We use a variety of derivative instruments to hedge a portion of our exposure to market risks, including interest rate, prepayment, extension and liquidity risk. The objective of our risk management strategy is to reduce fluctuations in net book value over a range of interest rate scenarios. In particular, we attempt to mitigate the risk of the cost of our variable rate liabilities increasing during a period of rising interest rates. The principal instruments that we use are interest rate swaps and options to enter into interest rate swaps ("swaptions"). We also utilize U.S. Treasury securities and U.S. Treasury futures contracts, primarily through short sales, and forward contracts for the purchase or sale of agency MBS securities on a generic pool basis in the "to-be-announced" market ("TBA securities"). We may also purchase or write put or call options on TBA securities and invest in mortgage and other types of derivatives, such as interest and principal-only securities.
We also enter into TBA contracts as a means of investing in and financing agency securities (thereby increasing our "at risk" leverage) or as a means of disposing of or reducing our exposure to agency securities (thereby reducing our "at risk" leverage). Under TBA contracts, we agree 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 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 short or long position (referred to as a "pair off"), net settling the paired off positions for cash, and simultaneously purchasing or selling a similar TBA contract for a later settlement date. This transaction is commonly referred to as a "dollar roll." The agency securities purchased or sold for a forward settlement date 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/loss." Consequently, forward purchases of agency securities and dollar roll transactions represent a form of off-balance sheet financing.
We account for derivative instruments in accordance with ASC Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging ("ASC 815"). ASC 815 requires an entity to recognize all derivatives as either assets or liabilities in our accompanying consolidated balance sheets and to measure those instruments at fair value.
Our derivative agreements generally contain provisions that allow for netting or setting off derivative assets and liabilities with the counterparty; however, we report related assets and liabilities on a gross basis in our consolidated balance sheets. Derivative instruments in a gain position are reported as derivative assets at fair value and derivative instruments in a loss position are reported as derivative liabilities at fair value in our consolidated balance sheets. Changes in fair value of derivative instruments and periodic settlements related to our derivative instruments are recorded in gain (loss) on derivative instruments and other securities, net in our consolidated statements of comprehensive income. Cash receipts and payments related to derivative instruments are classified in our consolidated statements of cash flows according to the underlying nature or purpose of the derivative transaction, generally in the investing section.
The use of derivative instruments creates exposure to credit risk relating to potential losses that could be recognized in the event that the counterparties to these instruments fail to perform their obligations under the contracts. We attempt to minimize this risk by limiting our counterparties to major financial institutions with acceptable credit ratings, monitoring positions with individual counterparties and adjusting posted collateral as required.
Discontinuation of hedge accounting for interest rate swap agreements
Prior to fiscal year 2011, we entered into interest rate swap agreements typically with the intention of qualifying for hedge accounting under ASC 815. However, during fiscal year 2011 we elected to discontinue hedge accounting for our interest rate swaps. Upon discontinuation of hedge accounting, the net deferred loss related to our de-designated interest rate swaps remained in accumulated OCI and is being reclassified from accumulated OCI into interest expense on a straight-line basis over the remaining term of each interest rate swap.
Interest rate swap agreements
We use interest rate swaps to hedge the variable cash flows associated with borrowings made under our repurchase agreement facilities. Under our interest rate swap agreements, we typically pay a fixed rate and receive a floating rate based on one, three or six-month LIBOR ("payer swaps") with terms up to 20 years. The floating rate we receive under our swap agreements has the effect of offsetting the repricing characteristics of our repurchase agreements and cash flows on such liabilities. Our swap agreements are privately negotiated in the over−the−counter ("OTC") market, with swap agreements entered into subsequent to May 2013 subject to central clearing through a registered commodities exchange ("centrally cleared swaps").