The moment when the news blast comes in. You glance at the title. “New rating downgrades”. Dismay. No other way to describe it. It’s not shock really: You’ve been expecting this to happen, sooner or later. Instantly, several switches are starting to go down in your mind. You start counting: One, two, three … forty. Yes, forty. The number of transactions that may have been hit. Check the documents. Check the triggers. Check the correspondence records. Check the announcements on ISE. Check the deadlines. Some of these transactions only provide for a five business day window to take remedial action. Be mindful. Start contacting the liquidity facility providers, the trustees and servicers. Check if collateral arrangements have been put in place. Always be aware of the deadlines. Don’t miss those deadlines. Ask what action the relevant banks have taken or expect to take in response to the breach of the downgrade triggers. Ask what happened during the previous downgrades. And then start drafting. RAC requests, waivers, standby drawings and amendment deeds. And then do some more drafting: extension of waivers, new RAC requests, repayment of standby facilities. And notices to Noteholders. Several weeks go by. Exhale. It’s all over. Until the next round of downgrades it is.
Being a junior associate at RS’ Structured Finance Group often amounts to being thrown in at the deep end. At the same time, it also means working in a mental candy land. Yes, the structures are complicated and, more often than not, the parties that did the original drafting in the hey days had never envisaged that the AAA ratings they were looking at would ever climb down to Baa3. But in reality, this only means that you get to think, every day, for a living. You learn how to task manage, as many as forty or fifty transactions at a time. Because that is the nature of the beast. And you wouldn’t want your job to be any less exciting, would you?