Research: Rating Action: Moody’s Affirms Baa1 Rating of Nuveen Finance, LLC; outlook remains stable

0



New York, November 11, 2022 — Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) has affirmed Nuveen Finance, LLC’s (“NFL”) long-term and senior unsecured issuer Baa1 ratings. Moody’s also affirmed the Aa2 senior unsecured debt rating of Nuveen, LLC. The rating outlook remains stable.

The following scoring actions were taken:

..Issuer: Nuveen Finance, LLC

… LT Issuer Rating, confirmed at Baa1

… Senior Unsecured rating, confirmed at Baa1

… Outlook, remains stable

..Issuer: Nuveen, LLC

… Sustained senior unsecured rating confirmed at Aa2

… Outlook, remains stable

RATINGS RATIONALE

The NFL’s Baa1 rating affirmation reflects the improvement in the NFL’s standalone credit profile, but also a reduction in the increase in parental support in its rating from three notches to two notches. The reduction in the rise in support in the NFL’s rating, which was previously unusually high at three notches, is mainly due to the strengthening of the NFL’s autonomous credit profile which brings its own credit quality closer to the credit quality of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA). and reduces the need for parental support.

NFL’s standalone credit profile has strengthened in recent years as the company’s business diversification, leverage and profitability metrics have steadily improved. As a result, the NFL is now better positioned to manage today’s challenging operating environment than it was just a few years ago. Moody’s acknowledged the improvement in its credit profile by raising our standalone rating of its credit profile from Baa3 to Ba1.

NFL has delivered consistently above-industry average organic growth in assets under management, which has helped grow its asset base and revenue; allowing the company to deleverage regularly such that the financial leverage at September 30, 2022 was around 3 times the debt/EBITDA ratio, as adjusted by Moody’s, compared to more than 4 times in 2018.

A focus on expense management, such as streamlining subscale affiliate stores, downsizing and other cost actions, has helped the company increase margins. Profitability as measured by GAAP pre-tax income margins has averaged over 25% over the past 5 years. We expect these cost-cutting measures to mitigate the earnings impact of declining markets for the remainder of 2022.

Recent complementary acquisitions have also strengthened Nuveen’s alternative and responsible investment capabilities by improving its business mix. Notably, its recently announced acquisition of Arcmont Asset Management, one of Europe’s largest private debt managers, will add scale and diversification to the firm’s private debt platform as well as potential improve the NFL’s geographic footprint.

TIAA, NFL’s parent company, continues to demonstrate a strong willingness to provide support, as evidenced by its capital contribution to fund Nuveen, LLC’s acquisition of Arcmont. However, due to the improvement in the NFL’s standalone credit profile, Moody’s has decided to reduce the level of sponsor improvement in NFL ratings from three notches to two notches to further align the improvement in the support of the NFL’s rating over the ratings of other affiliates where we expect parental support would be more likely than not in all stress scenarios.

The assertion of Nuveen, LLC’s Aa2 senior unsecured rating reflects the implied and expressed endorsement of TIAA, including an irrevocable and unconditional guarantee.

FACTORS THAT MAY LEAD TO IMPROVEMENT OR DEGRADATION OF RATINGS

NFL ratings could be upgraded if: 1) leverage (as defined by Moody’s) is kept below 2.5x debt to EBITDA; 2) TIAA provides explicit NFL debt support; or 3) Nuveen accelerates its international operations leading to better geographic diversification.

Factors that could cause rating downgrades include: 1) a downgrade in Nuveen’s scale due to a combination of market and net flow impacts; or 2) the debt/EBITDA ratio (as defined by Moody’s) is maintained above 3.5x; or 3) sale of Nuveen by TIAA.

Factors that could cause upward pressure on Nuveen, LLC’s ratings include a ratings upgrade from TIAA. Conversely, factors that could put downward pressure on its ratings include a downgrade in TIAA’s ratings.

The main methodology used in these ratings is the Asset Managers methodology published in November 2019 and available on https://ratings.moodys.com/api/rmc-documents/65403. Otherwise, please see the Scoring Methodologies page on https://ratings.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY INFORMATION

For details on key rating assumptions and Moody’s sensitivity analysis, see the Methodological Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions sections in the Disclosure Form. Moody’s rating symbols and definitions can be found at https://ratings.moodys.com/rating-definitions.

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security, this announcement provides certain regulatory information regarding each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security or under a program for which ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody’s rating practices. For ratings issued on a media provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory information relating to the credit rating action on the media provider and each particular credit rating action for securities whose credit ratings are derived from the support provider’s credit rating. For the provisional ratings, this press release provides certain regulatory information relating to the provisional rating assigned, and to a final rating that may be assigned after the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the structure and conditions of the transaction n have not changed prior to the final rating being assigned in a way that would have affected the rating. For more information, please see the issuer/transaction page of the respective issuer at https://ratings.moodys.com.

For all relevant securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the lead entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action , the associated regulatory information will be that of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to the jurisdiction: Ancillary services, Disclosures to the rated entity, Disclosures to be provided by the rated entity.

The ratings have been communicated to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued without modification resulting from such communication.

These notes are solicited. Please refer to Moody’s Policy for the Designation and Assignment of Unsolicited Credit Ratings available on its website. https://ratings.moodys.com.

The regulatory information contained in this press release applies to the credit rating and, if applicable, the outlook or rating revision relating thereto.

Moody’s general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis are available at https://ratings.moodys.com/documents/PBC_1288235.

The worldwide credit rating on this credit rating announcement was issued by one of Moody’s affiliates outside the EU and is approved by Moody’s Deutschland GmbH, An der Welle 5, Frankfurt am Main. -le-Main 60322, Germany, in accordance with Article 4(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on credit rating agencies. Further information on the EU approval status and the Moody’s office that issued the credit rating can be found at https://ratings.moodys.com.

The worldwide credit rating on this credit rating announcement has been issued by one of Moody’s affiliates outside the UK and is approved by Moody’s Investors Service Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5FA under the law applicable to credit rating agencies in the United Kingdom. . Further information on the UK endorsement status and the Moody’s office that issued the credit rating can be found at https://ratings.moodys.com.

Please see https://ratings.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and Moody’s legal entity that issued the rating.

Please see the issuer/transaction page at https://ratings.moodys.com for additional regulatory information for each credit rating.


Rokhaya Cissé, CFA
Vice President – Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
UNITED STATES
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Customer service: 1 212 553 1653

Robert M. Callagy
Associate General Manager
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Customer service: 1 212 553 1653

Release Office:
Moody’s Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
UNITED STATES
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Customer Service: 1 212 553 1653

Share.

About Author

Comments are closed.