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10-K
AGNC INVESTMENT CORP. filed this Form 10-K on 02/25/2015
Entire Document
 
AGNC 10K 12/31/14
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the year ended December 31, 2014
OR
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission file number 001-34057
AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY CORP.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
26-1701984
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
2 Bethesda Metro Center, 14th Floor
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
(Address of principal executive offices)
(301) 968-9300
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange
on which registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share
The NASDAQ Global Select Market
8.000% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock
The NASDAQ Global Select Market
7.750% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock
The NASDAQ Global Select Market
 
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(g) of the Act: NONE
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes ý No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes   ¨   No   ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).   Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definition of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer" and "smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer     ý                    Accelerated filer    ¨
     Non-accelerated filer   ¨ (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Smaller Reporting Company    ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).   Yes ¨  No ý 
As of June 30, 2014, the aggregate market value of the Registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant was approximately $7.3 billion based upon the closing price of the Registrant's common stock of $23.41 per share as reported on The NASDAQ Global Select Market on that date. (For this computation, the Registrant has excluded the market value of all shares of its common stock reported as beneficially owned by executive officers and directors of the Registrant and certain other stockholders; such an exclusion shall not be deemed to constitute an admission that any such person is an "affiliate" of the Registrant.)  
The number of shares of the issuer's common stock, $0.01 par value, outstanding as of January 31, 2015 was 352,788,707.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE. The Registrant's definitive proxy statement for the 2015 Annual Meeting of Stockholders is incorporated by reference into certain sections of Part III herein.  
Certain exhibits previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission are incorporated by reference into Part IV of this report.
 




AMERICAN CAPITAL AGENCY CORP.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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PART I.

Item 1. Business  
American Capital Agency Corp. ("AGNC," the "Company," "we," "us" and "our") was organized on January 7, 2008 and commenced operations on May 20, 2008 following the completion of our initial public offering. Our common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "AGNC."   We are externally managed by American Capital AGNC Management, LLC (our "Manager"), an affiliate of American Capital, Ltd. ("American Capital").
We operate so as to qualify to be taxed as a real estate investment trust ("REIT") under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the "Internal Revenue Code"). As such, we are required to distribute annually 90% of our taxable net income. As long as we qualify as a REIT, we will generally not be subject to U.S. federal or state corporate taxes on our taxable net income to the extent that we distribute all of our annual taxable net income to our stockholders. It is our intention to distribute 100% of our taxable net income, after application of available tax attributes, within the limits prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code, which may extend into the subsequent taxable year.
We earn income primarily from investing on a leveraged basis in agency mortgage-backed securities ("agency MBS"). These investments consist of residential mortgage pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations ("CMOs") for which the principal and interest payments are guaranteed by a government-sponsored enterprise, such as the Federal National Mortgage Association ("Fannie Mae") and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation ("Freddie Mac"), or by a U.S. Government agency, such as the Government National Mortgage Association ("Ginnie Mae") (collectively referred to as "GSEs"). We may also invest in agency debenture securities issued by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae or the Federal Home Loan Bank and in other assets reasonably related to agency securities.
Our principal objective is to preserve our net book value (also referred to as "net asset value," "NAV" and "stockholders' equity") while generating attractive risk-adjusted returns for distribution to our stockholders through regular monthly dividends from the combination of our net interest income and net realized gains and losses on our investments and hedging activities. We fund our investments primarily through borrowings structured as repurchase agreements.
Our Investment Strategy
Our investment strategy is designed to:
manage an investment portfolio consisting primarily of agency securities and assets reasonably related to agency securities that seeks to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns; 
capitalize on discrepancies in the relative valuations in the agency securities market;  
manage financing, interest rate, prepayment and extension risks;  
preserve our net book value;  
provide regular monthly distributions to our common stockholders;  
continue to qualify as a REIT; and  
remain exempt from the requirements of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "Investment Company Act").
 Our Targeted Investments  
Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities
The agency MBS in which we invest consist of agency residential pass-through certificates and collateralized mortgage obligations:  
Agency Residential Pass-Through Certificates. Agency residential pass-through certificates are securities representing interests in "pools" of mortgage loans secured by residential real property where monthly payments of both principal and interest are guaranteed by a GSE to holders of the securities, in effect "passing through" the monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on the mortgage loans that underlie the securities, net of fees paid to the issuer/guarantor and servicers of the securities, to the holders of the securities. In general, mortgage pass-through certificates distribute cash flows from the underlying collateral on a pro rata basis among the holders of the securities. Holders of the securities also receive guarantor advances of principal and interest for delinquent loans in the mortgage pools.  
Agency Collateralized Mortgage Obligations. Agency CMOs are securities that are structured instruments representing interests in agency residential pass-through certificates. Agency CMOs consist of multiple classes of securities, with

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each class having specified characteristics, including stated maturity dates, weighted average lives and rules governing principal and interest distribution. Monthly payments of principal and interest, including prepayments, are typically returned to different classes based on rules described in the trust documents. Principal and interest payments may also be divided between holders of different securities in the agency CMO and some securities may only receive interest payments while others may only receive principal payments.
The agency MBS that we acquire provide funds for mortgage loans made to residential homeowners. These securities generally represent interests in pools of mortgage loans made by mortgage bankers, commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, and other mortgage lenders. These pools of mortgage loans are assembled for sale to investors, such as us, by various government-related or private organizations.
Agency MBS differ from other forms of traditional debt securities, which normally provide for periodic payments of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or on specified call dates. Instead, agency MBS provide for a monthly payment, which may consist of both principal and interest. In addition, principal may be prepaid, without penalty, at par at any time due to prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. These differences can result in significantly greater price and yield volatility than is the case with traditional fixed-income securities.  
Various factors affect the rate at which mortgage prepayments occur, including changes in the level of and directional trends in housing prices, interest rates, general economic conditions, loan age and size, loan-to-value ratio, the location of the property and social and demographic conditions. Additionally, changes to GSE guarantee fees, underwriting practices or other governmental programs could also significantly impact prepayment rates or expectations. Also, the pace at which the loans underlying our securities become seriously delinquent or are modified and the timing of GSE repurchases of such loans from our securities can materially impact the rate of prepayments. Generally, prepayments on agency MBS increase during periods of falling mortgage interest rates and decrease during periods of rising mortgage interest rates. However, this may not always be the case. We may reinvest principal repayments at a yield that is lower or higher than the yield on the repaid investment, thus affecting our net interest income by altering the average yield on our assets.
When interest rates are declining, the value of agency MBS with prepayment options may not increase as much as other fixed income securities or could even decrease. The rate of prepayments on underlying mortgages affect the price and volatility of agency MBS and may have the effect of shortening or extending the duration of the security beyond what was anticipated at the time of purchase. When interest rates rise, our holdings of agency MBS may experience reduced returns if the owners of the underlying mortgages pay off their mortgages slower than anticipated. This could cause the prices of our mortgage assets to fall more than we anticipated and for our hedge portfolio to underperform relative to the decline in the value of our mortgage assets, thus reducing our net book value. This is generally referred to as "extension risk".  
Agency MBS are collateralized by pools of either fixed-rate mortgage loans, adjustable-rate mortgage loans ("ARMs") or hybrid ARMs. Hybrid ARMs are mortgage loans that have interest rates that are fixed for an initial period (typically three, five, seven or 10 years) and, thereafter, reset at regular intervals subject to interest rate caps. Our allocation of investments among securities collateralized by fixed-rate mortgage loans, ARMs or hybrid ARMs depends on our assessment of the relative value of the securities, which is based on numerous factors including, but not limited to, expected future prepayment trends, supply and demand, costs of financing, costs of hedging, expected future interest rate volatility and the overall shape of the U.S. Treasury and interest rate swap yield curves.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
We primarily invest in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agency MBS. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are stockholder-owned corporations chartered by Congress with a public mission to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S. housing market. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are currently regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency ("FHFA"), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury ("U.S. Treasury"), and are currently operating under the conservatorship of FHFA. The U.S. Treasury has agreed to support the continuing operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with any necessary capital contributions while in conservatorship. However, the U.S. government does not guarantee the securities, or other obligations, of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate in the secondary mortgage market. They purchase residential mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities from primary mortgage market institutions, such as commercial banks, savings and loan associations, mortgage banking companies, seller/servicers, securities dealers and other investors. Through the mortgage securitization process, they package mortgage loans into guaranteed MBS for sale to investors, such as us, in the form of pass-through certificates and guarantee the payment of principal and interest on the securities or, on the underlying loans held within the securitization trust, in exchange for guarantee fees. The underlying loans must meet certain underwriting standards established by Fannie Mae and

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Freddie Mac (referred to as "conforming loans") and may be fixed or adjustable rate loans with original terms to maturity generally up to 40 years.
Ginnie Mae:
Ginnie Mae is a wholly-owned corporate instrumentality of the United States within HUD. Ginnie Mae guarantees the timely payment of the principal and interest on certificates that represent an interest in a pool of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration ("FHA"), or partially guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and other loans eligible for inclusion in mortgage pools underlying Ginnie Mae certificates. Section 306(g) of the Housing Act provides that the full faith and credit of the United States is pledged to the payment of all amounts which may be required to be paid under any guaranty by Ginnie Mae. Ginnie Mae certificates are primarily backed by single-family mortgage loans.
Investment Methods  
We purchase agency securities either in initial offerings or on the secondary market through broker-dealers or similar entities. We may also utilize to-be-announced forward contracts ("TBA securities") in order to invest in agency MBS or to hedge our investments. A TBA security is a forward contract for the purchase or the sale of agency securities at a predetermined price, face amount, issuer, coupon and stated maturity on an agreed-upon future date, but the particular agency securities to be delivered are not identified until shortly before the TBA settlement date. We may also choose, prior to settlement, to move the settlement of these securities out to a later date by entering into an offsetting position (referred to as a "pair off"), net settling the paired off positions for cash, and simultaneously entering into a similar TBA contract for a later settlement date, which is commonly collectively referred to as a "dollar roll" transaction.
 Our Active Portfolio Management Strategy  
Our Manager employs on our behalf an active management strategy to achieve our principal objectives of generating attractive risk-adjusted returns and preservation of our net book value. Our active management strategy involves buying and selling securities in all sectors of the agency securities market, including fixed-rate agency securities, adjustable-rate agency securities, options on agency securities, agency CMOs and other assets reasonably related to agency securities based on our Manager's continual assessment of the relative risk-return profile of these securities and ability to hedge a portion of our exposure to market risks. Therefore, the composition of our portfolio and hedging strategies will vary as our Manager believes changes to market conditions, risks and valuations warrant. Consequently, we may experience investment gains or losses when we sell securities that our Manager no longer believes will provide attractive risk-adjusted returns or when our Manager believes more attractive alternatives are available elsewhere in the agency securities market. We may also experience gains or losses as a result of our hedging strategies. Our leverage may also fluctuate as we pursue our active management strategy, but we generally would expect our leverage to be six to eleven times our stockholders' equity.
 Investment Committee and Investment Guidelines
 The investment committee established by our Manager consists of Messrs. Malon Wilkus, John R. Erickson, Samuel A. Flax and Thomas A. McHale, each of whom is an officer of our Manager. The role of the investment committee is to monitor the performance of our Manager with respect to our investment guidelines and investment strategy, to monitor our investment portfolio and to monitor our compliance requirements related to our intention to qualify as a REIT and to remain exempt from registration as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. The investment committee meets as frequently as it believes is required to maintain prudent oversight of our investment activities. Our Board of Directors receives an investment report and reviews our investment portfolio and related compliance with the investment guidelines on at least a quarterly basis. Our Board of Directors does not review or approve individual investments, but receives notification in the event that we operate outside of our operating policies or investment guidelines. 
Our Board of Directors has approved the following investment guidelines:  
all of our investments (other than for hedging purposes and investments in approved broker-dealers) shall be in agency securities or in assets reasonably related to agency securities;
no investment shall be made that would cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes;  
no investment shall be made that would cause us to be regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act; and  
prior to entering into any proposed investment transaction with American Capital or any of its affiliates, a majority of our independent directors must approve the terms of the transaction.  

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The investment committee may change these investment guidelines at any time, including a change that would permit us to invest in other mortgage related investments, with the approval of our Board of Directors, (which must include a majority of our independent directors), but without any approval from our stockholders.
 Our Financing Strategy
 As part of our investment strategy, we leverage our investment portfolio to increase potential returns to our stockholders. Our primary source of financing is through short-term repurchase agreements. A repurchase transaction acts as a financing arrangement under which we effectively pledge our investment securities as collateral to secure a short-term loan. Our borrowings pursuant to these repurchase transactions generally have maturities that range from 30 days to one year, but may have maturities of fewer than 30 days or up to five or more years. Under our repurchase agreements we typically pay a floating rate based on the one, three or six month London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, plus or minus a fixed spread.
Our leverage may vary periodically depending on market conditions, our Manager's assessment of risk and returns and our ability to continue to borrow funds sufficient to fund acquisitions of agency securities. We generally would expect our leverage to be within six to eleven times the amount of our stockholders' equity. However, under certain market conditions, we may operate at leverage levels outside of this range for extended periods of time.
We have master repurchase agreements with 34 financial institutions as of December 31, 2014. The terms of the repurchase transaction borrowings under our master repurchase agreements generally conform to the terms in the standard master repurchase agreement as published by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association ("SIFMA") as to repayment, margin requirements and the segregation of all securities we have initially sold under the repurchase transaction. In addition, each lender typically requires that we include supplemental terms and conditions to the standard master repurchase agreement. Typical supplemental terms and conditions include changes to the margin maintenance requirements, required "haircuts," purchase price maintenance requirements, requirements that all controversies related to the repurchase agreement be litigated in a particular jurisdiction and cross default provisions. These provisions differ for each of our lenders and certain of these terms are not determined until we engage in a specific repurchase transaction.  
We may also seek to obtain other sources of financing depending on market conditions. We may finance the acquisition of agency MBS by entering into TBA dollar roll transactions in which we would sell a TBA contract for current month settlement and simultaneously purchase a similar TBA contract for a forward settlement date. Prior to the forward settlement date, we may choose to roll the position out to a later date by entering into an offsetting TBA position, net settling the paired off positions for cash, and simultaneously entering into a similar TBA contract for a later settlement date. In such transactions, the TBA contract purchased for a forward settlement date is priced at a discount to the TBA contract sold for settlement/pair off in the current month. This difference (or discount) is referred to as the "price drop." The price drop is the economic equivalent of net interest carry income on the underlying agency MBS over the roll period (interest income less implied financing cost) and is commonly referred to as "dollar roll income." Consequently, dollar roll transactions represent a form of off-balance sheet financing. In evaluating our overall leverage at risk, we consider both our on-balance and off-balance sheet financing.
Our Risk Management Strategy  
We use a variety of strategies to hedge a portion of our exposure to market risks, including interest rate, prepayment and extension risks, to the extent that our Manager believes is prudent, taking into account our investment strategy, the cost of the hedging transactions and our intention to qualify as a REIT. As a result, we may not hedge certain interest rate, prepayment or extension risks if our Manager believes that bearing such risks enhances our return relative to our risk/return profile, or the hedging transaction would negatively impact our REIT status.

Interest Rate Risk. We hedge some of our exposure to potential interest rate mismatches between the interest we earn on our longer term investments and the interest we pay on our shorter term borrowings. Because a majority of our funding is in the form of repurchase agreements, our financing costs fluctuate based on short-term interest rate indices, such as three month LIBOR. Because our investments are assets that primarily have fixed rates of interest and could mature in up to 40 years, the interest we earn on those assets generally does not move in tandem with the interest that we pay on our repurchase agreements; therefore, we may experience reduced income or losses due to adverse rate movements. In order to attempt to mitigate a portion of such risk, we utilize certain hedging techniques to attempt to lock in a portion of the net interest spread between the interest we earn on our assets and the interest we pay on our financing costs.

Additionally, because prepayments on residential mortgages generally accelerate when interest rates decrease and slow when interest rates increase, mortgage securities typically have "negative convexity." In other words, certain mortgage securities in which we invest may increase in price more slowly than similar duration bonds, or even fall in value, as interest rates decline. Conversely, certain mortgage securities in which we invest may decrease in value more quickly

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than similar duration bonds as interest rates increase. In order to manage this risk, we monitor, among other things, the "duration gap" between our mortgage assets and our hedge portfolio as well as our convexity exposure. Duration is the estimated percentage change in market value of our mortgage assets or our hedge portfolio that would be caused by a parallel change in short and long-term interest rates. Convexity exposure relates to the way the duration of our mortgage assets or our hedge portfolio changes when the interest rate or prepayment environment changes.

The value of our mortgage assets may also be adversely impacted by fluctuations in the shape of the yield curve or by changes in the market's expectation about the volatility of future interest rates. We analyze our exposure to non-parallel changes in interest rates and to changes in the market's expectation of future interest rate volatility and take actions to attempt to mitigate these risks.

Prepayment Risk. Because residential borrowers have the option to prepay their mortgage loans at par at any time, we face the risk that we will experience a return of principal on our investments faster than anticipated. Prepayment risk generally increases when interest rates decline. In this scenario, our financial results may be adversely affected as we may have to invest that principal at potentially lower yields.

Extension Risk. Because residential borrowers have the option to make only scheduled payments on their mortgage loans, rather than prepay their mortgage loans, we face the risk that a return of capital on our investment will occur slower than anticipated. Extension risk generally increases when interest rates rise. In this scenario, our financial results may be adversely affected as we may have to finance our investments at potentially higher costs without the ability to reinvest principal into higher yielding securities.

The principal instruments that we use to hedge a portion of our exposure to interest rate, prepayment and extension risks are interest rate swaps and options to enter into interest rate swaps ("interest rate swaptions"). We also purchase or sell TBA contracts and utilize U.S. Treasury securities and U.S. Treasury futures contracts, primarily through short sales. We may also purchase or write put or call options on TBA securities and we may invest in other types of mortgage derivatives, such as interest and principal-only securities.
Our hedging instruments are generally not designed to protect our net book value from "spread risk" (also referred to as "basis risk"), which is the risk of an increase of the market spread between the yield on our agency securities and the benchmark yield on U.S. Treasury securities or interest rate swaps. The inherent spread risk associated with our agency securities and the resulting fluctuations in fair value of these securities can occur independent of interest rates and may relate to other factors impacting the mortgage and fixed income markets, such as actual or anticipated monetary policy actions by the Federal Reserve ("Fed"), liquidity, or changes in required rates of return on different assets. Consequently, while we use interest rate swaps and other supplemental hedges to attempt to protect our net book value against moves in interest rates, such instruments typically will not protect our net book value against spread risk and, therefore, the value of our agency securities and our net book value could decline.
The risk management actions we take may lower our earnings and dividends. In addition, some of our hedges are intended to provide protection against larger rate moves and as a result may be relatively ineffective for smaller changes in interest rates. There can be no certainty that our Manager's projections of our exposures to interest rates, prepayments, extension or other risks will be accurate or that our hedging activities will be effective and, therefore, actual results could differ materially.
Income from hedging transactions that we enter into to manage risk may not constitute qualifying gross income under one or both of the gross income tests applicable to REITs (see "Real Estate Investment Trust Requirements"). Therefore, we may have to limit our use of certain advantageous hedging techniques, which could expose us to greater risks than we would otherwise want to bear, or implement those hedges through a taxable REIT subsidiary ("TRS"). Implementing our hedges through a TRS could increase the cost of our hedging activities because a TRS is subject to tax on income and gains.
Other Investment Strategies  
We may enter into other short or long term investment strategies as the opportunities arise.  
Our Manager
We are externally managed and advised by our Manager pursuant to the terms of a management agreement. Our Manager is an indirect subsidiary of American Capital Asset Management, LLC, which is a portfolio company of American Capital, Ltd., a publicly-traded private equity firm and global asset manager (NASDAQ: ACAS). American Capital both directly and through its asset management business, originates, underwrites and manages investments in middle market private equity, leveraged finance, real estate, energy & infrastructure and structured products. American Capital, founded in 1986, manages $22 billion of assets,

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including assets on its balance sheet and fee earning assets under management by affiliated managers, with $86 billion of total gross assets under management (including levered assets) as of December 31, 2014. American Capital has eight offices in the United States and Europe.
The sister company of our Manager is the external manager of American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. (NASDAQ: MTGE) ("MTGE"), a publicly-traded REIT that invests in agency mortgage investments, non-agency mortgage investments and other mortgage related investments. In connection with our initial public offering, American Capital committed not to sponsor another investment vehicle that invests predominantly in agency securities that represent undivided beneficial interests in a group or pool of one or more mortgages, or whole-pool agency securities, for so long as we are managed by an affiliate of American Capital. Thus, MTGE's investment portfolio is expected to consist of assets that are not predominantly whole-pool agency securities for so long as we are managed by an affiliate of American Capital. 
Our Manager is responsible for administering our business activities and day-to-day operations, subject to the supervision and oversight of our Board of Directors. All of our officers and the members of our mortgage investment team and other support personnel are employees of either the parent company of our Manager or American Capital. Because neither we nor our Manager have any employees, our Manager has entered into an administrative services agreement with American Capital and the parent company of our Manager, pursuant to which our Manager has access to their employees, infrastructure, business relationships, management expertise, information technologies, capital raising capabilities, legal and compliance functions, and accounting, treasury and investor relations capabilities, to enable our Manager to fulfill all of its responsibilities under the management agreement. We are not a party to the administrative services agreement.
Malon Wilkus is our Chair and Chief Executive Officer and the Chief Executive Officer of our Manager and its parent company, American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC. Mr. Wilkus is also the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of MTGE and the Chief Executive Officer of its manager, American Capital MTGE Management, LLC. In addition, Mr. Wilkus is the Chair and Chief Executive Officer of American Capital Senior Floating, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ACSF), a publicly traded non-diversified closed-end investment management company. Mr. Wilkus is the founder of American Capital, and has served as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1986, except for the period from 1997 to 1998 during which he served as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. He also served as President of American Capital from 2001 to 2008 and from 1986 to 1999. Mr. Wilkus has also been the Chairman of European Capital Limited, a European private equity and mezzanine fund, since its formation in 2005. Additionally, Mr. Wilkus is the Chief Executive Officer and President of American Capital Asset Management, LLC, which is the asset fund management portfolio company of American Capital. He has also served on the board of directors of over a dozen middle-market companies in various industries.
Gary Kain is the President of our Manager and also serves as our President and Chief Investment Officer, with primary oversight for all of our investments. He is also the President and Chief Investment Officer of MTGE and the President of its manager. Mr. Kain joined American Capital in January 2009 as a Senior Vice President and Managing Director and has served in various other roles with American Capital and its affiliates. Prior to joining American Capital, Mr. Kain served as Senior Vice President of Investments and Capital Markets of Freddie Mac from May 2008 to January 2009. He also served as Senior Vice President of Mortgage Investments & Structuring of Freddie Mac from February 2005 to April 2008, during which time he was responsible for managing all of Freddie Mac's mortgage investment activities for its $700 billion retained portfolio. From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Kain served as Vice President of Mortgage Portfolio Strategy at Freddie Mac. From 1995 to 2001, he served as head trader in Freddie Mac’s Securities Sales & Trading Group, where he was responsible for managing all trading decisions, including REMIC structuring and underwriting, hedging all mortgage positions, income generation, and risk management. Prior to that, he served as a senior trader, responsible for managing the adjustable-rate mortgage and REMIC sectors.

John R. Erickson is our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and a member of our Board of Directors, and Executive Vice President and Treasurer of our Manager and American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC. Mr. Erickson is also the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and a member of the board of directors of MTGE and the Executive Vice President and Treasurer of its manager, American Capital MTGE Management, LLC. In addition, he is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of American Capital Senior Floating, Ltd. and the Executive Vice President and Treasurer of American Capital Asset Management, LLC. Mr. Erickson has also served as President, Structured Finance of American Capital since 2008 and as its Chief Financial Officer since 1998. From 1991 to 1998, Mr. Erickson was the Chief Financial Officer of Storage USA, Inc., a REIT formerly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: SUS).

Samuel A. Flax is our Executive Vice President and Secretary and a member of our Board of Directors, and Executive Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of our Manager and American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC. Mr. Flax is also Executive Vice President and Secretary and a member of the board of directors of MTGE and the Executive Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of its manager, American Capital MTGE Management, LLC. In addition, he is the Executive Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and Secretary of American Capital Senior Floating, Ltd. and American Capital Asset Management, LLC. Mr. Flax has also served as the Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer

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and Secretary of American Capital, Ltd. since January 2005. Mr. Flax was a partner in the corporate and securities practice group of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP from 1990 to January 2005. At Arnold & Porter LLP, he represented American Capital in raising debt and equity capital, advised the company on corporate, securities and other legal matters and represented the company in many of its investment transactions.
Peter J. Federico is the Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer of our Manager and also serves as our Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer. He is also the Senior Vice President and Chief Risk Officer of MTGE and its manager. He is primarily responsible for overseeing risk management activities for us and other funds managed by affiliates of our Manager. Mr. Federico joined the parent company of our Manager in May 2011. Prior to that, Mr. Federico served as Executive Vice President and Treasurer of Freddie Mac from October 2010 through May 2011, where he was primarily responsible for managing the company's investment activities for its retained portfolio and developing, implementing and managing risk mitigation strategies. He was also responsible for managing Freddie Mac's $1.2 trillion interest rate derivative portfolio and short and long-term debt issuance programs. Mr. Federico also served in a number of other capacities at Freddie Mac, including as Senior Vice President, Asset & Liability Management, after he joined the company in 1988.
Christopher J. Kuehl is a Senior Vice President of our Manager and also serves as our Senior Vice President, Agency Portfolio Investments. He is also the Senior Vice President, Agency Portfolio Investments of MTGE and Senior Vice President of its manager. He is primarily responsible for directing purchases and sales of agency securities for us and other funds managed by affiliates of our Manager. Mr. Kuehl joined the parent Company of our Manager in August 2010. Prior to that, Mr. Kuehl served as Vice President of Mortgage Investments & Structuring of Freddie Mac, where he was primarily responsible for directing Freddie Mac's purchases, sales and structuring activities for all MBS products, including fixed-rate mortgages, ARMs and CMOs. Prior to joining Freddie Mac in 2000, Mr. Kuehl was a Portfolio Manager with TeleBanc/Etrade Bank.
The Management Agreement  
We have entered into a management agreement with our Manager with a current renewal term through May 20, 2015, and automatic one-year extension options thereafter. The management agreement may only be terminated by either us or our Manager without cause, as defined in the management agreement, after the completion of the current renewal term, or the expiration of any automatic subsequent renewal term, provided that either party provides 180-days prior written notice of non-renewal of the management agreement. If we were not to renew the management agreement without cause, we must pay a termination fee on the last day of the applicable term, equal to three times the average annual management fee earned by our Manager during the prior 24-month period immediately preceding the most recently completed month prior to the effective date of termination. We may only not renew the management agreement with or without cause with the consent of a majority of our independent directors. Our Manager is responsible for, among other things, performing all of our day-to-day functions, determining investment criteria in conjunction with our Board of Directors, sourcing, analyzing and executing investments, asset sales and financings and performing asset management duties.  
We pay our Manager a management fee payable monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one-twelfth of 1.25% of our month-end stockholders' equity, adjusted to exclude the effect of any unrealized gains or losses included in either retained earnings or accumulated other comprehensive income ("OCI") (a separate component of stockholders' equity), each as computed in accordance with GAAP. There is no incentive compensation payable to our Manager pursuant to the management agreement.  
In addition, we reimburse our Manager for expenses directly related to our operations incurred by our Manager, but excluding employment-related expenses of our Manager's officers and employees and any American Capital employees who provide services to us pursuant to the management agreement.
Exemption from Regulation under the Investment Company Act  
We conduct our business so as not to become regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act, in reliance on the exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act. Section 3(c)(5)(C), as interpreted by the staff of the SEC, requires us to invest at least 55% of our assets in "mortgages and other liens on and interest in real estate" or "qualifying real estate interests" and at least 80% of our assets in qualifying real estate interests and "real estate-related assets." In satisfying this 55% requirement, based on pronouncements of the SEC staff, we treat agency MBS issued with respect to an underlying pool of mortgage loans in which we hold all of the certificates issued by the pool ("whole pool" securities) as qualifying real estate interests. We currently treat agency MBS in which we hold less than all of the certificates issued by the pool ("partial pool" securities) as real estate-related assets. We treat CMO securities as real-estate related assets. We treat agency debenture securities as non-qualifying real estate assets. 

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Real Estate Investment Trust Requirements
 We have elected to be taxed as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code. As long as we qualify as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to federal income taxes on our taxable income to the extent that we annually distribute all of our taxable income to stockholders. We believe that we have been organized and operate in such a manner as to qualify for taxation as a REIT.  
Qualification and taxation as a REIT depends on our ability to meet on a continuing basis various qualification requirements imposed upon REITs by the Internal Revenue Code. Our ability to qualify as a REIT also requires that we satisfy certain asset tests, some of which depend upon the fair market values of assets that we own directly or indirectly. Such values may not be susceptible to precise determination. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that the actual results of our operations for any taxable year will satisfy such requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT.  
Taxation of REITs in General  
Provided that we continue to qualify as a REIT, we will generally be entitled to a deduction for dividends that we pay and, therefore, will not be subject to federal corporate income tax on our taxable income that is currently distributed to our stockholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the "double taxation" at the corporate and stockholder levels that generally results from investment in a domestic corporation. In general, the income that we generate is taxed only at the stockholder level upon a distribution of dividends to our stockholders.  
As a REIT, we will nonetheless be subject to federal tax under certain circumstances including the following:  
We will be taxed at regular corporate rates on any undistributed taxable income, including undistributed net capital gains.
We may be subject to the "alternative minimum tax" on our items of tax preference, including any deductions of net operating losses.  
If we have net income from prohibited transactions, which are, in general, sales or other dispositions of inventory or property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, other than foreclosure property, such income will be subject to a 100% tax.  
If we should fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test, as discussed below, but nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because we satisfy other requirements, we will be subject to a 100% tax on an amount based on the magnitude of the failure, as adjusted to reflect the profit margin associated with our gross income. 
If we should violate the asset tests (other than certain de minimis violations) or other requirements applicable to REITs, as described below, and yet maintain our qualification as a REIT because there is reasonable cause for the failure and other applicable requirements are met, we may be subject to a penalty tax. In that case, the amount of the penalty tax will be at least $50,000 per failure, and, in the case of certain asset test failures, will be determined as the amount of net income generated by the assets in question multiplied by the highest corporate tax rate (currently 35%) if that amount exceeds $50,000 per failure.  
If we should fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of (a) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year, (b) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for such year, and (c) any undistributed taxable income from prior periods, we would be subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the sum of (i) the amounts that we actually distributed, (ii) the amounts we retained and upon which we paid income tax at the corporate level and (iii) any over distributions from prior periods.
We may be required to pay monetary penalties to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") in certain circumstances, including if we fail to meet record keeping requirements intended to monitor our compliance with rules relating to the composition of a REIT's stockholders, as described below in "Requirements for Qualification-General."  
A 100% tax may be imposed on transactions between us and our TRSs (as described below), that do not reflect arm's-length terms.  
If we acquire appreciated assets from a corporation that is not a REIT (i.e., a corporation taxable under subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code) in a transaction in which the adjusted tax basis of the assets in our hands is determined by reference to the adjusted tax basis of the assets in the hands of the subchapter C corporation, we may be subject to tax on such appreciation at the highest corporate income tax rate then applicable if we subsequently recognize a gain on a disposition of any such assets during the ten-year period following their acquisition from the subchapter C corporation.  

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The earnings of our subsidiaries, including our TRSs, are subject to federal corporate income tax to the extent that such subsidiaries are subchapter C corporations and are not qualified REIT subsidiaries ("QRS"). 
Requirements for Qualification-General  
The Internal Revenue Code defines a REIT as a corporation, trust or association:  
(1)
that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;  
(2)
the beneficial ownership of which is evidenced by transferable shares, or by transferable certificates of beneficial interest;  
(3)
that would be taxable as a domestic corporation but for its election to be subject to tax as a REIT;  
(4)
that is neither a financial institution nor an insurance company subject to specific provisions of the Internal Revenue Code;  
(5)
the beneficial ownership of which is held by 100 or more persons;  
(6)
in which, during the last half of each taxable year, not more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock is owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer "individuals" (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code to include specified tax-exempt entities); and  
(7)
which meets other tests described below, including with respect to the nature of its income and assets.  
The Internal Revenue Code provides that conditions (1) through (4) must be met during the entire taxable year, and that condition (5) must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of 12 months. Our amended and restated articles of incorporation provides restrictions regarding the ownership and transfers of our stock, which are intended to assist us in satisfying the stock ownership requirements described in conditions (5) and (6) above.  
To monitor compliance with the stock ownership requirements, we generally are required to maintain records regarding the actual ownership of our stock. To do so, we must demand written statements each year from the record holders of significant percentages of our stock pursuant to which the record holders must disclose the actual owners of the stock (i.e., the persons required to include our dividends in their gross income). We must maintain a list of those persons failing or refusing to comply with this demand as part of our records. We could be subject to monetary penalties if we fail to comply with these record-keeping requirements. If a stockholder fails or refuses to comply with the demands, the stockholder will be required by U.S. Treasury regulations to submit a statement with their tax return disclosing their actual ownership of our stock and other information.  
The Internal Revenue Code provides relief from violations of the REIT gross income requirements, as described below under "Income Tests," in cases where a violation is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and other requirements are met, including the payment of a penalty tax that is based upon the magnitude of the violation. In addition, certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code extend similar relief in the case of certain violations of the REIT asset requirements (see "Asset Tests" below) and other REIT requirements, again provided that the violation is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect and other conditions are met, including the payment of a penalty tax. If we fail to satisfy any of the various REIT requirements, there can be no assurance that these relief provisions would be available to enable us to maintain our qualification as a REIT, and, if such relief provisions are available, the amount of any resultant penalty tax could be substantial.  
Effect of Taxable Subsidiaries  
In general, we may jointly elect with a subsidiary corporation, whether or not wholly-owned, to treat such subsidiary corporation as a taxable REIT subsidiary. We generally may not own more than 10% of the securities of a taxable corporation, as measured by voting power or value, unless we and such taxable corporation elect to treat such corporation as a taxable REIT subsidiary. The separate existence of a taxable REIT subsidiary or other taxable corporation is not ignored for federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, such entities generally are subject to corporate income tax on their earnings, which may reduce the cash flow that we and our subsidiaries generate in the aggregate, and may reduce our ability to make distributions to our stockholders. 
For determining compliance with the "Income Tests" and "Asset Tests" applicable to REITs described below, the gross income and assets of TRSs and other taxable subsidiaries are excluded. Instead, actual dividends paid to the REIT from such taxable subsidiaries, if any, are included in the REIT's gross income tests and the value of the REIT's net investment in such entities is included in the gross asset tests. Because the gross income and assets of a TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporations are excluded in determining compliance with the REIT requirements, we may use such entities to undertake indirectly activities that the REIT rules might otherwise preclude us from doing directly or through pass-through subsidiaries. For example, we may use

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our TRS or other taxable subsidiary corporations to conduct activities that give rise to certain categories of income or to conduct activities that, if conducted by us directly, could be treated in our hands as non-real estate related or prohibited transactions.
We jointly elected to treat our wholly-owned subsidiary, American Capital Agency TRS, LLC, as a TRS.
The TRS rules limit the deductibility of interest paid or accrued by a TRS to its parent REIT to assure that the TRS is subject to an appropriate level of corporate taxation. Further, the rules impose a 100% excise tax on transactions between a TRS and its parent REIT that are not conducted on an arm's-length basis. We intend that all of our transactions with our TRSs will be conducted on an arm's-length basis.
 Qualified REIT Subsidiaries
A qualified REIT subsidiary (or "QRS") is any corporation in which we own 100% of such corporation's outstanding stock and for which no election has been made to classify it as a taxable REIT subsidiary. As such, their assets, liabilities and income would generally be treated as our assets, liabilities and income for purposes of each of the below REIT qualification tests.
Income Tests  
In order to continue to qualify as a REIT, we must satisfy two gross income requirements on an annual basis.
1.
At least 75% of our gross income for each taxable year, excluding gross income from sales of inventory or dealer property in "prohibited transactions" and certain hedging transactions, generally must be derived from investments relating to real property or mortgages on real property, including interest income derived from mortgage loans secured by real property (including, generally, agency MBS and certain other types of mortgage-backed securities), "rents from real property," dividends received from other REITs, and gains from the sale of real estate assets, as well as specified income from temporary investments.
2.
At least 95% of our gross income in each taxable year, excluding gross income from prohibited transactions and certain hedging transactions, must be derived from some combination of income that qualifies under the 75% gross income test described above, as well as other dividends, interest, and gains from the sale or disposition of stock or securities, which need not have any relation to real property.
Interest income constitutes qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the 75% gross income test described above to the extent that the obligation upon which such interest is paid is secured by a mortgage on real property. If we receive interest income with respect to a mortgage loan that is secured by both real property and other property, and the highest principal amount of the loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property on the date that we acquired or originated the mortgage loan, the interest income will be apportioned between the real property and the other collateral, and our income from the arrangement will qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test only to the extent that the interest is allocable to the real property. Even if a loan is not secured by real property, or is under secured, the income that it generates may nonetheless qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test.  
We treat our investments in agency MBS either as interests in a grantor trust or as interests in a real estate mortgage investment conduit ("REMIC") for federal income tax purposes and, therefore, treat all interest income from our agency MBS as qualifying income for the 95% gross income test. In the case of agency MBS treated as interests in grantor trusts, we treat these as owning an undivided beneficial ownership interest in the mortgage loans held by the grantor trust. Such mortgage loans generally qualify as real estate assets to the extent that they are secured by real property. The interest on such mortgage loans are qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test to the extent that the obligation is secured by real property, as discussed above. In the case of agency MBS treated as interests in a REMIC, income derived from REMIC interests is generally treated as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income tests. If less than 95% of the assets of the REMIC are real estate assets, however, then only a proportionate part of our interest in the REMIC and income derived from the interest qualifies for purposes of the 75% gross income test. In addition, some REMIC securitizations include embedded interest rate swap or cap contracts or other derivative instruments that potentially could produce non-qualifying income for the holder of the related REMIC securities. We expect that substantially all of our income from agency MBS will continue to be qualifying income for purposes of the REIT gross income tests.  
We purchase and sell agency MBS through TBA contracts and recognize income or gains from the disposition of those TBAs, through dollar roll transactions or otherwise, and may continue to do so in the future. While there is no direct authority with respect to the qualification of income or gains from dispositions of TBAs as gains from the sale of real property (including interests in real property and interests in mortgages on real property) or other qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, we treat income and gains from our TBAs as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, based on an opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP substantially to the effect that, for purposes of the 75% REIT gross income test,

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any gain recognized by us in connection with the settlement of our TBA contracts should be treated as gain from the sale or disposition of the underlying agency securities. Opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS, and no assurance can be given that the IRS will not successfully challenge the conclusions set forth in such opinions. In addition, it must be emphasized that the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is based on various assumptions relating to our TBAs and is conditioned upon fact-based representations and covenants made by our management regarding our TBAs. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert that such income is not qualifying income. If the IRS were to successfully challenge the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, we could be subject to a penalty tax or we could fail to qualify as a REIT if a sufficient portion of our income consists of income or gains from the disposition of TBAs.
We may directly or indirectly receive distributions from our TRSs or other corporations that are not REITs or qualified REIT subsidiaries. These distributions generally are treated as dividend income to the extent of the earnings and profits of the distributing corporation. Such distributions will generally constitute qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test, but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Any dividends that we receive from a REIT, however, will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 95% and 75% gross income tests.  
Any income or gain that we derive from instruments that hedge the risk of changes in interest rates will generally be excluded from both the numerator and the denominator for purposes of the 75% and 95% gross income test, provided that specified requirements are met, including the requirement that the instrument is entered into during the ordinary course of our business, the instrument hedges risks associated with indebtedness issued by us that is incurred to acquire or carry "real estate assets" (as described below under "Asset Tests"), and the instrument is properly identified as a hedge along with the risk that it hedges within prescribed time periods. Income and gain from all other hedging transactions will not be qualifying income for either the 95% or 75% gross income test.
Under The Housing and Economic Recovery Tax Act of 2008, the Secretary of the Treasury has been given broad authority to determine whether particular items of gain or income recognized after July 30, 2008 qualify or not under the 75% and 95% gross income tests, or are to be excluded from the measure of gross income for such purposes.
Asset Tests  
At the close of each calendar quarter, we must also satisfy four tests relating to the nature of our assets.
1.
At least 75% of the value of our total assets must be represented by some combination of "real estate assets," cash, cash items, U.S. Government securities, and, under some circumstances, temporary investments in stock or debt instruments purchased with new capital. For this purpose, real estate assets include some kinds of MBS and mortgage loans, as well as interests in real property and stock of other corporations that qualify as REITs. Assets that do not qualify for purposes of the 75% asset test are subject to the additional asset tests described below.
2.
The value of any one issuer's securities that we own may not exceed 5% of the value of our total assets.
3.
We may not own more than 10% of any one issuer's outstanding securities, as measured by either voting power or value. The 5% and 10% asset tests do not apply to securities of TRSs and qualified REIT subsidiaries and the 10% asset test does not apply to "straight debt" having specified characteristics and to certain other securities.
4.
The aggregate value of all securities of all TRSs that we hold may not exceed 25% of the value of our total assets.  
We enter into sale and repurchase agreements under which we nominally sell certain of our investment securities to a counterparty and simultaneously enter into an agreement to repurchase the sold assets in exchange for a purchase price that reflects a financing charge. We believe that we would be treated for REIT asset and income test purposes as the owner of the collateral that is the subject of any such agreement notwithstanding that such agreement may transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could assert that we did not own such collateral during the term of the sale and repurchase agreement, in which case we could fail to qualify as a REIT.
 As discussed above, we purchase and sell agency MBS through TBAs and may continue to do so in the future. While there is no direct authority with respect to the qualification of TBAs as real estate assets or U.S. Government securities for purposes of the 75% asset test, we treat our TBAs as qualifying assets for purposes of the REIT asset tests, based on an opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP substantially to the effect that, for purposes of the REIT asset tests, our ownership of a TBA should be treated as ownership of the underlying agency MBS. Opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS, and no assurance can be given that the IRS will not successfully challenge the conclusions set forth in such opinions. In addition, it must be emphasized that the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is based on various assumptions relating to our TBAs and is conditioned upon fact-based representations and covenants made by our management regarding our TBAs. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert that such assets are not qualifying assets. If the IRS were to successfully challenge the

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opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, we could be subject to a penalty tax or we could fail to qualify as a REIT if a sufficient portion of our assets consists of TBAs. 
No independent appraisals have been obtained to support our conclusions as to the value of our total assets or the value of any particular security or securities. Moreover, values of some assets, including instruments issued in securitization transactions, may not be susceptible to a precise determination, and values are subject to change in the future. Furthermore, the proper classification of an instrument as debt or equity for federal income tax purposes may be uncertain in some circumstances, which could affect the application of the REIT asset requirements. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not contend that our interests in our subsidiaries or in the securities of other issuers will not cause a violation of the REIT asset tests.
If we should fail to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a calendar quarter, such a failure would not cause us to lose our REIT qualification if we (1) satisfied the asset tests at the close of the preceding calendar quarter and (2) the discrepancy between the value of our assets and the asset requirements was not wholly or partly caused by an acquisition of non-qualifying assets, but instead arose from changes in the market value of our assets. If the condition described in (2) were not satisfied, we still could avoid disqualification by eliminating any discrepancy within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter in which it arose or by making use of relief provisions described under "Failure to Qualify" below.  
Annual Distribution Requirements  
In order to qualify as a REIT, we are required to distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends, to our stockholders in an amount at least equal to:  
(a) the sum of  
(1) 90% of our "REIT taxable income," computed without regard to our net capital gains and the deduction for dividends paid, and  
(2) 90% of our net income after tax, if any, from foreclosure property minus  
(b) the sum of specified items of non-cash income.  
We generally must make these distributions in the taxable year to which they relate, or in the following taxable year if declared before we timely file our tax return for the year and if paid with or before the first regular dividend payment after such declaration.  
To the extent that we distribute at least 90%, but less than 100%, of our "REIT taxable income," within the period described above, we will be subject to tax at the applicable corporate tax rates on the retained portion. We may elect to retain, rather than distribute, our net long-term capital gains and pay tax on such gains if required. In this case, we could elect for our stockholders to include their proportionate shares of such undistributed long-term capital gains in income, and to receive a corresponding credit for their share of the tax that we paid. Our stockholders would then increase their adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between (a) the amounts of capital gain dividends that we designated and that they include in their taxable income, minus (b) the tax that we paid on their behalf with respect to that income.  
To the extent that in the future we may have available net operating losses carried forward from prior tax years, such losses may reduce the amount of distributions that we must make in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements. Such losses, however, will generally not affect the character, in the hands of our stockholders, of any distributions that are actually made as ordinary or capital gain dividends.  
If we should fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of (a) 85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year, (b) 95% of our REIT capital gain net income for such year, and (c) any undistributed taxable income from prior periods, we would be subject to a non-deductible 4% excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the sum of (x) the amounts actually distributed, (y) the amounts of income we retained and on which we have paid corporate income tax and (z) any excess distributions over required distributions from prior periods.
It is also possible that, from time to time, we may not have sufficient cash to meet the distribution requirements due to timing differences between our actual receipt of cash and our inclusion of items in income for federal income tax purposes. For example, mortgage-backed securities that are issued at a discount generally require the accrual of taxable economic interest in advance of receipt in cash. 

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Derivatives and Hedging Transactions  
We maintain a risk management strategy, under which we may use a variety of derivative instruments to hedge some of our exposure to market risks, including interest rate, prepayment and extension risk. To the extent that we enter into a hedging transaction to reduce interest rate risk on indebtedness incurred to acquire or carry real estate assets and the instrument is properly identified as a hedge along with the risk it hedges within prescribed time periods, any periodic income from the instrument, or gain from the disposition of such instrument, would be excluded altogether from the 75% and 95% gross income test.  
To the extent that we hedge in other situations, the resultant income may not qualify under the 75% or the 95% gross income tests. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our status as a REIT. We may conduct some of our hedging activities through our TRS, the income from which would be subject to federal and state income tax, rather than by participating in the arrangements directly.  
Failure to Qualify  
If we should fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification, we may still qualify as a REIT if there is reasonable cause for the failure and not due to willful neglect and other applicable requirements are met, including completion of applicable IRS filings. It is not possible to state whether we would be entitled to the benefit of these relief provisions in all circumstances. If these relief provisions are inapplicable to a particular set of circumstances, we will not qualify as a REIT. Furthermore, if we satisfy the relief provisions and maintain our qualification as a REIT, we may be still subject to a penalty tax. The amount of the penalty tax will be at least $50,000 per failure, and, in the case of certain asset test failures, will be determined as the amount of net income generated by the assets in question multiplied by the highest corporate tax rate (currently 35%) if that amount exceeds $50,000 per failure, and, in case of income test failures, will be a 100% tax on an amount based on the magnitude of the failure, as adjusted to reflect the profit margin associated with our gross income. 
If we fail to qualify for taxation as a REIT in any taxable year, and the relief provisions described above do not apply, we would be subject to federal and state income tax, including any applicable alternative minimum tax, on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. We cannot deduct distributions to stockholders in any year in which we are not a REIT, nor would we be required to make distributions in such a year. In this situation, to the extent of current and accumulated earnings and profits, distributions to domestic common stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates will generally be taxable as a qualified dividend eligible for the maximum federal tax rate of 20% provided that the shares have been held for more than 60 days during the 121 day period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date. For certain distributions to preferred stockholders, the relevant holding period is at least 91 days out of the 181 day period beginning 90 days before the ex–dividend date. In addition, subject to the limitations of the Internal Revenue Code, corporate distributees may be eligible for the dividends received deduction. Unless we are entitled to relief under specific statutory provisions, we would also be disqualified from re-electing to be taxed as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we lost qualification. It is not possible to state whether, in all circumstances, we would be entitled to this statutory relief.  
Corporate Information  
Our executive offices are located at Two Bethesda Metro Center, 14th Floor, Bethesda, MD 20814 and our telephone number is (301) 968-9300.  
We make available all of our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to such reports as well as our Code of Ethics and Conduct free of charge on our internet website at www.AGNC.com as soon as reasonably practical after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). These reports are also available on the SEC internet website at www.sec.gov.  
Competition  
Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to acquire assets at favorable spreads over our borrowing costs. In acquiring agency securities, we compete with mortgage REITs, mortgage finance and specialty finance companies, savings and loan associations, banks, mortgage bankers, insurance companies, mutual funds, institutional investors, investment banking firms, other lenders, governmental bodies and other entities. These entities and others that may be organized in the future may have similar asset acquisition objectives and increase competition for the available supply of agency securities suitable for purchase. Additionally, our investment strategy is dependent on the amount of financing available to us in the repurchase agreement market, which may also be impacted by competing borrowers. Our investment strategy will be adversely impacted if we are not able to secure financing on favorable terms, if at all. 

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Employees  
We have no employees. We are managed by our Manager pursuant to the management agreement between our Manager and us.

Item 1A. Risk Factors
 
You should carefully consider the risks described below and all other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including our annual consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto before making a decision to purchase our securities. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones facing us. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us, or not presently deemed material by us, may also impair our operations and performance.

If any of the following risks actually occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected. If that happens, the trading price of our securities could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Related to Our Investing, Portfolio Management and Financing Activities
Our Board of Directors has approved broad investment guidelines for our Manager and will not approve each investment and financing decision made by our Manager.
Our Manager is authorized to follow broad investment guidelines that may be amended from time to time. Our Board of Directors periodically reviews our investment guidelines and our investment portfolio but does not, and will not be required to, review all of our proposed investments on an individual basis. In conducting periodic reviews, our Board of Directors relies primarily on information provided to it by our Manager. Furthermore, our Manager may use complex strategies and transactions that may be costly, difficult or impossible to unwind if our Board of Directors determines that they are not consistent with our investment guidelines. In addition, because our Manager has a certain amount of discretion in investment, financing and hedging decisions, our Manager's decisions could result in investment returns that are substantially below expectations or that result in losses, which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may experience significant short-term gains or losses and, consequently, greater earnings volatility as a result of our active portfolio management strategy.
Our Manager employs an active management strategy on our behalf to achieve our principal objective of preserving our net book value while generating attractive risk-adjusted returns. Our active management strategy involves buying and selling financial instruments in all sectors of the agency securities market, including fixed-rate and adjustable-rate agency securities, CMOs, mortgage-related derivatives, agency debenture securities and other assets reasonably related to agency securities, such as marketable equity securities of other agency focused mortgage REITs, based on our Manager's continual assessment of the relative risk/return of those investments. Therefore, the composition of our investment portfolio will vary as our Manager believes changes to market conditions, risks and valuations warrant. Consequently, we may experience significant investment gains or losses when we sell investments that our Manager no longer believes provide attractive risk-adjusted returns or when our Manager believes more attractive alternatives are available. With an active management strategy, our Manager may be incorrect in its assessment of our investment portfolio and select an investment portfolio that could generate lower returns than a more static management strategy. Also, investors are less able to assess the changes in our valuation and performance by observing changes in the mortgage market since we may have changed our strategy and portfolio from the last publicly available data. We may also experience fluctuations in leverage as we pursue our active management strategy.

Purchases and sales of agency mortgage-backed securities by the Federal Reserve may adversely affect the price and return associated with agency securities.

From time to time, the Fed may engage in large scale purchases of agency MBS and U.S. Treasury securities in the private market through a competitive process, with the goal of supporting mortgage markets and promoting its monetary policy objectives. We cannot predict the impact of the Fed's actions on the prices and liquidity of agency MBS. During periods in which the Federal Reserve purchases significant volumes of agency MBS, yields on agency MBS will likely be lower, refinancing volumes will likely be higher, and market volatility will likely be considerably higher than would have been absent its large scale purchases. Further, there is also a risk that when the Fed reduces its purchases of agency MBS, or sells some or all of its holdings of agency MBS, the pricing of our agency MBS portfolio and our net book value could be adversely affected.

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Our strategy involves significant leverage, which increases the risk that we may incur substantial losses.
We expect our leverage to vary with market conditions and our assessment of risk/return on investments. We incur this leverage by borrowing against a substantial portion of the market value of our assets. By incurring this leverage, we could enhance our returns. Nevertheless, this leverage, which is fundamental to our investment strategy, also creates significant risks. For example, because of our significant leverage, we may incur substantial losses if our borrowing costs increase or if the value of our investments declines.
Failure to procure adequate repurchase agreement financing or to renew or replace existing repurchase agreement financing as it matures (to which risk we are specifically exposed due to the short-term nature of the repurchase agreement financing we employ) would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We use debt financing as a strategy to increase our return on equity. However, we may not be able to achieve our desired leverage ratio for a number of reasons, including the following:
our lenders do not make repurchase or other financing agreements available to us at acceptable rates;
lenders with whom we enter into repurchase or other financing agreements subsequently exit the market;
our lenders require that we pledge additional collateral to cover our borrowings, which we may be unable to do; or
we determine that the leverage would expose us to excessive risk.
Furthermore, because we rely primarily on short-term borrowings, our ability to achieve our investment objectives depends not only on our ability to borrow money in sufficient amounts and on favorable terms, but also on our ability to renew or replace on a continuous basis our maturing short-term borrowings. If we are not able to renew or replace maturing borrowings, we may have to sell some or all of our assets, possibly under adverse market conditions. In addition, if the regulatory capital requirements imposed on our lenders change, they may be required to significantly increase the cost of the financing that they provide to us. Our lenders also may revise their eligibility requirements for the types of assets they are willing to finance or the terms of such financings, based on, among other factors, the regulatory environment and their management of perceived risk, particularly with respect to assignee liability. Consequently, we cannot assure you that any, or sufficient, financing will be available to us in the future on terms that are acceptable to us. In the event that we cannot obtain sufficient funding on acceptable terms, there may be a negative impact on the value of our common and preferred stock and our ability to make distributions on our common and preferred stock.
An increase in our borrowing costs would adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our borrowing costs may increase for any of the following reasons:
short-term interest rates increase;
the market value of our investments decreases;
the "haircut" applied to our assets under our repurchase agreements increases;
interest rate volatility increases; or
the availability of financing in the market decreases.
An increase in our borrowing costs will reduce the difference, or spread, that we may earn between the yield on the investments we make and the cost of the leverage we employ to finance such investments. Moreover, due to the short-term nature of our repurchase agreements used to finance our investments, our borrowing costs are particularly sensitive to increases in short-term interest rates. It is possible that due to higher borrowing costs, the spread on investments could be reduced to a point at which the profitability from investments would be significantly reduced. This would adversely affect the returns on our assets, financial condition and results of operations and could require us to liquidate certain or all of our assets.
Differences in the stated maturity of our fixed rate assets, or in timing of interest rate adjustments on our adjustable-rate assets, and our borrowings may adversely affect our profitability.
We rely primarily on short-term and/or variable rate borrowings to acquire fixed-rate securities with long-term maturities. In addition, we may have adjustable rate assets with interest rates that vary over time based upon changes in an objective index, such as LIBOR or the U.S. Treasury rate. These indices generally reflect short-term interest rates but these assets may not reset in a manner that matches our borrowings.
The relationship between short-term and longer-term interest rates is often referred to as the "yield curve." Ordinarily, short-term interest rates are lower than longer-term interest rates. If short-term interest rates rise disproportionately relative to longer-term interest rates (a "flattening" of the yield curve), our borrowing costs may increase more rapidly than the interest income earned on our assets. Because our investments generally bear interest at longer-term rates than we pay on our borrowings, a flattening of the yield curve would tend to decrease our net interest income and the market value of our investment portfolio.

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Additionally, to the extent cash flows from investments that return scheduled and unscheduled principal are reinvested, the spread between the yields on the new investments and available borrowing rates may decline, which would likely decrease our net income. It is also possible that short-term interest rates may exceed longer-term interest rates (a yield curve "inversion"), in which event, our borrowing costs may exceed our interest income and we could incur operating losses and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders could be hindered.
Interest rate caps on mortgages backing our adjustable rate securities may adversely affect our profitability.
Adjustable-rate mortgages that we may purchase or that may back securities that we purchase will typically be subject to periodic and lifetime interest rate caps. Periodic interest rate caps limit the amount an interest rate can increase during any given period. Lifetime interest rate caps limit the amount an interest rate can increase through the maturity of a mortgage loan we may purchase or that may back securities that we may purchase. Our borrowings typically will not be subject to similar restrictions. Accordingly, in a period of rapidly increasing interest rates, the interest rates paid on our borrowings could increase without limitation while caps on mortgages could limit the interest rates on our investments in ARMs. This problem is magnified for hybrid ARMs and ARMs that are not fully indexed. Further, some hybrid ARMs and ARMs may be subject to periodic payment caps on the mortgages that result in a portion of the interest being deferred and added to the principal outstanding. As a result, we may receive less cash income on hybrid ARMs and ARMs than we need to pay interest on our related borrowings. These factors could reduce our net interest income and cause us to suffer a loss.
Declines in value of the assets in which we invest will adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations, and make it more costly to finance these assets.
We use our investments as collateral for our financings. A decline in their value, or perceived market uncertainty about their value, could make it difficult for us to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all, or maintain our compliance with terms of any financing arrangements already in place. Any fixed-rate securities we invest in generally will be more negatively affected by increases in interest rates than adjustable-rate securities. Our investments in mortgage-related securities are recorded at fair value with changes in fair value reported in other comprehensive income (a component of equity). As a result, a decline in the fair value of our mortgage-related securities could reduce both our comprehensive income and stockholders' equity. If market conditions result in a decline in the fair value of our assets it will decrease the amounts we may borrow to purchase additional mortgage-related investments, which may restrict our ability to increase our net income, and our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our hedging strategies may not be successful in mitigating the risks associated with changes in interest rates.
Subject to complying with REIT tax requirements, we employ techniques that limit, or "hedge," the adverse effects of changes in interest rates on our repurchase agreements and our net book value. In general, our hedging strategy depends on our Manager's view of our entire investment portfolio, consisting of assets, liabilities and derivative instruments, in light of prevailing market conditions. Our hedging activities are generally designed to limit certain exposures and not to eliminate them. In addition, they may be unsuccessful and we could misjudge the condition of our investment portfolio or the market. Our hedging activity will vary in scope based on the level and volatility of interest rates and principal repayments, credit market conditions, the type of assets held and other changing market conditions. Our actual hedging decisions will be determined in light of the facts and circumstances existing at the time and may differ from our currently anticipated hedging strategy. These techniques may include entering into interest rate swap agreements, interest rate swaptions, TBAs, short sales, caps, collars, floors, forward contracts, options, futures or other types of hedging transactions. We may conduct certain hedging transactions through a TRS, which may subject those transactions to federal, state and, if applicable, local income tax.
There are no perfect hedging strategies, and interest rate hedging may fail to protect us from loss. Additionally, our business model calls for accepting certain amounts of interest rate, mortgage spread, prepayment, extension and liquidity risks and other exposures and thus some risks will generally not be hedged. Alternatively, our Manager may fail to properly assess a risk to our investment portfolio or may fail to recognize a risk entirely, leaving us exposed to losses without the benefit of any offsetting hedging activities. The derivative financial instruments we select may not have the effect of reducing our risk. The nature and timing of hedging transactions may influence the effectiveness of these strategies. Poorly designed hedging strategies or improperly executed transactions could actually increase our risk and losses. In addition, hedging activities could result in losses if the event against which we hedge does not occur. For example, interest rate hedging could fail to protect us or adversely affect us because, among other things:
interest rate hedging can be expensive, particularly during periods of rising and volatile interest rates;
available interest rate hedges may not correspond directly with the interest rate risk for which protection is sought;
the duration of the hedge may not match the duration of the related liability;

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the amount of income that a REIT may earn from hedging transactions, other than hedging transactions that satisfy certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code or that are done through a TRS, is limited by federal tax provisions governing REITs;
the party owing money in the hedging transaction may default on its obligation to pay;
the credit quality of the party owing money on the hedge may be downgraded to such an extent that it impairs our ability to sell or assign our side of the hedging transaction; and
the value of our interest rate hedges declines due interest rate fluctuations, lapse of time or other factors, reducing our stockholders' equity.
Furthermore, our hedging strategies may adversely affect us because hedging activities involve costs that we incur regardless of the effectiveness of the hedging activity. Those costs may be higher in periods of market volatility, both because the counterparties to our derivative agreements may demand a higher payment for taking risks, and because repeated adjustments of our hedges during periods of interest rate changes also may increase costs. Consequently, we could incur significant hedging-related costs without any corresponding economic benefits, especially if our hedging strategies are not effective.
Our hedging strategies are generally not designed to mitigate spread risk.
When the market spread widens between the yield on our agency securities and benchmark interest rates, our net book value could decline if the value of our agency securities falls by more than the offsetting fair value increases on our hedging instruments tied to the underlying benchmark interest rates. We refer to this as "spread risk" or "basis risk." The spread risk associated with our mortgage assets and the resulting fluctuations in fair value of these securities can occur independent of changes in benchmark interest rates and may relate to other factors impacting the mortgage and fixed income markets, such as actual or anticipated monetary policy actions by the Federal Reserve, market liquidity, or changes in required rates of return on different assets. Consequently, while we use interest rate swaps and other supplemental hedges to attempt to protect against moves in interest rates, such instruments typically will not protect our net book value against spread risk, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in prepayment rates may adversely affect our profitability and are difficult to predict.
Our investment portfolio includes securities backed by pools of mortgage loans. For securities backed by pools of mortgage loans, we receive payments, generally, from the payments that are made on these underlying mortgage loans. When borrowers prepay their mortgage loans at rates that are faster or slower than expected, it results in prepayments that are faster or slower than expected on our assets. These faster or slower than expected payments may adversely affect our profitability.
We may purchase securities that have a higher interest rate than the then prevailing market interest rate. In exchange for this higher interest rate, we may pay a premium to par value to acquire the security. In accordance with GAAP, we amortize this premium over the expected term of the security based on our prepayment assumptions. If a security is prepaid in whole or in part at a faster than expected rate, however, we must expense all or a part of the remaining unamortized portion of the premium that was paid at the time of the purchase, which would adversely affect our profitability.
We also may purchase securities that have a lower interest rate than the then prevailing market interest rate. In exchange for this lower interest rate, we may receive a discount to par value to acquire the security. We accrete this discount over the expected term of the security based on our prepayment assumptions. If a security is prepaid at a slower than expected rate, however, we must accrete the remaining portion of the discount at a slower than expected rate, which would result in a lower than expected yield on securities purchased at a discount to par.
Moreover, if prepayment rates decrease due to a rising interest rate environment, the average life or duration of our fixed-rate assets or the fixed-rate portion of our hybrid ARMs and other assets will generally extend. This could have a negative impact on our results from operations, as our interest rate swap maturities are fixed and will, therefore, cover a smaller percentage of our funding exposure on our mortgage assets to the extent that their average lives increase due to slower prepayments. This situation may also cause the market value of our agency securities collateralized by fixed rate mortgages or hybrid ARMs to decline by more than otherwise would be the case while most of our hedging instruments would not receive any incremental offsetting gains.  In extreme situations, we may be forced to sell assets to maintain adequate liquidity, which could cause us to incur realized losses.
Although prepayment rates generally increase when interest rates fall and decrease when interest rates rise, changes in prepayment rates are difficult to predict. Prepayments can also occur when borrowers sell the property and use the sale proceeds to prepay the mortgage as part of a physical relocation or when borrowers default on their mortgages and the mortgages are prepaid from the proceeds of a foreclosure sale of the property. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will generally, among other conditions, purchase mortgages that are 120 days or more delinquent from mortgage-backed securities trusts when the cost of guarantee payments to security holders, including advances of interest at the security coupon rate, exceeds the cost of holding the nonperforming loans in their portfolios. Consequently, prepayment rates also may be affected by conditions in the housing and

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financial markets, which may result in increased delinquencies on mortgage loans, the government-sponsored entities cost of capital, general economic conditions and the relative interest rates on fixed and adjustable rate loans, which could lead to an acceleration of the payment of the related principal. Additionally, changes in the government-sponsored entities' decisions as to when to repurchase delinquent loans can materially impact prepayment rates.
In addition, the introduction of new government programs could increase the availability of mortgage credit to a large number of homeowners in the United States, which could impact the prepayment rates for the entire mortgage securities market, and in particular for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac agency securities. These new programs or changes to existing programs could cause substantial uncertainty around the magnitude of changes in prepayment speeds. To the extent that actual prepayment speeds differ from our expectations, it could adversely affect our operating results.
Market conditions may disrupt the historical relationship between interest rate changes and prepayment trends, which may make it more difficult for our Manager to analyze our investment portfolio.
Our success depends, in part, on our Manager's ability to analyze the relationship of changing interest rates on prepayments of the mortgage loans that underlie securities we may own. Changes in interest rates and prepayments affect the market price of the assets that we purchase and any assets that we may hold at a given time. As part of our overall portfolio risk management, our Manager analyzes interest rate changes and prepayment trends separately and collectively to assess their effects on our investment portfolio. In conducting its analysis, our Manager depends on certain assumptions based upon historical trends with respect to the relationship between interest rates and prepayments under normal market conditions. Dislocations in the residential mortgage market and other developments may disrupt the relationship between the way that prepayment trends have historically responded to interest rate changes and, consequently, may negatively impact our Manager's ability to (i) assess the market value of our investment portfolio, (ii) implement our hedging strategies and (iii) implement techniques to reduce our prepayment rate volatility, which could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Actions of the U.S. Government, including the U.S. Congress, U.S. Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury and other governmental and regulatory bodies may adversely affect our business.
U.S. Government actions may not have a beneficial impact on the financial markets. To the extent the markets do not respond favorably to any such actions or such actions do not function as intended they could have broad adverse market implications and could negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations.
In July 2010, the U.S. Congress enacted the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act, in part to impose significant investment restrictions and capital requirements on banking entities and other organizations that are significant to U.S. financial markets. For instance, the Dodd-Frank Act imposes significant restrictions on the proprietary trading activities of certain banking entities and subjects other systemically significant organizations regulated by the U.S. Federal Reserve to increased capital requirements and quantitative limits for engaging in such activities. The Dodd-Frank Act also seeks to reform the asset-backed securitization market (including the mortgage-backed securities market) by requiring the retention of a portion of the credit risk inherent in the pool of securitized assets and by imposing additional registration and disclosure requirements. Certain of the new requirements and restrictions exempt agency securities, other government issued or guaranteed securities, or other securities. The Dodd-Frank Act also imposes significant regulatory restrictions on the origination of residential mortgage loans and will impact the formation of new issuances of mortgage-backed securities.
The Dodd-Frank Act has also created a new regulator, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the CFPB, which now oversees many of the core laws which regulate the mortgage industry, including among others, the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act and the Truth in Lending Act. While the full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and the role of the CFPB cannot be assessed until all implementing regulations are released, the Dodd-Frank Act's extensive requirements may have a significant effect on the financial markets. In addition, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and other regulatory entities are currently in the process of implementing new, and possibly more stringent, capital rules on large financial institutions. These new regulatory requirements, when implemented, could adversely affect the availability or terms of financing from our lender counterparties and the availability or terms of mortgage-backed securities, both of which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Pursuant to the terms of borrowings under master repurchase agreements, we are subject to margin calls that could result in defaults or force us to sell assets under adverse market conditions or through foreclosure.
We enter into master repurchase agreements with a number of financial institutions. We borrow under these master repurchase agreements to finance the assets for our investment portfolio. Pursuant to the terms of borrowings under our master repurchase agreements, a decline in the value of the collateral may result in our lenders initiating margin calls. A margin call means that the lender requires us to pledge additional collateral to re-establish the ratio of the value of the collateral to the amount of the borrowing. The specific collateral value to borrowing ratio that would trigger a margin call is not set in the master repurchase agreements and

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is not determined until we engage in a repurchase transaction under these agreements. Our fixed-rate collateral generally may be more susceptible to margin calls as increases in interest rates tend to affect more negatively the market value of fixed-rate securities. In addition, some collateral may be more illiquid than other instruments in which we invest, which could cause them to be more susceptible to margin calls in a volatile market environment. Moreover, collateral that prepays more quickly increases the frequency and magnitude of potential margin calls as there is a significant time lag between when the prepayment is reported (which reduces the market value of the security) and when the principal payment is actually received. If we are unable to satisfy margin calls, our lenders may foreclose on our collateral. The threat of or occurrence of a margin call could force us to sell, either directly or through a foreclosure, our collateral under adverse market conditions. Because of the leverage we expect to have, we may incur substantial losses upon the threat or occurrence of a margin call.
Our derivative agreements expose us to margin calls that could result in defaults or force us to sell assets under adverse market conditions.
Our derivative agreements typically require that we pledge collateral on such agreements to our counterparties in a similar manner as we are required to under our repurchase agreements. Our counterparties, or the clearing agency in the case of centrally cleared interest rate swaps, typically have the sole discretion to determine the value of the derivative instruments and the value of the collateral securing such instruments. In the event of a margin call, we must generally provide additional collateral on the same business day.
Furthermore, our derivative agreements may also contain cross default provisions under which a default under certain of our other indebtedness in excess of a certain threshold amount causes an event of default under the agreement. Following an event of default, we could be required to settle our obligations under the agreements at their termination values.
The threat of or occurrence of margin calls or the forced settlement of our obligations under our derivative agreements at their termination values could force us to sell, either directly or through a foreclosure, our investments under adverse market conditions. Because of the leverage we have, we may incur substantial losses upon the threat or occurrence of either of these events.
Increasingly restrictive rules and regulations adopted by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and regulators of other countries impose increased margin requirements and require additional operational and compliance costs, which could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act and the rules and regulations adopted and to be adopted by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the "CFTC") introduce a comprehensive regulatory regime for swaps (as defined in the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended). The new laws and regulations subject certain swaps to clearing and exchange trading requirements, and subject us to new burdens, including but not limited to, margin requirements, reporting, record keeping and business conduct rules. The final rules under Title VII, including those rules that have already been adopted, for both cleared and non-cleared swap transactions impose increased margin requirements and require additional operational and compliance costs that will likely affect our business and results of operations.

As we also enter into derivative agreements with non-U.S. counterparties, which are subject to increasingly restrictive local regulations similar to the Dodd-Frank Act, we are required to follow some of these local regulations or help the non-U.S. counterparties comply with these local regulations. For example, the EU's Regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (the "EMIR Regulation") came into force on August 16, 2012 and was implemented in the course of 2013 through a number of implementation measures. The EMIR Regulation has not yet been fully implemented. The EMIR Regulation is intended, among other things, to reduce counterparty risk by requiring that all standardized over-the-counter derivatives meeting specific thresholds be cleared through a central counterparty. In addition, OTC derivatives that are not centrally cleared will be subject to margin requirements. It is possible that EMIR Regulation will result in increased costs for OTC derivative counterparties and also lead to an increase in the costs of collateral. These increased trading costs and collateral costs may have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.

As the CFTC and regulators of other countries continue to promulgate new rules and regulations on derivatives, our derivative agreements and ability to engage in derivative transactions with certain counterparties may be adversely affected, which could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.
It may be uneconomical to "roll" our TBA dollar roll transactions or we may be unable to meet margin calls on our TBA contracts, which could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We may utilize TBA dollar roll transactions as a means of investing in and financing agency mortgage-backed securities. TBA contracts enable us to purchase or sell, for future delivery, agency securities with certain principal and interest terms and certain types of collateral, but the particular agency securities to be delivered are not identified until shortly before the TBA

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settlement date. Prior to settlement of the TBA contract we may choose to move the settlement of the securities out to a later date by entering into an offsetting position (referred to as a "pair off"), net settling the paired off positions for cash, and simultaneously purchasing a similar TBA contract for a later settlement date, collectively referred to as a "dollar roll." The agency securities purchased for a forward settlement date under the TBA contract are typically priced at a discount to agency securities for settlement in the current month. This difference (or discount) is referred to as the "price drop." The price drop is the economic equivalent of net interest carry income on the underlying agency securities over the roll period (interest income less implied financing cost) and is commonly referred to as "dollar roll income." Consequently, dollar roll transactions and such forward purchases of agency securities represent a form of off-balance sheet financing and increase our "at risk" leverage.
Under certain market conditions, TBA dollar roll transactions may result in negative carry income whereby the agency securities purchased for a forward settlement date under the TBA contract are priced at a premium to agency securities for settlement in the current month. Additionally, a decline in the Fed's purchases of agency MBS or sales of some or all of its holdings of agency MBS could adversely impact the dollar roll market. Under such conditions, it may be uneconomical to roll our TBA positions prior to the settlement date and we could have to take physical delivery of the underlying securities and settle our obligations for cash. We may not have sufficient funds or alternative financing sources available to settle such obligations. In addition, pursuant to the margin provisions established by the Mortgage-Backed Securities Division ("MBSD") of the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation we are subject to margin calls on our TBA contracts. Further, our prime brokerage agreements may require us to post additional margin above the levels established by the MBSD. Negative carry income on TBA dollar roll transactions or failure to procure adequate financing to settle our obligations or meet margin calls under our TBA contracts could result in defaults or force us to sell assets under adverse market conditions or through foreclosure and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
If lenders pursuant to our repurchase transactions default on their obligations to resell the underlying collateral back to us at the end of the transaction term, or if the value of the collateral has declined by the end of the term or if we default on our obligations under the transaction, we will lose money on these transactions.
When we engage in a repurchase transaction, we initially transfer securities or loans to the financial institution under one of our master repurchase agreements in exchange for cash, and our counterparty is obligated to resell such assets to us at the end of the term of the transaction, which is typically from 30 days to one year, but which may have terms from one day to up to five years or more. The cash we receive when we initially sell the collateral is less than the value of that collateral, which is referred to as the "haircut." As a result, we are able to borrow against a smaller portion of the collateral that we initially sell in these transactions. Increased haircuts require us to post additional collateral. The haircut rates under our master repurchase agreements are not set until we engage in a specific repurchase transaction under these agreements. If our counterparty defaults on its obligation to resell collateral to us, we would incur a loss on the transaction equal to the amount of the haircut (assuming there was no change in the value of the securities). Any losses we incur on our repurchase transactions could adversely affect our earnings, and, thus, our cash available for distribution to our stockholders.
If we default on one of our obligations under a repurchase transaction, the counterparty can terminate the transaction and cease entering into any other repurchase transactions with us. In that case, we would likely need to establish a replacement repurchase facility with another financial institution in order to continue to leverage our investment portfolio and carry out our investment strategy. We may not be able to secure a suitable replacement facility on acceptable terms or at all.
Further, financial institutions providing the repurchase agreements may require us to maintain a certain amount of cash uninvested or to set aside non-leveraged assets sufficient to maintain a specified liquidity position which would allow us to satisfy our collateral obligations. As a result, we may not be able to leverage our assets as fully as we would choose, which could reduce our return on equity. If we are unable to meet these collateral obligations, our financial condition could deteriorate rapidly. Additionally, our counterparties can unilaterally choose to cease entering into any further repurchase transactions with us.
Our rights under our repurchase agreements are subject to the effects of the bankruptcy laws in the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of us or our lenders under the repurchase agreements.
In the event of our insolvency or bankruptcy, certain repurchase agreements may qualify for special treatment under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the effect of which, among other things, would be to allow the lender under the applicable repurchase agreement to avoid the automatic stay provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and to foreclose on the collateral agreement without delay. In the event of the insolvency or bankruptcy of a lender during the term of a repurchase agreement, the lender may be permitted, under applicable insolvency laws, to repudiate the contract, and our claim against the lender for damages may be treated simply as an unsecured creditor. In addition, if the lender is a broker or dealer subject to the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, or an insured depository institution subject to the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, our ability to exercise our rights to recover our assets under a repurchase agreement or to be compensated for any damages resulting from the lender's insolvency may be further

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limited by those statutes. These claims would be subject to significant delay and, if and when received, may be substantially less than the damages we actually incur.
Our use of derivative agreements may expose us to counterparty risk.
Certain hedging instruments are not traded on regulated exchanges or guaranteed by an exchange or its clearinghouse and involves risks and costs that could result in material losses. Consequently, there may not be requirements with respect to record keeping, financial responsibility or segregation of customer funds and positions. Furthermore, the enforceability of agreements underlying hedging transactions may depend on compliance with applicable statutory and commodity and other regulatory requirements and, depending on the domicile of the counterparty, applicable international requirements. Consequently, if a counterparty fails to perform under a derivative agreement we could incur a significant loss.
For example, if a swap counterparty under an interest rate swap agreement that we enter into as part of our hedging strategy cannot perform under the terms of the interest rate swap agreement, we may not receive payments due under that agreement, and, thus, we may lose any potential benefit associated with the interest rate swap. Additionally, we may also risk the loss of any collateral we have pledged to secure our obligations under these swap agreements if the counterparty becomes insolvent or files for bankruptcy. Similarly, if an interest rate swaption counterparty fails to perform under the terms of the interest rate swaption agreement, in addition to not being able to exercise or otherwise cash settle the agreement, we could also incur a loss for the premium paid for that swaption.
Continued adverse developments in the broader residential mortgage market may adversely affect the value of our investments.
Since 2008, the residential mortgage market in the United States has experienced a variety of unprecedented difficulties and changed economic conditions, including defaults, credit losses and liquidity concerns. Many of these conditions are expected to continue in 2015 and beyond. These factors have impacted investor perception of the risk associated with real estate related assets, including mortgage-related investments. As a result, values for these assets have experienced a certain amount of volatility. Further increased volatility and deterioration in the broader residential mortgage and MBS markets may adversely affect the performance and market value of the assets in which we invest.
The risks associated with our business may be more severe during economic recessions and are compounded by declining real estate values. Declining real estate values will likely reduce the level of new mortgage loan originations since borrowers often use appreciation in the value of their existing properties to support the purchase of additional properties. Borrowers will also be less able to pay principal and interest on loans underlying the securities in which we invest if the value of residential real estate weakens further. Any sustained period of increased payment delinquencies, foreclosures or losses could increase the rate that the GSEs buy out the delinquent loans from pools underlying the agency securities in which we invest, resulting in an increased rate of prepayments that could adversely affect our net interest income from our agency securities, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
A decrease in the volume of newly issued, or an increase in investor demand for, mortgages, could adversely affect our ability to acquire assets that satisfy our investment objectives and to generate income and pay dividends, whereas an increase in the volume of newly issued, or a decrease in investor demand for, mortgages, could negatively affect the valuations for our investments and may adversely affect our liquidity.
A reduction in the volume of mortgage loans originated may affect the volume of investments available to us, which could affect our ability to acquire assets that satisfy our investment objectives. An increase in the volume of mortgage loans originated may negatively impact the valuation for our investment portfolio. A negative impact on valuations of our assets could have an adverse impact on our liquidity profile in the event that we are required to post margin under our repurchase agreements, which could materially and adversely impact our business.
We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities and our competitors may be able to compete more effectively for investment opportunities than we can. This competition may limit our ability to acquire desirable investments in our target assets and could affect the pricing of these investments.
A number of entities compete with us to make investments. We compete with other REITs and public and private funds, including those that may be managed by affiliates of American Capital, such as American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp., commercial and investment banks, commercial finance and insurance companies and other financial institutions. Our competitors may have greater financial, technical and marketing resources than we do. Some competitors may have a lower cost of funds than we do or access to funding sources that may not be available to us. Many of our competitors are not subject to the operating constraints associated with REIT tax compliance and maintenance of an exemption from the Investment Company Act. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which may allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more relationships than we can. Furthermore, competition for investments in mortgage-related

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investments may lead to the price of such assets increasing, which may further limit our ability to generate desired returns. The competitive pressures we face could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Also, as a result of this competition, we may not be able to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities from time to time, and we may not be able to identify and make investments that are consistent with our investment objectives.
We may change our targeted investments, investment guidelines and other operational policies without stockholder consent, which may adversely affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to stockholders.
We may change our targeted investments and investment guidelines at any time, including a change that would permit us to invest in other mortgage related investments, without the consent of our stockholders, which could result in our making investments that are different from, and possibly riskier than, the investments described herein. Our Board of Directors also determines our other operational policies and may amend or revise such policies, including our policies with respect to our REIT qualification, acquisitions, dispositions, operations, indebtedness and distributions, or approve transactions that deviate from these policies, without a vote of, or notice to, our stockholders. A change in our targeted investments, investment guidelines and other operational policies may increase our exposure to interest rate, spread, default, credit, prepayment, extension, liquidity and other risks as well as exposure to real estate market fluctuations, all of which could adversely affect the market price of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to our common and preferred stockholders.
Our investments in the common stock of other publicly traded mortgage REITs expose us to incremental risks and costs and may adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
The mortgage REITs in which we invest primarily invest in agency MBS on a leveraged basis and utilize short-term repurchase agreements as their primary source of funding and, therefore, are exposed to similar risk factors as those described herein.  In addition, our investments in other mortgage REITs expose us to incremental risks and costs due to our lack of control, lack of transparency into their underlying investment portfolios and business operations, stock market volatility and additional management fees, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our investments are recorded at fair value, and quoted prices or observable inputs may not be available to determine such value, resulting in the use of significant unobservable inputs to determine value.
The values of our investments may not be readily determinable or ultimately realizable. We measure the fair value of our investments quarterly, in accordance with guidance set forth in FASB Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") Topic 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures. Ultimate realization of the value of an asset depends to a great extent on economic and other conditions that are beyond the control of our Manager, our Company or our Board of Directors. Further, fair value is only an estimate based on good faith judgment of the price at which an investment can be sold since market prices of investments can only be determined by negotiation between a willing buyer and seller. If we were to liquidate a particular asset, the realized value may be more than or less than the amount at which such asset is valued. Accordingly, the value of our common stock could be adversely affected by our determinations regarding the fair value of our investments, whether in the applicable period or in the future. Additionally, such valuations may fluctuate over short periods of time.
Our Manager's determination of the fair value of our investments includes inputs provided by third-party dealers and pricing services. Valuations of certain investments in which we invest may be difficult to obtain or unreliable. In general, dealers and pricing services heavily disclaim their valuations. Dealers may claim to furnish valuations only as an accommodation and without special compensation, and so they may disclaim any and all liability for any direct, incidental, or consequential damages arising out of any inaccuracy or incompleteness in valuations, including any act of negligence or breach of any warranty. Depending on the complexity and illiquidity of a security, valuations of the same security can vary substantially from one dealer or pricing service to another. Therefore, our results of operations for a given period could be adversely affected if our determinations regarding the fair market value of these investments are materially different from the values that we ultimately realize upon their disposal.
The federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and related efforts, along with any changes in laws and regulations affecting the relationship between these agencies and the U.S. Government, may adversely affect our business.
The payments of principal and interest we receive on the agency securities in which we may invest are guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are GSEs, but their guarantees are not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Ginnie Mae is part of a U.S. Government agency and its guarantees are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.
In response to general market instability and, more specifically, the financial conditions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, in July 2008, the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, or HERA, established FHFA as the new regulator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In September 2008, the U.S. Treasury, the FHFA and the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a comprehensive action plan to help stabilize the financial markets, support the availability of mortgage financing and protect taxpayers. Under this

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plan, among other things, the FHFA was appointed as conservator of both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allowing the FHFA to control the actions of the two GSEs, without forcing them to liquidate, which would be the case under receivership. Importantly, the primary focus of the plan was to increase the availability of mortgage financing by allowing these GSEs to continue to grow their guarantee business without limit, while limiting the size of their retained mortgage and agency security portfolios and requiring that these portfolios be reduced over time.
Although the U.S. Government has committed to support the positive net worth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two GSEs could default on their guarantee obligations, which would materially and adversely affect the value of our agency securities. Accordingly, if these government actions are inadequate and the GSEs suffer additional losses or cease to exist, our business, operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.
In addition, the future roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be significantly reduced and the nature of their guarantee obligations could be considerably limited relative to historical measurements. Any such changes to the nature of their guarantee obligations could re-define what constitutes an agency security and could have broad adverse implications for the market and our business, operations and financial condition.
We could be negatively affected in a number of ways depending on the manner in which related events unfold for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. We rely on our agency securities as collateral for our financings. Any decline in the value of agency securities, or perceived market uncertainty about their value, could make it more difficult for us to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all, or to maintain our compliance with the terms of any financing transactions for such investments. Further, the current support provided by the U.S. Treasury to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and any additional support it may provide in the future, could have the effect of lowering the interest rates we expect to receive from agency securities, thereby tightening the spread between the interest we earn on our agency securities and the cost of financing those assets. A reduction in the supply of agency securities could also negatively affect the pricing of agency securities by reducing the spread between the interest we earn on our investment portfolio of agency securities and our cost of financing that portfolio.
Future legislation could change the relationship between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the U.S. Government, and could also nationalize, privatize, or eliminate these entities entirely. Any law affecting these GSEs may create market uncertainty and have the effect of reducing the actual or perceived credit quality of securities issued or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Moreover, if the guarantee obligations of Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae were repudiated by FHFA, payments of principal and/or interest to holders of agency securities issued by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae would be reduced in the event of any borrower's late payments or failure to pay or a servicer's failure to remit borrower payments to the trust. In that case, trust administration and servicing fees could be paid from mortgage payments prior to distributions to holders of agency securities. Any actual direct compensatory damages owed due to the repudiation of Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae's guarantee obligations may not be sufficient to offset any shortfalls experienced by holders of agency securities.
As a result, such laws or changes could increase the risk of loss on our investments in agency mortgage investments guaranteed by Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac and could adversely impact the market for such securities and spreads at which they trade. All of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Mortgage loan modification and refinancing programs and future legislative action may adversely affect the value of, and our returns on, agency mortgage-backed securities.
The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Federal Reserve, the FHA, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, has implemented a number of federal programs designed to assist homeowners, including the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, which provides homeowners with assistance in avoiding residential mortgage loan foreclosures, the Hope for Homeowners Program, or H4H Program, which allows certain distressed borrowers to refinance their mortgages into FHA-insured loans in order to avoid residential mortgage loan foreclosures, and the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, which for loans sold or guaranteed by the GSEs on or prior to May 31, 2009, allows borrowers who are current on their mortgage payments to refinance and reduce their monthly mortgage payments, with no current loan-to-value ratio upper limit and without requiring new mortgage insurance. HAMP, the H4H Program and other loss mitigation programs may involve, among other things, the modification of mortgage loans to reduce the principal amount of the loans (through forbearance and/or forgiveness) and/or the rate of interest payable on the loans, or the extension of payment terms of the loans. These loan modification programs, future legislative or regulatory actions, including possible amendments to the bankruptcy laws, which result in the modification of outstanding residential mortgage loans, as well as changes in the requirements necessary to qualify for refinancing mortgage loans with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae, may adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, agency mortgage-backed securities that we may purchase.


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Risks Related to Our Relationship with Our Manager and American Capital
There are conflicts of interest in our relationship with our Manager and American Capital.
Because we have no employees, our Manager is responsible for making all of our investment decisions. Certain of our and our Manager's officers are employees of American Capital or its affiliates and these persons do not devote their time exclusively to us. Our Manager's Investment Committee consists of Messrs. Wilkus, Erickson, Flax, Kain and McHale, each of whom is an officer of American Capital or the parent company of our Manager and has significant responsibilities to American Capital and certain of its portfolio companies, affiliated entities or managed funds. Mr. Kain is our President and Chief Investment Officer and also serves as the President of our Manager and its parent company. Mr. Kain is also the President and Chief Investment Officer of American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp. and the President of its manager. Thus, he has, and may in the future have, significant responsibilities for other funds that are managed by the parent company of our Manager or entities affiliated therewith. In addition, because certain of our and our Manager's officers are also responsible for providing services to American Capital and/or certain of its portfolio companies, affiliated entities or managed funds, they may not devote sufficient time to the management of our business operations.
Additionally, our Manager is a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC, which is also the parent company of the external manager of American Capital Mortgage Investment Corp., a publicly-traded REIT that invests in agency mortgage investments, non-agency mortgage investments and mortgage related investments and may compete with us for purchases of agency mortgage-related investments. American Capital Mortgage Management, LLC is a subsidiary of American Capital Asset Management, LLC, which is a wholly-owned portfolio company of American Capital. There are no restrictions on American Capital that prevent American Capital from sponsoring another investment vehicle that competes with us. Accordingly, American Capital or one or more of its affiliates may also compete with us for investments, except that American Capital has agreed that so long as our Manager or affiliate of American Capital continues to manage our company, it will not sponsor another investment vehicle that invests predominantly in whole pool agency mortgage-backed securities.
Although our Manager and its affiliates have policies in place that seek to mitigate the effects of conflicts of interest, including any potential conflict relating to the allocation of certain types of securities that meet our investment objectives and those of other managed funds or affiliates of our Manager, these policies do not eliminate the conflicts of interest that our officers and the officers and employees of our Manager and its affiliates face in making investment decisions on behalf of American Capital, any other American Capital-sponsored investment vehicles and us. Further, we do not have any agreement or understanding with American Capital that would give us any priority over American Capital, any of its affiliates, or any such American Capital-sponsored investment vehicle in opportunities to invest in mortgage-related investments. Accordingly, we may compete for access to the benefits that we expect from our relationship with our Manager and American Capital.
Our management agreement was not negotiated on an arm's-length basis and the terms, including fees payable, may not be as favorable to us as if they were negotiated with an unaffiliated third party.
The management agreement was originally negotiated between related parties, and we did not have the benefit of arm's-length negotiations of the type normally conducted with an unaffiliated third party. The terms of the management agreement, including fees payable, may not reflect the terms that we may have received if it were negotiated with an unrelated third party. In addition, we may choose not to enforce, or to enforce less vigorously, our rights under the management agreement because of our desire to maintain our ongoing relationship with our Manager.
We are completely dependent upon our Manager and certain personnel of American Capital or the parent company of our Manager who provide services to us through the management agreement and the administrative services agreement and we may not find suitable replacements for our Manager and these personnel if the management agreement and the administrative services agreement are terminated or such personnel are no longer available to us.
Because we have no employees or separate facilities, we are completely dependent on our Manager and its affiliates to conduct our operations pursuant to the management agreement. Our Manager does not have any employees and relies upon certain employees of its parent company and American Capital to conduct our day-to-day operations pursuant to an administrative services agreement. Under the administrative services agreement, our Manager is provided with those services and resources necessary for our Manager to perform its obligations and responsibilities under the management agreement in exchange for certain fees payable by our Manager. Neither the administrative services agreement nor the management agreement requires our Manager or its parent company or American Capital to dedicate specific personnel to our operations. It also does not require any specific personnel of our Manager or its parent company or American Capital to dedicate a specific amount of time to our business. Additionally, because our Manager is relying upon American Capital, we may be negatively impacted by events or factors that negatively impact American Capital's business, financial condition or results of operations.

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If we terminate the management agreement without cause, we may not, without the consent of our Manager, employ any employee of the Manager or any of its affiliates, including American Capital, or any person who has been employed by our Manager or any of its affiliates at any time within the two-year period immediately preceding the date on which the person commences employment with us for two years after such termination of the management agreement. We believe that the successful implementation of our investment, financing and hedging strategies depends upon the experience of certain of American Capital and our Manager's officers. American Capital or the parent company of our Manager has entered into retention agreements with certain of these officers. However, none of these individuals' continued service is guaranteed. Furthermore, if the management agreement is terminated or these individuals leave the parent company of our Manager or American Capital, we may be unable to execute our business plan.
We have no recourse to American Capital if it does not fulfill its obligations under the administrative services agreement.
Neither we nor our Manager have any employees or separate facilities. Our day-to-day operations are conducted by employees of American Capital or the parent company of our Manager pursuant to an administrative services agreement among our Manager, its parent company and American Capital. Under the administrative services agreement, our Manager is also provided with the services and other resources necessary for our Manager to perform its obligations and responsibilities under the management agreement in exchange for certain fees payable by our Manager. Although the administrative services agreement may not be terminated unless the management agreement has been terminated pursuant to its terms, American Capital and the parent company of our Manager may assign their rights and obligations thereunder to any of their affiliates, including American Capital Asset Management, LLC, which owns the parent company of our Manager. In addition, because we are not a party to the administrative services agreement, we do not have any recourse to American Capital or the parent company of our Manager if they do not fulfill their obligations under the administrative services agreement or if they elect to assign the agreement to one of their affiliates. Also, our Manager only has nominal assets and we will have limited recourse against our Manager under the Management Agreement to remedy any liability to us from a breach of contract or fiduciary duties.
If we elect not to renew the management agreement without cause, we would be required to pay our Manager a substantial termination fee. These and other provisions in our management agreement make non-renewal of our management agreement difficult and costly.
Electing not to renew the management agreement without cause would be difficult and costly for us. With the consent of the majority of the independent members of our Board of Directors, we may elect not to renew our management agreement upon the expiration of any automatic annual renewal term, upon 180-days prior written notice. If we elect not to renew the management agreement because of a decision by our Board of Directors that the management fee is unfair, our Manager has the right to renegotiate a mutually agreeable management fee. If we elect to not renew the management agreement without cause, we are required to pay our Manager a termination fee equal to three times the average annual management fee earned by our Manager during the prior 24-month period immediately preceding the most recently completed month prior to the effective date of termination. These provisions may increase the effective cost to us of electing to not renew the management agreement.
Our Manager's management fee is based on the amount of our Equity and is payable regardless of our performance, which could result in a conflict of interest between our Manager and our stockholders with respect to the timing and terms of our equity issuances, share repurchases and the realization of gains and losses on our investment portfolio.
Our Manager is entitled to receive a monthly management fee from us that is based on the amount of our "Equity" (as defined in our management agreement), regardless of the performance of our investment portfolio. For example, we would pay our Manager a management fee for a specific period even if we experienced a net unrealized loss during the same period. The amount of the monthly management fee is equal to one-twelfth of 1.25% of our Equity and, therefore, is only increased or decreased by changes in our Equity. Increases to our Equity, and a corresponding increase to our management fee, will primarily result from equity issuances and realization of gains from our investment portfolio, whereas decreases to our Equity, and a corresponding decrease to our management fee, will primarily result from repurchases of our common stock and realization of losses on our investment portfolio, each of which could result in a conflict of interest between our Manager and our stockholders with respect to the timing and terms of our equity issuances, share repurchases and realization of gains and losses on our investment portfolio. Thus, while our stockholders bear the risk of our future equity issuances reducing the price of our common stock and diluting the value of their stock holdings in us, the compensation payable to our Manager will increase as a result of future issuances of our equity securities. Similarly, even though the value of our common stock could potentially increase if we repurchase shares at a discount to our net book value per common share, the compensation payable to our Manager would be reduced if we execute share repurchases, creating a conflict of interest. Furthermore, our Manager may have limited incentive to devote sufficient time and effort to seeking investments that provide attractive risk-adjusted returns for our investment portfolio. This in turn could harm our ability to make distributions to our stockholders and the market price of our common stock.

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Our Manager's liability is limited under the management agreement, and we have agreed to indemnify our Manager against certain liabilities.
The management agreement provides that our Manager will not assume any responsibility other than to provide the services specified in the management agreement. The agreement further provides that our Manager is not responsible for any action of our Board of Directors in following or declining to follow its advice or recommendations. In addition, our Manager and its respective affiliates, managers, officers, directors, employees and members will be held harmless from, and indemnified by us against, certain liabilities on customary terms.
Our results are dependent upon the efforts of our Manager.
Our Manager's success, which is largely determinative of our own success, depends on many factors, including the availability of attractive risk-adjusted investment opportunities that satisfy our targeted investment strategies and then identifying and consummating them on favorable terms, the level and volatility of interest rates, its ability to access on our behalf short-term and long-term financing on favorable terms and conditions in the financial markets, real estate market and the economy, as to which no assurances can be given. In addition, our Manager may face substantial competition for attractive investment opportunities. Our Manager may not be able to successfully cause us to make investments with attractive risk-adjusted returns.

Risks Related to Our Taxation as a REIT
If we fail to remain qualified as a REIT, we will be subject to tax as a regular corporation and could face a substantial tax liability, which would reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders.
We operate in a manner that allows us to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. Although we do not intend to request a ruling from the IRS as to our REIT qualification, we have received an opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP with respect to our qualification as a REIT. Investors should be aware, however, that opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS or any court. The opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP represents only the view of our counsel based on our counsel's review and analysis of existing law and on certain representations as to factual matters and covenants made by us and our Manager, including representations relating to the values of our assets and the sources of our income. The opinion is expressed as of the date issued and does not cover subsequent periods. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has no obligation to advise us or the holders of our common stock of any subsequent change in the matters stated, represented or assumed, or of any subsequent change in applicable law. Furthermore, both the validity of the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and our qualification as a REIT depend on our satisfaction of certain asset, income, organizational, distribution, stockholder ownership and other requirements on a continuing basis, the results of which are not monitored by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. Our ability to satisfy the asset tests depends upon our analysis of the characterization and fair market values of our assets, some of which are not susceptible to a precise determination, and for which we will not obtain independent appraisals. Our compliance with the annual REIT income and quarterly asset requirements also depends upon our ability to successfully manage the composition of our income and assets on an ongoing basis. Moreover, the proper classification of an instrument as debt or equity for federal income tax purposes may be uncertain in some circumstances, which could affect the application of the REIT qualification requirements as described below. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not contend that our interests in subsidiaries or in securities of other issuers will not cause a violation of the REIT requirements.
If we were to fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, we would be subject to federal income tax, including any applicable alternative minimum tax, on our taxable income at regular corporate rates, and dividends paid to our stockholders would not be deductible by us in computing our taxable income. Any resulting corporate tax liability could be substantial and would reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders, which in turn could have an adverse impact on the value of our common stock. Unless we were entitled to relief under certain Internal Revenue Code provisions, we also would be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year in which we failed to qualify as a REIT.
Distributions payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates available for some dividends.
The maximum tax rate applicable to income from "qualified dividends" payable to domestic stockholders that are individuals, trusts and estates is currently 20%. Distributions of ordinary income payable by REITs, however, generally are not eligible for the reduced rates. Although this legislation does not adversely affect the taxation of REITs or distributions payable by REITs, the more favorable rates applicable to regular corporate qualified dividends could cause investors who are individuals, trusts and estates to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the stock of REITs, including our common stock.

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REIT distribution requirements could adversely affect our ability to execute our business plan.
We generally must distribute annually at least 90% of our taxable income, subject to certain adjustments and excluding any net capital gain, in order for federal corporate income tax not to apply to earnings that we distribute. To the extent that we satisfy this distribution requirement, but distribute less than 100% of our taxable income, we will be subject to federal corporate income tax on our undistributed taxable income. In addition, we will be subject to a non-deductible 4% excise tax if the actual amount distributed to our stockholders in a calendar year is less than a minimum amount specified under federal tax laws. We intend to make distributions to our stockholders to comply with the REIT qualification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code.
From time to time, we may generate taxable income greater than our income for financial reporting purposes prepared in accordance with GAAP, or differences in timing between the recognition of taxable income and the actual receipt of cash may occur. For example, if we purchase agency securities at a discount, we are generally required to accrete the discount into taxable income prior to receiving the cash proceeds of the accreted discount at maturity. Additionally, if we incur capital losses in excess of capital gains, such net capital losses are not allowed to reduce our taxable income for purposes of determining our distribution requirement. Such net capital losses may be carried forward for a period of up to five years and applied against future capital gains subject to the limitation of our ability to generate sufficient capital gains, which cannot be assured. If we do not have other funds available in these situations we could be required to borrow funds on unfavorable terms, sell investments at disadvantageous prices or distribute amounts that would otherwise be invested in future acquisitions to make distributions sufficient to maintain our qualification as a REIT, or avoid corporate income tax and the 4% excise tax in a particular year. These alternatives could increase our costs or reduce our stockholders' equity. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to grow, which could adversely affect the value of our common stock.
We may in the future choose to pay dividends in our own stock, in which case you may be required to pay income taxes in excess of the cash dividends you receive.
We may in the future distribute taxable dividends that are payable in cash and shares of our common stock at the election of each stockholder. Taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, stockholders may be required to pay income taxes with respect to such dividends in excess of the cash dividends received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock that it receives as a dividend in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the dividend, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to certain non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold U.S. tax with respect to such dividends, including in respect of all or a portion of such dividend that is payable in stock. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our common stock in order to pay taxes owed on dividends, it may put downward pressure on the trading price of our common stock.
Even if we remain qualified as a REIT, we may face other tax liabilities that reduce our cash flow.
Even if we remain qualified for taxation as a REIT, we may be subject to certain federal, state and local taxes on our income and assets, including taxes on any undistributed income, tax on income from some activities conducted as a result of a foreclosure, excise taxes, state or local income, property and transfer taxes, such as mortgage recording taxes, and other taxes. In addition, in order to meet the REIT qualification requirements, prevent the recognition of certain types of non-cash income, or to avert the imposition of a 100% tax that applies to certain gains derived by a REIT from dealer property or inventory, we may hold some of our assets through our TRS or other subsidiary corporations that will be subject to corporate level income tax at regular rates. In addition, if we lend money to a TRS, the TRS may be unable to deduct all or a portion of the interest paid to us, which could result in an even higher corporate level tax liability. Any of these taxes would decrease cash available for distribution to our stockholders.
Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forgo otherwise attractive opportunities.
To remain qualified as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts that we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our stock. We may be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution, and may be unable to pursue investments that would be otherwise advantageous to us in order to satisfy the source-of-income or asset-diversification requirements for qualifying as a REIT. Thus, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to make and, in certain cases, to maintain ownership of, certain attractive investments.
Complying with REIT requirements may force us to liquidate otherwise attractive investments.
To remain qualified as a REIT, we must ensure that at the end of each calendar quarter, at least 75% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash items, government securities and qualified real estate assets. The remainder of our investment in securities

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(other than government securities and qualified real estate assets) generally cannot include more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer or more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer. In addition, in general, no more than 5% of the value of our assets (other than government securities and qualified real estate assets) can consist of the securities of any one issuer, and no more than 25% of the value of our total assets can be represented by securities of one or more TRSs. If we fail to comply with these requirements at the end of any calendar quarter, we must correct the failure within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions to avoid losing our REIT qualification and suffering adverse tax consequences. As a result, we may be required to liquidate from our investment portfolio otherwise attractive investments. These actions could have the effect of reducing our income and amounts available for distribution to our stockholders.
The failure of assets subject to repurchase agreements to qualify as real estate assets could adversely affect our ability to remain qualified as a REIT.
We enter into certain financing arrangements that are structured as sale and repurchase agreements pursuant to which we nominally sell certain of our assets to a counterparty and simultaneously enter into an agreement to repurchase these assets at a later date in exchange for a purchase price. Economically, these agreements are financings that are secured by the assets sold pursuant thereto. We believe that we would be treated for REIT asset and income test purposes as the owner of the assets that are the subject of any such sale and repurchase agreement notwithstanding that such agreement may transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could assert that we did not own the assets during the term of the sale and repurchase agreement, in which case we could fail to remain qualified as a REIT.
Distributions to tax-exempt investors may be classified as unrelated business taxable income.
Neither ordinary nor capital gain distributions with respect to our common stock nor gain from the sale of common stock should generally constitute unrelated business taxable income to a tax-exempt investor. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. In particular:
part of the income and gain recognized by certain qualified employee pension trusts with respect to our common stock may be treated as unrelated business taxable income if shares of our common stock are predominantly held by qualified employee pension trusts, and we are required to rely on a special look-through rule for purposes of meeting one of the REIT ownership tests, and we are not operated in a manner to avoid treatment of such income or gain as unrelated business taxable income;
part of the income and gain recognized by a tax-exempt investor with respect to our common stock would constitute unrelated business taxable income if the investor incurs debt in order to acquire the common stock;
part or all of the income or gain recognized with respect to our common stock by social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts and qualified group legal services plans which are exempt from federal income taxation under the Internal Revenue Code may be treated as unrelated business taxable income; and
to the extent that we are (or a part of us, or a disregarded subsidiary of ours, is) a "taxable mortgage pool," or if we hold residual interests in a REMIC, a portion of the distributions paid to a tax-exempt stockholder that is allocable to excess inclusion income may be treated as unrelated business taxable income.
Liquidation of assets may jeopardize our REIT qualification or create additional tax liability for us.
To remain qualified as a REIT, we must comply with requirements regarding the composition of our assets and our sources of income. If we are compelled to liquidate our investments to repay obligations to our lenders, we may be unable to comply with these requirements, ultimately jeopardizing our qualification as a REIT, or we may be subject to a 100% tax on any resultant gain if we sell assets that are treated as dealer property or inventory.
Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and may cause us to incur tax liabilities.
The REIT provisions of the Internal Revenue Code could substantially limit our ability to hedge our liabilities. Any income from a properly designated hedging transaction we enter into to manage risk of interest rate changes with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets generally does not constitute "gross income" for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income tests. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both of the gross income tests. As a result of these rules, we may have to limit our use of advantageous hedging techniques or implement those hedges through our TRS. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities because our TRS would be subject to tax on gains or expose us to greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to bear. In addition, losses in our TRS will generally not provide any tax benefit, except for being carried forward against future taxable income in the TRS.

29



Uncertainty exists with respect to the treatment of our TBAs for purposes of the REIT asset and income tests.
We purchase and sell agency mortgage-backed securities through TBAs and recognize income or gains from the disposition of those TBAs, through dollar roll transactions or otherwise, and may continue to do so in the future. While there is no direct authority with respect to the qualification of TBAs as real estate assets or U.S. Government securities for purposes of the 75% asset test or the qualification of income or gains from dispositions of TBAs as gains from the sale of real property (including interests in real property and interests in mortgages on real property) or other qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, we treat our TBAs as qualifying assets for purposes of the REIT 75% asset test, and we treat income and gains from our TBAs as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, based on an opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP substantially to the effect that (i) for purposes of the REIT asset tests, our ownership of a TBA should be treated as ownership of the underlying agency securities, and (ii) for purposes of the 75% REIT gross income test, any gain recognized by us in connection with the settlement of our TBAs should be treated as gain from the sale or disposition of the underlying agency securities. Opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS, and no assurance can be given that the IRS will not successfully challenge the conclusions set forth in such opinions. In addition, it must be emphasized that the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is based on various assumptions relating to our TBAs and is conditioned upon fact-based representations and covenants made by our management regarding our TBAs. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert that such assets or income are not qualifying assets or income. If the IRS were to successfully challenge the opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, we could be subject to a penalty tax or we could fail to remain qualified as a REIT if a sufficient portion of our assets consists of TBAs or a sufficient portion of our income consists of income or gains from the disposition of TBAs.
Qualifying as a REIT involves highly technical and complex provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
Qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex Internal Revenue Code provisions for which only limited judicial and administrative authorities exist. Even a technical or inadvertent violation could jeopardize our REIT qualification. Our qualification as a REIT depends on our satisfaction of certain asset, income, organizational, distribution, stockholder ownership and other requirements on a continuing basis. In addition, our ability to satisfy the requirements to remain qualified as a REIT depends in part on the actions of third parties over which we have no control or only limited influence, including in cases where we own an equity interest in an entity that is classified as a partnership for federal income tax purposes.
The tax on prohibited transactions will limit our ability to engage in transactions, including certain methods of structuring CMOs, which would be treated as prohibited transactions for federal income tax purposes.
Net income that we derive from a prohibited transaction is subject to a 100% tax. The term "prohibited transaction" generally includes a sale or other disposition of property (including agency securities, but other than foreclosure property, as discussed below) that is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business by us or by a borrower that has issued a shared appreciation mortgage or similar debt instrument to us. We could be subject to this tax if we were to dispose of or structure CMOs in a manner that was treated as a prohibited transaction for federal income tax purposes.
We intend to conduct our operations at the REIT level so that no asset that we own (or are treated as owning) will be treated as, or as having been, held for sale to customers, and that a sale of any such asset will not be treated as having been in the ordinary course of our business. As a result, we may choose not to engage in certain transactions at the REIT level, and may limit the structures we utilize for our CMO transactions, even though the sales or structures might otherwise be beneficial to us. In addition, whether property is held "primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business" depends on the particular facts and circumstances. No assurance can be given that any property that we sell will not be treated as property held for sale to customers, or that we can comply with certain safe-harbor provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that would prevent such treatment. The 100% tax does not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a TRS or other taxable corporation, although such income will be subject to tax in the hands of the corporation at regular corporate rates. We intend to structure our activities to avoid prohibited transaction characterization.
New legislation or administrative or judicial action, in each instance potentially with retroactive effect, could make it more difficult or impossible for us to remain qualified as a REIT.
The present federal income tax treatment of REITs may be modified, possibly with retroactive effect, by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time, which could affect the federal income tax treatment of an investment in us. The federal income tax rules dealing with REITs constantly are under review by persons involved in the legislative process, the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department, which results in statutory changes as well as frequent revisions to regulations and interpretations. Revisions in federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could affect or cause us to change our investments and commitments and affect the tax considerations of an investment in us.


30



Risks Related to Our Business Structure
Loss of our exemption from regulation pursuant to the Investment Company Act would adversely affect us.
We conduct our business so as not to become regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act in reliance on the exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act. Section 3(c)(5)(C), as interpreted by the staff of the SEC, requires that: (i) at least 55% of our investment portfolio consist of "mortgages and other liens on and interest in real estate," or "qualifying real estate interests," and (ii) at least 80% of our investment portfolio consist of qualifying real estate interests plus "real estate-related assets."
In satisfying this 55% requirement, based on pronouncements of the SEC staff, we treat agency mortgage-backed securities issued with respect to an underlying pool of mortgage loans in which we hold all of the certificates issued by a pool, or a "whole pool", as qualifying real estate interests. However, the real estate related assets that we acquire are limited by the provisions of the Investment Company Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder. If the SEC determines that any of these securities are not qualifying interests in real estate or real estate-related assets, adopts a contrary interpretation with respect to these securities or otherwise believes we do not satisfy the above exceptions or changes its interpretation of the above exceptions, we could be required to restructure our activities or sell certain of our assets. We may be required at times to adopt less efficient methods of financing certain of our mortgage related investments and we may be precluded from acquiring certain types of higher yielding securities. The net effect of these factors would be to lower our net interest income. If we fail to qualify for an exemption from registration as an investment company or an exclusion from the definition of an investment company, our ability to use leverage would be substantially reduced. Our business will be materially and adversely affected if we fail to qualify for this exemption from regulation pursuant to the Investment Company Act.

Risks Related to Our Common Stock
The market price and trading volume of our common stock may be volatile.
The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile and be subject to wide fluctuations. In addition, the trading volume in our common stock may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur. The stock market has experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that have affected the market price of many companies in industries similar or related to ours and that have been unrelated to these companies' operating performances. If the market price of our common stock declines significantly, you may be unable to resell your shares at a gain. Further, fluctuations in the trading price of our common stock may adversely affect the liquidity of the trading market for our common stock and, in the event that we seek to raise capital through future equity financings, our ability to raise such equity capital.
We cannot assure you that the market price of our common stock will not fluctuate or decline significantly in the future. Some of the factors that could negatively affect our share price or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our common stock include:
actual or anticipated variations in our quarterly operating results or distributions;
changes in our earnings estimates or publication of research reports about us or the real estate or specialty finance industry;
increases in market interest rates that lead purchasers of our shares of common stock to demand a higher yield;
changes in market valuations of similar companies;
adverse market reaction to any increased indebtedness we incur in the future;
issuance of additional equity securities;
our repurchases of shares of our common stock;
actions by institutional stockholders;
additions or departures of key management personnel, or changes in our relationship with our Manager or American Capital;
speculation in the press or investment community;
price and volume fluctuations in the stock market from time to time, which are often unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies;
changes in regulatory policies, tax laws and financial accounting and reporting standards, particularly with respect to REITs, or applicable exemptions from the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended;
actual or anticipated changes in our dividend policy and earnings or variations in operating results;
any shortfall in revenue or net income or any increase in losses from levels expected by securities analysts;
decreases in our net asset value per share;
loss of major repurchase agreement providers; and
general market and economic conditions.
Future offerings of debt securities, which would rank senior to our preferred and common stock upon our liquidation, and future offerings of equity securities, which would dilute our existing stockholders and may be senior to our common stock for the purposes of dividend and liquidating distributions, may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
In the future, we may raise capital through the issuance of debt or equity securities. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities, if any, preferred stock and lenders with respect to other borrowings will be entitled to our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. Additional equity offerings may dilute the holdings of our existing stockholders or reduce the market price of our common stock, or both. Our preferred stock has a preference on liquidating distributions and a preference on

31



dividend payments that could limit our ability to pay dividends to the holders of our common stock. Sales of substantial amounts of our common stock, or the perception that these sales could occur, could have a material adverse effect on the price of our common stock. Because our decision to issue debt or equity securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing or nature of our future offerings. Thus holders of our common stock bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock and diluting the value of their stock holdings in us.
Future sales of shares of our common stock may depress the price of our shares.
We cannot predict the effect, if any, of future sales of our common stock or the availability of shares for future sales on the market price of our common stock. Any sales of a substantial number of our shares in the public market, or the perception that sales might occur, may cause the market price of our shares to decline.     
We have not established a minimum dividend payment level and we cannot assure you of our ability to pay dividends in the future.
We intend to pay monthly dividends to our common stockholders and to distribute all or substantially all of our taxable income within the limits prescribed by the Internal Revenue Code. However, we have not established a minimum dividend payment level and the amount of our dividend will fluctuate. Our ability to pay dividends may be adversely affected by the risk factors described herein. All distributions will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on our earnings, our financial condition, the requirements for REIT qualification and such other factors as our Board of Directors may deem relevant from time to time. We may not be able to make distributions in the future or our Board of Directors may change our dividend policy in the future. In addition, some of our distributions may include a return of capital. To the extent that we decide to pay dividends in excess of our current and accumulated tax earnings and profits, such distributions would generally be considered a return of capital for federal income tax purposes. A return of capital reduces the basis of a stockholder's investment in our common stock to the extent of such basis and is treated as capital gain thereafter.
An increase in market interest rates may cause a material decrease in the market price of our common stock.
One of the factors that investors may consider in deciding whether to buy or sell shares of our common stock is our distribution rate as a percentage of our share price relative to market interest rates. If the market price of our common stock is based primarily on the earnings and return that we derive from our investments and income with respect to our investments and our related distributions to stockholders, and not from the market value of the investments themselves, then interest rate fluctuations and capital market conditions are likely to affect adversely the market price of our common stock. For instance, if market rates rise without an increase in our distribution rate, the market price of our common stock could decrease as potential investors may require a higher distribution yield on our common stock or seek other securities paying higher distributions or interest. In addition, rising interest rates would result in increased interest expense on our variable rate debt, thereby reducing cash flow and our ability to service our indebtedness and pay distributions.
The stock ownership limit imposed by the Internal Revenue Code for REITs and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation may restrict our business combination opportunities.
To qualify as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code to include certain entities) at any time during the last half of each taxable year in which we qualify as a REIT. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, with certain exceptions, authorizes our Board of Directors to take the actions that are necessary and desirable to qualify as a REIT. Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, no person may beneficially or constructively own more than 9.8% in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of our common or capital stock.
Our Board of Directors may grant an exemption from this 9.8% stock ownership limitation, in its sole discretion, subject to such conditions, representations and undertakings as it may determine are reasonably necessary. Pursuant to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our Board of Directors has the power to increase or decrease the percentage of common or capital stock that a person may beneficially or constructively own. However, any decreased stock ownership limit will not apply to any person whose percentage ownership of our common or capital stock, as the case may be, is in excess of such decreased stock ownership limit until that person's percentage ownership of our common or capital stock, as the case may be, equals or falls below the decreased stock ownership limit. Until such a person's percentage ownership of our common or capital stock, as the case may be, falls below such decreased stock ownership limit, any further acquisition of our common or capital stock will be in violation of the decreased stock ownership limit.
The ownership limits imposed by the tax law are based upon direct or indirect ownership by "individuals," but only during the last half of a tax year. The ownership limits contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation apply to the

32



ownership at any time by any "person," which term includes entities. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common stock or capital stock in violations of these restrictions may result in the shares being transferred to a charitable trust or may be void. These ownership limitations are intended to assist us in complying with the tax law requirements, and to minimize administrative burdens. However, these ownership limits might also delay or prevent a transaction or a change in our control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.  

The stock ownership limitation contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation generally does not permit ownership in excess of 9.8% of our common or capital stock, and attempts to acquire our common or capital stock in excess of these limits will be ineffective unless an exemption is granted by our Board of Directors.
 
As described above, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation generally prohibits beneficial or constructive ownership by any person of more than 9.8% (by value or by number of shares, whichever is more restrictive) of our common or capital stock, unless exempted by our Board of Directors. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation's constructive ownership rules are complex and may cause the outstanding stock owned by a group of related individuals or entities to be deemed to be constructively owned by one individual or entity. As a result, the acquisition of less than these percentages of the outstanding stock by an individual or entity could cause that individual or entity to own constructively in excess of these percentages of the outstanding stock and thus be subject to our amended and restated certificate of incorporation's ownership limit. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common or preferred stock in excess of the ownership limit without the consent of the Board of Directors will result in the shares being automatically transferred to a charitable trust or, if the transfer to a charitable trust would not be effective, such transfer being treated as invalid from the outset.
 
Anti-takeover provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws could discourage a change of control that our stockholders may favor, which could also adversely affect the market price of our common stock.
 
Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws may make it more difficult and expensive for a third party to acquire control of us, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our stockholders. We could issue a series of preferred stock to impede the completion of a merger, tender offer or other takeover attempt. The anti-takeover provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws may impede takeover attempts, or other transactions, that may be in the best interests of our stockholders and, in particular, our common stockholders. In addition, the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected to the extent that provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws discourage potential takeover attempts, or other transactions, that our stockholders may favor.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.

Item 2. Properties
 
We do not own any property. Our executive offices are located in Bethesda, Maryland in office space shared with American Capital.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings  
From time to time, we may be involved in various claims and legal actions arising in the ordinary course of business. As of December 31, 2014, we had no legal proceedings.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.


33



PART II.

Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
 
Quarterly Stock Prices and Dividend Declarations
 
Our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "AGNC." As of January 31, 2015, we had 1,072 stockholders of record. Most of the shares of our common stock are held by brokers and other institutions on behalf of stockholders.
 
The following table sets forth the range of high and low sales prices of our common stock as reported on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and quarterly dividends declared on our common stock for fiscal years 2014 and 2013:
 
 
Common Stock
 
Sales Prices
 
Dividends Declared 1
 
High 
Low
 
2014
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
$
22.76

$
20.27

 
$
0.66

Third Quarter
$
22.37

$
20.27

 
$
0.65

Second Quarter
$
21.92

$
19.33

 
$
0.65

First Quarter
$
20.12

$
16.99

 
$
0.65

2013
 

 

 
 

Fourth Quarter
$
24.30

$
18.84

 
$
0.65

Third Quarter
$
24.58

$
20.20

 
$
0.80

Second Quarter
$
33.31

$
22.22

 
$
1.05

First Quarter
$
33.28

$
29.40

 
$
1.25

 _______________________
1.
During the fourth quarter of 2014, we commenced declaring cash dividends on our common stock on a monthly basis. Amount represents total cash dividends per share of common stock declared during each quarterly period.

We intend to pay monthly dividends to our common stockholders and to distribute all of our annual taxable income in a timely manner. This will enable us to qualify for the tax benefits accorded to a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code. We have not established a minimum dividend payment level and our ability to pay dividends may be adversely affected for the reasons described under the caption "Risk Factors."

In addition, holders of our 8.000% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock ("Series A Preferred Stock") and our 7.750% Series B Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock ("Series B Preferred Stock") (each underlying depositary share representing a 1/1000th interest in a share of our Series B Preferred Stock) are entitled to receive cumulative cash dividends at a rate of 8.000% and 7.750% per annum, respectively, of their aggregate liquidation preference of $173 million and $175 million, respectively, before holders of our common stock are entitled to receive any dividends. Under certain circumstances upon a change of control, the Series A and Series B Preferred Stock are convertible to shares of our common stock. All distributions will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend on our earnings, our financial condition, maintenance of our REIT status and such other factors as our Board of Directors may deem relevant from time to time.
 
The following table summarizes dividends declared on our common stock for fiscal years 2014 and 2013 and their related tax characterization:
 
 
 
 
Tax Characterization
Dividends Declared per Share of Common Stock
 
Dividends Declared Per Share
 
Ordinary Income Per Share
 
Qualified Dividends
 
Long-Term Capital Gains Per Share
Fiscal Year 2014
 
$
2.61

 
$
2.610000

 
$

 
$

Fiscal Year 2013
 
$
3.75

 
$
3.750000

 
$
0.029963

 
$



Our stock transfer agent and registrar is Computershare Investor Services. Requests for information from Computershare can be sent to Computershare Investor Services, P.O. Box 43078, Providence, RI 02940-3078 and their telephone number is 1-800-733-5001.

34



 Equity Compensation Plan Information
 
We have adopted a long term stock incentive plan, or Incentive Plan, to provide for the issuance of equity-based awards, including stock options, restricted stock units and unrestricted stock awards to our independent directors.
 
The following table provides information as of December 31, 2014 concerning shares of our common stock authorized for issuance under our existing Incentive Plan.
Plan Category
 
Number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options, warrants and rights
 
Weighted average exercise price of outstanding options, warrants and rights
 
Number of securities remaining available for future issuance under equity compensation plans (excluding securities reflected in the first column of this table)
Equity compensation plans approved by security holders 1
 
32,060
 
$

 
29,440
Equity compensation plans not approved by security holders
 
 

 
Total
 
32,060
 
$

 
29,440
_________________________________________________________
1.
Represents unvested restricted stock units and unvested shares of restricted stock awarded to our independent directors. 

Performance Graph
 
The following graph and table compare a stockholder's cumulative total return, assuming $100 invested at December 31, 2009, with the reinvestment of all dividends, as if such amounts had been invested in: (i) our common stock; (ii) the stocks included in the Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index ("S&P 500"); (iii) the stocks included in the FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REIT Index; (iv) an index of selected issuers in our Agency REIT Peer group, composed of Annaly Capital Management, Inc., Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation, Capstead Mortgage Corporation, Hatteras Financial Corporation, CYS Investments, Inc. and Armour Residential REIT, Inc. ("Agency REIT Peer Group").

35




 
 
 
December 31,
 
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
American Capital Agency
 
$
185.95

 
$
146.24

 
$
188.25

 
$
156.74

 
$
132.14

S&P 500
 
$
205.14

 
$
180.44

 
$
136.30

 
$
117.49

 
$
115.06

FTSE NAREIT Mortgage REITs
 
$
165.76

 
$
140.61

 
$
143.43

 
$
119.63

 
$
122.60

Agency REIT Peer Group
 
$
120.81

 
$
99.84

 
$
125.08

 
$
123.33

 
$
118.70


 
The information in the share performance graph and table has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but neither its accuracy nor its completeness can be guaranteed. The historical information set forth above is not necessarily indicative of future performance. Accordingly, we do not make or endorse any predictions as to future share performance.  


36



Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following selected financial data is derived from our audited financial statements for the five fiscal years ended December 31, 2014. The selected financial data should be read in conjunction with the more detailed information contained in the Financial Statements and Notes thereto and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 
($ in millions, except per share amounts)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
December 31,
Balance Sheet Data
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investment portfolio, at fair value
 
$
56,748

 
$
65,941

 
$
85,245

 
$
54,683

 
$
13,510

Total assets
 
$
67,766

 
$
76,255

 
$
100,453

 
$
57,972

 
$
14,476

Repurchase agreements and other debt
 
$
51,057

 
$
64,443

 
$
75,415

 
$
47,735

 
$
11,753

Total liabilities
 
$
58,338

 
$
67,558

 
$
89,557

 
$
51,760

 
$
12,904

Total stockholders' equity
 
$
9,428

 
$
8,697

 
$
10,896

 
$
6,212

 
$
1,572

Net asset value per common share as of period end 1
 
$
25.74

 
$
23.93

 
$
31.64

 
$
27.71

 
$
24.24

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fiscal Year
Statement of Comprehensive Income Data (unaudited)
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
Interest income
 
$
1,472

 
$
2,193

 
$
2,109

 
$
1,109

 
$
253

Interest expense 2
 
372

 
536

 
512

 
285

 
76

Net interest income
 
1,100

 
1,657

 
1,597

 
824

 
177

Other (loss) income, net 2
 
(1,192
)
 
(217
)
 
(157
)
 
26

 
130

Expenses
 
141

 
168

 
144

 
74

 
19

(Loss) income before income tax
 
(233
)
 
1,272

 
1,296

 
776

 
288

Provision for income tax, net
 

 
13

 
19

 
6

 

Net (loss) income
 
(233
)
 
1,259

 
1,277

 
770

 
288

Dividend on preferred stock
 
23

 
14

 
10

 

 

Net (loss) income (attributable) available to common shareholders
 
$
(256
)
 
$
1,245

 
$
1,267

 
$
770

 
$
288

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net (loss) income
 
$
(233
)
 
$
1,259

 
$
1,277

 
$
770

 
$
288

Other comprehensive income (loss) 2
 
1,813

 
(2,938
)
 
1,244

 
379

 
(88
)
Comprehensive income (loss)
 
1,580

 
(1,679
)
 
2,521

 
1,149

 
200

Dividend on preferred stock
 
23

 
14

 
10

 

 

Comprehensive income (loss) available (attributable) to common shareholders
 
$
1,557

 
$
(1,693
)
 
$
2,511

 
$
1,149

 
$
200

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding - basic and diluted
 
353.3

 
379.1

 
303.9

 
153.3

 
36.5

Net (loss) income per common share - basic and diluted
 
$
(0.72
)
 
$
3.28

 
$
4.17

 
$
5.02

 
$
7.89

Comprehensive income (loss) per common share - basic and diluted
 
$
4.41

 
$
(4.47
)
 
$
8.26

 
$
7.50

 
$
5.49

Dividends declared per common share
 
$
2.61

 
$
3.75

 
$
5.00

 
$
5.60

 
$
5.60

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

37



 
 
Fiscal Year
Other Data (unaudited)
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
2010
Average agency securities, at par
 
$53,578
 
$75,263
 
$71,002
 
$33,243
 
$6,992
Average agency securities, at cost
 
$56,051
 
$79,056
 
$74,588
 
$34,726
 
$7,335
Average total assets, at fair value
 
$67,007
 
$96,956
 
$86,172
 
$38,548
 
$8,100
Net TBA dollar roll position - at par, (as of period end)
 
$14,412
 
$2,119
 
$12,477
 
NM
 
NM
Net TBA dollar roll position - at cost, (as of period end)
 
$14,576
 
$2,276
 
$12,775
 
NM
 
NM
Net TBA dollar roll position - at market value, (as of period end) 
 
$14,768
 
$2,271
 
$12,870
 
NM
 
NM
Net TBA dollar roll position - at carrying value, (as of period end) 3
 
$192
 
$(5)
 
$95
 
NM
 
NM
Average net TBA dollar roll position, at cost
 
$13,212
 
$11,383
 
$3,294
 
NM
 
NM
Average repurchase agreements and other debt 4
 
$50,015
 
$71,753
 
$68,810
 
$31,840
 
$6,865
Average stockholders' equity 5
 
$9,295
 
$10,394
 
$9,473
 
$4,169
 
$859
Average coupon 6
 
3.63
 %
 
3.59
 %
 
3.90
 %
 
4.42
 %
 
5.03
 %
Average asset yield 7
 
2.63
 %
 
2.77
 %
 
2.82
 %
 
3.19
 %
 
3.44
 %
Average cost of funds 8
 
(1.40
)%
 
(1.34
)%
 
(1.11
)%
 
(1.00
)%
 
(1.11
)%
Average net interest rate spread
 
1.23
 %
 
1.43
 %
 
1.71
 %
 
2.19
 %
 
2.33
 %
Average net interest rate spread, including estimated TBA dollar roll income 9
 
1.75
 %
 
1.63
 %
 
1.77
 %
 
NM
 
NM
Average coupon (as of period end)
 
3.65
 %
 
3.58
 %
 
3.69
 %
 
4.23
 %
 
4.70
 %
Average asset yield (as of period end)
 
2.74
 %
 
2.70
 %
 
2.61
 %
 
3.07
 %
 
3.31
 %
Average cost of funds (as of period end) 10
 
(1.40
)%
 
(1.31
)%
 
(1.22
)%
 
(1.13
)%
 
(1.03
)%
Average net interest rate spread (as of period end)
 
1.34
 %
 
1.39
 %
 
1.39
 %
 
1.94
 %
 
2.28
 %
Net comprehensive income (loss) return on average common equity 11
 
17.3
 %
 
(16.6
)%
 
26.9
 %
 
27.6
 %
 
23.3
 %
Economic return (loss) on common equity 12
 
18.5
 %
 
(12.5
)%
 
32.2
 %
 
37.4
 %
 
32.7
 %
Leverage (average during the period) 13
 
5.5:1

 
6.9:1

 
7.3:1

 
7.6:1

 
8.0:1

Leverage, including net TBA dollar roll position (average during the period) 14
 
7.0:1

 
8.0:1

 
7.6:1

 
NM
 
NM
Leverage (as of period end) 15
 
5.3:1

 
7.3:1

 
7.0:1

 
7.9:1

 
7.8:1

Leverage, including net TBA dollar roll position (as of period end) 16
 
6.9:1

 
7.5:1

 
8.2:1

 
NM
 
NM
Expenses % of average total assets
 
0.21
 %
 
0.17
 %
 
0.17
 %
 
0.19
 %
 
0.23
 %
Expenses % of average assets, including average net TBA dollar roll position - annualized
 
0.18
 %
 
0.15
 %
 
0.16
 %
 
NM
 
NM
Expenses % of average stockholders' equity
 
1.52
 %
 
1.61
 %
 
1.52
 %
 
1.77
 %
 
2.19
 %
_______________________
* Except as noted below, average numbers for each period are weighted based on days on our books and records. All percentages are annualized.

1.
Net asset value per common share is calculated as our total stockholders' equity, less our Series A and Series B Preferred Stock aggregate liquidation preference, divided by our number of common shares outstanding as of period end.
2.
We voluntarily discontinued hedge accounting for our interest rate swaps as of September 30, 2011. Please refer to our Interest Expense and Cost of Funds discussion further below and Notes 2 and 5 of our Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information regarding our discontinuance of hedge accounting.
3.
The carrying value of our net TBA position represents the difference between the market value and the cost basis of the TBA contract as of period-end and is reported in derivative assets / (liabilities), at fair value on our accompanying consolidated balance sheets
4.
Excludes U.S. Treasury repo agreements.
5.
Average stockholders' equity calculated as our average month-end stockholders' equity during the period.
6.
Average coupon for the period was calculated by dividing our total coupon (or cash) interest income on agency securities by our average agency securities held at par.
7.
Average asset yield for the period was calculated by dividing our total cash interest income on agency securities, adjusted for amortization of premiums and discounts, by our average amortized cost of agency securities held.
8.
Average cost of funds includes agency MBS repurchase agreements, debt of consolidated variable interest entities ("VIEs") and interest rate swaps currently in effect, but excludes interest rate swap termination fees, forward starting swaps and costs associated with other supplemental hedges such as interest rate swaptions and short U.S. Treasury or TBA positions. Average cost of funds for the period was calculated by dividing our total cost of funds by our average repurchase agreements and debt of consolidated VIEs outstanding for the period.
9.
TBA dollar roll income / (loss) is net of short TBAs used for hedging purposes. Dollar roll income excludes the impact of other supplemental hedges, and is recognized in gain (loss) on derivative instruments and other securities, net.
10.
Average cost of funds as of period end includes agency MBS repurchase agreements and debt of consolidated VIEs outstanding, plus the impact of interest rate swaps in effect as of each period end and forward starting swaps becoming effective, net of swaps expiring, within three months of each period end, but excludes costs associated with other supplemental hedges such as swaptions, U.S. Treasuries and TBA positions.

38



11.
Net comprehensive income (loss) return on average common equity for the period was calculated by dividing our comprehensive income/(loss) available /(attributable) to common shareholders by our average stockholders' equity, net of the Series A and Series B Preferred Stock aggregate liquidation preference.
12.
Economic return (loss) on common equity represents the sum of the change in our net asset value per common share and our dividends declared on common stock during the period over our beginning net asset value per common share.
13.
Average leverage during the period was calculated by dividing our daily weighted average agency MBS repurchase agreements and debt of consolidated VIEs outstanding for the period by the sum of our average stockholders' equity less our average investment in REIT equity securities for the period. Leverage excludes U.S. Treasury repurchase agreements.
14.
Average leverage, including net TBA dollar roll position, during the period includes the components of "leverage (average during the period)" plus our daily weighted average net TBA dollar position (at cost) during the period.
15.
Leverage at period end is calculated by dividing the sum of the amount outstanding under our agency MBS repurchase agreements, net receivable / payable for unsettled agency securities and debt of consolidated VIEs by the sum of our total stockholders' equity less the fair value of investments in REIT equity securities at period end. Leverage excludes U.S. Treasury repurchase agreements.
16.
Leverage at period end, including net TBA dollar roll position, includes the components of "leverage (as of period end)" plus our net TBA position outstanding as of period end, at cost.

Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations ("MD&A") is designed to provide a reader of American Capital Agency Corp.'s consolidated financial statements with a narrative from the perspective of management. Our MD&A is presented in eight sections:
Executive Overview
Financial Condition
Summary of Critical Accounting Estimates
Results of Operations
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Aggregate Contractual Obligations
Forward-Looking Statements

EXECUTIVE OVERVIEW
The size and composition of our investment portfolio depends on investment strategies implemented by our Manager, the availability of investment capital and overall market conditions, including the availability of attractively priced investments and suitable financing to appropriately leverage our investment portfolio. Market conditions are influenced by, among other things, current levels of and expectations for future levels of interest rates, mortgage prepayments, market liquidity, housing prices, unemployment rates, general economic conditions, government participation in the mortgage market, evolving regulations or legal settlements that impact servicing practices or other mortgage related activities.
Trends and Recent Market Impacts
The fixed income markets performed well during 2014, a sharp contrast to the extreme interest rate volatility and price deterioration experienced in 2013. The consensus view at the start of 2014 was that interest rates would continue to increase and that spreads on agency MBS versus comparable benchmark indices would widen as the Fed exited its third quantitative easing program ("QE3") and began to tighten monetary policy in response to improving economic conditions. Quantitative easing refers to the recent buying by the Fed of U.S. government bonds and agency MBS in the open market, an aggressive and historically unusual method of expanding the U.S. money supply. However, despite generally strong U.S. economic data, the global economic weakness and declining inflation expectations both domestically and abroad led to a significant decline in interest rates across the globe. In addition, the shape of the U.S. Treasury yield curve changed significantly during the year, as the yield on the 10 year U.S. Treasury note fell 84 basis points while the yield on the 2 year U.S. Treasury note increased 29 basis points.
Also, in contrast to consensus expectations, agency MBS generally outperformed many other fixed income products, despite the gradual reduction in the Fed’s MBS purchases and the significant flattening of the yield curve. The strong performance of agency MBS was driven by a historically low volume of newly originated mortgages and by fixed income investors generally being underweight or underinvested in agency MBS. In addition, agency MBS benefited from the Fed's ownership of approximately one-third, or nearly $1.7 trillion, of the agency MBS market as of December 31, 2014, which has materially reduced the outstanding tradable supply of agency MBS.

39



The relative outperformance of agency MBS helped drive our economic return of 18.5% in 2014. Our economic return was comprised of $2.61 dividends per common share and a $1.81increase in our net book value per common share. Our active approach to portfolio management, which included repositioning our asset portfolio, modifying the composition of our hedge portfolio and operating with a somewhat larger duration gap (the estimated difference between the interest rate sensitivity of our assets and our liabilities and hedges), benefited our financial results during the year despite operating with relatively low leverage.
Asset Composition:
By the start of 2014, we had increased our 15 year fixed rate mortgage position to slightly over 50% of our portfolio, which positioned us well for the strong performance of 15 year agency MBS early in 2014. Following the relative outperformance of 15 year MBS earlier in the year, combined with the flattening yield curve and our more favorable outlook for 30 year MBS, we gradually reduced our 15 year position in favor of 30 year MBS, benefiting our performance as 30 year MBS subsequently outperformed 15 year MBS throughout much of the rest of 2014.
Our performance also benefited from favorable financing terms available in the TBA dollar roll market. TBA dollar rolls represent forward purchases or sales of agency MBS in the “to-be-announced” market. TBA dollar rolls are an off-balance sheet means of financing the purchase of a mortgage-backed security. Due to a combination of factors including the Fed’s sizable holdings of agency MBS and the relatively benign prepayment environment for agency MBS, implied financing rates available in the dollar roll market were significantly less than (or more favorable than) financing available in the repo market throughout most of 2014. Given the attractiveness of TBA investments, we allocated a significant portion of our portfolio to TBA securities, rather than holding these investments in pool form funded by repurchase agreements. As of December 31, 2014, our TBA dollar roll position was $14.8 billion, or approximately 21% of our investment portfolio, compared to $2.3 billion, or approximately 3% of our investment portfolio, as of December 31, 2013.
Towards the end of the fourth quarter of 2014, following the relative outperformance of 30 year MBS throughout much of the year and the comparative cheapening of 15 year MBS as well as a growing risk of faster prepayment rates (due to mortgage refinance activity that generally accelerates when rates fall), we reduced our 30 year holdings and increased our allocation to 15 year MBS. In lower, more volatile, interest rate environments, 15 year MBS tend to provide greater protection than 30 year MBS against both prepayment and extension risks and are thus easier to hedge. At the end of the third quarter of 2014, our holdings of 30 year MBS peaked at 65%, a significant increase from 43% as of December 31, 2013, whereas by December 31, 2014 our 30 year MBS decreased to 58% of our portfolio.
We believe our investment portfolio is well positioned for lower interest rates given our limited exposure to the areas of the mortgage market that are most likely to experience a significant increase in prepayment rates. As of December 31, 2014, our TBA position was comprised primarily of lower coupon 30 year 3.0% and 3.5% TBAs and 15 year 2.5% and 3.0% TBAs, while we had a net short position in higher coupon 30 year 4.0% TBAs and 15 year 3.5% TBAs. Additionally, as of December 31, 2014, approximately 67% of our on balance sheet fixed rate agency MBS holdings were backed by loans with original loan balances of up to $150,000 and an average loan balance of $97,000, or by loans that were refinanced through the U.S. Government sponsored Home Affordable Refinance Program (“HARP”), which provided certain homeowners with a one-time option to refinance their mortgage, with original loan-to-value ("LTV") ratios of at least 80% and an average LTV of 116%, which have more favorable prepayment attributes in lower interest rate environments than generic agency MBS.
For a complete listing of our investment portfolio as of December 31, 2014 and 2013, please see "Financial Condition" below and Notes 3 and 5 to our consolidated financial statements included under Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Risk Management:
On a continuous basis we assess and manage our exposure to interest rate fluctuations in both directions. When we believe extension risk is high if rates should rise, particularly from an exceptionally low interest rate environment, we tend to operate with a smaller or negative duration gap. Conversely, when we believe prepayment risk is the more pronounced risk if rates should fall from current levels, we tend to operate with a larger duration gap.
Our view on the correlation between agency MBS spreads and interest rates is another important factor in our duration gap analysis and management. In 2013, agency MBS spreads were positively correlated with interest rates (i.e., agency MBS spreads generally widened as interest rates rose and tightened as interest rates fell). Conversely, in the second half of 2014, spreads were generally inversely correlated with interest rates (i.e., agency MBS spreads often tightened as interest rates increased and widened as interest rates fell). Generally, when we believe agency MBS spreads will be inversely correlated with interest rates, we tend to operate with a larger positive duration gap. When we believe agency MBS spreads are positively correlated with interest rates, we tend to operate with a smaller or negative duration gap. (For further discussion of our interest rate

40



sensitivity, please refer to "Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk" under Item 7A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.)
Throughout 2014, we operated with a positive duration gap. Our duration gap was slightly larger earlier in the year than what we operated with during much of the prior year and subsequent periods during 2014, which was consistent with our moderate leverage profile and our assessment of the correlation between mortgage spreads and interest rates. Despite the somewhat larger duration gap during the first half of 2014, the aggregate amount of extension risk within our portfolio was consistent with historical levels.
Looking Ahead:
Entering 2015, we believe that our portfolio is well positioned for a wide range of interest rate scenarios. There is considerable uncertainty regarding when the Fed will begin to normalize short term interest rates given the apparent divergence between the favorable U.S. economic outlook and the deteriorating global economic picture. In addition, while the employment picture in the U.S. has improved substantially, inflation data and expectations remain well below the Fed’s mandate, and global deflationary pressure appears to be gaining strength in part due to declining oil prices.
If interest rates continue to decline, we would expect prepayment speeds to accelerate substantially and mortgage spreads to widen somewhat, possibly adversely impacting our net book value in the near term. However, in this falling rate scenario, we also believe that our portfolio should perform relatively well given our sizable portfolio allocation to assets with favorable prepayment characteristics and the relatively low coupon profile of our portfolio, which should help mitigate potential book value declines. In addition, our current low leverage level and conservative interest rate risk profile provide us the capacity and flexibility to grow our portfolio quickly if MBS weaken and expected returns improve, thereby improving our future earnings profile. Conversely, if interest rates increase, we would expect MBS spreads to perform well in response to favorable supply and demand forces and slower prepayment dynamics.
For the estimated impact of changes in interests rates and mortgage spreads on our net book value please refer to "Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk" under Item 7A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Since we employ an active management strategy, the size and composition of our assets, liabilities and hedges will evolve based on our view of the current market environment and relative risks and rewards and, consequently, the actual impact of changes in interest rates and mortgage spreads could differ materially from our estimates.

41



Market Information:
The following table summarizes interest rates and prices of generic fixed rate agency mortgage-backed securities as of each date presented below:
Interest Rate/Security Price 1
 
Dec. 31, 2013
 
Mar. 31, 2014
 
June 30, 2014
 
Sept. 30, 2014
 
Dec. 31, 2014
 
Dec. 31, 2014
vs.
Dec. 31, 2013
LIBOR:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1-Month
 
0.17%
 
0.15%
 
0.16%
 
0.16%
 
0.17%
 

bps
3-Month
 
0.25%
 
0.23%
 
0.23%
 
0.24%
 
0.26%
 
+0.01

bps
6-Month
 
0.35%
 
0.33%
 
0.33%
 
0.33%
 
0.36%
 
+0.01

bps
U.S. Treasury Security Rate:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
2-Year U.S. Treasury
 
0.38%
 
0.43%
 
0.46%
 
0.58%
 
0.67%
 
+0.29

bps
3-Year U.S. Treasury
 
0.76%
 
0.88%
 
0.86%
 
1.06%
 
1.08%
 
+0.32

bps
5-Year U.S. Treasury
 
1.74%
 
1.73%
 
1.62%
 
1.78%
 
1.65%
 
-0.09

bps
10-Year U.S. Treasury
 
3.01%
 
2.72%
 
2.52%
 
2.51%
 
2.17%
 
-0.84

bps
30-Year U.S. Treasury
 
3.94%
 
3.56%
 
3.34%
 
3.21%
 
2.75%
 
-1.19

bps
Interest Rate Swap Rate:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2-Year Swap
 
0.49%
 
0.55%
 
0.58%
 
0.83%
 
0.89%
 
+0.40

bps
3-Year Swap
 
0.87%
 
1.01%
 
0.99%
 
1.31%
 
1.29%
 
+0.42

bps
5-Year Swap
 
1.78%
 
1.81%
 
1.70%
 
1.95%
 
1.77%
 
-0.01

bps
10-Year Swap
 
3.07%
 
2.85%
 
2.61%
 
2.65%
 
2.29%
 
-0.78

bps
30-Year Swap
 
3.91%
 
3.54%
 
3.31%
 
3.20%
 
2.70%
 
-1.21

bps
30-Year Fixed Rate MBS Price:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3.0%
 
$95.11
 
$96.53
 
$98.77
 
$98.59
 
$101.22
 
+$6.11
3.5%
 
$99.48
 
$100.59
 
$102.92
 
$102.23
 
$104.28
 
+$4.80
4.0%
 
$103.11
 
$103.94
 
$106.11
 
$105.41
 
$106.75
 
+$3.64
4.5%
 
$106.06
 
$106.69
 
$108.30
 
$107.91
 
$108.56
 
+$2.50
15-Year Fixed Rate MBS Price:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2.5%
 
$99.00
 
$99.92
 
$101.59
 
$100.55
 
$101.81
 
+$2.81
3.0%
 
$102.05
 
$102.72
 
$103.88
 
$102.98
 
$103.91
 
+$1.86
3.5%
 
$104.58
 
$104.83
 
$105.98
 
$105.11
 
$105.61
 
+$1.03
4.0%
 
$105.94
 
$105.78
 
$106.17
 
$105.69
 
$106.06
 
+$0.12
 ________________________
1.
Price information is for generic instruments only and is not reflective of our specific portfolio holdings. Price information is as of 3:00 p.m. (EST) and can vary by source. Prices and interest rates in the table above were obtained from Barclays. LIBOR rates were obtained from Bloomberg.
The following table summarizes recent prepayment trends for our portfolio:
Annualized Monthly Constant Prepayment Rates 1
 
Dec. 2013
 
Jan. 2014
 
Feb. 2014
 
Mar. 2014
 
Apr. 2014
 
May 2014
 
June 2014
 
July 2014
 
Aug. 2014
 
Sept. 2014
 
Oct. 2014
 
Nov. 2014
 
Dec. 2014
AGNC portfolio
 
8%
 
8%
 
7%
 
6%
 
8%
 
9%
 
9%
 
10%
 
11%
 
10%
 
10%
 
10%
 
8%
 ________________________
1.
Weighted average actual one-month annualized CPR released at the beginning of the month based on securities held/outstanding as of the preceding month-end.




42



FINANCIAL CONDITION
As of December 31, 2014 and 2013, our investment portfolio consisted of $56.7 billion and $65.9 billion of agency MBS, respectively, and a $14.8 billion and $2.3 billion net long TBA position, at fair value, respectively.
Our TBA positions are recorded as derivative instruments in our accompanying consolidated financial statements, with the TBA dollar roll transactions representing a form of off-balance sheet financing. As of December 31, 2014 and 2013, our TBA position had a net carrying value of $192 million and $(5) million, respectively, reported in derivative assets/(liabilities) on our accompanying consolidated balance sheets. The net carrying value represents the difference between the fair value of the underlying agency security in the TBA contract and the cost basis or the forward price to be paid or received for the underlying agency security.
The following tables summarize certain characteristics of our agency MBS investment portfolio and our net TBA position as of December 31, 2014 and 2013 (dollars in millions):
 
 
December 31, 2014
 
Agency MBS Classified as Available-for-Sale ("AFS")
 
Par Value
 
Amortized
Cost
 
Amortized
Cost Basis
 
Fair Value
 
% Lower Loan Balance & HARP 2,3
 
Weighted Average
 
Projected Life
CPR 5
 
WAC 4
 
Yield 5
 
Age (Months)
Investments By Coupon: 1
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fixed Rate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ≤ 15-Year
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ≤ 2.5%
 
$
6,866

 
$
7,005

 
102.0%
 
$
7,010

 
34%
 
2.96%
 
2.03%
 
26
 
8%
3.0%
 
4,856

 
5,008

 
103.1%
 
5,063

 
75%
 
3.50%
 
2.25%
 
31
 
9%
3.5%
 
5,194

 
5,383

 
103.6%
 
5,512

 
90%
 
3.95%
 
2.56%
 
41
 
10%
4.0%
 
4,582

 
4,790

 
104.5%
 
4,920

 
89%
 
4.40%
 
2.72%
 
49
 
12%
4.5%
 
478

 
501

 
105.0%
 
509

 
97%
 
4.87%
 
3.06%
 
52
 
12%
≥ 5.0%
 
6

 
7

 
104.2%
 
7

 
26%
 
6.46%
 
4.44%
 
84
 
14%
Total ≤ 15-Year
 
21,982

 
22,694

 
103.2%
 
23,021

 
70%
 
3.66%
 
2.37%
 
36
 
10%
20-Year
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ≤ 3.0%
 
324

 
322

 
99.3%
 
334

 
28%
 
3.55%
 
3.11%
 
19
 
7%
3.5%
 
698

 
713

 
102.2%
 
736

 
63%
 
4.05%
 
3.05%
 
22
 
10%
4.0%
 
80

 
84

 
104.5%
 
86

 
47%
 
4.53%
 
2.98%
 
40
 
11%
4.5%
 
101

 
108

 
106.8%
 
111

 
99%
 
4.89%
 
3.05%
 
49
 
11%
≥ 5.0%
 
5

 
5

 
106.0%
 
5

 
—%
 
5.91%
 
3.34%
 
79
 
20%
Total 20-Year:
 
1,208

 
1,232

 
102.0%
 
1,272

 
55%
 
4.04%
 
3.06%
 
25
 
9%
30-Year:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ≤ 3.0%
 
1,634

 
1,615

 
98.9%
 
1,656

 
10%
 
3.58%
 
3.14%
 
19
 
6%
3.5%
 
10,068

 
10,597

 
105.2%
 
10,533

 
87%
 
3.98%
 
2.78%
 
27
 
7%
4.0%
 
14,497

 
15,418

 
106.4%
 
15,525

 
54%
 
4.43%
 
3.00%
 
20
 
9%
4.5%
 
1,849

 
1,970

 
106.5%
 
2,031

 
88%
 
4.96%
 
3.41%
 
43
 
10%
5.0%
 
183

 
194

 
106.2%
 
203

 
65%
 
5.45%
 
3.74%
 
80
 
12%
≥ 5.5%
 
207

 
225

 
108.9%
 
232

 
36%
 
6.23%
 
3.40%
 
96
 
18%
Total 30-Year
 
28,438

 
30,019

 
105.6%
 
30,180

 
65%
 
4.28%
 
2.96%
 
25
 
8%
Total Fixed Rate
 
51,628

 
53,945

 
104.5%
 
54,473

 
67%
 
4.01%
 
2.72%
 
29
 
9%
Adjustable Rate
 
652

 
659

 
101.3%
 
678

 
—%
 
3.73%
 
2.42%
 
44
 
23%
CMO
 
1,144

 
1,172

 
102.5%
 
1,195

 
—%
 
4.27%
 
2.85%
 
33
 
8%
Total / Weighted Average
 
$
53,424

 
$
55,776

 
104.4%
 
$
56,346

 
65%
 
4.02%
 
2.72%
 
30
 
9%


43



 
 
December 31, 2014
Agency MBS Remeasured at Fair Value Through Earnings
 
Underlying
Unamortized
Principal
Balance
 
Amortized
Cost
 
Fair Value
 
Weighted Average
 
Projected Life
CPR 5
Coupon 1
 
Yield 5
 
Age (Months)
Interest-Only Strips
 
$
1,182

 
$
179

 
$
203

 
5.46%
 
10.79%
 
55
 
12%
Principal-Only Strips
 
242

 
193

 
199

 
—%
 
3.07%
 
36
 
8%
Total / Weighted Average
 
$
1,424

 
$
372

 
$
402

 
4.53%
 
6.77%
 
45
 
10%
_______________________
1.
The weighted average coupon on our agency MBS classified as "AFS" was 3.54% and the weighted average coupon on our total agency MBS portfolio, including agency MBS remeasured at fair value through earnings, was 3.65% as of December 31, 2014.
2.
Lower loan balance securities represent pools backed by an original loan balance of ≤ $150,000. Our lower loan balance securities had a weighted average original loan balance of $97,000 and $96,000 for 15-year and 30-year securities, respectively, as of December 31, 2014.
3.
HARP securities are defined as pools backed by100% refinance loans with LTV ≥ 80%. Our HARP securities had a weighted average LTV of 109% and 118% for 15-year and 30-year securities, respectively, as of December 31, 2014. Includes $934 million and $3.1 billion of 15-year and 30-year securities, respectively, with >105 LTV pools which are not deliverable into TBA securities.
4.
WAC represents the weighted average coupon of the underlying collateral.
5.
Portfolio yield incorporates a projected life CPR assumption based on forward rate assumptions as of December 31, 2014.

 
 
December 31, 2014
TBA Securities
 
Notional 
Amount - Long (Short) 1
 
Cost Basis 2
 
Market
Value 3
 
Net Carrying Value 4
15-Year TBA securities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2.5%
 
$
962

 
$
968

 
$
980

 
$
12

3.0%
 
2,779

 
2,889

 
2,888

 
(1
)
3.5%
 
(468
)
 
(495
)
 
(494
)
 
1

4.0%
 
(13
)
 
(14
)
 
(14
)
 

Total 15-Year TBAs
 
3,260

 
3,348

 
3,360

 
12

30-Year TBA securities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3.0%
 
5,254

 
5,259

 
5,313

 
54

3.5%
 
7,902

 
8,151

 
8,232

 
81

4.0%
 
(1,853
)
 
(2,019
)
 
(1,974
)
 
45

4.5%
 
(151
)
 
(163
)
 
(163
)
 

Total 30-Year TBAs
 
11,152

 
11,228

 
11,408

 
180

Total net TBA securities
 
$
14,412

 
$
14,576

 
$
14,768

 
$
192

 ________________________
1.
Notional amount represents the par value (or principal balance) of the underlying agency security.
2.
Cost basis represents the forward price to be paid (received) for the underlying agency security.
3.
Market value represents the current market value of the TBA contract (or of the underlying agency security) as of period-end.
4.
Net carrying value represents the difference between the market value and the cost basis of the TBA contract as of period-end and is reported in derivative assets / (liabilities), at fair value on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.

44



 
 
December 31, 2013
Agency MBS Classified as AFS
 
Par Value
 
Amortized
Cost
 
Amortized
Cost Basis
 
Fair Value
 
% Lower Loan Balance & HARP 2,3
 
Weighted Average
 
Projected
Life
CPR 5
 
WAC 4
 
Yield 5
 
Age (Months)
Investments By Coupon: 1