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Rating Agency Upgrades AXA Unit

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Moody’s Investors Service has raised the ratings of a U.S. arm of a large French financial services company.

Moody’s, New York, has increased the issuer rating on senior unsecured debt issued by AXA Financial Inc., New York, a unit of AXA S.A., Paris, to A2, from A3.

Moody’s also has affirmed the Aa3 insurance financial strength rating on AXA Financial’s principal U.S. life insurance company, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company.

AXA S.A., the parent company, has a Moody’s rating of A2 on its senior unsecured debt, Moody’s says.

Moody’s is increasing the AXA Financial credit rating in part because the rating agency has decided to raise the issuer rating of another AXA Financial affiliate, AllianceBernstein L.P., to A1, from A2, Moody’s says.

Moody’s also likes AXA S.A.’s strong implicit support for AXA Financial and the diversification of cash flow that AXA Financial gets by having separate investment management and insurance operations, the rating agency says.

Possible risks at AXA Financial include a high level of exposure to potential stock market volatility related to the company’s large variable annuity, variable life, and investment management businesses, Moody’s says.


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