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 very 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 very 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 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 and agency debenture securities, 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.
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.
Because of our significant leverage, we may incur substantial losses if our borrowing costs increase. 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 the repurchase agreements we are party to increases;
interest rate volatility increases; or
the availability of financing in the market decreases.
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 investments may lead to the price of such assets increasing, which may further limit our ability to generate desired returns. The