JPMorgan Said to Break Moody’s Lock on Commercial-Mortgage Bonds

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has selected Standard & Poor’s to rate its planned $1.5 billion commercial mortgage bond offering, breaking the stranglehold Moody’s Investors Service has had on the market for 14 months.

The transaction is set to be offered to investors next week without a rating from Moody’s, according to a person familiar with the deal who declined to be identified because the transaction hasn’t been announced. Elizabeth Seymour, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan, declined to comment.

Wall Street banks have been bypassing S&P’s ratings for commercial-mortgage bonds since the company derailed a $1.5 billion sale by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. last year by pulling its grades on the securities. Since then, S&P hasn’t rated a so-called conduit deal composed of loans from multiple borrowers, the biggest part of the market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. JPMorgan’s offering was reported earlier today by the Wall Street Journal.

Demand for commercial-mortgage backed securities is surging as investors seek riskier assets with the Federal Reserve saying it’s likely to hold its benchmark lending rate near zero at least through mid-2015. Yields on debt linked to shopping malls, skyscrapers and hotels reached a record low 2.19 percent yesterday, according to the Barclays Investment Grade CMBS index.

Wall Street banks have issued about $3.83 billion in commercial-mortgage backed securities this month, Bloomberg data show. Issuance will likely surpass $40 billion this year, Jefferies Group Inc. analysts said in a Sept. 11 report.

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