its rating systems, RSU has made them available to clients outside the group of shareholding banks since 2007. Currently, RSU claims to have clients including institutions from all three sectors of the German banking system, a number of financial service providers, international institutions, and institutional investors. LB-Rating was implemented using a modern Java architecture (Java EE) as well as IBM products and thus complies with a very common and well established industry standard. LB-Rating is a completely web-based application, which can be accessed using Internet Explorer. Once it has been individually configured and activated, it requires no additional local installation.

LB-Rating is a system designed for preparing, editing, validating and managing internal ratings in accordance with the Basel III/IV framework. It provides standardized and objective credit ratings for various types of obligors as well as for specialized lending.
There are twelve modules now. Clients only acquire licenses for the modules they need for their specific business.

  • One module is intended for rating leasing companies that apply German accounting standards (HGB). It performs a net asset value calculation to take the specific characteristics of these companies into account. The rating model is based on a scorecard approach.
  • The Special Purpuse Company (SPC) Real Estate Leasing module, which uses both scorecard and simulation elements, is designed for assessing real estate leasing projects. The residual value of the property is estimated by simulation. Transfer risk is included for offshore transactions.

Routinely reviewed every year since 2005, the statistical accuracy depends on a database of more than 17,500 ratings. In early 2007, the module received supervisory approval for use under the IRBA.

RSU provides one-year migration matrices and multiannual PD profiles for each of its twelve rating systems. The cyclical properties of the rating systems reflect in the migration matrices and PD profiles, which is essential for the institutions that use them. Information about rating transitions is crucial for banks in various areas of risk management. Once IFRS 9 takes effect, modelling long-term rating migrations will become even more important.

Methodological parameters such as score weights or calibration settings are stored separately and can be changed at short notice without modifying the software. The application is based on a thin-client concept, i.e. all necessary data is provided by the server to the extent possible. Installation and maintenance services are carried out centrally on the server without affecting the user. Changes made on the server, e.g. new releases or security updates, take effect at the same time for all clients. Communication with the system is by secure and encrypted SSL data transfer through dedicated networks. Technological modifications are performed twice a year at fixed dates. All related processes are based on ITIL, thus ensuring secure and high-quality IT workflows.

Since Rating-Flex is a solution for transferring existing rating systems to an audit-proof IT platform, leasing company ratings of different RSU users may differ.. RSU’s Rating-Flex allows to incorporate a client’s own rating algorithms into LB-Rating. WIth respect to all else, incorporated rating systems benefit from the complete functionality of LB-Rating.

GBB-Rating

Under the umbrella of the Auditing Association of German Banks, GBB-Rating Gesellschaft für Bonitätsbeütung mbH (hereinafter referred to as “GBB-Rating”) has been operating as an independent rating agency since 1996. GBB-Rating draws up its opinion on the future viability of a leasing company which is partly based on uncertain future events, their prediction and thus necessarily on estimates. Therefore it is not a statement of fact or a recommendation, but an expression of opinion.

Cologne-based GBB-Rating is a rating agency with particular expertise in the financial services sector. takes into account the requirements of the international standards for rating agencies of IOSCO (“Code of Conduct Fundamentals for Credit Rating Agencies”, the International Organization of Securities Commissions) when applying its rating methodology and when carrying out the rating process for the creation of commissioned and unsolicited credit ratings . In accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1060/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council, GBB-Rating was registered by the European Securities and Markets Authority in Paris (ESMA) on July 28, 2011 and has been subject to European supervision for rating agencies since then.

The GBB-Rating leasing company rating methodology is based on the fundamental question of the extent to which the company can meet its financial obligations in full and on time in the future. Determining this ability is the focus of the analysis. The holistic analysis of the GBB-Rating is carried out taking into account all available information classified as relevant. GBB-Rating makes its statements on the basis of the existing rating methodology, which combines quantitative and qualitative approaches.

The aim of the rating process is to arrive at an appropriate and reliable credit rating in a consistent manner. The procedure is based on ensuring the objective of objectivity, quality, impartiality as well as independence and confidentiality. As part of the rating process, the business model-related success and risk factors in particular are analyzed and condensed into a future-oriented, comprehensible overall assessment.

The basis for the ratings are documents on the asset, financial and earnings position as well as the business model, business strategy, the relevant markets, the risk management, the risk situation and the shareholder background. The basic documents and information required to carry out a rating are essentially business reports, as well as information from the companies in connection with a GBB-Rating questionnaire.

Information from ad hoc announcements or other publicly available information as well as information and documents in the context of management meetings are also taken into account. All available rating-relevant documents and information are checked for topicality, completeness and plausibility during the course of the rating process.

GBB-Rating provides both solicited and unsolicited ratings. A commissioned rating is based both on internal information provided by the company to be assessed and on publicly available data. Unsolicited ratings are generally based on publicly available data and information (further details can be found in the policy for the implementation and creation of unsolicited ratings). Unsolicited ratings can also be carried out purely for internal purposes (benchmarking), in which case it is not published.

Published ratings are continuously monitored by the leading analyst and a second analyst and updated at least once a year. The leading analyst presents the rating result with all analyzes and evaluations to an independent rating committee, which makes final decisions on the following issues:

  • setting the rating,
  • suspending a rating,
  • withdrawing a rating (“Withdrawal”).

Before each acceptance or continuation of an order, GBB-Rating checks whether the independence regulations of GBB-Rating are complied with, whether there is a risk of potential conflicts of interest or other order risks and whether sufficient resources are available to adequately take into account the special requirements of the order. In case of doubt, the order must be rejected or resigned. Required advance information, for example, in order to be able to assess the complexity of the company and the main features of the business model, is collected in an initial internal pre-analysis. If there are no reasons that prevent an order from being accepted, the rating process, the rating methodology and the conditions for a rating are explained to the company interested in a rating. In advance, GBB-Rating does not indicate a rating or a preliminary rating.

After the order has been placed in writing, the company to be assessed receives a list of information and documents required for the analysis in connection with a questionnaire. Additional requests for information and documents may be necessary during the course of the rating process. All data and evaluations received are treated confidentially by GBB-Rating. In order to guarantee the high level of confidentiality, GBB-Rating has set up supporting organizational measures (e.g. restrictive access authorizations, Chinese walls) and drawn up appropriate regulations. The rating is carried out by the leading analyst who is the contact for the rating customer. The implementation of the rating is accompanied by an independent second analyst.

Do not expect to talk always to the same analysts. Potential conflicts of interest are countered, among other things, through a rotation process. The leading analyst changes after four and the second analyst after five years at the latest. A resumption of the analysis activity can take place after two years at the earliest if the supervision period was previously fully used. In order to guarantee the continuity of the assessment, changes in the rotation of the leading analyst and the second analyst are generally delayed. When planning and assigning rating orders, the aspects of technical knowledge, availability and independence are taken into account.

The analysis is supported by IT-based rating models based on a comprehensive catalog of criteria. For the analysis and evaluation of both the qualitative and the quantitative criteria, there are extensive and detailed internal guidelines or specifications and process descriptions (rating manual). On the basis of the financial and business profile, taking into account defined internal rules and procedures, the leading analyst analyzes, assesses and evaluates the key figures and criteria. The second analyst controls, checks for plausibility and checks the credit rating of the leading analyst on the basis of internal guidelines and procedures of GBB-Rating. The leading analyst presents the rating result with all evaluations to an independent rating committee, which makes the final rating decision.

The leasing company will be informed in writing shortly after the final confirmation by the rating committee (“notification”). The modified procedure for the publication of unsolicited ratings can be found in the policy for implementing and creating unsolicited ratings. There must be a reasonable period of time between informing the institute and a possible publication or notification to subscribers (hereinafter “publication”) of the rating.

The leasing company is informed no later than one full working day (within business hours) before publication, so that there is an opportunity to point out factual errors or ambiguous formulations. In the case of a commissioned or solicited rating, the rating customer determines whether a rating result is published. Publications of rating results by the leasing company (e.g. press releases) must be coordinated with GBB-Rating.

If there is no follow-up rating already published on the GBB-Rating homepage prior to an unequivocal publication commitment or a publication revocation, the rating result to be updated is marked with the addition “in communication” after a reasonable period of time to indicate that a current rating action is still being coordinated with the rating customer. After a further ten working days at the latest, a final decision about the publication or, alternatively, a withdrawal of the rating from the homepage must be made. The rating list will be updated accordingly. A rating in which only the publication is withdrawn remains valid in relation to the client who pays the fee. There are no technical access restrictions in connection with the publication. A financial expense (fee, publication fee, access fee, etc.) in connection with a publication does not arise either for the rating customer or for interested third parties.

Along with the fee billed, a rating is generally valid for a period of twelve months after being announced. During this period, the development of the company and the industry is continuously monitored by the analysts. The aim is to ensure that a rating remains up-to-date in its statement. For this purpose, the leading analyst is in contact with the company and evaluates a. information and publications during the year. If events or developments occur during this observation period that could have a materially positive or negative effect on the company’s economic situation, the rating is reviewed and adjusted if necessary.

An Internal Review function – as required by the regulator – is responsible for developing and reviewing rating methods. The method committee as the approval body is the final decision-making body for the implementation and introduction of method adaptations or changes. Depending on the occasion, but at least once a year, the rating methodologies undergo a backtesting / validation process. In the event of changes to the rating methodology, the rating customers affected are informed about the planned changes and the possible effects as part of a four-week consultation. A review of the ratings concerned takes place within six months.

BCRA

The Bulgarian Credit Rating Agency (BCRA) provides an appraisal of the creditability of a leasing company. It intends to express an external, objective, and independent opinion for the capability of the Company to serve its liabilities in full, and on time. The short-term ratings present an opinion for the possibility that the rated Company fails to meet its liabilities, within the short term (up to 12 months), while all else is a long-term rating.7

In order to rate leasing companies, the historical development of the sector is reviewed, and its present state is analyzed. The main trends in the sector are analyzed, as well as the manner, in which these influence the scrutinized leasing company. Based on this analysis, a forecast is made for the future development of the leasing sector. BCRA also reviews the legal framework, regulating the activity of the companies in the sector and the risks, resulting from its current state, and possible changes in it.

BCRA makes a detailed analysis of the competitive position and financial strength of the main (direct or indirect) shareholders in the rated leasing company. A strong major shareholder can be a source of know-how and other support. BCRA assesses the ability of the main shareholder to adequately capitalize the analyzed leasing company.

The management is being analyzed from the viewpoint of its competency, of the management structure created, of the practices applied, and of the existing systems for leasing company management. When appraising the management, the leasing company strategy, the vision of the managers for their business at present, and their forecasts for the future are also reviewed.

BCRA analyzes the operating activity of the rated company in details. The portfolio of the leasing company, as well as the market share and competitive position of the company are reviewed. Reviewed are also the relations of the Company with its counterparts, as well as the risks, which can arise from the agreements made and from the practices applied.

The financial state of the leasing company is an indicator for the overall strength of their business but also a direct source of risk, analyzed in four main areas: Profitability, Operating effectiveness, Indebtedness, and Liquidity. With a view of the specific activity of the leasing companies, the main point in the analysis is set on the management of the interest, currency, liquidity and credit risk, as well as on the risk of the residual activity.

The result from applying the listed above analysis comprises the so-called base rating. The final stage of the calculation of the rating is the potential adjustment of the base rating due to the general sovereign-risk factors, as evaluated by BCRA using the Sovereign Rating Methodology.

The rating “ceiling” is the term used for the upper limitation on the rating caused by sovereign-risk factors. Slightly less limited are the ratings of those subsidiaries whose direct or indirect majority shareholder is a foreign legal entity able in one way or another to make up for the deleterious effects of the local environment. The ceiling of local subsidiaries would surpass the sovereign rating by one or more notches, which in turn cause their final rating to surpass the sovereign rating. BCRA could also issue a national-scale rating to entities or issues which is relative, in comparison to other rated entities in the country, taking into consideration only the specific risk factors of the entities and not the effect of the local environment on them.

Rating in the Leasing Business

Books

Hans-Michael Heitmüller, Marijan Nemet and Oliver Everling (Publisher): Rating in the Leasing Business: Significance and Requirements Against the Background of Current Market Developments, Fritz Knapp Verlag GmbH, http://www.knapp-verlag.de/, Frankfurt am Main 2010 , 363 pages, ISBN 978-3-8314-0834-4.

The rating of leasing companies is becoming increasingly important. Because of the financial crisis, the refinancing of leasing companies is made more difficult. This makes the rating a success factor for them in the context of a broader investor approach. But even rating judgments are not free of criticism and contradiction. Appropriate standards must therefore be discussed and questioned as well as the optimal operating structure and size of the leasing company itself. The requirements for operations management and especially for risk management are constantly increasing.

For the first time in the literature, the rating of leasing companies is addressed in this book. Here, the focus is on opportunities and default risks, as they are to be assessed according to Basel II using rating scales. The aim is to clarify the procedures and assessment benchmarks with regard to leasing companies, to show approaches to implementation and to clarify the benefits and functions of ratings for leasing companies in addition to legal, tax and technical aspects.

The book is a valuable guide for anyone involved in investment and finance issues related to leasing companies. In other words, executives and professionals in banking, insurance, accounting and tax consulting firms, consulting and IT companies, law firms, regulators and authorities, credit rating agencies and research firms, and universities benefit from this book.

Hans-Michael Heitmüller, Marijan Nemet und Oliver Everling (Hrsg.): Rating im Leasinggeschäft: Bedeutung und Anforderungen vor dem Hintergrund aktueller Marktentwicklungen, Fritz Knapp Verlag GmbH, http://www.knapp-verlag.de/, Frankfurt am Main 2010, 363 Seiten, ISBN 978-3-8314-0834-4.