CNBC Stock Blog

I Want to See Jefferies' Balance Sheet: Sean Egan


Sean Egan, president of ratings agency Egan-Jones Rating Co., and Jefferies Group's chief critic, said he wants to look at the fine print of the firm's full financial results before deciding if  MF Global'sbanker has done enough to reduce its risk.

Jefferies reported a drop in quarterly earnings earlier Tuesday that still beat analyst expectations. During the period, Jefferies sold billions of dollars of Portuguese, Italian, Irish, Greek and Spanishdebt and reduced leverage to ease investor concern about its exposure to the European debt crisis and the viability of its business model in the wake of MF Global's collapse.

Jefferies Reduces its Balance Sheet

Jefferies CEO Richard Handler told CNBC that the world has changed, and people now fear leverage.

"Regardless of how clean a balance sheet one can claim they have, in this current climate people are very nervous and I believe everyone's balance sheet is under pressure to come down," he said.

One of those concerned about that leverage is Egan, whose firm reduced Jefferies' triple-B rating one notch to triple-B rating minus in November, pointing to sovereign debtobligations at the time of $2.7 billion that the company reported in its last quarterly filing.

Egan told CNBC Tuesday he’ll be "looking at the release of the full balance sheet [with the company's 10-K] and whether or not there'll be any developments out of the MF Global situation, so risk managers can take comfort that it’s not going to be repeated."

He said Jefferies "certainly overperformed" in cutting back its sovereign exposure and leverage and "appears to be very well managed," but noted that risks remain.

Egan said he has no personal or client interest against Jefferies, saying the November downgrade "is entirely reasonable and we stand by that."

—Reuters contributed to this report.

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Disclosure information was not available for Sean Egan or his company.