A meeting held Tuesday between some bond insurers and regulators to discuss possible industry involvement in the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program was "very productive," according to the Wisconsin insurance commissioner's office.
The firms and regulators will continue to look at the issues and evaluate their options, said spokesman Jim Guidry.
Wisconsin insurance commissioner Sean Dilweg last week said he would meet with bond insurers and other regulators to work on an industry-wide response to the Treasury plan.
A spokesman from the New York Insurance Department confirmed the meeting was held but declined to comment. New York insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo said on CNBC last week it would be "very logical to think about" using $10 billion to $20 billion of the $700 billion TARP plan as a "backstop" for insurers.
"That, in my mind, would be one of the cheapest, most quick ways to unlock the municipal bond market," Dinallo said.
In submitting a response to the Treasury's request for proposals, the insurers could takes steps such as asking the government to buy assets from their guaranteed investment contract portfolios or to let them assist with the government's guarantee program. Analysts have said it remains unclear how much the TARP plan could help the insurers.
Ambac Financial Group Inc., one of the companies pushing for an industry-wide solution, earlier this week announced it had promoted David Wallis to president and chief executive officer. He will receive a base salary of $1 million per year, and the compensation committee will decide on his 2008 bonus and an equity award early next year, the firm said yesterday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Wallis takes over from interim CEO and president Michael Callen, who will remain with Ambac as executive chairman of the board of directors.
Radian Group Inc. also yesterday released details on its termination agreement with departing Radian Asset Assurance Inc. president Stephen Cooke. He will receive a lump sum payment of $2.7 million, among other benefits, when he leaves the firm at the end of the year, according to a filing with the SEC. Cooke will serve as a consultant for one year following his departure, the agreement said.
Executive vice president and chief operating officer David J. Beidler will take over as president of Radian Asset Assurance effective Jan. 1, 2009.