10-K 1 anh-10k_20131231.htm 10-K

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

x

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2013

OR

¨

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM            TO

COMMISSION FILE NUMBER 001-13709

 

ANWORTH MORTGAGE ASSET CORPORATION

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

 

MARYLAND

 

52-2059785

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

1299 OCEAN AVENUE, SECOND FLOOR

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA

 

90401

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (310) 255-4493

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Series A Cumulative Preferred Stock, $0.01 Par Value

 

New York Stock Exchange

Series B Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock, $0.01 Par Value

 

New York Stock Exchange

Common Stock, $0.01 Par Value

 

New York Stock Exchange

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  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required 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  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark that 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.  x

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 definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (check one):

 

Large Accelerated Filer x

Accelerated Filer ¨

Non-Accelerated Filer ¨

Smaller Reporting Company ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the closing price of such stock on the New York Stock Exchange, as of June 28, 2013 was approximately $788,889,511.

As of February 21, 2014, the registrant had 136,543,235 shares of common stock issued and outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Part III of this Form 10-K incorporates by reference certain portions of the registrant’s proxy statement for its 2014 annual meeting of stockholders to be filed with the Commission not later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year covered by this report.

 

 

 

 


ANWORTH MORTGAGE ASSET CORPORATION

FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT

FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Item

 

Page

 

 

PART I

 

1.

 

Business

2

1A.

 

Risk Factors

24

1B.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

43

2.

 

Properties

43

3.

 

Legal Proceedings

43

4.

 

Mine Safety Disclosures

43

 

 

PART II

 

5.

 

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

44

6.

 

Selected Financial Data

46

7.

 

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

47

7A.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

59

8.

 

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

62

9.

 

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

62

9A.

 

Controls and Procedures

62

9B.

 

Other Information

65

 

 

PART III

 

10.

 

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

66

11.

 

Executive Compensation

66

12.

 

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

66

13.

 

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

66

14.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

66

 

 

PART IV

 

15.

 

Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules

67

Signatures

68

Financial Statements

F-1

 

 

 


 

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains or incorporates by reference certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the 1933 Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and, as such, may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are based upon our current expectations and speak only as of the date hereof. Forward-looking statements are those that predict or describe future events or trends and that do not relate solely to historical matters. You can generally identify forward-looking statements as statements containing the words “may,” “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” “assume” or other similar expressions. You should not rely on our forward-looking statements because the matters they describe are subject to assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond our control. Therefore, our actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, some of which are listed under the section “Risk Factors,” Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Statements regarding the following subjects, among others, may be forward-looking: changes in interest rates and the market value of our mortgage-backed securities, or MBS; risks associated with investing in mortgage-related assets; changes in the yield curve; the availability of MBS for purchase; changes in the prepayment rates on the mortgage loans securing our MBS; our ability to borrow to finance our assets and, if available, the terms of any financing; implementation of or changes in government regulations or programs affecting our business; changes in business conditions and the general economy, including the consequences of actions by the U.S. government and other foreign governments to address the global financial crisis; our ability to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, for federal income tax purposes; our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended; and our ability to manage our growth. New risks and uncertainties arise over time and it is not possible to predict those events or how they may affect us. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

As used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, “Company,” “we,” “us,” “our” and “Anworth” refer to Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation.

 

 

 

1


 

PART I

 

Item  1.

BUSINESS

Overview

We were incorporated in Maryland on October 20, 1997 and we commenced operations on March 17, 1998. We are in the business of investing primarily in United States, or U.S., agency mortgage-backed securities, or Agency MBS, which are securities representing obligations guaranteed by the U.S. government, such as Ginnie Mae, or guaranteed by federally sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Our principal business objective is to generate net income for distribution to our stockholders primarily based upon the spread between the interest income on our mortgage assets and the costs of borrowing to finance our acquisition of those assets.

We have elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the Code, As a REIT, we routinely distribute substantially all of the taxable income generated from our operations to our stockholders. As long as we retain our REIT status, we generally will not be subject to federal or state taxes on our income to the extent that we distribute our taxable net income to our stockholders. At December 31, 2013, our qualified REIT assets (real estate assets, as defined under the Code, cash and cash items and government securities) were greater than 99% of our total assets, as compared to the Code requirement that at least 75% of our total assets must be qualified REIT assets. Greater than 99% of our 2013 revenue qualified for both the 75% source of income test and the 95% source of income test under the REIT rules. At December 31, 2013, we believe we met all REIT requirements regarding the ownership of our common stock and the distributions of our taxable net income. Therefore, we believe that we continue to qualify as a REIT under the provisions of the Code.

Pursuant to a Management Agreement, or the Management Agreement (a copy of which is included as Exhibit 10.1 to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC, on January 3, 2012), between us and Anworth Management, LLC, or the Manager, effective as of December 31, 2011, our day-to-day operations are conducted by the Manager. The Manager is supervised and directed by our board of directors and is responsible for (i) the selection, purchase and sale of our investment portfolio; (ii) our financing and hedging activities; and (iii) providing us with management services. The Manager will also perform such other services and activities relating to our assets and operations as may be appropriate. In exchange for these services, the Manager receives a management fee paid monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one-twelfth of 1.20% of our Equity (as defined in the Management Agreement). Our board of directors affirmatively elected to renew the Management Agreement for another one-year term expiring on December 31, 2014 and the Management Agreement will automatically renew for successive one-year terms unless either party elects not to renew. If we terminate the Management Agreement, or elect not to renew without cause, then we will be required to pay a termination fee equal to three times the average annual management fee earned during the prior 24-month period.

Government Activity

On September 13, 2012, the Federal Reserve announced its intention to purchase additional Agency MBS at a pace of $40 billion per month. These purchases were open-ended, meaning they would continue until the Federal Reserve was satisfied that economic conditions, primarily in unemployment, improve. The Federal Reserve also announced its projection that the federal funds rate would likely remain at exceptionally low levels until at least mid-2015. In May 2013, upon the release of minutes of the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that if there was continued improvement in the U.S. economy, the pace of purchases could be slowed down. After this statement, the rate on the 10-Year Treasury rose above 2%. In addition, following the June 2013 FOMC meeting, Chairman Bernanke commented that if the U.S. economy continued to improve, the Federal Reserve would probably slow or moderate its MBS purchases sometime later in 2013 and possibly ending them sometime in the middle of 2014. This comment had an even greater effect on the bond market, as longer-term interest rates rose while short-term interest rates remained constant. In the second quarter of 2013, the resulting steepened yield curve caused a decline in the value of MBS in general and in the value of our portfolio, which declined by approximately $191 million. At December 31, 2013, the fair value adjustment of our portfolio decreased from December 31, 2012 by approximately $234.5 million, much of it caused by the events that transpired during the second quarter of 2013. In December 2013 and January 2014, the Federal Reserve reduced its bond buying program from $85 billion per month down to $65 billion per month.

2


 

Although the U.S. government and other foreign governments have taken various actions (including placing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conservatorship) intended to protect financial institutions, their respective economies and their respective housing and mortgage markets, we continue to operate under very difficult market conditions. There can be no assurance that these various actions will have a beneficial impact on the global financial markets and, more specifically, the market for the securities we currently own in our portfolio. We cannot predict what, if any, impact these actions or future actions by either the U.S. government or foreign governments could have on our business, results of operations and financial condition. These events may impact the availability of financing generally in the marketplace and also may impact the market value of MBS generally, including the securities we currently own in our portfolio.

In August 2011, the ratings of each of U.S. sovereign debt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard & Poor’s, and affirmed at Aaa by Moody’s, with each of Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s revising the outlook on U.S. sovereign debt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to negative. Each of Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s has indicated that it would likely change its ratings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if it was to change its rating on the U.S. government. In June 2013, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its AA+ long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States and revised the outlook from negative to stable, and in July 2013, Moody’s affirmed its Aaa government bond rating of the United States and revised the outlook from negative to stable. We do not know what effect any changes in the ratings of U.S. sovereign debt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will ultimately have on the U.S. economy, the value of our securities or the ability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to satisfy its guarantees of Agency MBS if necessary.

On January 2, 2013, the U.S. Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or the Taxpayer Relief Act, which extended, for most Americans, tax cuts implemented under President George W. Bush’s administration. However, the Taxpayer Relief Act delayed the implementation of the budget sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which provided for automatic federal spending cuts, from January 2, 2013 to March 1, 2013. The automatic spending cuts required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 went into effect on March 1, 2013. At the end of January 2013, Congress temporarily increased the debt ceiling amount and deferred any further decision on how to resolve the debt ceiling issue until May 19, 2013. This was again temporarily delayed due to government tax revenues being greater than anticipated and Congress passing temporary funding measures until mid-October 2013. On October 1, 2013, the U.S. government was partially shut-down due to the inability of the U.S. Congress to pass a continuous funding resolution to provide funding for most government agencies and functions. On October 17, 2013, President Obama signed into law a bill passed by the U.S. Congress that funds the government through January 15, 2014, extends the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014, calls for a Congressional agreement on a long-term budget by mid-December 2013, and continues the budget sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011. In January 2014, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund the U.S. government through September 30, 2014. On February 12, 2014, the Senate approved the debt ceiling legislation (previously approved by the House of Representatives), which suspended the debt ceiling until March 2015. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on February 15, 2014. A failure by the U.S. government to reach agreement on future budgets and debt ceilings, reduce its budget deficit or a further downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt and government-sponsored agencies debt could have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and on the global economy. These events could have a material adverse effect on our borrowing costs, the availability of financing and the liquidity and valuation of securities in general and particularly the securities in our portfolio.

3


 

Our Portfolio

Our investment portfolio consists primarily of Agency MBS and also includes a small amount of Non-Agency MBS (approximately $79 thousand) which are now included with the Agency MBS. Prior period balances have been presented consistent with this treatment. At December 31, 2013 and December 31, 2012, our total assets, the fair value of our Agency MBS portfolio and its allocation were approximately as follows:

 

 

 

December 31,
2013

 

 

December 31,
2012

 

 

 

(dollar amounts in thousands)

 

Total assets

 

$

8,619,491

 

 

$

9,285,105

 

Fair value of Agency MBS

 

$

8,556,446

 

 

$

9,244,333

 

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (less than 1 year reset)

 

 

19

%

 

 

21

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (1-2 year reset)

 

 

9

%

 

 

2

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (2-3 year reset)

 

 

15

%

 

 

12

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (3-4 year reset)

 

 

10

%

 

 

20

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (4-5 year reset)

 

 

3

%

 

 

13

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (5-7 year reset)

 

 

15

%

 

 

9

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (>7 year reset)

 

 

8

%

 

 

1

%

15-year fixed-rate Agency MBS

 

 

20

%

 

 

18

%

30-year fixed-rate Agency MBS

 

 

1

%

 

 

4

%

 

 

 

100

%

 

 

100

%

Stockholders’ equity available to common stockholders at December 31, 2013 was approximately $829 million, or $5.98 per share. The $829 million equals total stockholders’ equity of $878.3 million less the Series A Cumulative Preferred Stock, or Series A Preferred Stock, liquidating value of approximately $48 million and less the difference between the Series B Cumulative Convertible Preferred Stock, or Series B Preferred Stock, liquidating value of $25.2 million and the proceeds from its sale of $23.9 million. For the year ended December 31, 2013, we reported net income of approximately $75.7 million. Net income to common stockholders was approximately $70 million, or net income of $0.49 per diluted share, based on a weighted average of 146.4 million fully diluted shares outstanding, which consisted of net income of $75.7 million minus payment of preferred dividends of $5.7 million.

Our Strategy

Investment Strategy

Our strategy is to invest primarily in Agency MBS. We seek to acquire assets that will produce competitive returns after considering the amount and nature of the investment’s anticipated returns, our ability to pledge the investment to secure collateralized borrowings and the costs associated with financing, managing and reserving for these investments. We do not currently originate mortgage loans or provide other types of financing to the owners of real estate.

Financing Strategy

We acquire MBS by primarily using short-term borrowings and, to a lesser extent, equity capital. We employ short-term borrowing to attempt to increase potential returns to our stockholders. Pursuant to our Capital and Leverage Policy, we seek to strike a balance between the under-utilization of leverage, which reduces potential returns to stockholders, and the over-utilization of leverage, which could reduce our ability to meet our obligations during adverse market conditions.

We usually borrow at short-term rates using repurchase agreements. Repurchase agreements are generally short-term in nature (less than or equal to twelve months). We actively manage the adjustment periods and the selection of the interest rate indices of our borrowings against the adjustment periods and the selection of the interest rate indices on our mortgage-related assets in order to lessen the liquidity and interest rate-related risks. We generally seek to diversify our exposure by entering into repurchase agreements with multiple lenders which are approved by our board of directors.

Growth Strategy

It is our long-term objective to grow our earnings and our dividends per common share by increasing our paid-in capital and book value per share.

4


 

Our Operating Policies and Programs

We have established the following four primary operating policies to implement our business strategies:

our Asset Acquisition Policy;

our Capital and Leverage Policy;

our Credit Risk Management Policy; and

our Asset/Liability Management Policy.

Asset Acquisition Policy

Our Asset Acquisition Policy provides that we will invest primarily in U.S. Agency MBS and other mortgage assets rated within one of the two highest rating categories by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization.

Our Asset Acquisition Policy provides guidelines for acquiring investments and contemplates that we will acquire a portfolio of investments that can be grouped into specific categories. Each category and our respective investment guidelines are as follows:

Category I — At least 60% of our total assets will generally be adjustable- or fixed-rate MBS and short-term investments. Assets in this category will be rated within one of the two highest rating categories by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization or, if not rated, will be obligations guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Also included in Category I are the portion of real estate mortgage loans that have been deposited into a trust and have received a rating within one of the two highest rating categories by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization.

Category II — At least 90% of our total assets will generally consist of Category I investments plus unsecuritized mortgage loans, mortgage securities rated at least “investment grade” by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization, or shares of other REITs or mortgage-related companies and the portion of real estate mortgage loans that have been deposited into a trust and have received an investment grade rating by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization.

Category III — No more than 10% of our total assets may be of a type not meeting any of the above criteria. Among the types of assets generally assigned to this category are mortgage securities rated below investment grade and leveraged mortgage derivative securities. Under our Category III investment criteria, we may acquire other types of mortgage derivative securities including, but not limited to, interest-only, principal-only or other types of MBS that receive a disproportionate share of interest income or principal.

Capital and Leverage Policy

We employ a leverage strategy to increase our investment assets by borrowing against existing mortgage-related assets and using the proceeds to acquire additional mortgage-related assets. Relative to our investments in investment grade Agency MBS, we have generally borrowed, on a short-term basis, between seven to twelve times the amount of our equity allocated to these investments. During the past several years, we have borrowed, on a short-term basis, between five to nine times the amount of our equity allocated to these investments, as management believed it to be appropriate to lower our leverage due to the uncertainty in the financial marketplace and the broader problems in the economy. Our borrowings may vary from time to time depending on market conditions and other factors deemed relevant by our management and our board of directors. We believe that this will leave an adequate capital base to protect against interest rate environments in which our borrowing costs might exceed our interest income from mortgage-related assets. At December 31, 2013, our leverage on capital (including common stockholders’ equity, all preferred stock and junior subordinated notes) was 8.1x.

Depending on the different costs of borrowing funds at different maturities, we may vary the maturities of our borrowed funds in an attempt to produce lower borrowing costs. Our borrowings are short-term and we manage actively, on an aggregate basis, both the interest rate indices and interest rate adjustment periods of our borrowings against the interest rate indices and interest rate adjustment periods on our mortgage-related assets.

Our mortgage-related assets are financed primarily at short-term borrowing rates through repurchase agreements. In the future, we may also employ borrowings under lines of credit and other collateralized financings that we may establish with approved institutional lenders.

5


 

Credit Risk Management Policy

We review credit risk and other risks of loss associated with each of our potential investments. In addition, we may diversify our portfolio of mortgage-related assets to avoid undue geographic, insurer, industry and certain other types of concentrations.

Compliance with our Credit Risk Management Policy guidelines is determined at the time of purchase of mortgage-related assets based upon the most recent valuation utilized by us. Such compliance is not affected by events subsequent to such purchase including, without limitation, changes in characterization, value or rating of any specific mortgage assets or economic conditions or events generally affecting any mortgage-related assets of the type held by us.

Asset/Liability Management Policy

Interest Rate Risk Management.    To the extent consistent with our election to qualify as a REIT, we follow an interest rate risk management program intended to protect our portfolio of mortgage-related assets and related debt against the effects of major interest rate changes. Specifically, our interest rate management program is formulated with the intent to offset, to some extent, the potential adverse effects resulting from rate adjustment limitations on our mortgage-related assets and the differences between interest rate adjustment indices and interest rate adjustment periods of our adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets and related borrowings.

Our interest rate risk management program encompasses a number of procedures including the following:

monitoring and adjusting, if necessary, the interest rate sensitivity of our mortgage-related assets compared with the interest rate sensitivities of our borrowings;

attempting to structure our borrowing agreements relating to adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets to have a range of different maturities and interest rate adjustment periods (although substantially all will be less than one year); and

actively managing, on an aggregate basis, the interest rate indices and interest rate adjustment periods of our mortgage-related assets compared to the interest rate indices and adjustment periods of our borrowings.

We expect to be able to adjust the average maturity/adjustment period of our borrowings on an ongoing basis by changing the mix of maturities and interest rate adjustment periods as borrowings come due or are renewed. Through the use of these procedures, we attempt to reduce the risk of differences between interest rate adjustment periods of our adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets and our related borrowings.

Depending on market conditions and the cost of the transactions, we may conduct certain hedging activities in connection with the management of our portfolio. To the extent consistent with our election to qualify as a REIT, we may adopt a hedging strategy intended to lessen the effects of interest rate changes and to enable us to earn net interest income in periods of generally rising, as well as declining or static, interest rates. Specifically, hedging programs are formulated with the intent to offset some of the potential adverse effects of changes in interest rate levels relative to the interest rates on the mortgage-related assets held in our investment portfolio and differences between the interest rate adjustment indices and periods of our mortgage-related assets and our borrowings. We monitor carefully, and may have to limit, our hedging activity to assure that we do not realize excessive hedging income or hold hedges having excess value in relation to our mortgage-related assets, which could result in our disqualification as a REIT or, in the case of excess hedging income, if the excess is due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, the payment of a penalty tax for failure to satisfy certain REIT income tests under the Code. In addition, hedging activity involves transaction costs that increase dramatically as the period covered by hedging protection increases and that may increase during periods of fluctuating interest rates.

Prepayment Risk Management.    We also seek to lessen the effects of prepayment of mortgage loans underlying our securities at a faster or slower rate than anticipated. We accomplish this by structuring a diversified portfolio with a variety of prepayment characteristics, investing in mortgage-related assets with prepayment prohibitions and penalties, investing in certain mortgage security structures that have prepayment protections and purchasing mortgage-related assets at a premium or at a discount. Under normal market conditions, we generally seek to maintain the aggregate capitalized purchase premium of the portfolio at 3.5% or less. In addition, we can purchase principal-only derivatives to a limited extent as a hedge against prepayment risks. We monitor prepayment risk through periodic review of the impact of a variety of prepayment scenarios on our revenues, net earnings, dividends, cash flow and net balance sheets market value.

We believe that we have developed cost-effective asset/liability management policies to mitigate prepayment risks. However, no strategy can completely insulate us from prepayment risks. Further, as noted above, certain of the federal income tax requirements that we must satisfy to qualify as a REIT limit our ability to fully hedge our prepayment risks. Therefore, we could be prevented from effectively hedging our prepayment risks.

6


 

Our Investments

Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS)

Pass-Through Certificates.    We principally invest in pass-through certificates, which are securities representing interests in pools of mortgage loans secured by residential real property in which payments of both interest and principal on the securities are generally made monthly, in effect, “passing through” monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on the mortgage loans which underlie the securities, net of fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of the securities. Early repayment of principal on some MBS, arising from prepayments of principal due to sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, net of fees and costs which may be incurred, may expose us to a lower rate of return upon reinvestment of principal. This is generally referred to as “prepayment risk.” Additionally, if a security subject to prepayment has been purchased at a premium, the unamortized value of the premium would be lost in the event of prepayment.

Like other fixed-income securities, when interest rates rise, the value of a mortgage-backed security generally will decline. When interest rates are declining, however, the value of MBS with prepayment features may not increase as much as other fixed-income securities. The rate of prepayments on underlying mortgages will affect the price and volatility of MBS and may have the effect of shortening or extending the effective maturity of the security beyond what was anticipated at the time of purchase. When interest rates rise, our holdings of MBS may experience reduced returns if the owners of the underlying mortgages pay off their mortgages later than anticipated. This is generally referred to as “extension risk.”

Payment of principal and interest on some mortgage pass-through securities, though not the market value of the securities themselves, may be guaranteed by the full faith and credit of the federal government, including securities backed by Ginnie Mae, or by agencies or instrumentalities of the federal government, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. MBS created by non-governmental issuers, including commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers, may be supported by various forms of insurance or guarantees including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit which may be issued by governmental entities, private insurers or the mortgage poolers. Essentially our entire portfolio is comprised of Agency MBS.

Collateralized Mortgage Obligations.    Collateralized mortgage obligations, or CMOs, are MBS. Interest and principal on CMOs are paid, in most cases, on a monthly basis. CMOs may be collateralized by whole mortgage loans, but are more typically collateralized by portfolios of mortgage pass-through securities. CMOs are structured into multiple classes with each class bearing a different stated maturity. Monthly payments of principal, including prepayments, are first returned to investors holding the shortest maturity class; investors holding the longer maturity classes receive principal only after the first class has been retired. We will typically consider investments in CMOs that are issued or guaranteed by the federal government, or by any of its agencies or instrumentalities, to be U.S. government securities.

Other Types of MBS

Mortgage Derivative Securities.    We may acquire mortgage derivative securities in an amount not to exceed 10% of our total assets. Mortgage derivative securities provide for the holder to receive interest-only, principal-only or interest and principal in amounts that are disproportionate to those payable on the underlying mortgage loans. Payments on mortgage derivative securities are highly sensitive to the rate of prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. In the event of faster or slower than anticipated prepayments on these mortgage loans, the rates of return on interests in mortgage derivative securities, representing the right to receive interest-only or a disproportionately large amount of interest or interest-only derivatives, would be likely to decline or increase, respectively. Conversely, the rates of return on mortgage derivative securities, representing the right to receive principal-only or a disproportionate amount of principal or principal-only derivatives, would be likely to increase or decrease in the event of faster or slower prepayments, respectively.

We may invest in inverse floaters, a class of CMOs with a coupon rate that resets in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which it is indexed, including LIBOR or the 11th District Cost of Funds Index, or COFI. Any rise in the index rate, which can be caused by an increase in interest rates, causes a drop in the coupon rate of an inverse floater, while any drop in the index rate causes an increase in the coupon of an inverse floater. An inverse floater may behave like a leveraged security since its interest rate usually varies by a magnitude much greater than the magnitude of the index rate of interest. The leverage-like characteristics inherent in inverse floaters result in a greater volatility of their market prices.

We may invest in other mortgage derivative securities that may be developed in the future.

Mortgage Warehouse Participations.    We may occasionally acquire mortgage warehouse participations as an additional means of diversifying our sources of income. We anticipate that these investments, together with our investments in other Category III assets, will not, in the aggregate, exceed 10% of our total mortgage-related assets. These investments are participations in lines of credit to

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mortgage loan originators secured by recently originated mortgage loans that are in the process of being sold to investors. Our investments in mortgage warehouse participations are limited because they are not qualified REIT assets under the Code.

Other Mortgage-Related Assets

We may acquire other investments that include equity and debt securities issued by other primarily mortgage-related finance companies, interests in mortgage-related collateralized bond obligations, other subordinated interests in pools of mortgage-related assets, commercial mortgage loans and securities and residential mortgage loans other than high-credit quality mortgage loans.

We expect that our other investments in Category 3 assets under our Asset Acquisition Policy will be less than 10% of total assets. However, there is no stated limit as to how much these investments will be allocated related to our stockholders’ equity. There may be periods in which other investments represent a large portion of our stockholders’ equity.

Competition

When we invest in Agency MBS, we compete with a variety of institutional investors including other REITs, insurance companies, mutual funds, pension funds, investment banking firms, banks and other financial institutions that invest in the same or similar types of assets. Many of these investors have greater financial resources and access to lower costs of capital than we do.

Employees

Effective December 31, 2011, in accordance with the Management Agreement, all of our employees at the Company were terminated and are now employed by the Manager.

Company Information

We were incorporated in Maryland on October 20, 1997 and commenced our operations on March 17, 1998. Our principal executive offices are located at 1299 Ocean Avenue, Second Floor, Santa Monica, California, 90401. Our telephone number is (310) 255-4493 and our fax number is (310) 434-0070.

Information on our Company Website

The Company maintains a website, http://www.anworth.com. We make our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act, available, free of charge, on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we file or furnish these reports with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. In addition, we post the following information on our website (the Company does not intend to and does not hereby incorporate by reference the information on our website as a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K):

our corporate code of conduct, which qualifies as a “code of ethics” as defined by Item 406 of Regulation S-K of the Exchange Act;

our corporate governance guidelines; and

charters for our Audit Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Compensation Committee.

All of the above information is also available in print upon request to our secretary at the address listed under the heading “Company Information” above.

 

 

 

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CERTAIN FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS

The following discussion summarizes particular U.S. federal income tax considerations regarding our qualification and taxation as a REIT and particular U.S. federal income tax consequences resulting from the acquisition, ownership and disposition of our capital stock. This discussion is based on current law and assumes that we have qualified at all times throughout our existence, and will continue to qualify, as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The tax law upon which this discussion is based could be changed and any such change could have a retroactive effect. The following discussion is not exhaustive of all possible tax considerations. This summary neither gives a detailed discussion of any state, local or foreign tax considerations nor discusses all of the aspects of U.S. federal income taxation that may be relevant to you in light of your particular circumstances or to particular types of stockholders which are subject to special tax rules, such as insurance companies, tax-exempt entities, financial institutions or broker-dealers, foreign corporations or partnerships and persons who are not citizens or residents of the U.S., stockholders that hold our stock as a hedge, part of a straddle, conversion transaction or other arrangement involving more than one position, or stockholders whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar. This discussion assumes that you will hold our capital stock as a “capital asset,” generally property held for investment, under the Code.

We urge you to consult with your own tax advisor regarding the specific consequences to you of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of stock in an entity electing to be taxed as a REIT, including the federal, state, local, foreign and other tax considerations of such acquisition, ownership, disposition and election and the potential changes in applicable tax laws.

General

Our qualification and taxation as a REIT depends upon our ability to continue to meet the various qualification tests, imposed under the Code and discussed below, relating to our actual annual operating results, asset diversification, distribution levels and diversity of stock ownership. Accordingly, the actual results of our operations for any particular taxable year may not satisfy these requirements.

We have made an election to be taxed as a REIT under the Code commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 1998. We currently expect to continue operating in a manner that will permit us to maintain our qualification as a REIT. All qualification requirements for maintaining our REIT status, however, may not have been, or might not continue to be, met.

So long as we qualify for taxation as a REIT, we generally will be permitted a deduction for dividends we pay to our stockholders. As a result, we generally will not be required to pay federal corporate income taxes on our net income that is currently distributed to our stockholders. This treatment substantially eliminates the “double taxation” that ordinarily results from investment in a corporation. Double taxation means taxation once at the corporate level when income is earned and once again at the stockholder level when this income is distributed. We will be required to pay federal income tax, however, as follows:

we will be required to pay tax at regular corporate rates on any undistributed “real estate investment trust taxable income,” including undistributed net capital gains;

we may be required to pay the “alternative minimum tax” on our items of tax preference; and

if we have (a) net income from the sale or other disposition of “foreclosure property” which is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business, or (b) other non-qualifying income from foreclosure property, we will be required to pay tax at the highest corporate rate on this income. Foreclosure property is generally defined as property acquired through foreclosure or after a default on a loan secured by the property or on a lease of the property.

To the extent that distributions exceed current and accumulated earnings and profits, they will constitute a return of capital, rather than dividend or capital gain income, and will reduce the basis for the stockholder’s stock with respect to which the distributions are paid or, to the extent that they exceed such basis, will be taxed in the same manner as gain from the sale of that stock. For purposes of determining whether distributions are out of current or accumulated earnings and profits, our earnings and profits will be allocated first to our preferred stock (as compared to distributions with respect to our common stock) so that distributions with respect to our preferred stock are more likely to be treated as dividends than as return of capital or a distribution in excess of basis. Calculations of corporate earnings and profits are complex and it is possible that distributions expected to be a return of capital may subsequently be determined to be taxable distributions of earnings and profits.

Currently, dividends paid by regular C corporations to stockholders other than corporations are generally taxed at the rate applicable to long-term capital gains, which is currently a maximum of 20%, subject to certain limitations. Because we are a REIT, however, our dividends, including dividends paid on our Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock, generally will continue to be taxed at regular ordinary income tax rates, except in limited circumstances.

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We will be required to pay a 100% tax on any net income from prohibited transactions. Prohibited transactions are, in general, sales or other taxable dispositions of property other than foreclosure property held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. While the Code contains certain safe harbors provisions to avoid the application of this 100% tax, outside of the safe harbor, the determination of whether property is held as inventory or primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business depends on all the facts and circumstances surrounding the particular transaction. No assurance can be given that any particular property in which we hold a direct or indirect interest will not be treated as property held for sale to customers, or that we can comply with certain safe harbor provisions of the Code that would prevent such treatment. The 100% tax will not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a taxable REIT subsidiary or other taxable corporation, although such income will be taxed to the corporation at regular corporate tax rates.

If we fail to satisfy the 75% gross income test or the 95% gross income test discussed below but nonetheless maintain our qualification as a REIT because certain other requirements are met, we will be subject to a tax equal to the greater of (i) the amount by which 75% of our gross income exceeds the amount qualifying under the 75% gross income test described below, and (ii) the amount by which 95% of our gross income exceeds the amount qualifying under the 95% gross income test described below, multiplied by a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

In the event of more than de minimis failure of any of the asset tests occurs in a taxable year, as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and we dispose of the assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure, we will pay a tax equal to the greater of $50 thousand or 35% of the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy any of the asset tests.

In the event of a failure to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification occurring in a taxable year, other than the gross income tests and the asset tests, as long as such failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we will be required to pay a penalty of $50 thousand for each such failure.

We will be required to pay a nondeductible 4% excise tax on the excess of the required distribution over the amounts actually distributed if we fail to distribute during each calendar year at least the sum of:

85% of our real estate investment trust ordinary income for the year;

95% of our real estate investment trust capital gain net income for the year; and

any undistributed taxable income from prior periods.

This distribution requirement is in addition to, and different from, the distribution requirements discussed below in the section entitled “Annual Distribution Requirements.”

We may elect to retain and pay income tax on our net long-term capital gain. In that case, a U.S. stockholder would be taxed on its proportionate share of our undistributed long-term capital gain (to the extent that we make a timely designation of such gain to the stockholder) and would receive a credit or refund of its proportionate share of the tax we paid. The basis of the stockholder’s shares is increased by the amount of the undistributed long-term capital gain (less the amount of capital gains tax paid by the REIT) included in the stockholder’s long-term capital gains.

If we own a residual interest in a REMIC, we will be taxable at the highest corporate rate on the portion of any excess inclusion income that we derive from the REMIC residual interests equal to the percentage of our stock that is held by “disqualified” organizations. Although the law is unclear, similar rules may apply if we own an equity interest in a taxable mortgage pool. To the extent that we own a REMIC residual interest in a taxable mortgage pool through a taxable REIT subsidiary, we will not be subject to tax. A “disqualified organization” includes:

the United States of America;

any state or political subdivision of the United States of America;

any foreign government;

any international organization;

any agency or instrumentality of any of the foregoing;

any other tax-exempt organization other than a farmers’ cooperative described in Section 521 of the Code that is exempt both from income taxation and from taxation under the unrelated business taxable income provisions of the Code; and

any rural electrical or telephone cooperative.

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If we acquire any asset from a corporation which is or has been taxed as a C corporation under the Code in a transaction in which the basis of the asset in our hands is determined by reference to the basis of the asset in the hands of the C corporation and we subsequently recognize gain on the disposition of the asset during the ten-year period beginning on the date on which we acquired the asset, then we will be required to pay tax at the highest regular corporate tax rate on this gain to the extent of the excess of:

the fair market value of the asset, over

our adjusted basis in the asset,

in each case determined as of the date on which we acquired the asset.

A C corporation is generally defined as a corporation required to pay full corporate-level tax. The results described in the preceding paragraph with respect to the recognition of gain will apply unless we make an election under Treasury Regulation Section 1.337(d)-7(c). If such an election were made, the C corporation would recognize taxable gain or loss as if it had sold the assets we acquired from the C corporation to an unrelated third party at fair market value on the acquisition date.

We will be subject to a 100% excise tax if our dealings with any taxable REIT subsidiaries (defined below) are not at arm’s length.

In addition, notwithstanding our REIT status, we may also have to pay certain state and local income taxes, because not all states and localities treat REITs in the same manner as they are treated for federal income tax purposes.

Requirements for Qualification as a REIT

The Code defines a REIT as a corporation, trust or association:

1.

that is managed by one or more trustees or directors;

2.

that issues transferable shares or transferable certificates to evidence beneficial ownership;

3.

that would be taxable as a domestic corporation but for Code Sections 856 through 859;

4.

that is not a financial institution or an insurance company within the meaning of the Code;

5.

that is beneficially owned by 100 or more persons;

6.

that not more than 50% in value of the outstanding stock of which is owned, actually or constructively, by five or fewer individuals, including specified entities, during the last half of each taxable year;

7.

that meets other tests, described below, regarding the nature of its income and assets and the amount of its distributions; and

8.

that elects to be a REIT or has made such election for a previous taxable year and satisfies all relevant filing and other administrative requirements established by the Internal Revenue Service, or the IRS, that must be met to elect and retain REIT status.

The Code provides that all of the first four conditions stated above must be met during the entire taxable year and that the fifth condition must be met during at least 335 days of a taxable year of twelve months, or during a proportionate part of a taxable year of less than twelve months. The fifth and sixth conditions do not apply until after the first taxable year for which an election is made to be taxed as a REIT.

For purposes of the sixth condition, pension trusts and other specified tax-exempt entities generally are treated as individuals, except that a “look-through” exception generally applies with respect to pension funds.

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Stock Ownership Tests

Our stock must be beneficially held by at least 100 persons, the “100 Stockholder Rule,” and no more than 50% of the value of our stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals at any time during the last half of the taxable year, the “5/50 Rule.” For purposes of the 100 Stockholder Rule only, trusts described in Section 401(a) of the Code and exempt under Section 501(a) of the Code are generally treated as persons. These stock ownership requirements must be satisfied in each taxable year other than the first taxable year for which an election is made to be taxed as a REIT. We are required to solicit information from certain of our record stockholders to verify actual stock ownership levels and our charter provides for restrictions regarding the transfer of our stock in order to aid in meeting the stock ownership requirements. If we were to fail either of the stock ownership tests, we would generally be disqualified from our REIT status. However, if we comply with regulatory rules pursuant to which we are required to send annual letters to holders of our stock requesting information regarding the actual ownership of our stock, and we do not know, or exercising reasonable diligence would not have known, whether we failed to meet the 5/50 Rule, we will be treated as having met the 5/50 Rule.

Income Tests

We must satisfy two gross income requirements annually to maintain our qualification as a REIT:

We must derive, directly or indirectly, at least 75% of our gross income, excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, from specified real estate sources, including rental income, interest on obligations secured by mortgages on real property or on interests in real property, gain from the disposition of “qualified real estate assets,” i.e., interests in real property, mortgages secured by real property or interests in real property, and some other assets, income from certain types of temporary investments, amounts, such as commitment fees, received in consideration for entering into an agreement to make a loan secured by real property, unless such amounts are determined by income and profits, and income derived from a REMIC in proportion to the real estate assets held by the REMIC, unless at least 95% of the REMIC’s assets are real estate assets (in which case, all of the income derived from the REMIC), or the “75% gross income test;” and

We must derive at least 95% of our gross income, excluding gross income from prohibited transactions, from (a) the sources of income that satisfy the 75% gross income test, (b) dividends, interest and gain from the sale or disposition of stock or securities, or (c) any combination of the foregoing, or the “95% gross income test.”

Gross income from servicing loans for third parties and loan origination fees is not qualifying income for purposes of either gross income test. Gross income from our sale of property that we hold primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business is excluded from both the numerator and the denominator in both income tests. Income and gain from certain transactions that we enter into to hedge indebtedness incurred or to be incurred to acquire or carry real estate assets, and that are clearly and timely identified as such, are excluded from both the numerator and denominator for purposes of the 95% gross income test and, for certain hedging transactions entered into after July 30, 2008, the 75% gross income test.

For purposes of the 75% and 95% gross income tests, a REIT is deemed to have earned a proportionate share of the income earned by any partnership, or any limited liability company treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, in which it owns an interest, which share is determined by reference to its capital interest in such entity, and is deemed to have earned the income earned by any qualified REIT subsidiary (in general, a 100%-owned corporate subsidiary of a REIT). Interest earned by a REIT ordinarily does not qualify as income meeting the 75% or 95% gross income tests if the determination of all or some of the amount of interest depends in any way on the income or profits of any person. Interest will not be disqualified from meeting such tests, however, solely by reason of being based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales.

The following paragraphs discuss in more detail the specific application of the gross income tests to us.

Interest. The term “interest,” as defined for purposes of both gross income tests, generally excludes any amount that is based in whole or in part on the income or profits of any person. However, interest generally includes the following:

an amount that is based on a fixed percentage or percentages of receipts or sales; and

an amount that is based on the income or profits of a debtor as long as the debtor derives substantially all of its income from the real property securing the debt from leasing substantially all of its interest in the property and only to the extent that the amounts received by the debtor would be qualifying “rents from real property” if received directly by a REIT.

If a loan contains a provision that entitles a REIT to a percentage of the borrower’s gain upon the sale of the real property securing the loan or a percentage of the appreciation in the property’s value as of a specific date, income attributable to that loan provision will generally be treated as gain from the sale of the property securing the loan, which normally constitutes qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests.

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Interest on debt secured by a mortgage on real property or on interests in real property, including, for this purpose, discount points, prepayment penalties, loan assumption fees and late payment charges that are not compensation for services, generally is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. However, if the highest principal amount of a loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property securing the loan as of the date the REIT agreed to originate or acquire the loan, a portion of the interest income from such loan will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test but will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. The portion of the interest income that will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test will be equal to the portion of the principal amount of the loan that is not secured by real property—that is, the amount by which the loan exceeds the value of the real estate that is security for the loan.

The interest, original issue discount and market discount income that we receive from our mortgage loans and MBS generally will be qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests. However, as discussed above, if the fair market value of the real estate securing any of our loans is less than the principal amount of the loan, a portion of the income from that loan will be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not the 75% gross income test.

Fee Income. We may receive various fees in connection with originating mortgage loans. The fees will be qualifying income for purposes of both the 75% and 95% income tests if they are received in consideration for entering into an agreement to make a loan secured by real property and the fees are not determined based on the borrower’s income or profits. Therefore, commitment fees will generally be qualifying income for purposes of the income tests. Other fees, such as fees received for servicing loans for third parties and origination fees, are not qualifying income for purposes of either income test.

Dividends. Our share of any dividends received from any corporation (including any of our taxable REIT subsidiaries, but excluding any REIT) in which we own an equity interest will qualify for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not for purposes of the 75% gross income test. Our share of any dividends received from any other REIT in which we own an equity interest will be qualifying income for purposes of both gross income tests.

Rents from Real Property.  To the extent that we acquire real property or an interest therein, rents we receive will qualify as “rents from real property” in satisfying the gross income requirements for a REIT described above only if the following conditions are met:

First, the amount of rent must not be based, in whole or in part, on the income or profits of any person. However, an amount received or accrued generally will not be excluded from rents from real property solely by reason of being based on fixed percentages of receipts or sales.

Second, rents we receive from a “related party tenant” will not qualify as rents from real property in satisfying the gross income tests unless the tenant is a taxable REIT subsidiary, at least 90% of the property is leased to unrelated tenants and the rent paid by the taxable REIT subsidiary is substantially comparable to the rent paid by the unrelated tenants for comparable space. A tenant is a related party tenant if the REIT, or an actual or constructive owner of 10% or more of the REIT, actually or constructively owns 10% or more of the tenant.

Third, if rent attributable to personal property leased in connection with a lease of real property is greater than 15% of the total rent received under the lease, then the portion of rent attributable to the personal property will not qualify as rents from real property.

Fourth, we generally must not operate or manage our real property or furnish or render services to our tenants, other than through an “independent contractor” who is adequately compensated and from whom we do not derive revenue. However, we may provide services directly to tenants if the services are “usually or customarily rendered” in connection with the rental of space for occupancy only and are not considered to be provided for the tenants’ convenience. In addition, we may provide a minimal amount of “non-customary” services to the tenants of a property, other than through an independent contractor, as long as our income from the services does not exceed 1% of our income from the related property. Furthermore, we may own up to 100% of the stock of a taxable REIT subsidiary, which may provide customary and non-customary services to tenants without tainting its rental income from the related properties.

Hedging Transactions. From time to time, we may enter into hedging transactions with respect to one or more of our assets or liabilities. Our hedging activities may include entering into interest rate swaps, caps and floors, options to purchase these items and futures and forward contracts. Income and gain from “hedging transactions” will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the 95% gross income test and, for certain hedging transactions entered into after July 30, 2008, the 75% gross income test. A “hedging transaction” includes any transaction entered into in the normal course of our trade or business primarily to manage the risk of interest rate, price changes or currency fluctuations with respect to borrowings made or to be made, or ordinary obligations incurred or to be incurred, to acquire or carry real estate assets. We will be required to clearly identify any such hedging transaction before the close of the day on which it was acquired, originated or entered into. To the extent that we hedge for other purposes, or to the extent that a portion of our mortgage loans is not secured by “real estate assets” (as described below under “Asset Tests”), or in other situations, the income from those transactions is not likely to be treated as qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. We intend to structure any hedging transactions in a manner that does not jeopardize our status as a REIT.

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Prohibited Transactions. As discussed above, a REIT will incur a 100% tax on the net income derived from any sale or other disposition of property other than foreclosure property that the REIT holds primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business. We believe that none of our assets will be held primarily for sale to customers and that a sale of any of our assets will not be in the ordinary course of our business. Whether a REIT holds an asset “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business” depends, however, on the facts and circumstances in effect from time to time, including those related to a particular asset. Nevertheless, we will attempt to comply with the terms of safe-harbor provisions in the federal income tax laws prescribing when an asset sale will not be characterized as a prohibited transaction.

Foreign currency gain or loss that is attributable to any prohibited transaction is taken into account in determining the amount of prohibited transaction net income subject to the 100% tax.

Foreclosure Property. We will be subject to tax at the maximum corporate rate on any income from foreclosure property other than income that otherwise would be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, less expenses directly connected with the production of that income. However, gross income from foreclosure property will qualify under the 75% and 95% gross income tests. Foreclosure property is any real property, including interests in real property, and any personal property incident to such real property:

that is acquired by a REIT as the result of the REIT having bid on such property at foreclosure, or having otherwise reduced such property to ownership or possession by agreement or process of law, after there was a default or default was imminent on a lease of such property or on indebtedness that such property secured;

for which the related loan or lease was acquired by the REIT at a time when the default was not imminent or anticipated; and

for which the REIT makes a proper election to treat the property as foreclosure property.

Permitted foreclosure property income also includes foreign currency gain that is attributable to otherwise permitted income from foreclosure property. Such foreign currency gain also is included as foreclosure property income for purposes of any tax on such income.

However, a REIT will not be considered to have foreclosed on a property where the REIT takes control of the property as a mortgagee-in-possession and cannot receive any profit or sustain any loss except as a creditor of the mortgagor. Property generally ceases to be foreclosure property at the end of the third taxable year following the taxable year in which the REIT acquired the property or longer if an extension is granted by the Secretary of the Treasury. This grace period terminates and foreclosure property ceases to be foreclosure property on the first day:

on which a lease is entered into for the property that, by its terms, will give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test or any amount is received or accrued, directly or indirectly, pursuant to a lease entered into on or after such day that will give rise to income that does not qualify for purposes of the 75% gross income test;

on which any construction takes place on the property, other than completion of a building or any other improvement, where more than 10% of the construction was completed before default became imminent; or

which is more than 90 days after the day on which the REIT acquired the property and the property is used in a trade or business which is conducted by the REIT other than through an independent contractor from whom the REIT itself does not derive or receive any income.

Failure to Satisfy Gross Income Tests. If we fail to satisfy one or both of the gross income tests for any taxable year, we nevertheless may qualify as a REIT for that year if we qualify for relief under certain provisions of the federal income tax laws. Those relief provisions will be available if:

our failure to meet those tests is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, and

following such failure for any taxable year, a schedule of the sources of our income is filed in accordance with regulations prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury.

We cannot predict, however, whether in all circumstances we would qualify for the relief provisions. In addition, as discussed above, even if the relief provisions apply, we would incur a 100% tax on the gross income attributable to the greater of (i) the amount by which we fail the 75% gross income test or (ii) the amount by which 95% of our gross income exceeds the amount of our income qualifying under the 95% gross income test, multiplied, in either case, by a fraction intended to reflect our profitability.

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Foreign Investment and Exchange Gains

A REIT must be a U.S. domestic entity, but it is permitted to hold foreign real estate or other foreign-based assets, provided the 75% and 95% income tests and other requirements for REIT qualification are met. A REIT that holds foreign real estate or other foreign-based assets may have foreign currency exchange gain under the foreign currency transaction tax rules. Foreign currency exchange gain was not explicitly included in the statutory definitions of qualifying income for purposes of the 75% and 95% income tests until a statutory change, although the IRS issued guidance that allowed foreign currency gain to be treated as qualified income in certain circumstances.

For transactions occurring after July 30, 2008, the provision excludes certain foreign currency gain from the computation of qualifying income for purposes of the 75% income test or the 95% income test, respectively. The exclusion is solely for purposes of the computations under these tests.

The statutory change defines two new categories of income for purposes of the exclusion rules: “real estate foreign exchange gain” and “passive foreign exchange gain.” Real estate foreign exchange gain is excluded from gross income for purposes of both the 75% and the 95% income tests. Passive foreign exchange gain is excluded for purposes of the 95% income test but is included in gross income and treated as non-qualifying income, to the extent that it is not real estate foreign exchange gain, for purposes of the 75% income test.

Real estate foreign exchange gain is foreign currency gain which is attributable to: (i) any item of income qualifying for the numerator for the 75% income test; (ii) the acquisition or ownership of obligations secured by mortgages on real property or interests in real property; or (iii) becoming or being the obligor under obligations secured by mortgages on real property or interests in real property. Real estate foreign exchange gain also includes certain foreign currency gains attributable to certain “qualified business units” of the REIT.

Passive foreign exchange gain includes all real estate foreign exchange and, in addition, includes foreign currency gain which is attributable to: (i) any item of income or gain included in the numerator for the 95% income test, (ii) acquisition or ownership of obligations other than described in the preceding paragraph; (iii) becoming the obligor under obligations other than described in the preceding paragraph; and (iv) any other foreign currency gain to be determined by the IRS.

Notwithstanding the foregoing rules, except in the case of certain income excluded under the hedging rules, foreign currency exchange gain derived from engaging in dealing, or substantial and regular trading, in certain securities shall constitute gross income that does not qualify under either the 75% or 95% income test.

Asset Tests

To qualify as a REIT, we also must satisfy the following asset tests at the end of each quarter of each taxable year:

First, at least 75% of the value of our total assets must consist of:

cash or cash items, including certain receivables;

government securities;

interests in real property, including leaseholds and options to acquire real property and leaseholds;

interests in mortgage loans secured by real property;

stock in other REITs;

investments in stock or debt instruments during the one-year period following our receipt of new capital that we raise through equity offerings or public offerings of debt with at least a five-year term; and

regular or residual interests in a REMIC. However, if less than 95% of the assets of a REMIC consist of assets that are qualifying real estate-related assets under the federal income tax laws, determined as if we held such assets, we will be treated as holding directly our proportionate share of the assets of such REMIC.

The term “cash” for purposes of the REIT asset qualification rules is defined to include foreign currency if the REIT or its “qualified business unit” uses such foreign currency as its functional currency, but only to the extent such foreign currency is held for use in the normal course of the activities of the REIT or the “qualified business unit” giving rise to income in the numerator for the 75% or 95% income tests, or directly related to acquiring or holding assets qualifying for the numerator in the 75% assets test, and is not held in connection with a trade or business of trading or dealing in certain securities.

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Second, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities (other than those included in the preceding category).

Third, not more than 25% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries.

Fourth, except with respect to a taxable REIT subsidiary and securities includible in the first category above, (a) not more than 5% of the value of our total assets may be represented by securities of any one issuer, (b) we may not hold securities possessing more than 10% of the total voting power of the outstanding securities of any one issuer and (c) we may not hold securities having a value of more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer.

For purposes of the second and third asset tests, the term “securities” does not include stock in another REIT, equity or debt securities of a qualified REIT subsidiary or taxable REIT subsidiary, mortgage loans that constitute real estate assets, or equity interests in a partnership.

For purposes of the 10% value test, the term “securities” does not include:

“Straight debt” securities, which is defined as a written unconditional promise to pay on demand or on a specified date a sum certain in money if (i) the debt is not convertible, directly or indirectly, into stock, and (ii) the interest rate and interest payment dates are not contingent on profits, the borrower’s discretion, or similar factors. “Straight debt” securities do not include any securities issued by a partnership or a corporation in which we or any controlled taxable REIT subsidiary (i.e., a taxable REIT subsidiary in which we own directly or indirectly more than 50% of the voting power or value of the stock) hold non-“straight debt” securities that have aggregate value of more than 1% of the issuer’s outstanding securities. However, “straight debt” securities include debt subject to the following contingencies:

a contingency relating to the time of payment of interest or principal, as long as either (i) there is no change to the effective yield of the debt obligation other than a change to the annual yield that does not exceed the greater of 0.25% or 5% of the annual yield, or (ii) neither the aggregate issue price nor the aggregate face amount of the issuer’s debt obligations held by us exceeds $1 million and no more than 12 months of unaccrued interest on the debt obligations can be required to be prepaid; and

a contingency relating to the time or amount of payment upon a default or prepayment of a debt obligation, as long as the contingency is consistent with customary commercial practice.

Any loan to an individual or an estate.

Any “section 467 rental agreement” other than an agreement with a related party tenant.

Any obligation to pay “rents from real property.”

Certain securities issued by governmental entities.

Any security issued by a REIT.

Any debt instrument of an entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes to the extent of our interest as a partner in the partnership.

Any debt instrument of an entity treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes not described in the preceding bullet points if at least 75% of the partnership’s gross income, excluding income from prohibited transaction, is qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test described above in “Income Tests.”

The asset tests described above are based on our gross assets. For federal income tax purposes, we will be treated as owning both the loans we hold directly and the loans that we have securitized through non-REMIC debt securitizations. Although we will have a partially offsetting obligation with respect to the securities issued pursuant to the securitizations, these offsetting obligations will not reduce the gross assets we are considered to own for purposes of the asset tests.

We believe that all or substantially all of the mortgage loans and MBS that we will own will be qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test. For purposes of these rules, however, if the outstanding principal balance of a mortgage loan exceeds the fair market value of the real property securing the loan, a portion of such loan likely will not be a qualifying real estate asset under the federal income tax laws. Although the law on the matter is not entirely clear, it appears that the non-qualifying portion of that mortgage loan will be equal to the portion of the loan amount that exceeds the value of the associated real property that is security for that loan. To the extent that we own debt securities issued by other REITs or C corporations that are not secured by a mortgage on real property, those debt securities will not be qualifying assets for purposes of the 75% asset test. Instead, we would be subject to the second, third and fourth asset tests with respect to those debt securities.

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Revenue Procedure 2011-16 discusses the modification of a mortgage loan (or an interest therein) that is held by a REIT in which the modification was occasioned by either a default on the loan or a modification that satisfies both of the following conditions: (a) based on all the facts and circumstances, the REIT or servicer of the loan (the “pre-modified loan”) reasonably believes that there is a significant risk of default of the pre-modified loan upon maturity of the loan or at an earlier date, and (b) based on all the facts and circumstances, the REIT or servicer reasonably believes that the modified loan presents a substantially reduced risk of default, as compared with the pre-modified loan. Revenue Procedure 2011-16 provides that a REIT may treat a modification of a mortgage loan described therein as not being a new commitment to make or purchase a loan for purposes of apportioning interest on that loan between interest with respect to real property or other interest. The modification will also not be treated as a prohibited transaction. Further, with respect to the REIT asset test, the IRS will not challenge the REIT’s treatment of a loan as being in part a “real estate asset” if the REIT treats the loan as being a real estate asset in an amount equal to the lesser of (a) the value of the loan as determined under Treasury Regulations Section 1.856-3(a), or (b) the loan value of the real property securing the loan as determined under Treasury Regulations Section 1.856-5(c) and Revenue Procedure 2011-16.

We will monitor the status of our assets for purposes of the various asset tests and will seek to manage our investment portfolio to comply at all times with such tests. There can be no assurance, however, that we will be successful in this effort. In this regard, to determine our compliance with these requirements, we will need to estimate the value of the real estate securing our mortgage loans at various times. Although we will seek to be prudent in making these estimates, there can be no assurances that the IRS might not disagree with these determinations and assert that a lower value is applicable. If we fail to satisfy the asset tests at the end of a calendar quarter, we will not lose our REIT status if:

we satisfied the asset tests at the end of the preceding calendar quarter; and

the discrepancy between the value of our assets and the asset test requirements arose from changes in the market values of our assets and was not wholly or partly caused by the acquisition of one or more non-qualifying assets, or solely by a change in the foreign currency exchange rate used to value a foreign asset.

If we did not satisfy the condition described in the second item, above, we still could avoid disqualification by eliminating any discrepancy within 30 days after the close of the calendar quarter in which it arose.

In the event that, at the end of any calendar quarter, we violate the second or third asset tests described above, we will not lose our REIT status if (i) the failure is de minimis (up to the lesser of 1% of our assets or $10 million) and (ii) we dispose of assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure. In the event of a more than de minimis failure of any of the asset tests, as long as the failure was due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect, we will not lose our REIT status if (i) we dispose of assets or otherwise comply with the asset tests within six months after the last day of the quarter in which we identify such failure and (ii) pay a tax equal to the greater of $50 thousand or 35% of the net income from the non-qualifying assets during the period in which we failed to satisfy the asset tests.

We currently believe that the securities and other assets that we expect to hold will satisfy the foregoing asset test requirements. However, no independent appraisals will be obtained to support our conclusions as to the value of our assets and securities, or in many cases, the real estate collateral for the mortgage loans that we hold. Moreover, the values of some assets may not be susceptible to a precise determination. As a result, there can be no assurance that the IRS will not contend that our ownership of securities and other assets violates one or more of the asset tests applicable to REITs.

Annual Distribution Requirements

Each taxable year, we must distribute dividends, other than capital gain dividends and deemed distributions of retained capital gain, to our stockholders in an aggregate amount at least equal to:

the sum of:

90% of our “REIT taxable income,” computed without regard to the dividends paid deduction and our net capital gain or loss, and

90% of our after-tax net income, if any, from foreclosure property, minus

the sum of certain items of excess non-cash income.

We must pay such distributions in the taxable year to which they relate or in the following taxable year if we declare the distribution before we timely file our federal income tax return for the year and pay the distribution on or before the first regular dividend payment date after such declaration. In addition, dividends declared in October, November or December payable to stockholders of record in such month are deemed received by stockholders on December 31 and to have been paid on December 31 if actually paid in January of the following year. See below under “Distributions Generally.”

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We will pay the federal income tax on taxable income, including net capital gain, which we do not distribute to stockholders. Furthermore, if we fail to distribute during a calendar year, or by the end of January following the calendar year in the case of distributions with declaration and record dates falling in the last three months of the calendar year, at least the sum of:

85% of our REIT ordinary income for such year,

95% of our REIT capital gain income for such year, and

any undistributed taxable income from prior periods,

we will incur a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the excess of such required distribution over the amounts we actually distribute. We may elect to retain and pay income tax on the net long-term capital gain we receive in a taxable year. See “Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders.” If we so elect, we will be treated as having distributed any such retained amount for purposes of the 4% nondeductible excise tax described above. We intend to make timely distributions sufficient to satisfy the annual distribution requirements and to avoid corporate income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax.

It is possible that, from time to time, we may experience timing differences between the actual receipt of income and actual payment of deductible expenses and the inclusion of that income and deduction of such expenses in arriving at our REIT taxable income. Possible examples of those timing differences include the following:

Because we may deduct capital losses only to the extent of our capital gains, we may have taxable income that exceeds our economic income.

We will recognize taxable income in advance of the related cash flow if any of our mortgage loans or MBS are deemed to have original issue discount. We generally must accrue original issue discount based on a constant yield method that takes into account projected prepayments but that defers taking into account credit losses until they are actually incurred.

We may recognize taxable market discount income when we receive the proceeds from the disposition of, or principal payments on, loans that have a stated redemption price at maturity that is greater than our tax basis in those loans, although such proceeds often will be used to make non-deductible principal payments on related borrowings.

We may recognize taxable income without receiving a corresponding cash distribution if we foreclose on or make a significant modification to a loan to the extent that the fair market value of the underlying property or the principal amount of the modified loan, as applicable, exceeds our basis in the original loan.

We may recognize phantom taxable income from any residual interests in REMICs or retained ownership interests in mortgage loans subject to collateralized mortgage obligation debt.

Although several types of non-cash income are excluded in determining the annual distribution requirement, we will incur corporate income tax and the 4% nondeductible excise tax with respect to those non-cash income items if we do not distribute those items on a current basis. As a result of the foregoing, we may have less cash than is necessary to distribute all of our taxable income and thereby avoid corporate income tax and the excise tax imposed on certain undistributed income. In such a situation, we may need to borrow funds or issue additional common stock or preferred stock.

Under certain circumstances, we may be able to correct a failure to meet the distribution requirement for a year by paying “deficiency dividends” to our stockholders in a later year. We may include such deficiency dividends in our deduction for dividends paid for the earlier year. Although we may be able to avoid income tax on amounts distributed as deficiency dividends, we will be required to pay interest to the IRS based upon the amount of any deduction we take for deficiency dividends.

The IRS has provided temporary assistance to REITs that wish to preserve cash, but that also must meet their minimum distribution requirements. Under certain circumstances, the distribution requirements can be met through a distribution of the REIT’s own stock. We have not declared such a distribution and do not anticipate doing so.

Recordkeeping Requirements

We must maintain certain records in order to qualify as a REIT. In addition, to avoid a monetary penalty, we must request, on an annual basis, information from our stockholders designed to disclose the actual ownership of our outstanding stock. We intend to comply with these requirements.

Failure to Qualify

If we fail to satisfy one or more requirements for REIT qualification, other than the gross income tests and the asset tests, we could avoid disqualification if our failure is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect and we pay a penalty of $50 thousand for each such failure. In addition, there are relief provisions for a failure of the gross income tests and asset tests as described in “Income Tests” and “Asset Tests.”

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If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year and no relief provision applies, we would be subject to federal income tax and any applicable alternative minimum tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates. In calculating our taxable income in a year in which we fail to qualify as a REIT, we would not be able to deduct amounts paid out to stockholders. In fact, we would not be required to distribute any amounts to stockholders in that year. In such event, to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, all distributions to stockholders would be taxable as ordinary income. Subject to certain limitations of the federal income tax laws, corporate stockholders might be eligible for the dividends received deduction and domestic non-corporate stockholders may be eligible for the reduced federal income tax rate of 20% on qualified dividends. Unless we qualified for relief under specific statutory provisions, we also would be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we ceased to qualify as a REIT. We cannot predict whether, in all circumstances, we would qualify for such statutory relief.

Qualified REIT Subsidiaries

A qualified REIT subsidiary 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 above REIT qualification tests. We currently have no qualified REIT subsidiaries.

Taxable REIT Subsidiaries

A taxable REIT subsidiary is any corporation in which we own stock (directly or indirectly) and which we and such corporation elect to classify as a taxable REIT subsidiary. A taxable REIT subsidiary is not subject to the REIT asset, income and distribution requirements, nor are its assets, liabilities or income treated as our assets, liabilities or income for purposes of each of the above REIT qualification tests. We currently have no taxable REIT subsidiaries. We generally intend to make a taxable REIT subsidiary election with respect to any other corporation in which we acquire securities constituting more than 10% by vote or value of such corporation and that is not a qualified REIT subsidiary. However, the aggregate value of all of our taxable REIT subsidiaries must be limited to 25% of the total value of our assets.

We will be subject to a 100% penalty tax on any rent, interest or other charges that we impose on any taxable REIT subsidiary in excess of an arm’s length price for comparable services. We expect that any rents, interest or other charges imposed on any taxable REIT subsidiary will be at arm’s length prices.

We generally expect to derive income from our taxable REIT subsidiaries by way of dividends in the event that we establish any taxable REIT subsidiaries. Such dividends are not real estate source income for purposes of the 75% income test, although they are included for purposes of the 95% test. Therefore, when aggregated with our non-real estate source income, such dividends must be limited to 25% of our gross income each year. We will monitor the value of our investment in, and the distributions from, our taxable REIT subsidiaries to ensure compliance with all applicable REIT income and asset tests in the event that we establish any taxable REIT subsidiaries.

Taxable REIT subsidiaries are generally subject to corporate level tax on their net income and will generally be able to distribute only net after-tax earnings to its stockholders, including us, as dividend distributions. Dividends sourced from dividends received from taxable REIT subsidiaries (if any) can qualify for the 20% tax rate on qualified dividends. We currently have no taxable REIT subsidiaries.

Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders

For purposes of the discussion in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the term “U.S. stockholder” means a holder of our stock that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

a citizen or resident of the U.S.;

a corporation (including an entity treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes), partnership or other entity created or organized in or under the laws of the U.S. or of any state thereof or in the District of Columbia, unless Treasury regulations provide otherwise;

an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

a trust (i) whose administration is subject to the primary supervision of a U.S. court and which has one or more U.S. persons who have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust or (ii) that has a valid election in place to be treated as a U.S. person.

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Distributions Generally

Distributions out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, other than capital gain dividends, will generally be taxable to U.S. stockholders as ordinary income. Provided that we continue to qualify as a REIT, dividends paid by us will not be eligible for the dividends received deduction generally available to U.S. stockholders that are corporations. To the extent that we make distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, the distributions will be treated as a tax-free return of capital to each U.S. stockholder and will reduce the adjusted tax basis which each U.S. stockholder has in our stock by the amount of the distribution, but not below zero. Distributions in excess of a U.S. stockholder’s adjusted tax basis in its stock will be taxable as capital gain and will be taxable as long-term capital gain if the stock has been held for more than one year. If we declare a dividend in October, November, or December of any calendar year which is payable to stockholders of record on a specified date in such a month and actually pay the dividend during January of the following calendar year, the dividend is deemed to be paid by us and received by the stockholder on December 31st of the previous year, but only to the extent we have any remaining undistributed earnings and profits (as computed under the Code) as of December 31st. Any portion of this distribution in excess of our previously undistributed earnings and profits as of December 31st should be treated as a distribution to our stockholders in the following calendar year for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Stockholders may not include in their own income tax returns any of our net operating losses or capital losses. Ordinary dividends to a U.S. stockholder generally will not qualify for the 20% tax rate for “qualified dividend income.” However, the 20% tax rate for “qualified dividend income” will apply to our ordinary REIT dividends (i) attributable to dividends received by us from non-REIT corporations such as a taxable REIT subsidiary, and (ii) any income on which we have paid a corporate income tax.

Cost Basis Reporting

New federal income tax information reporting rules may apply to certain transactions in our shares acquired through the Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan. Where such rules apply, the “cost basis” calculated for the shares involved will be reported to the IRS and to you. Generally these rules apply to all shares purchased after December 31, 2010 including those purchased through the Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan. For “cost basis” reporting purposes, you may identify by lot the shares that you transfer or that are redeemed, but if you do not timely notify us of your election, we will identify the shares that are transferred or redeemed on a “first in/first out” basis. The shares in the Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan are also eligible for the “average cost” basis method, should you so elect.

Information reporting (transfer statements) on other transactions may also be required under these new tax rules. Generally, these reports are made for certain transactions other than purchases in shares acquired before January 1, 2011. Transfer statements are issued between “brokers” and are not issued to the IRS or to you.

Stockholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the consequences to of these new tax rules.

Capital Gain Distributions

Distributions designated by us as capital gain dividends will be taxable to U.S. stockholders as capital gain income. We can designate distributions as capital gain dividends to the extent of our net capital gain for the taxable year of the distribution. This capital gain income will generally be taxable to non-corporate U.S. stockholders at a 20% or 25% rate based on the characteristics of the asset we sold that produced the gain. U.S. stockholders that are corporations may be required to treat up to 20% of certain capital gain dividends as ordinary income.

Retention of Net Capital Gains

We may elect to retain, rather than distribute as a capital gain dividend, our net capital gains. If we were to make this election, we would pay tax on such retained capital gains. In such a case, our stockholders would generally:

include their proportionate share of our undistributed net capital gains in their taxable income;

receive a credit for their proportionate share of the tax paid by us in respect of such net capital gain; and

increase the adjusted basis of their stock by the difference between the amount of their share of our undistributed net capital gain and their share of the tax paid by us.

Passive Activity Losses, Investment Interest Limitations and Other Considerations of Holding Our Stock

Distributions we make and gains arising from the sale or exchange of our stock by a U.S. stockholder will not be treated as passive activity income. As a result, U.S. stockholders will not be able to apply any “passive losses” against income or gains relating to our stock. Distributions by us, to the extent they do not constitute a return of capital, generally will be treated as investment income for purposes of computing the investment interest limitation under the Code. Further, if we, or a portion of our assets, were to be treated as a taxable mortgage pool, any excess inclusion income that is allocated to you could not be offset by any losses or other deductions you may have.

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Dispositions of Stock and Warrants

A U.S. stockholder or U.S. warrant holder that sells or disposes of our stock or warrants will recognize gain or loss for federal income tax purposes in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash or the fair market value of any property the stockholder or warrant holder receives on the sale or other disposition and the stockholder’s or warrant holder’s adjusted tax basis in the stock or warrants, as applicable. This gain or loss will be capital gain or loss and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the stockholder or warrant holder has held the stock or warrants for more than one year. In general, any loss recognized by a U.S. stockholder or warrant holder upon the sale or other disposition of our stock or warrants that the stockholder or warrant holder has held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent the stockholder or warrant holder received distributions from us which were required to be treated as long-term capital gains. All or a portion of any loss that a U.S. stockholder or warrant holder realizes upon a taxable disposition of our stock or warrants may be disallowed if the stockholder purchases other stock within 30 days before or after the disposition.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding

We report to our U.S. stockholders and the IRS the amount of dividends paid during each calendar year and the amount of any tax withheld. Under the backup withholding rules, a stockholder may be subject to backup withholding with respect to dividends paid and redemption proceeds unless the holder is a corporation or comes within other exempt categories and, when required, demonstrates this fact or provides a taxpayer identification number or social security number certifying as to no loss of exemption from backup withholding and otherwise complies with applicable requirements of the backup withholding rules. A U.S. stockholder that does not provide us with its correct taxpayer identification number or social security number may also be subject to penalties imposed by the IRS. A U.S. stockholder can meet this requirement by providing us with a correct, properly completed and executed copy of IRS Form W-9 or a substantially similar form. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amount paid as backup withholding will be creditable against the stockholder’s income tax liability, if any, and otherwise be refundable. In addition, we may be required to withhold a portion of capital gain distributions made to any stockholders who fail to certify their non-foreign status.

Taxation of Tax-Exempt Stockholders

The IRS has ruled that amounts distributed as a dividend by a REIT will be treated as a dividend by the recipient and excluded from the calculation of unrelated business taxable income, or UBTI, when received by a tax-exempt entity. Based on that ruling, provided that a tax-exempt stockholder has not held our stock as “debt financed property” within the meaning of the Code, i.e., property, the acquisition, or holding of which is financed through a borrowing by the tax-exempt U.S. stockholder, the stock is not otherwise used in an unrelated trade or business, and we do not hold a residual interest in a REMIC that gives rise to “excess inclusion” income, as defined in Section 860E of the Code, dividend income on our stock and income from the sale of our stock should not be unrelated business taxable income to a tax-exempt stockholder. However, if we or a pool of our assets were to be treated as a “taxable mortgage pool,” a portion of the dividends paid to a tax-exempt stockholder may be subject to tax as unrelated business taxable income. Although we do not believe that we, or any portion of our assets, will be treated as a taxable mortgage pool, no assurance can be given that the IRS might not successfully maintain that such a taxable mortgage pool exists.

For tax-exempt stockholders that are social clubs, voluntary employee benefit associations, supplemental unemployment benefit trusts, and qualified group legal services plans exempt from federal income taxation under Sections 501(c)(7), (c)(9), (c)(17) and (c)(20) of the Code, respectively, income from an investment in our stock will constitute unrelated business taxable income unless the organization is able to properly claim a deduction for amounts set aside or placed in reserve for certain purposes so as to offset the income generated by its investment in our stock. Any prospective and current investors should consult their tax advisors concerning these “set aside” and reserve requirements.

Notwithstanding the above, however, a substantial portion of the dividends a tax-exempt stockholder receives may constitute UBTI if we are treated as a “pension-held REIT” and the stockholder is a pension trust which:

is described in Section 401(a) of the Code; and

holds more than 10%, by value, of the interests in the REIT.

Tax-exempt pension funds that are described in Section 401(a) of the Code and exempt from tax under Section 501(a) of the Code are referred to below as “qualified trusts.”

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A REIT is a “pension-held REIT” if:

it would not have qualified as a REIT but for the fact that Section 856(h)(3) of the Code provides that stock owned by a qualified trust shall be treated, for purposes of the 5/50 Rule, described above, as owned by the beneficiaries of the trust, rather than by the trust itself; and

either at least one qualified trust holds more than 25%, by value, of the interests in the REIT, or one or more qualified trusts, each of which owns more than 10%, by value, of the interests in the REIT, holds in the aggregate more than 50%, by value, of the interests in the REIT.

The percentage of any REIT dividend treated as unrelated business taxable income is equal to the ratio of:

the unrelated business taxable income earned by the REIT, less directly related expenses, treating the REIT as if it were a qualified trust and therefore subject to tax on unrelated business taxable income, to

the total gross income, less directly related expenses, of the REIT.

A de minimis exception applies where the percentage is less than 5% for any year. As a result of the limitations on the transfer and ownership of stock contained in our charter, we do not expect to be classified as a “pension-held REIT.”

Taxation of Non-U.S. Stockholders

The rules governing federal income taxation of “non-U.S. stockholders” are complex and no attempt will be made herein to provide more than a summary of these rules. “Non-U.S. stockholders” means beneficial owners of shares of our stock that are not U.S. stockholders (as such term is defined in the discussion above under the heading entitled “Taxation of Taxable U.S. Stockholders”).

PROSPECTIVE AND CURRENT NON-U.S. STOCKHOLDERS SHOULD CONSULT THEIR TAX ADVISORS TO DETERMINE THE IMPACT OF FOREIGN, FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL INCOME TAX LAWS WITH REGARD TO AN INVESTMENT IN OUR STOCK AND OF OUR ELECTION TO BE TAXED AS A REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUST, INCLUDING ANY REPORTING REQUIREMENTS.

Distributions to non-U.S. stockholders that are not attributable to gain from our sale or exchange of U.S. real property interests, and that are not designated by us as capital gain dividends or retained capital gains, will be treated as dividends of ordinary income to the extent that they are made out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits. These distributions will generally be subject to a withholding tax equal to 30% of the distribution unless an applicable tax treaty reduces or eliminates that tax. However, if income from an investment in our stock is treated as effectively connected with the non-U.S. stockholder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business, the non-U.S. stockholder generally will be subject to federal income tax at graduated rates on a net basis in the same manner as U.S. stockholders are taxed with respect to those distributions and also may be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the case of a non-U.S. stockholder that is a corporation. We expect to withhold tax at the rate of 30% on the gross amount of any distributions made to a non-U.S. stockholder unless:

a lower treaty rate applies and any required form, for example IRS Form W-8BEN, evidencing eligibility for that reduced rate is filed by the non-U.S. stockholder with us; or

the non-U.S. stockholder files an IRS Form W-8ECI with us claiming that the distribution is effectively connected income.

Any portion of the dividends paid to non-U.S. stockholders that is treated as excess inclusion income will not be eligible for exemption from the 30% withholding tax or a reduced treaty rate.

Distributions in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits will not be taxable to non-U.S. stockholders to the extent that these distributions do not exceed the adjusted basis of the stockholder’s stock, but rather will reduce the adjusted basis of that stock. To the extent that distributions in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits exceed the adjusted basis of a non-U.S. stockholder’s stock, these distributions will give rise to tax liability if the non-U.S. stockholder would otherwise be subject to tax on any gain from the sale or disposition of its stock, as described below. Because it generally cannot be determined at the time a distribution is made whether or not such distribution may be in excess of current and accumulated earnings and profits, the entire amount of any distribution normally will be subject to withholding at the same rate as a dividend. However, amounts so withheld are creditable against U.S. tax liability, if any, or refundable by the IRS to the extent the distribution is subsequently determined to be in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits. We are also required to withhold 10% of any distribution in excess of our current and accumulated earnings and profits if our stock is a U.S. real property interest and if we are not a domestically controlled REIT, as discussed below. Consequently, although we intend to withhold at a rate of 30% on the entire amount of any distribution, to the extent that we do not do so, any portion of a distribution not subject to withholding at a rate of 30% may be subject to withholding at a rate of 10%.

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Distributions attributable to our capital gains which are not attributable to gain from the sale or exchange of a U.S. real property interest generally will not be subject to income taxation unless (1) investment in our stock is effectively connected with the non-U.S. stockholder’s U.S. trade or business (or, if an income tax treaty applies, is attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment of the non-U.S. stockholder), in which case the non-U.S. stockholder will be subject to the same treatment as U.S. stockholders with respect to such gain (except that a corporate non-U.S. stockholder may also be subject to the 30% branch profits tax), or (2) the non-U.S. stockholder is a non-resident alien individual who is present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the taxable year and certain other conditions are satisfied, in which case the non-resident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gains.

For any year in which we qualify as a REIT, distributions that are attributable to gain from the sale or exchange of a U.S. real property interest, which includes some interests in real property, but generally does not include an interest solely as a creditor in mortgage loans or MBS, will be taxed to a non-U.S. stockholder under the provisions of the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, or FIRPTA. Under FIRPTA, distributions attributable to gain from sales of U.S. real property interests are taxed to a non-U.S. stockholder as if that gain were effectively connected with the stockholder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business. Non-U.S. stockholders thus would be taxed at the normal capital gain rates applicable to stockholders, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax and a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals. Distributions subject to FIRPTA also may be subject to the 30% branch profits tax in the hands of a non-U.S. corporate stockholder. We are required to withhold 35% of any distribution that we designate (or, if greater, the amount that we could designate) as a capital gains dividend. The amount withheld is creditable against the non-U.S. stockholder’s FIRPTA tax liability.

A capital gain distribution from a REIT to a foreign investor has been removed from the category of effectively connected income, provided that (i) the distribution is received with respect to a class of stock that is regularly traded on an established securities market located in the U.S. (our stock currently is so traded) and (ii) the foreign investor does not own more than 5% of the class of stock at any time during the taxable year within which the distribution is received. In that case, the foreign investor is not required to file a U.S. federal income tax return by reason of receiving such a distribution. The distribution is to be treated as a REIT dividend to that investor, taxed as a REIT dividend that is not a capital gain. Also, the branch profits tax does not apply to such a distribution.

Gains recognized by a non-U.S. stockholder upon a sale of our stock generally will not be taxed under FIRPTA if we are a domestically-controlled REIT, which is a REIT in which at all times during a specified testing period less than 50% in value of the stock was held directly or indirectly by non-U.S. stockholders. Because our stock is publicly traded, we cannot assure our investors that we are or will remain a domestically-controlled REIT. Even if we are not a domestically-controlled REIT, however, a non-U.S. stockholder that owns, actually or constructively, 5% or less of our stock throughout a specified testing period will not recognize taxable gain on the sale of our stock under FIRPTA if the shares are traded on an established securities market.

If gain from the sale of the stock were subject to taxation under FIRPTA, the non-U.S. stockholder would be subject to the same treatment as U.S. stockholders with respect to that gain, subject to applicable alternative minimum tax, a special alternative minimum tax in the case of nonresident alien individuals, and the possible application of the 30% branch profits tax in the case of non-U.S. corporations. In addition, the purchaser of the stock could be required to withhold 10% of the purchase price and remit such amount to the IRS.

Gains not subject to FIRPTA will be taxable to a non-U.S. stockholder if:

the non-U.S. stockholder’s investment in the stock is effectively connected with a trade or business in the U.S., in which case the non-U.S. stockholder will be subject to the same treatment as U.S. stockholders with respect to that gain; or

the non-U.S. stockholder is a nonresident alien individual who was present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the taxable year and other conditions are met, in which case the nonresident alien individual will be subject to a 30% tax on the individual’s capital gains.

Information Reporting and Backup Withholding

If the proceeds of a disposition of our stock are paid by or through a U.S. office of a broker-dealer, the payment is generally subject to information reporting and to backup withholding (currently at a rate of 28%) unless the disposing non-U.S. stockholder certifies as to his name, address and non-U.S. status or otherwise establishes an exemption. Generally, U.S. information reporting and backup withholding will not apply to a payment of disposition proceeds if the payment is made outside the U.S. through a foreign office of a foreign broker-dealer. If the proceeds from a disposition of our stock are paid to or through a foreign office of a U.S. broker-dealer or a non-U.S. office of a foreign broker-dealer that is (i) a “controlled foreign corporation” for federal income tax purposes, (ii) a foreign person 50% or more of whose gross income from all sources for a three-year period was effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business, (iii) a foreign partnership with one or more partners who are U.S. persons and who in the aggregate hold more than 50% of the income or capital interest in the partnership, or (iv) a foreign partnership engaged in the conduct of a trade or business in the U.S., then (i) backup withholding will not apply unless the broker-dealer has actual knowledge that the owner is not a foreign stockholder, and (ii) information reporting will not apply if the non-U.S. stockholder satisfies certification requirements regarding its status as a foreign stockholder.

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Recently Enacted Withholding Legislation

Shareholders that acquire our stock through an account maintained at a non-U.S. financial institution should be aware that the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”), enacted in 2010 provides that a 30% withholding tax will be imposed on certain payments made to a foreign entity if such entity fails to satisfy certain new disclosure and reporting rules. FATCA generally requires that (i) in the case of shareholder that is foreign financial institution (defined broadly to include a hedge fund, a private equity fund, a mutual fund, a securitization vehicle or other investment vehicle), the entity identify and provide information with respect to financial accounts with such entity held (directly or indirectly) by U.S. persons and U.S.-owned foreign entities and (ii) in the case of a shareholder that is a non-financial foreign entity, the entity identify and provide information with respect to substantial U.S. owners of such entity.

The IRS has released final regulations generally providing that FATCA withholding will not apply with respect to payments made prior to January 1, 2014 and that FATCA withholding tax on gross proceeds from the disposition of stock will not be imposed with respect to payments made prior to January 1, 2017. The U.S. Treasury is also in the process of signing Intergovernmental Agreements with other countries to implement the exchange of information required under FATCA. Shareholders that invest in the Company through an account maintained at a non-U.S. financial institution are strongly encouraged to consult with their own tax advisors regarding the potential application and impact of FATCA and any Intergovernmental Agreement between the United States and their home jurisdiction in connection with FATCA compliance.

State, Local and Foreign Taxation

We may be required to pay state, local and foreign taxes in various state, local and foreign jurisdictions, including those in which we transact business or make investments, and our stockholders may be required to pay state, local and foreign taxes in various state, local and foreign jurisdictions, including those in which they reside. Our state, local and foreign tax treatment may not conform to the federal income tax consequences summarized above. In addition, a stockholder’s state, local and foreign tax treatment may not conform to the federal income tax consequences summarized above. Consequently, prospective investors should consult their tax advisors regarding the effect of state, local and foreign tax laws on an investment in our stock.

Possible Legislative or Other Actions Affecting Tax Considerations

Prospective investors and stockholders should recognize that the present U.S. federal income tax treatment of an investment in our stock may be modified by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time and that any such action may affect investments and commitments previously made. The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department, resulting in revisions of regulations and revised interpretations of established concepts as well as statutory changes. Revisions in U.S. federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could adversely affect the tax consequences of an investment in our stock.

 

Item  1A.

RISK FACTORS

Our business routinely encounters and attempts to address risks, some of which will cause our future results to differ, sometimes materially, from those originally anticipated. Below, we have described our present view of the most significant risks facing the Company. The risk factors set forth below are not the only risks that we may face or that could adversely affect us. If any of the circumstances described in the risk factors discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K actually occur, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. If this were to occur, the trading price of our securities could decline significantly and shareholders may lose all or part of their investment.

The following discussion of risk factors contains “forward-looking statements,” which may be important to understanding any statement in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or in our other filings and public disclosures. In particular, the following information should be read in conjunction with Item 7 – Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and Item 8 – Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

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Risks Related to Our Business

Continued adverse developments in the global capital markets, including recent defaults, credit losses and liquidity concerns, as well as recent mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies of potential repurchase agreement counterparties, could make it difficult for us to borrow money to acquire Agency MBS on a leveraged basis, on favorable terms or at all, which could adversely affect our profitability.

We rely on the availability of financing to acquire Agency MBS on a leveraged basis. Institutions from which we obtain financing may have owned or financed MBS and other assets, which have declined in value and caused them to suffer losses as a result of the downturn in the residential mortgage market. As these conditions persist, institutions may be forced to exit the repurchase agreement market, become insolvent or further tighten their lending standards or increase the amount of equity capital or haircut required to obtain financing and, in such event, could make it more difficult for us to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all.

During the past few years, there have been several proposed or completed mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies of investment banks and commercial banks that have historically acted as repurchase agreement counterparties. This has resulted in a fewer number of potential repurchase agreement counterparties operating in the market. Fewer potential counterparties may reduce our ability to diversify and thereby attempt to minimize risk of counterparty default. In addition, many commercial banks, investment banks and insurance companies have announced extensive losses from exposure to the residential mortgage market. These losses have reduced financial industry capital, leading to reduced liquidity for some institutions. As a result of these difficulties, there has been an increased focus by U.S. and international regulators and banking groups (such as from the Dodd-Frank legislation and Basel III accord) on increasing capital requirements for financial institutions and on greater restrictions on lending. This may have an adverse impact on the supply of MBS and could also make it more difficult for us as well as others in the marketplace to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all. Our profitability may be adversely affected if we are unable to obtain cost-effective financing for our investments.

Failure to procure funding on favorable terms, or at all, would adversely affect our results and may, in turn, negatively affect the market price of shares of our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock or Series B Preferred Stock.

The current weakness in the mortgage market could cause one or more of our lenders to be unwilling or unable to provide us with financing. This could potentially increase our financing costs and reduce liquidity. Furthermore, if many of our lenders are unwilling or unable to provide us with additional financing, we could be forced to sell our assets at an inopportune time when prices are depressed. If one or more major market participants fail, it could negatively impact the marketability of all fixed income securities, including Agency MBS, and this could negatively impact the value of the securities in our portfolio, thus reducing our net book value.

If we are unable to negotiate favorable terms and conditions on future repurchase arrangements with one or more of our lenders, our financial condition and earnings could be negatively impacted.

The terms and conditions of each repurchase arrangement with our lenders are negotiated on a transaction-by-transaction basis. Key terms and conditions of each transaction include interest rates, maturity dates, asset pricing procedures and margin requirements. We cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to negotiate favorable terms and conditions on our future repurchase arrangements.

Also, during periods of market illiquidity or due to perceived credit quality deterioration of the collateral pledged, a lender may require that less favorable asset pricing procedures be employed or the margin requirements be increased. Possible market developments, including a sharp rise in interest rates, a change in prepayment rates or increasing market concern about the value or liquidity of Agency MBS, may reduce the market value of our portfolio, which may cause our lenders to require additional collateral. Under these conditions, we may determine it is prudent to sell assets to improve our ability to pledge sufficient collateral to support our remaining borrowings. Such sales may be at disadvantageous times, which may harm our operating results and net profitability.

Continued adverse developments in the residential mortgage market may adversely affect the value of the Agency MBS in which we invest.

During the past several years, the residential mortgage market in the U.S. has experienced a variety of difficulties and changing economic conditions including recent defaults, credit losses and liquidity concerns. News of actual and potential security liquidations has increased the volatility of many financial assets including Agency MBS. Further increased volatility and deterioration in the broader residential mortgage and MBS markets may adversely affect the performance and market value of the Agency MBS in which we invest.

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Our investments serve as collateral for our financings. Any decline in their value, or perceived market uncertainty about their value, would likely 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. If market conditions result in a decline in the value of our Agency MBS, our financial position and results of operations could be adversely affected.

New laws may be passed affecting the relationship between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, on the one hand, and the federal government, on the other, which could adversely affect the price of Agency MBS.

The interest and principal payments we expect to receive on the Agency MBS in which we invest will be guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. Unlike the Ginnie Mae certificates in which we invest, the principal and interest on securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not guaranteed by the U.S. government. All the Agency MBS in which we invest depend on a steady stream of payments on the mortgages underlying the securities.

Since September 2008, there have been increased market concerns about Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s ability to withstand future credit losses associated with securities held in their investment portfolios, and on which they provide guarantees, without the direct support of the federal government. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed into the conservatorship of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, their federal regulator, pursuant to its powers under The Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008, a part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

In addition to FHFA becoming the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has taken various actions intended to provide Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with additional liquidity and ensure their financial stability. The U.S. Treasury can hold its portfolio of Agency MBS to maturity and, based on mortgage market conditions, may make adjustments to the portfolio. This flexibility may adversely affect the pricing and availability for our target assets. It is also possible that if and when the U.S. Treasury commits to purchase Agency MBS in the future, it could create additional demand that would increase the pricing of Agency MBS that we seek to acquire.

Shortly after Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed in federal conservatorship, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury suggested that the guarantee payment structure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be re-examined. The future roles of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could be significantly reduced and the nature of their guarantees could be eliminated or considerably limited relative to historical measurements. The U.S. Treasury could also stop providing credit support to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the future. Any changes to the nature of the guarantees provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could redefine what constitutes an Agency MBS and could have broad adverse market implications. In addition, if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac were eliminated, or their structures were to change radically, we would not be able to acquire Agency MBS from these companies, which would eliminate the major component of our business model.

Our income could be negatively affected in a number of ways depending on the manner in which related events unfold. For example, the current credit support provided by the U.S. Treasury to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and any additional credit support it may provide in the future, could have the effect of lowering the interest rate we expect to receive from Agency MBS that we seek to acquire, thereby tightening the spread between the interest we earn on our portfolio of targeted assets and our cost of financing that portfolio. A reduction in the supply of Agency MBS could also negatively affect the pricing of Agency MBS we seek to acquire by reducing the spread between the interest we earn on our portfolio of targeted assets and our cost of financing that portfolio.

Any law affecting these government-sponsored enterprises 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. As a result, such laws could increase the risk of loss on investments in Fannie Mae and/or Freddie Mac Agency MBS. It also is possible that such laws could adversely impact the market for such securities and spreads at which they trade. All of the foregoing could materially adversely affect our business, operations and financial condition.

Separate legislation has been introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress, which would, among other things, wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and we could be materially adversely affected if these proposed laws were enacted.

On June 25, 2013, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a draft bill to the U.S. Senate titled, “Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013,” which may serve as a catalyst for congressional discussion on the reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Also, on July 11, 2013, members of the House Committee on Financial Services introduced a draft bill to the U.S. House of Representatives titled, “Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act.” Both bills call for the winding down of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and seek to increase the opportunities for private capital to participate in, and consequently bear the risk of loss in connection with, government-guaranteed MBS. Both bills also have considerable support in their respective houses of Congress, which suggests that efforts to reform and possibly eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be gaining momentum.

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The passage of any new legislation affecting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may create market uncertainty and reduce the actual or perceived credit quality of securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government through a new or existing successor entity to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. If Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were reformed or wound down, it is unclear what effect, if any, this would have on the value of the existing securities guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. It is also possible that the above-referenced proposed legislation, if enacted into law, could adversely impact the market for securities guaranteed by the U.S. government and the spreads at which they trade. The foregoing could materially adversely affect the pricing, supply, liquidity and value of the MBS in which we invest and otherwise materially adversely affect our business operations and financial condition.

Certain actions taken or that may be taken in the future by the U.S. government to address the financial crisis could negatively affect the availability of financing, the quantity and quality of available products, cause changes in interest rates and the yield curve, any and each of which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

The U.S. government, including the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Department of Treasury and other governmental and regulatory bodies, have taken and are considering taking actions to address the U.S. financial crisis. During 2011 and 2012, the Federal Reserve increased its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities and, as of January 30, 2013, owned approximately $1.7 trillion of such securities. In September 2011, the Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve announced the launching of “Operation Twist,” in which the Federal Reserve would be buying approximately $400 billion of longer-term treasury securities financed by the sale of an equal amount of the Federal Reserve’s shorter-term treasury securities. These acquisitions occurred during 2012. In June 2012, the Federal Reserve announced that it extended its “Operation Twist” bond swap program by buying through year-end 2012 another $267 billion worth of securities whose maturities would range between six to thirty years and selling a similar amount of securities with durations of three years or less. Operation Twist ended on December 31, 2012. At its December 2012 meeting, the members of the Federal Reserve Board were divided on how long to continue its bond-buying program, with some wanting to continue the program through the end of 2013 and others wanting to end it well before then. A decision not to continue buying long-term Treasury securities may push long-term rates up, which could be less supportive of economic growth. On September 13, 2012, the Federal Reserve announced its intention to purchase additional Agency MBS at a pace of $40 billion per month. These purchases were open-ended, meaning they would continue until the Federal Reserve was satisfied that economic conditions, primarily in unemployment, improve. The Federal Reserve also announced its projection that the federal funds rate would likely remain at exceptionally low levels until at least mid-2015. In May 2013, upon the release of minutes of the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that if there was a continued improvement in the U.S. economy, the pace of purchases could be slowed down. After this statement, the rate on the 10-Year Treasury rose above 2%. In addition, following the June 2013 FOMC meeting, Chairman Bernanke commented that if the U.S. economy continued to improve, the Federal Reserve would probably slow or moderate its MBS purchases sometime later in 2013 and possibly ending them sometime in the middle of 2014. This comment had an even greater effect on the bond market, as longer-term interest rates rose while short-term interest rates remained constant. The resulting steepened yield curve caused a decline in the second quarter of 2013 in the value of MBS in general and in the value of our portfolio. In December 2013 and January 2014, the Federal Reserve reduced its bond buying program from $85 billion per month down to $65 billion per month. In the future, the Federal Reserve may continue these actions or may take other similar actions, including the slowing down or tapering of the pace of its MBS purchases. We cannot predict whether or when such other actions may occur or what impact, if any, such actions could have on our business, results of operations and financial condition. While such programs are intended to aid economic activity, there are no assurances that this will occur. In fact, these actions could negatively affect the availability of financing, the quantity and quality of available products, cause changes in interest rates and the yield curve, any and each of which could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, as well as those of the entire mortgage sector in general.

A failure by the U.S. government to meet the conditions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 or to reduce its budget deficit or a further downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt and government-sponsored agency debt could have a material adverse impact on our borrowings and the valuations of our securities and may have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

As widely reported, there continues to be concerns over the ability of the U.S. government to reduce its budget deficit and resolve its debt crisis. The U.S. sovereign debt and government-sponsored agency debt were downgraded from AAA to AA+ in August 2011 and continues to be on review for a downgrade of their respective credit ratings to account for the risk that U.S. lawmakers fail to meet the conditions of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and/or reduce its overall debt. Such failures could have a material adverse effect both on the U.S. economy and on the global economy. In particular, this could cause disruption in the capital markets and impact the stability of future U.S. treasury auctions and the trading market for U.S. government securities, resulting in increased interest rates and impaired access to credit. These factors could negatively impact our borrowing costs, our liquidity and the valuation of the securities we currently own in our portfolio, which could have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and our results of operations.

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The consequences of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 or a failure or delay by the U.S. government to resolve the 2013 debt ceiling could materially adversely affect our stock price, our business, results of operations and financial condition.

On January 2, 2013, the U.S. Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or the Taxpayer Relief Act, to avert the “fiscal cliff.” The Taxpayer Relief Act left current income tax rates in place for all taxpayers except for individuals making more than $400,000 in taxable income or married couples making more than $450,000 in taxable income, who will see their top tax rate increase from 35% to 39.6%. The long term capital gains rate was also increased from 15% to 20% for those same taxable income thresholds. The Taxpayer Relief Act also phased out the personal exemption and itemized deductions for individuals with adjusted gross income over $250,000 and married couples with adjusted gross income over $300,000. The employee share of the Social Security payroll tax reverted back to 6.2% from the 4.2% rate. Additionally, the Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization Act, which increased the number of weeks a person eligible to receive unemployment insurance to ninety-nine weeks, was extended for another year. However, the Taxpayer Relief Act delayed implementation, from January 2, 2013 to March 1, 2013, of the budget sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which mandated approximately $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts in the years 2013 to 2021 (in the event Congress failed to propose spending cuts in an equal amount over the same period). The Taxpayer Relief Act also did not substantially address any major spending cuts. Additionally, the Taxpayer Relief Act did not address or resolve the U.S. government again reaching the debt ceiling, which is anticipated to occur sometime during 2013. At the end of January 2013, Congress temporarily increased the debt ceiling amount and deferred any further decision on how to resolve the debt ceiling impasse until May 19, 2013. This was again temporarily delayed due to government tax revenues being greater than anticipated and the U.S. Congress passing temporary funding measures until mid-October 2013. On October 1, 2013, the U.S. government was partially shut-down due to the inability of the U.S. Congress to pass a continuous funding resolution to provide funding for most government agencies and functions. On October 17, 2013, President Obama signed into law a bill passed by the U.S. Congress that funds the government through January 15, 2014, extends the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014, calls for a Congressional agreement on a long-term budget by mid-December 2013, and continues the budget sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011. In January 2014, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill which funds the U.S. government through September 30, 2014. On February 12, 2014, the Senate approved the debt ceiling legislation (previously approved by the House of Representatives), which suspended the debt ceiling until March 2015. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on February 15, 2014.

The consequences of the Taxpayer Relief Act in increasing income tax rates, payroll tax rates, and dividend and capital gains rates may materially affect our stock price. Also, delays in implementing the budget sequestration, substantially addressing spending cuts, or resolving the impending debt ceiling, could have unintended consequences on the U.S. economy and could materially affect not only our stock price but our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Mortgage loan modification programs and future legislative action may adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, the Agency MBS in which we invest.

The U.S. government, through the Federal Housing Authority and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, has commenced implementation of programs designed to provide homeowners with assistance in avoiding residential mortgage loan foreclosures. The programs may involve, among other things, the modification of mortgage loans to reduce the principal amount of the loans or the rate of interest payable on the loans, or extending the payment terms of the loans. In addition, members of the U.S. Congress have indicated support for additional legislative relief for homeowners. These loan modification programs, as well as future legislative or regulatory actions that result in the modification of outstanding mortgage loans, may adversely affect the value of, and the returns on, the Agency MBS in which we invest.

We are subject to the risk that the global credit crisis, despite efforts by global governments to halt that crisis, may affect interest rates and the availability of financing in general, which could adversely affect our financing and our operating results.

During the past several years, several large European banks experienced financial difficulty and were either rescued by government assistance or by other large European banks. Several European governments have coordinated plans to attempt to shore up their financial sectors through loans, credit guarantees, capital infusions, promises of continued liquidity funding and interest rate cuts. Additionally, other governments of the world’s largest economic countries also implemented interest rate cuts. There is no assurance that these and other plans and programs will be successful in halting the global credit crisis or in preventing other banks from failing. If unsuccessful, this could adversely affect our financing and operations as well as those of the entire mortgage sector in general.

As the European credit crisis continues, with the bailout of Greece, and problems in other countries such as Italy and Spain, there is a growing risk to the financial condition and stability of major European banks. In the fourth quarter of 2012, France’s government bond rating was lowered one grade by Moody’s Investor Service. Many of the European banks have U.S. banking subsidiaries, which have provided financing to us, particularly repurchase agreement financing for the acquisition of various investments, including MBS investments. During 2011, the U.S. government placed many of the U.S. banking subsidiaries of these major European banks on credit watch. In June 2012, Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of 15 global banks. If the European

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credit crisis continues to impact these major European banks, there is the possibility that it will also impact the operations of their U.S. banking subsidiaries. This could adversely affect our financing and operations as well as those of the entire mortgage sector in general.

Our leveraging strategy increases the risks of our operations.

Relative to our investment grade Agency MBS, we have generally borrowed, on a short-term basis, between seven to twelve times the amount of our equity, although our borrowings may at times be above or below this amount. During the past several years, we have reduced our borrowings to a range of five to nine times the amount of our equity due to the uncertainty in the marketplace and the broader problems in the economy. We incur this leverage by borrowing against a substantial portion of the market value of our mortgage-related assets. Use of leverage can enhance our investment returns (and at times when we reduce our leverage, our profitability may be reduced as a result). Leverage, however, also increases risks. In the following ways, the use of leverage increases our risk of loss and may reduce our net income by increasing the risks associated with other risk factors including a decline in the market value of our MBS or a default of a mortgage-related asset:

The use of leverage increases our risk of loss resulting from various factors including rising interest rates, increased interest rate volatility, downturns in the economy and reductions in the availability of financing or deterioration in the conditions of any of our mortgage-related assets.

Substantially all of our borrowings are secured by our Agency MBS, generally under repurchase agreements. A decline in the market value of the Agency MBS used to secure these debt obligations could limit our ability to borrow or result in lenders requiring us to pledge additional collateral to secure our borrowings. In that situation, we could be required to sell Agency MBS under adverse market conditions in order to obtain the additional collateral required by the lender. If these sales are made at prices lower than the carrying value of the Agency MBS, we would experience losses.

A default of a mortgage-related asset that constitutes collateral for a repurchase agreement could also result in an involuntary liquidation of the mortgage-related asset. This would result in a loss to us of the difference between the value of the mortgage-related asset upon liquidation and the amount borrowed against the mortgage-related asset.

To the extent we are compelled to liquidate qualified REIT assets to repay debts, our compliance with the REIT rules regarding our assets and our sources of income could be affected, which could jeopardize our status as a REIT. Losing our REIT status would cause us to lose tax advantages applicable to REITs and may decrease our overall profitability and distributions to our stockholders.

We may incur increased borrowing costs related to repurchase agreements and that would adversely affect our profitability.

Substantially all of our borrowings are collateralized borrowings in the form of repurchase agreements. If the interest rates on these agreements increase, that would harm our profitability.

Our borrowing costs under repurchase agreements generally correspond to short-term interest rates such as LIBOR or a short-term Treasury index, plus or minus a margin. The margins on these borrowings over or under short-term interest rates may vary depending upon:

the movement of interest rates;

the availability of financing in the market; and

the value and liquidity of our mortgage-related assets.

An increase in interest rates may harm our book value, which could adversely affect the cash available for distribution to you and could cause the price of our securities to decline.

Increases in interest rates may harm the market value of our mortgage-related assets. Our hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage-related assets (during the fixed-rate component of the mortgages underlying such assets) and our fixed-rate securities are generally more harmed by these increases. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles utilized in the United States of America, or GAAP, we reduce our book value by the amount of any decrease in the market value of our mortgage-related assets. Losses on securities classified as available-for-sale, which are determined by management to be other-than-temporary in nature, are reclassified from “Accumulated other comprehensive income” (“AOCI”) to current operations.

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An increase in interest rates may cause a decrease in the volume of newly issued, or investor demand for, MBS and other mortgage-related assets, which could adversely affect our ability to acquire MBS and other mortgage-related assets that satisfy our investment objectives and to generate income and pay dividends.

Rising interest rates generally reduce the demand for consumer credit, including mortgage loans, due to the higher cost of borrowing. A reduction in the volume of mortgage loans originated may affect the volume of MBS and other mortgage-related assets available to us, which could affect our ability to acquire MBS and other mortgage-related assets that satisfy our investment objectives. Rising interest rates may also cause MBS and other mortgage-related assets that were issued prior to an interest rate increase to provide yields that exceed prevailing market interest rates. If rising interest rates cause us to be unable to acquire a sufficient volume of MBS or mortgage-related assets or MBS or mortgage-related assets with a yield that exceeds the borrowing cost we will incur to purchase MBS or mortgage-related assets, our ability to satisfy our investment objectives and to generate income and pay dividends in the amount expected, or at all, may be materially and adversely affected.

A change in the LIBOR setting process could affect the interest rates that repurchase agreement counterparties charge on borrowings in general. Any such change could affect our borrowing agreements and could have an adverse impact on our net interest income.

LIBOR is an unregulated rate based on estimates that lenders submit to the British Bankers’ Association, a trade group that compiles this information and publishes daily the LIBOR rate. A settlement in the second quarter of 2012 between Barclays PLC and British and U.S. banking authorities requires Barclays PLC to base its LIBOR submissions on market prices rather than estimates of its borrowing costs. The settlement also requires an independent auditor to review this process and report back to the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. In the fourth quarter of 2012, U.S. and British financial regulators fined the Swiss banking firm, UBS AG, $1.5 billion for LIBOR manipulation. Additionally, in the first quarter of 2013, the Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to pay more than $780 million to British and U.S. banking authorities for LIBOR manipulation. In September 2013, oversight of LIBOR was transferred over to United Kingdom regulators, the Financial Conduct Authority. In December 2013, the European Union regulators fined six financial institutions (including Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale S.A., JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup) approximately $2.32 billion relating to the LIBOR rate scandal. In early 2014, administration of LIBOR will be transferred from the British Bankers Association to NYSE Euronext. If there are other settlements with other financial institutions over the LIBOR setting process, the process may become subject to even greater regulation and review by British and U.S. banking authorities, and the method of calculating LIBOR may change. A change in the LIBOR setting process could affect the interest rates that repurchase agreement counterparties charge on borrowings in general and could affect our borrowing agreements, which could have an adverse impact on our net interest income.

A flat or inverted yield curve may negatively affect our operations, book value and profitability due to its potential impact on investment yields and the supply of adjustable-rate mortgage, or ARM, products.

A flat yield curve occurs when there is little difference between short-term and long-term interest rates. An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term interest rates are higher than long-term interest rates. A flat or inverted yield curve may be an adverse environment for ARM product volume, as there may be little incentive for borrowers to choose an ARM product over a longer-term fixed-rate loan. If the supply of ARM product decreases, yields may decline due to market forces.

Our borrowing costs under repurchase agreements generally correspond to short-term interest rates such as LIBOR. A flat or inverted yield curve will likely result in lower profits.

Additionally, a flat or inverted yield curve may negatively impact the pricing of our securities. According to GAAP, if the values of our securities decrease, we reduce our book value by the amount of any decrease in the market value of our mortgage-related assets.

We depend on short-term borrowings to purchase mortgage-related assets and reach our desired amount of leverage. If we fail to obtain or renew sufficient funding on favorable terms, we will be limited in our ability to acquire mortgage-related assets and our earnings and profitability would decline.

We depend on short-term borrowings to fund acquisitions of mortgage-related assets and reach our desired amount of leverage. Accordingly, our ability to achieve our investment and leverage objectives depends on our ability to borrow money in sufficient amounts and on favorable terms. In addition, we must be able to renew or replace our maturing short-term borrowings on a continuous basis. Moreover, we depend on a limited number of lenders to provide the primary credit facilities for our purchases of mortgage-related assets.

If we cannot renew or replace maturing borrowings, we may have to sell our mortgage-related assets under adverse market conditions and may incur permanent capital losses as a result. Any number of these factors in combination may cause difficulties for us, including a possible liquidation of a major portion of our portfolio at disadvantageous prices with consequent losses, which may render us insolvent.

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Any repurchase agreements that we use to finance our assets may require us to provide additional collateral or pay down debt, and if these requirements are not met, our financial condition and prospects could deteriorate rapidly.

Our repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities pledged or sold by us to the repurchase agreement counterparty may decline in value, in which case the counterparty may require us to provide additional collateral or to repay all or a portion of the funds advanced. We may not have additional collateral or the funds available to repay our debt at that time, which would likely result in defaults unless we are able to raise the funds from alternative sources, which we may not be able to achieve on favorable terms or at all. Posting additional collateral would reduce our liquidity and limit our ability to leverage our assets. If we cannot meet these requirements, the counterparty could accelerate its indebtedness, increase the interest rate on advanced funds and terminate our ability to borrow funds from them, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and ability to implement our investment strategy. In addition, in the event that the counterparty files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, our securities may become subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, thus depriving us of the benefit of these assets. In the event that we are unable to meet these collateral obligations, our financial condition and prospects could deteriorate rapidly.

Our use of repurchase agreements to borrow funds may give our lenders greater rights in the event that either we or a lender files for bankruptcy.

Our borrowings under repurchase agreements may qualify for special treatment under the bankruptcy code, giving our lenders the ability to avoid the automatic stay provisions of the bankruptcy code and to take possession of and liquidate our collateral under the repurchase agreements without delay in the event that we file for bankruptcy. Furthermore, the special treatment of repurchase agreements under the bankruptcy code may make it difficult for us to recover our pledged assets in the event that a lender files for bankruptcy. Thus, the use of repurchase agreements exposes our pledged assets to risk in the event of a bankruptcy filing by either a lender or us.

Because assets we acquire may experience periods of illiquidity, we may lose profits or be prevented from earning gains if we cannot sell mortgage-related assets at an opportune time.

We bear the risk of being unable to dispose of our mortgage-related assets at advantageous times or in a timely manner because mortgage-related assets generally experience periods of illiquidity. The lack of liquidity may result from the absence of a willing buyer or an established market for these assets, as well as legal or contractual restrictions on resale. As a result, the illiquidity of mortgage-related assets may cause us to lose profits and lose the ability to earn gains.

A decrease or lack of liquidity in our investments may adversely affect our business, including our ability to value and sell our assets.

We invest in certain MBS or other investment securities that are not publicly traded in liquid markets. Moreover, turbulent market conditions, such as those currently in effect, could significantly and negatively impact the liquidity of our assets. In some cases, it may be difficult to obtain third-party pricing on certain of our investment securities. Illiquid investments typically experience greater price volatility, as a ready market does not exist, and can be more difficult to value. In addition, third-party pricing for illiquid investments may be more subjective than for more liquid investments. The illiquidity of certain investment securities may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if the need or desire arises. In addition, if we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our portfolio quickly, we may realize significantly less than the value at which we have previously recorded certain of our investment securities. As a result, our ability to vary our portfolio in response to changes in economic and other conditions may be relatively limited, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We may not have the benefit of repurchase rights or indemnification upon the breach of broad representations and warranties for all of the assets we acquire, which could increase the risk that we suffer losses on such assets.

We may acquire assets from counterparties that are not able or willing to provide broad representations and warranties on such assets. Even if such counterparties provide representations and warranties on the assets, they may not be contractually required to repurchase the assets or indemnify us if there are defaults with respect to the representations and warranties on the assets. To the extent that our counterparties are not contractually obligated to repurchase the assets or are unable to fulfill their indemnification obligations, we will bear the same risks with respect to such assets as if such representations and warranties were not made. If we do not have the benefit of repurchase rights or indemnification upon the breach of broad representations and warranties on our assets, we may lose money on our investments in such assets that we otherwise would not lose had such repurchase rights or indemnification been available.

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Our hedging strategies may not be successful in mitigating our risks associated with interest rates.

We engage in hedging activity from time to time. As such, we use various derivative financial instruments to provide a level of protection against interest rate risks, but no hedging strategy can protect us completely. When interest rates change, we expect to record a gain or loss on derivatives, which would be offset by an inverse change in the value of loans or residual interests. Additionally, from time to time, we may enter into hedging transactions in connection with our holdings of MBS and government securities with respect to one or more of our assets or liabilities. Our hedging activities may include entering into interest rate swaps, caps and floors, options to purchase these items and futures and forward contracts. 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. We cannot assure you that our use of derivatives will offset the risks related to changes in interest rates. It is likely that there will be periods in the future during which we will incur losses after accounting for our derivative financial instruments. The derivative financial instruments we select may not have the effect of reducing our interest rate risk. In addition, the nature and timing of hedging transactions may influence the effectiveness of these strategies. Poorly designed strategies or improperly executed transactions could actually increase our risk and losses. In addition, hedging strategies involve transaction and other costs. We cannot assure you that our hedging strategy and the derivatives that we use will adequately offset the risk of interest rate volatility or that our hedging transactions will not result in losses.

The characteristics of hedging instruments present various concerns, including illiquidity, enforceability, and counterparty risks, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

From time to time, we enter into interest rate swap agreements to hedge risks associated with movements in interest rates. Entities entering into interest rate swap agreements are exposed to credit losses in the event of non-performance by counterparties to these transactions. Effective October 12, 2012, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, or CFTC, issued new rules regarding swaps under the authority granted to it pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, or the Dodd-Frank Act. Although the new rules do not directly affect the negotiations and terms of individual swap transactions between counterparties, they do require that by no later than September 9, 2013, the clearing of all swap transactions through registered derivatives clearing organizations, or swap execution facilities, through standardized documents under which each swap counterparty transfers its position to another entity whereby the centralized clearinghouse effectively becomes the counterparty to each side of the swap. It is the intent of the Dodd-Frank Act that the clearing of swaps in this manner is designed to avoid concentration of swap risk in any single entity by spreading and centralizing the risk in the clearinghouse and its members. In addition to greater initial and periodic margin (collateral) requirements and additional transaction fees both by the swap execution facility and the clearinghouse, the swap transactions are now subjected to greater regulation by both the CFTC and the SEC. These additional fees, costs, margin requirements, documentation, and regulation could adversely affect our business and results of operations. Additionally, for all swaps we entered into prior to September 9, 2013, we are not required to clear them through the central clearinghouse and these swaps are still subject to the risks of nonperformance by any of the individual counterparties with whom we entered into these transactions. If the swap counterparty cannot perform under the terms of an interest rate swap, we would not receive payments due under that agreement, we may lose any unrealized gain associated with the interest rate swap, and the hedged liability would cease to be hedged by the interest rate swap. We may also be at risk for any collateral we have pledged to secure our obligation under the interest rate swap if the counterparty becomes insolvent or files for bankruptcy. Default by a party with whom we enter into a hedging transaction may result in a loss and force us to cover our commitments, if any, at the then-current market price. Although generally we will seek to reserve the right to terminate our hedging positions, it may not always be possible to dispose of or close out a hedging position without the consent of the hedging counterparty and we may not be able to enter into an offsetting contract in order to cover our risk. There may not always be a liquid secondary market that will exist for hedging instruments purchased or sold and we may be required to maintain a position until exercise or expiration, which could result in losses.

Competition may prevent us from acquiring mortgage-related assets at favorable yields and that would negatively impact our profitability.

Our net income largely depends on our ability to acquire mortgage-related assets at favorable spreads over our borrowing costs. In acquiring mortgage-related assets, we compete with other REITs, investment banking firms, savings and loan associations, banks, insurance companies, mutual funds, other lenders and other entities that purchase mortgage-related assets, many of which have greater financial resources than us. As a result, we may not in the future be able to acquire sufficient mortgage-related assets at favorable spreads over our borrowing costs. If that occurs, our profitability will be harmed.

Interest rate mismatches between our adjustable-rate MBS and our borrowings used to fund our purchases of these assets may reduce our income during periods of changing interest rates.

We fund most of our acquisitions of adjustable-rate MBS (including hybrid adjustable-rate MBS) with borrowings that have interest rates based on indices and repricing terms similar to, but of shorter maturities than, the interest rate indices and repricing terms of our MBS. Accordingly, if short-term interest rates increase, this may harm our profitability.

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Most of the MBS we acquire are adjustable-rate securities. This means that their interest rates may vary over time based upon changes in a short-term interest rate index. Therefore, in most cases, the interest rate indices and repricing terms of the MBS that we acquire and their funding sources will not be identical, thereby creating an interest rate mismatch between our assets and liabilities. While the historical spread between relevant short-term interest rate indices has been relatively stable, there have been periods when the spread between these indices was volatile. During periods of changing interest rates, these mismatches could reduce our net income, dividend yield and the market price of our stock.

The interest rates on our borrowings generally adjust more frequently than the interest rates on our adjustable-rate MBS. For example, at December 31, 2013, our Agency MBS and Non-Agency adjustable-rate MBS had a weighted average term to next rate adjustment of approximately 42 months, while our borrowings had a weighted average term to next rate adjustment of 38 days. After adjusting for interest rate swap transactions, the weighted average term to next rate adjustment was 1,010 days. Accordingly, in a period of rising interest rates, we could experience a decrease in net income or a net loss because the interest rates on our borrowings adjust faster than the interest rates on our adjustable-rate MBS.

The MBS in which we invest and the mortgage loans underlying the MBS in which we invest are subject to delinquency, foreclosure and loss, which could result in losses to us.

Residential mortgage loans are secured by single-family residential property and are subject to risks of loss, delinquency and foreclosure. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by a residential property is dependent upon the income or assets of the borrower. A number of factors, including a general economic downturn, acts of God, terrorism, social unrest and civil disturbances, may impair borrowers’ abilities to repay their loans.

Residential MBS evidence interests in or are secured by pools of residential mortgage loans and collateralized MBS evidence interests in or are secured by a single commercial mortgage loan or a pool of commercial mortgage loans. Accordingly, the MBS we invest in are subject to all of the risks of the underlying mortgage loans. In the event of defaults with respect to the mortgage loans that underlie our MBS investments and the exhaustion of any underlying or additional credit support, we may not realize our anticipated return on these investments and we may incur a loss on these investments.

Increased levels of prepayments from MBS may decrease our net interest income.

Pools of mortgage loans underlie the MBS that we acquire. We generally receive payments from principal payments that are made on these underlying mortgage loans. When borrowers prepay their mortgage loans faster than expected, this results in prepayments that are faster than expected on the MBS. Faster than expected prepayments could harm our profitability as follows:

We usually purchase MBS that have a higher interest rate than the market interest rate at the time. In exchange for this higher interest rate, we pay a premium over the par value to acquire the security. In accordance with accounting rules, we amortize this premium over the term of the mortgage-backed security. If the mortgage-backed security is prepaid in whole or in part prior to its maturity date, however, we expense the premium that was prepaid at the time of the prepayment. At December 31, 2013, substantially all of our MBS had been acquired at a premium.

We anticipate that a substantial portion of our adjustable-rate MBS may bear interest rates that are lower than their fully indexed rates, which are equivalent to the applicable index rate plus a margin. If an adjustable-rate mortgage-backed security is prepaid prior to or soon after the time of adjustment to a fully indexed rate, we will have held that mortgage-backed security while it was less profitable and lost the opportunity to receive interest at the fully indexed rate over the remainder of its expected life.

If we are unable to acquire new MBS similar to the prepaid MBS, our financial condition, results of operation and cash flow would suffer.

Prepayment rates generally increase when interest rates fall and decrease when interest rates rise, but changes in prepayment rates are difficult to predict. Prepayment rates also may be affected by conditions in the housing and financial markets, general economic conditions, actions by the federal government and the relative interest rates on fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage loans.

While we seek to minimize prepayment risk to the extent practical, in selecting investments, we must balance prepayment risk against other risks and the potential returns of each investment. No strategy can completely insulate us from prepayment risk.

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The timing and amount of prepayments could adversely affect our liquidity and our profitability.

Prepayments may be difficult to predict and can vary significantly over time. As a holder of MBS, on a monthly basis, we receive a payment equal to a portion of our investment principal as the underlying mortgages are prepaid. With respect to our Agency MBS, we typically receive notice of monthly principal prepayments on the fifth business day of each month (more commonly referred to as “factor day”) and receive the related scheduled payment on a specified later date, which for (a) Agency MBS guaranteed by Fannie Mae is the 25th day of that month (or the next business day thereafter); (b) Agency MBS guaranteed by Freddie Mac is the 15th day of the following month (or the next business day thereafter); and (c) Agency MBS guaranteed by Ginnie Mae is the 20th day of that month (or the next business day thereafter). This delay between factor day and receipt of payment creates a short-term receivable for us in the amount of any such principal prepayments. In general, on the date each month that the principal prepayments are announced (factor day), the value of our MBS pledged as collateral is reduced by the amount of the prepaid principal and, as a result, our repurchase agreement counterparties will typically initiate a margin call requiring the pledge of additional collateral or cash, in an amount equal to such prepaid principal, in order to re-establish the required ratio of borrowing to collateral value under such repurchase agreements. As the posting of such additional collateral or payment of cash to our counterparties is on or about factor day and is prior to the receipt of the payment to us by the agencies, this would reduce and, depending on the magnitude of such principal prepayments, could be material to, our liquidity. As a result, in order to meet such margin calls, we could be forced to sell assets or take other actions in order to maintain liquidity. If we were required to sell Agency MBS under adverse market conditions, we may receive sale prices lower than we might have received if we sold those securities under normal market conditions and, if these prices were lower than the amortized cost of the Agency MBS, we would incur losses. An increase in prepayment rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may experience reduced net interest income from holding fixed-rate investments during periods of rising interest rates.

We generally fund our acquisition of fixed-rate MBS with short-term borrowings. During periods of rising interest rates, our costs associated with borrowings used to fund acquisition of fixed-rate assets are subject to increases while the income we earn from these assets remains substantially fixed. This reduces or could eliminate the net interest spread between the fixed-rate MBS that we purchase and our borrowings used to purchase them, which could lower our net interest income or cause us to suffer a loss. At December 31, 2013, 20% of our Agency MBS were 15-year fixed-rate securities and 1% of our Agency MBS were 30-year fixed-rate securities.

Interest rate caps on our adjustable-rate MBS may reduce our income or cause us to suffer a loss during periods of rising interest rates.

Our adjustable-rate MBS are 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 maturity of a mortgage-backed security. Our borrowings are not 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 interest rate caps would limit the interest rates on our adjustable-rate MBS. This problem is magnified for our adjustable-rate MBS that are not fully indexed. Further, some adjustable-rate MBS may be subject to periodic payment caps that result in a portion of the interest being deferred and added to the principal outstanding. As a result, we could receive less cash income on adjustable-rate MBS than we need to pay interest on our related borrowings. These factors could lower our net interest income or cause us to suffer a loss during periods of rising interest rates. At December 31, 2013, approximately 79% of our Agency MBS were adjustable-rate securities.

We may invest in leveraged mortgage derivative securities that generally experience greater volatility in market prices, thus exposing us to greater risk with respect to their rate of return.

We may acquire leveraged mortgage derivative securities that may expose us to a high level of interest rate risk. The characteristics of leveraged mortgage derivative securities result in greater volatility in their market prices. Thus, acquisition of leveraged mortgage derivative securities would expose us to the risk of greater price volatility in our portfolio and that could harm our net income and overall profitability.

New assets we acquire may not generate yields as attractive or be as accretive to book value as have been experienced historically.

We may acquire new assets as we receive principal and interest payments and prepayments from our existing assets. We also sell assets from time to time as part of our portfolio and asset/liability management programs. We may invest these proceeds into new earning assets.

New assets may not generate yields as attractive as we have experienced historically. Business conditions, including credit results, prepayment patterns and interest rate trends in the future, may not be as favorable as they have been during the periods we held the replaced assets.

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New assets may not be as accretive to book value as existing assets. The market value of our assets is sensitive to interest rate fluctuations. In the past as short-term interest rates increased, the market value of our existing assets has declined. As we classify our Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS as available-for-sale, accounting regulations require that any unrealized losses from the decline in market value that are not considered to be an other-than-temporary impairment be carried as “accumulated other comprehensive loss” in the “Stockholders’ equity” section of the balance sheets. When short-term interest rates stop increasing, or start declining, or when the interest rates on these securities reset, the market value of these assets may increase. This may be more accretive to book value than the new assets that we acquire to replace existing assets.

If we are unable to find suitable investments, we may not be able to achieve our investment objectives or pay dividends.

The availability of mortgage-related assets meeting our criteria depends upon, among other things, the level of activity and quality of and demand for securities in the mortgage securitization and secondary markets. The market for agency securities depends upon various factors including the level of activity in the residential real estate market, the level of and difference between short-term and long-term interest rates, incentives for issuers to securitize mortgage loans and demand for agency securities by institutional investors. The size and level of activity in the residential real estate lending market depends upon various factors, including the level of interest rates, regional and national economic conditions and real estate values. To the extent we are unable to acquire a sufficient volume of mortgage-related assets meeting our criteria, our results of operations would be adversely affected. Furthermore, we cannot assure you that we will be able to acquire sufficient mortgage-related assets at spreads above our costs of funds.

We are dependent on information and communications systems and such systems’ failures could significantly disrupt our business.

Our business is highly dependent on our information and communications systems. Any failure or interruption of our systems, such as caused by earthquake, fire, flood or terrorist act or by issues such as power outages, telephone or internet disconnections (not withstanding any of our back-up systems, which could also be subject to failure), could cause delays or other problems in our securities trading activities or in our repurchase agreement transactions, which would materially adversely affect our operations and performance.

Risks Related to Our Management

We have no employees and the Manager is responsible for making all of our investment decisions. The employees of the Manager are not required to devote any specific amount of time to our business.

Effective December 31, 2011, in accordance with the Management Agreement, we have no employees and all our prior employees became employees of the Manager. The Manager is responsible for conducting our day-to-day operations and is responsible for the selection, purchase and sale of our investment portfolio; our financing and hedging activities; providing us with management services; and such other services and activities relating to our assets and operations as may be appropriate.

Messrs. Lloyd McAdams, Joseph E. McAdams, Thad M. Brown, Ms. Bistra Pashamova and others are officers and employees of our Manager and are also officers and employees of Pacific Income Advisers, or PIA, where they devote a portion of their time. These officers and employees are under no contractual obligations mandating minimum amounts of time to be devoted to our Company. In addition, a trust controlled by Mr. Lloyd McAdams is the principal stockholder of PIA.

These officers and employees are involved in investing both our assets and approximately $3.21 billion in MBS and other fixed income assets for institutional clients and individual investors through PIA. These multiple responsibilities and ownerships may create conflicts of interest if these officers and employees of our Company are presented with opportunities that may benefit both us and the clients of PIA. These officers allocate investments among our portfolio and the clients of PIA by determining the entity or account for which the investment is most suitable. In making this determination, these officers consider the investment strategy and guidelines of each entity or account with respect to acquisition of assets, leverage, liquidity and other factors that our officers determine appropriate. These officers, however, have no obligation to make any specific investment opportunities available to us and the above-mentioned conflicts of interest may result in decisions or allocations of securities that are not in our best interests.

Additionally, there is nothing in the Management Agreement that prevents the Manager or any of its Affiliates, officers, directors or employees from engaging in other businesses or from rendering services of any kind to any other Person or entity, whether or not the investment objectives or policies of any such other Person or entity are similar to those of the Company or in any way binds or restricts the Manager or any of its Affiliates, officers, directors or employees from buying, selling or trading any securities or commodities for their own accounts or for the accounts of others for whom the Manager or any of its Affiliates, officers, directors or employees may be acting.

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Mr. Lloyd McAdams is also an owner and Chairman of Syndicated Capital, Inc., a registered broker-dealer. Syndicated Capital, Inc. has been authorized by our board of directors to act as an authorized broker on any buyback of the Company’s common stock. The service to PIA and Syndicated Capital, Inc. by the officers and employees of the Manager allow them to spend only part of their time and effort managing our Company, as they are required to devote a portion of their time and effort to the management of other companies, and this may harm our overall management and operating results.

Messrs. Lloyd McAdams, Joseph E. McAdams, Charles J. Siegel and John T. Hillman and Ms. Heather U. Baines and others are officers and employees of PIA Farmland, Inc. and its external manager, PIA, where they devote a portion of their time. PIA Farmland, Inc., a privately-held real estate investment trust investing in U.S. farmland properties leased to independent farm operators, was incorporated in February 2013 and acquired its first farm property in October 2013. These officers and employees are under no contractual obligations to PIA Farmland, Inc., its external manager, PIA, or to Anworth or its external manager, Anworth Management, LLC, as to their time commitment. To the extent that significant time is devoted to PIA Farmland, Inc. and its external manager, this could harm our overall management and operating results. Mr. Steven Koomar, the Chief Executive Officer of PIA Farmland, Inc., has no involvement with either Anworth or its external manager, Anworth Management, LLC.

We are completely dependent upon the Manager, who provides services to us through the Management Agreement, and we may not find suitable replacements for our Manager if the Management Agreement is terminated or such key personnel are no longer available to us. The loss of any key personnel of the Manager could harm our operations.

We no longer have any employees and are completely dependent on the Manager to conduct our operations pursuant to the Management Agreement. The Manager has its own employees, which conduct its day-to-day operations. The Management Agreement does not require the Manager to dedicate specific personnel to our operations.

If we terminate the Management Agreement without cause, we may not, without the consent of the Manager, employ any employee of the Manager or any of its Affiliates, or any Person who has been employed by the 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 will not have retention agreements with any of our officers. We believe that the successful implementation of our investment and financing strategies will depend upon the experience of certain of the Manager’s officers and employees. None of these individuals’ continued service is guaranteed. If the Management Agreement is terminated or these individuals leave the Manager, the Manager may be unable to replace them with persons with appropriate experience, or at all, and we may not be able to execute our business plan.

We depend on the diligence, experience and skill of the officers and employees of the manager for the selection, structuring and monitoring of our mortgage-related assets and associated borrowings. The key officers of the Manager include Mr. Lloyd McAdams, President and Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Joseph E. McAdams, Chief Investment Officer and Executive Vice President; Mr. Thad M. Brown, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary; Mr. Charles J. Siegel, Senior Vice President-Finance and Assistant Secretary; Ms. Bistra Pashamova, Senior Vice President; and Mr. Evangelos Karagiannis, Vice President. Our dependence on the Manager is heightened by the fact that they have a relatively small number of employees and the loss of any key person could harm our entire business, financial condition, cash flow and results of operations. In particular, the loss of the services of Messrs. Lloyd McAdams or Joseph E. McAdams could seriously harm our business.

The 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 it were negotiated with an unaffiliated third party.

Effective as of December 31, 2011, we entered into the Management Agreement, which effected the externalization of our management function. The Management Agreement was 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 we may have received if it was negotiated with an unrelated third party. In addition, as a result of this relationship, 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.

If we elect to not renew the Management Agreement without cause, we would be required to pay the Manager a substantial termination fee. These and other provisions in the Management Agreement make non-renewal of the 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 our independent directors, we may elect not to renew our Management Agreement upon the expiration of any automatic renewal term, both upon 180-days prior written notice. In addition, if we elect to not renew the Management Agreement because of a decision by our board that the management fee is unfair, the 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 the Manager a termination fee equal to

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three times the average annual management fee earned by the 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.

The management fee is payable regardless of our performance.

The Manager is entitled to receive a management fee from us that is based on 1.20% 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 loss during the same period. The Manager’s entitlement to substantial nonperformance-based compensation may reduce its 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.

The fee structure of the Management Agreement may limit the Manager’s ability to retain access to its key personnel.

Under the terms of the Management Agreement, we are required to pay the Manager a base management fee payable monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one twelfth of 1.20% of our Equity. Our Equity is defined as our month-end stockholders’ equity, adjusted to exclude the effect of any unrealized gains or losses included in either retained earnings or other comprehensive income, each as computed in accordance with GAAP. The Management Agreement does not provide the Manager with an incentive management fee that would pay the Manager additional compensation as a result of meeting performance targets. Some of our externally-managed competitors pay their managers an incentive management fee, which enables them to provide additional compensation to their key personnel. Thus, the lack of an incentive fee in the Management Agreement may limit the ability of the Manager to provide key personnel with additional compensation for strong performance, which could adversely affect the Manager’s ability to retain these key personnel. If the Manager were not able to retain any of the key personnel providing services to the Manager, it would have to find replacement personnel to provide those services. Those replacement key personnel may not be able to produce the same operating results as the current key personnel.

Some investors may not view our external management in a positive light, which may affect the market price of our common stock and may make it more difficult for future offerings of our stock.

Although there are currently other mortgage REITs that are externally-managed, there may be times in the future when some investors may have a preference for internally-managed companies. There may also be times, if there are low returns from our portfolio, when our external management is not viewed in a positive light. In either of these cases, there may be a negative effect on the market price of our common stock and this may make it difficult for future offerings of our common stock.

Potential conflicts of interest could arise if the Manager were to take greater risk for the purpose of increasing our equity in order to earn a greater management fee.

The Management Agreement does not contain an incentive fee. The Manager is paid a base management fee payable monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one twelfth of 1.20% of our Equity, as defined in the Management Agreement. As the Management Agreement does not contain an incentive fee, the Manager may take greater risk in our investment portfolio to increase our equity in order to earn a greater management fee.

Our Manager’s liability is limited under the Management Agreement, and we have agreed to indemnify our Manager against certain liabilities.

Pursuant to the Management Agreement, our Manager does not assume any responsibility other than to render the services called for thereunder and is not responsible for any action of our board of directors in following or declining to follow any advice or recommendation of the Manager. The Manager and its Affiliates, and the directors, officers, employees and stockholders of the Manager and its Affiliates, are not liable to us, any subsidiary of ours, our board of directors or our stockholders for any acts or omissions by the Manager, its officers, employees or its Affiliates, performed in accordance with and pursuant to our Management Agreement, except by reason of acts constituting bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of their respective duties under this Management Agreement. We have agreed to indemnify our Manager and its Affiliates, its directors, officers, employees and stockholders of the Manager and its Affiliates (each a “Manager Indemnified Party”) of and from any and all expenses, losses, damages, liabilities, demands, charges and claims of any nature whatsoever (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) in respect of or arising from any acts or omissions of such Manager Indemnified Party, not constituting bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of duties of such Manager Indemnified Party under this Management Agreement.

37


 

Our Manager has limited resources and may not be able to defend itself in litigation.

The only fee that our Manager receives from us is the base management fee, as previously described. It is anticipated that most, if not all, of this fee will be used by the Manager for compensation to its employees and to pay for its other administrative expenses. Our Manager has limited resources. If our Manager were to be involved in litigation not related to our operations, it may not be able to defend itself and it may be forced to declare bankruptcy or go out of business and we would have to find another Manager. This could have a material adverse impact on our business and our operations.

Failure of our Manager to comply with SEC rules and regulations could cause various disciplinary actions which could cause a disruption in services provided to us and may impact our business operations and our profitability.

Under recent rules promulgated under Dodd-Frank, the Manager is considered an investment adviser. In reliance upon the no-action letter issued by the SEC to the American Bar Association on January 18, 2012, we consider Anworth Management, LLC to be a “relying adviser,” which means that its registration as an investment adviser is integrated into the existing registration of PIA, its “filing adviser.” Anworth Management, LLC and PIA are both subject to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and the rules and regulations of the SEC and also are subject to examination by the SEC. Any failure by Anworth Management, LLC, PIA, or any of their respective employees to comply with such rules and regulations could cause various disciplinary actions, up to and including loss of registration status as investment advisers. Such disciplinary actions could lead to disruptions in the services provided to us which may impact our business operations and our profitability.

Our board of directors may change our operating policies and strategies without prior notice or stockholder approval and such changes could harm our business, results of operation and stock price.

Our board of directors can modify or waive our current operating policies and our strategies without prior notice and without stockholder approval. We cannot predict the effect any changes to our current operating policies and strategies may have on our business, operating results and stock price, however, the effects may be adverse.

Risks Related to REIT Compliance and Other Tax Matters

If we are disqualified as a REIT, we will be subject to tax as a regular corporation and face substantial tax liability.

We believe that, since our initial public offering in 1998, we have operated so as to qualify as a REIT under the Code and we intend to continue to meet the requirements for taxation as a REIT. Nevertheless, we may not remain qualified as a REIT in the future. Qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex Code provisions for which only a limited number of judicial or administrative interpretations exist. Even a technical or inadvertent mistake could require us to pay a penalty or jeopardize our REIT status. Furthermore, Congress or the IRS might change tax laws or regulations and the courts might issue new rulings, in each case potentially having retroactive effects that could make it more difficult or impossible for us to qualify as a REIT. If we fail to qualify as a REIT in any tax year, then:

we would be taxed as a regular domestic corporation, which, among other things, means being unable to deduct distributions to stockholders in computing taxable income and being subject to federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate rates;

any resulting tax liability could be substantial and would reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to stockholders;

we would no longer be required to make distributions to our stockholders; and

unless we were entitled to relief under applicable statutory provisions, we could be disqualified from treatment as a REIT for the subsequent four taxable years following the year during which we lost our qualification and thus our cash available for distribution to stockholders would be reduced for each of the years during which we do not qualify as a REIT.

Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities.

In order to qualify as a REIT for federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, our sources of income, the nature and diversification of our MBS and other assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our stock. We may also be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution. Thus, compliance with REIT requirements may hinder our ability to operate solely on the basis of maximizing profits.

38


 

Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively.

Compliance with the REIT provisions of the Code may limit our ability to hedge our assets and operations. Under these provisions, any income that is generated from transactions intended to hedge our interest rate, inflation and/or currency risks will be excluded from gross income for purposes of the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests if the instrument hedges (1) interest rate risk on liabilities incurred to carry or acquire real estate or (2) risk of currency fluctuations with respect to any item of income or gain that would be qualifying income under the REIT 75% or 95% gross income tests, and such instrument is properly identified under applicable Treasury Regulations. Income from hedging transactions that does not meet these requirements will generally constitute non-qualifying income for purposes of both the REIT 75% and 95% gross income tests. As a result of these rules, we may have to limit its use of hedging techniques that might otherwise be advantageous, which could result in greater risks associated with interest rate or other changes than we would otherwise incur.

Complying with REIT requirements may force us to liquidate otherwise attractive investments or to make investments inconsistent with our business plan.

In order to qualify as a REIT, we must also determine 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 REIT real estate assets. The remainder of our investment in securities 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 can consist of the securities of any one issuer. No more than 25% of the total value of our assets can be stock in taxable REIT subsidiaries. If we fail to comply with these requirements, we must dispose of a portion of our assets within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter in order to avoid losing our REIT status and suffering adverse tax consequences. The need to comply with these gross income and asset tests may cause us to acquire other assets that are qualifying real estate assets for purposes of the REIT requirements that are not part of our overall business strategy and might not otherwise be the best investment alternative for us.

Complying with REIT requirements may force us to borrow to make distributions to stockholders.

As a REIT, we must distribute 90% of our annual taxable income (subject to certain adjustments) to our stockholders. At the time when we are required to make previously declared dividend distributions, declines in the value of our portfolio holdings and the resulting subsequent margins calls may have depleted most or all of our cash and cash equivalents. If this were to occur and if market conditions allowed us to do so, we would sell some of our portfolio holdings to generate sufficient funds to make the dividend payments. If market conditions did not allow us to sell portfolio holdings, we would be required to borrow funds on an unsecured basis to make the previously declared dividend payments.

Dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates.

Tax legislation enacted in 2003 and extended in 2010 to be effective through December 31, 2012, temporarily reduced the maximum U.S. federal tax rate on certain corporate dividends paid to individuals and other non-corporate taxpayers to 15%. In January 2013, the Taxpayer Relief Act permanently extended these rates except for individuals with taxable income over $400,000 and married couples with taxable income over $450,000. For those taxpayers, the long-term capital gains rate was increased to 20%. Dividends paid by REITs to these stockholders are generally not eligible for these reduced rates. Although this legislation does not adversely affect the taxation of REITs or dividends paid by REITs, the more favorable rates applicable to non-REIT corporate 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.

The tax imposed on REITs engaging in “prohibited transactions” will limit our ability to engage in transactions, including certain methods of securitizing loans, which would be treated as sales for federal income tax purposes.

A REIT’s net income from prohibited transactions is subject to a 100% tax. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property, other than foreclosure property but including any mortgage loans, held in inventory primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. We might be subject to this tax if we were to sell a loan or securitize loans in a manner that was treated as a sale of such inventory for federal income tax purposes. Therefore, in order to avoid the prohibited transactions tax, we may choose not to engage in certain sales of loans other than through a taxable REIT subsidiary and may limit the structures we utilize for our securitization transactions even though such sales or structures might otherwise be beneficial for us. In addition, this prohibition may limit our ability to restructure our investment portfolio of mortgage loans from time to time, even if we believe that it would be in our best interest to do so.

39


 

We may incur excess inclusion income that would increase the tax liability of our stockholders.

In general, dividend income that a tax-exempt entity receives from us should not constitute unrelated business taxable income as defined in Section 512 of the Code. If we realize excess inclusion income and allocate it to stockholders, however, then this income would be fully taxable as unrelated business taxable income under Section 512 of the Code. If the stockholder is foreign, it would generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding on this income without reduction pursuant to any otherwise applicable income tax treaty. U.S. stockholders would not be able to offset such income with their operating losses.

We generally structure our borrowing arrangements in a manner designed to avoid generating significant amounts of excess inclusion income. However, excess inclusion income could result if we held a residual interest in a REMIC. Excess inclusion income also may be generated if we were to issue debt obligations with two or more maturities and the terms of the payments on these obligations bore a relationship to the payments that we received on our mortgage loans or MBS securing those debt obligations. For example, we may engage in non-REMIC CMO securitizations. We also enter into various repurchase agreements that have differing maturity dates and afford the lender the right to sell any pledged mortgage securities if we default on our obligations. The IRS may determine that these transactions give rise to excess inclusion income that should be allocated among our stockholders. We may invest in equity securities of other REITs and it is possible that we might receive excess inclusion income from those investments. Some types of entities, including, without limitation, voluntarily employee benefit associations and entities that have borrowed funds to acquire their shares of our stock, may be required to treat a portion of or all of the dividends they receive from us as unrelated business taxable income.

Misplaced reliance on legal opinions or statements by issuers of MBS and government securities could result in a failure to comply with REIT gross income or asset tests.

When purchasing MBS and government securities, we may rely on opinions of counsel for the issuer or sponsor of such securities, or statements made in related offering documents, for purposes of determining whether and to what extent those securities constitute “real estate assets” for purposes of the REIT asset tests and produce income that qualifies under the REIT income tests. The inaccuracy of any such opinions or statements may harm our REIT qualification and result in significant corporate level tax.

Additional Risk Factors

Failure to maintain an exemption from the Investment Company Act would materially harm our results of operations.

We believe that we conduct our business in a manner that results in our not being regulated as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, or the Investment Company Act. If we fail to continue to qualify for an exemption from registration as an investment company, our ability to use leverage would be substantially reduced and we would be unable to conduct our business as we presently do. The Investment Company Act has an exemption for entities that are primarily engaged in the business of purchasing or otherwise acquiring “mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate.” Under the SEC’s current interpretation, we qualify for this exemption if we maintain at least 55% of our assets directly in qualifying real estate interests. In meeting the 55% requirement under the Investment Company Act, we treat MBS issued with respect to an underlying pool for which we hold all issued certificates as qualifying interests. If the SEC or its staff adopts a contrary interpretation, we could be required to sell a substantial amount of our MBS under potentially adverse market conditions. Further, in order to maintain our exemption from registration as an investment company by acquiring “mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate”, we may be precluded from acquiring MBS whose yield is somewhat higher than the yield on “mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate” that could be purchased in a manner consistent with the exemption.

On August 31, 2011, the SEC issued a release soliciting comments on the mortgage REIT exemption under the Investment Company Act. The SEC indicated in its release that it is concerned that some mortgage companies may be subject to the kinds of abuses that the Investment Company Act was intended to address, such as misvaluations of a company’s investment portfolio and excessive leveraging. The release asked for comments on or before November 7, 2011 on whether the exclusion should be narrowed or changed in such a way that these potential abuses can be curtailed. The SEC also asked whether there are existing safeguards in the structure and operations of REITs and other mortgage companies that would address these or similar concerns. Although we believe that we have conducted our operations in a manner that would not be of the types of concerns addressed in the SEC’s release, we could be subject to any rules or regulations that the SEC could propose in changing or narrowing the current exclusion that mortgage REITs rely on to maintain an exemption from the Investment Company Act. If the SEC or its staff changes or narrows this exemption, we could be required to sell a substantial amount of our MBS under potentially adverse market conditions. Although, at the present time, it is unknown whether the SEC or its staff will make any changes to this exclusion or the nature of any such changes, it is possible that any such changes could impact our Asset Acquisition Policy, our leverage, our liquidity, the size of our investment portfolio, our ability to use interest rate swap agreements, our ability to borrow, and could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

40


 

We presently are not, nor do we intend to be, regulated as an investment company. Fluctuations in our net income and in our book value will likely be greater than those of investment companies. This may affect investors or potential investors as to the appropriateness of our stock as compared to that of an investment company.

While presently our assets are similar to those owned by some investment companies, we are not regulated as an investment company. Regulation as an investment company entails all investment companies maintaining significantly lower levels of financial leverage than we have employed since our organization in 1998. Because of the differences in our leverage from that of investment companies, this results in the fluctuation in net income and in book value by us to likely be greater than that experienced by investment companies. Therefore, investors and potential investors in our company should, on an ongoing basis, carefully determine if this greater level of income fluctuation and book value fluctuation is appropriate for them as compared to whether the less volatile results of investment companies are more appropriate for them.

The market price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly.

The market price and marketability of shares of our securities may, from time to time, be significantly affected by numerous factors, including many over which we have no control and that may not be directly related to us. These factors including the following:

price and volume fluctuations in the stock market from time to time, which are often unrelated to the operating performance of particular companies;

significant volatility in the market price and trading volume of securities of REITs or other companies in our sector, which is not necessarily related to the operating performance of these securities;

changes in regulatory policies, tax guidelines and financial accounting and reporting standards, particularly with respect to REITs;

changes in business conditions and the general economy, including the consequences of actions by the U.S. government and other foreign governments to address the global financial crisis;

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;

general economic trends and other external factors; and

loss of major repurchase agreement providers.

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 may not be able to use the money we raise from time to time to acquire investments at favorable prices.

We intend to seek to raise additional capital from time to time if we determine that it is in our best interests and the best interests of our stockholders, including through public offerings of our stock. The net proceeds of any offering could represent a significant increase in our equity. Depending on the amount of leverage that we use, the full investment of the net proceeds of any offering might result in a substantial increase in our total assets. There can be no assurance that we will be able to invest all of such additional funds in mortgage-related assets at favorable prices. We may not be able to acquire enough mortgage-related assets to become fully invested after an offering, or we may have to pay more for MBS than we have historically. In either case, the return that we earn on stockholders’ equity may be reduced.

We have not established a minimum dividend payment level for our common stockholders and there are no assurances of our ability to pay dividends to them in the future.

We intend to pay quarterly dividends and to make distributions to our common stockholders in amounts such that all or substantially all of our taxable income in each year, subject to certain adjustments, is distributed. This, along with other factors, should enable us to qualify for the tax benefits accorded to a REIT under the Code. We have not established a minimum dividend payment level for our common stockholders and our ability to pay dividends may be harmed by the risk factors described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. All distributions to our common stockholders 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. There are no assurances of our ability to pay dividends in the future.

If we raise additional capital, our earnings per share and dividends per share may decline since we may not be able to invest all of the new capital during the quarter in which additional shares are sold and possibly the entire following calendar quarter.

41


 

Our charter does not permit ownership of over 9.8% of our common or preferred stock and attempts to acquire our common or preferred stock in excess of the 9.8% limit are void without prior approval from our board of directors.

For the purpose of preserving our REIT qualification and for other reasons, our charter prohibits direct or constructive ownership by any person of more than 9.8% of the lesser of the total number or value of the outstanding shares of our common stock or more than 9.8% of the outstanding shares of our preferred stock. Our charter’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 9.8% of the outstanding stock by an individual or entity could cause that individual or entity to own constructively in excess of 9.8% of the outstanding stock and thus be subject to our charter’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 shall be void and will result in the shares being transferred by operation of law to a charitable trust. Our board of directors has granted one third party institutional investor an exemption from the 9.8% ownership limitation as set forth in our charter documents. This exemption permitted the third party institutional investor to hold up to 20.0% of our Series A Preferred Stock.

Because provisions contained in Maryland law, our charter and our bylaws may have an anti-takeover effect, investors may be prevented from receiving a “control premium” for their shares.

Provisions contained in our charter and bylaws, as well as Maryland corporate law, may have anti-takeover effects that delay, defer or prevent a takeover attempt, which may prevent stockholders from receiving a “control premium” for their shares. For example, these provisions may defer or prevent tender offers for our common stock or purchases of large blocks of our common stock, thereby limiting the opportunities for our stockholders to receive a premium for their common stock over then-prevailing market prices. These provisions include the following:

Ownership limit. The ownership limit in our charter limits related investors including, among other things, any voting group, from acquiring over 9.8% of our common stock or more than 9.8% of our preferred stock without our permission.

Preferred Stock. Our charter authorizes our board of directors to issue preferred stock in one or more classes and to establish the preferences and rights of any class of preferred stock issued. These actions can be taken without soliciting stockholder approval.

Maryland business combination statute. Maryland law restricts the ability of holders of more than 10% of the voting power of a corporation’s shares to engage in a business combination with the corporation.

Maryland control share acquisition statute. Maryland law limits the voting rights of “control shares” of a corporation in the event of a “control share acquisition.”

Future offerings of debt securities, which would be senior to our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock upon liquidation, or other equity securities, which would dilute our existing stockholders and may be senior to our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock for the purposes of dividend distributions, may harm the market price of our common stock, Series A Preferred Stock or Series B Preferred Stock.

In the future, we may attempt to increase our capital resources by making additional offerings of debt or equity securities, including commercial paper, medium-term notes, senior or subordinated notes and classes of preferred stock or common stock. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and shares of preferred stock and lenders with respect to other borrowings will receive a distribution of our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock. Our preferred stock may have a preference on dividend payments that could limit our ability to make a dividend distribution to the holders of our common stock. Because our decision to issue 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, our common stockholders bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our common stock.

Our charter provides that we may issue up to 20 million shares of preferred stock in one or more series. The issuance of additional preferred stock on parity with or senior to the Series A Preferred Stock or Series B Preferred Stock could have the effect of diluting the amounts we may have available for distribution to holders of the Series A Preferred Stock or Series B Preferred Stock. The Series A Preferred Stock and Series B Preferred Stock will be subordinated to all our existing and future debt. Thus, our Series A Preferred Stockholders and our Series B Preferred Stockholders bear the risk of our future offerings reducing the market price of our Series A Preferred Stock or Series B Preferred Stock.

We may issue additional shares of common stock or shares of preferred stock that are convertible into common stock. If we issue a significant number of shares of common stock or convertible preferred stock in a short period of time, there could be a dilution of the existing common stock and a decrease in the market price of the common stock.

 

42


 

Item 1B.

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

 

Item  2.

PROPERTIES

In February 2012, we signed a new sublease agreement with PIA that expires on June 30, 2022 for approximately 7,300 square feet of office space at our existing location in Santa Monica, California. We believe this facility is adequate for our intended level of operations.

 

Item 3.

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

We are not a party to any material pending legal proceedings.

 

Item 4.

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

 

 

 

43


 

PART II

 

Item 5.

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Market Information

Our common stock began trading under the symbol ANH on the New York Stock Exchange on May 9, 2003. Our common stock previously traded under the symbol ANH on the American Stock Exchange. Prior to March 17, 1998, there had been no public market for our common stock. The high and low sale prices for our common stock, as reported by the New York Stock Exchange, for the periods indicated are as follows:

 

 

2013

 

  

2012

 

 

High

 

  

Low

 

  

High

 

  

Low

 

First Quarter

$

6.38

  

  

$

5.90

  

  

$

6.66

  

  

$

6.20

  

Second Quarter

$

6.33

  

  

$

5.45

  

  

$

7.05

  

  

$

6.22

  

Third Quarter

$

5.65

  

  

$

4.35

  

  

$

7.01

  

  

$

6.49

  

Fourth Quarter

$

5.11

  

  

$

4.14

  

  

$

6.58

  

  

$

5.54

  

Holders

As of February 21, 2014, there were approximately 854 record holders of our common stock. On February 21, 2014, the last reported sale price of our common stock on the New York Stock Exchange was $5.03 per share.

Dividends

We pay cash dividends on a quarterly basis. The following table lists the cash dividends declared on each share of our common stock for our most recent two fiscal years. The dividends listed below were based primarily on the board of directors’ evaluation of earnings and consideration of actions necessary to maintain our REIT status for each listed quarter and were declared on the date indicated:

 

 

  

Cash
Dividends
Per

Common
Share

 

  

Date
Dividends
Declared

2013

 

 

 

 

  

 

First quarter ended March 31, 2013

 

$

0.15

  

  

March 28, 2013

Second quarter ended June 30, 2013

 

$

0.15

  

  

June 28, 2013

Third quarter ended September 30, 2013

 

$

0.12

  

  

September 30, 2013

Fourth quarter ended December 31, 2013

 

$

0.08

  

  

December 13, 2013

2012

 

 

 

 

  

 

First quarter ended March 31, 2012

 

$

0.21

  

  

March 30, 2012

Second quarter ended June 30, 2012

 

$

0.18

  

  

June 29, 2012

Third quarter ended September 30, 2012

 

$

0.15

  

  

September 28, 2012

Fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012

 

$

0.15

  

  

December 14, 2012

44


 

Issuer Purchase of Equity Securities

 

Period

 

Total Number of Shares Purchased

 

 

Average Price Paid per Share

 

 

Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs

 

 

Maximum Number of Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs(1)

 

Shares purchased previously under this program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6,243,498

 

 

 

5,000,000

 

Month #1 (October 1-31)

 

 

730,700

 

 

$

4.52

 

 

 

6,974,198

 

 

 

5,000,000

 

Month #2 (November 1-30)

 

 

1,300,000

 

 

$

4.47

 

 

 

8,274,198

 

 

 

5,000,000

 

Month #3 (December 1-31)

 

 

940,974

 

 

$

4.23

 

 

 

9,215,172

 

 

 

5,000,000

 

Total shares purchased this quarter

 

 

2,971,674

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5,000,000

 

__________________

(1)

On October 3, 2011, we announced that our board of directors had authorized a share repurchase program which permits us to acquire up to 2,000,000 shares of our common stock. The shares are expected to be acquired at prevailing prices through open market transactions. Our board of directors also authorized the Company to purchase an amount of our common stock up to the amount of common stock sold through our 2012 Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan. On December 13, 2013, we announced that our board of directors had authorized us to acquire up to an additional 5,000,000 shares of our common stock under our share repurchase program.

Total Return Comparison

The following graph presents a cumulative total shareholder return comparison of our common stock with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts, Inc. Mortgage REIT Index:

 

logo

45


 

 

 

 

Period Ending

 

Index

 

12/31/08

 

 

12/31/09

 

 

12/31/10

 

 

12/31/11

 

 

12/31/12

 

 

12/31/13

 

Anworth Mortgage Asset Corporation

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

128.64

 

 

 

147.43

 

 

 

151.33

 

 

 

155.08

 

 

 

124.49

 

S&P 500 Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

126.46

 

 

 

145.51

 

 

 

148.59

 

 

 

172.37

 

 

 

228.19

 

NAREIT Mortgage REIT Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

124.63

 

 

 

152.79

 

 

 

149.10

 

 

 

178.75

 

 

 

175.25

 

The cumulative total shareholder return reflects stock price appreciation, if any, and the value of dividends for our common stock and for each of the comparative indices. The graph assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2008 in our common stock, that $100 was invested in each of the indices on December 31, 2008 and that all dividends were reinvested into additional shares of common stock at the frequency with which dividends are paid on the common stock during the applicable fiscal year. The total return performance shown in this graph is not necessarily indicative of and is not intended to suggest future total return performance. Measurement points are at the last trading day of the fiscal years represented above.

 

Item 6.

SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA

The selected financial data as of December 31, 2013 and 2012 and for the years ended December 31, 2013, 2012 and 2011 are derived from our audited financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The selected financial data as of December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009 and for the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009 are derived from audited financial statements not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should read these selected financial data together with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our audited financial statements and notes thereto that are included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K beginning on page F-1.

 

 

 

For the Years Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

 

2009

 

 

 

(amounts in thousands, except per share data and days)

 

Statements of Income Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Days in period

 

 

365

 

 

 

366

 

 

 

365

 

 

 

365

 

 

 

365

 

Interest income net of amortization of premium and discount

 

$

174,784

 

 

$

195,853

 

 

$

224,180

 

 

$

219,803

 

 

$

262,029

 

Interest expense

 

 

(92,970

)

 

 

(86,073

)

 

 

(89,265

)

 

 

(95,830

)

 

 

(115,707

)

Net interest income

 

$

81,814

 

 

$

109,780

 

 

$

134,915

 

 

$

123,973

 

 

$

146,322

 

Net gain on sales of assets

 

 

9,237

 

 

 

4,434

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

Net gain on derivative instruments

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

107

 

Recovery on Non-Agency MBS

 

 

397

 

 

 

1,426

 

 

 

2,225

 

 

 

270

 

 

 

-

 

Expenses

 

 

(15,728

)

 

 

(15,422

)

 

 

(14,264

)

 

 

(13,744

)

 

 

(16,195

)

Net income

 

$

75,720

 

 

$

100,218

 

 

$

122,876

 

 

$

110,499

 

 

$

130,234

 

Dividends on preferred stock

 

 

(5,736

)

 

 

(5,773

)

 

 

(5,885

)

 

 

(5,764

)

 

 

(5,906

)

Net income available to common stockholders

 

$

69,984

 

 

$

94,445

 

 

$

116,991

 

 

$

104,735

 

 

$

124,328

 

Basic earnings per common share

 

$

0.49

 

 

$

0.68

 

 

$

0.91

 

 

$

0.89

 

 

$

1.18

 

Diluted earnings per common share

 

$

0.49

 

 

$

0.67

 

 

$

0.90

 

 

$

0.87

 

 

$

1.16

 

Average number of shares outstanding

 

 

142,455

 

 

 

138,382

 

 

 

128,601

 

 

 

118,164

 

 

 

105,413

 

Average number of diluted shares outstanding

 

 

146,400

 

 

 

142,485

 

 

 

132,759

 

 

 

121,919

 

 

 

108,905

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

 

2011

 

 

2010

 

 

2009

 

 

 

(amounts in thousands, except per share data)

 

Balance Sheets Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agency MBS(1)

 

$

8,556,446

 

 

$

9,244,693

 

 

$

8,763,479

 

 

$

7,739,052

 

 

$

6,490,543

 

Total assets

 

$

8,619,491

 

 

$

9,285,105

 

 

$

8,813,769

 

 

$

7,790,215

 

 

$

6,526,648

 

Repurchase agreements

 

$

7,580,000

 

 

$

8,020,000

 

 

$

7,595,000

 

 

$

6,375,000

 

 

$

5,359,000

 

Junior subordinated notes

 

$

37,380

 

 

$

37,380

 

 

$

37,380

 

 

$

37,380

 

 

$

37,380

 

Total liabilities

 

$

7,717,305

 

 

$

8,197,388

 

 

$

7,804,243

 

 

$

6,896,304

 

 

$

5,597,337

 

Series B Preferred Stock

 

$

23,924

 

 

$

25,222

 

 

$

27,239

 

 

$

25,630

 

 

$

25,803

 

Stockholders' equity (common and Series A Preferred)

 

$

878,262

 

 

$

1,062,495

 

 

$

982,287

 

 

$

868,281

 

 

$

903,508

 

Number of common shares outstanding

 

 

138,717

 

 

 

142,013

 

 

 

134,115

 

 

 

120,901

 

 

 

115,563

 

Book value per common share

 

$

5.98

 

 

$

7.14

 

 

$

6.96

 

 

$

6.78

 

 

$

7.40

 

__________________

(1)

Includes Non-Agency MBS of $79, $360, $1,585, $4,394 and $4,742 at each respective period (in thousands).

46


 

 

Item 7.

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains or incorporates by reference certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the 1933 Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and, as such, may involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are those that predict or describe future events or trends and that do not relate solely to historical matters. You can generally identify forward-looking statements as statements containing the words “will,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “estimate,” “assume” or other similar expressions. You should not rely on our forward-looking statements because the matters they describe are subject to assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other unpredictable factors, many of which are beyond our control. Therefore, our actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, some of which are listed under the section “Risk Factors,” Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Statements regarding the following subjects, among others, may be forward-looking: changes in interest rates and the market value of our mortgage-backed securities, or MBS; risks associated with investing in mortgage-related assets; changes in the yield curve; the availability of MBS for purchase; changes in the prepayment rates on the mortgage loans securing our MBS; our ability to borrow to finance our assets and, if available, the terms of any financing; implementation of or changes in government regulations or programs affecting our business; changes in business conditions and the general economy, including the consequences of actions by the U.S. government and other foreign governments to address the global financial crisis; our ability to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, for federal income tax purposes; our ability to maintain our exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended; and our ability to manage our growth. New risks and uncertainties arise over time and it is not possible to predict those events or how they may affect us. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

General

The Company

We were incorporated in Maryland on October 20, 1997 and we commenced operations on March 17, 1998. We are in the business of investing primarily in United States, or U.S., agency mortgage-backed securities, or Agency MBS, which are securities representing obligations guaranteed by the U.S. government, such as Ginnie Mae, or guaranteed by federally sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Our principal business objective is to generate net income for distribution to our stockholders primarily based upon the spread between the interest income on our mortgage assets and the costs of borrowing to finance our acquisition of those assets.

We have elected to be taxed as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the Code. As a REIT, we routinely distribute substantially all of the taxable income generated from our operations to our stockholders. As long as we retain our REIT status, we generally will not be subject to federal or state taxes on our income to the extent that we distribute our taxable net income to our stockholders. At December 31, 2013, our qualified REIT assets (real estate assets, as defined under the Code, cash and cash items and government securities) were greater than 99% of our total assets, as compared to the Code requirement that at least 75% of our total assets must be qualified REIT assets. Greater than 99% of our 2013 revenue qualified for both the 75% source of income test and the 95% source of income test under the REIT rules. At December 31, 2013, we believe we met all REIT requirements regarding the ownership of our common stock and the distributions of our taxable net income. Therefore, we believe that we continue to qualify as a REIT under the provisions of the Code.

Pursuant to a Management Agreement, or the Management Agreement, between us and Anworth Management, LLC, or the Manager, effective as of December 31, 2011, our day-to-day operations are conducted by the Manager. The Manager is supervised and directed by our board of directors and is responsible for (i) the selection, purchase and sale of our investment portfolio; (ii) our financing and hedging activities; and (iii) providing us with management services. The Manager will also perform such other services and activities relating to our assets and operations as may be appropriate. In exchange for these services, the Manager receives a management fee paid monthly in arrears in an amount equal to one-twelfth of 1.20% of our Equity (as defined in the Management Agreement). Our board of directors affirmatively elected to renew the Management Agreement for another one-year term expiring on December 31, 2014. The Management Agreement will automatically renew for successive one-year terms unless either party elects not to renew. If we terminate the Management Agreement or elect not to renew without cause, then we will be required to pay a termination fee equal to three times the average annual management fee earned during the prior 24-month period.

Government Activity

On September 13, 2012, the Federal Reserve announced its intention to purchase additional Agency MBS at a pace of $40 billion per month. These purchases were open-ended, meaning they would continue until the Federal Reserve was satisfied that economic conditions, primarily in unemployment, improve. The Federal Reserve also announced its projection that the federal funds

47


 

rate would likely remain at exceptionally low levels until at least mid-2015. In May 2013, upon the release of minutes of the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stated that if there was continued improvement in the U.S. economy, the pace of purchases could be slowed down. After this statement, the rate on the 10-Year Treasury rose above 2%. In addition, following the June 2013 FOMC meeting, Chairman Bernanke commented that if the U.S. economy continued to improve, the Federal Reserve would probably slow or moderate its MBS purchases sometime later in 2013 and possibly ending them sometime in the middle of 2014. This comment had an even greater effect on the bond market, as longer-term interest rates rose while short-term interest rates remained constant. The resulting steepened yield curve caused a decline in the second quarter of 2013 in the value of MBS in general and in the value of our portfolio. At December 31, 2013, the fair value adjustment of our portfolio declined from December 31, 2012 by approximately $234.5 million, due primarily to the events that transpired during the second quarter of 2013. In December 2013 and January 2014, the Federal Reserve reduced its bond buying program from $85 billion per month down to $65 billion per month.

Although the U.S. government and other foreign governments have taken various actions (including placing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in conservatorship) intended to protect financial institutions, their respective economies and their respective housing and mortgage markets, we continue to operate under very difficult market conditions. There can be no assurance that these various actions will have a beneficial impact on the global financial markets and, more specifically, the market for the securities we currently own in our portfolio. We cannot predict what, if any, impact these actions or future actions by either the U.S. government or foreign governments could have on our business, results of operations and financial condition. These events may impact the availability of financing generally in the marketplace and also may impact the market value of MBS generally, including the securities we currently own in our portfolio.

In August 2011, the ratings of each of U.S. sovereign debt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were downgraded from AAA to AA+ by Standard & Poor’s, and affirmed at Aaa by Moody’s, with each of Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s revising the outlook on U.S. sovereign debt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to negative. Each of Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s has indicated that it would likely change its ratings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac if it was to change its rating on the U.S. government. In June 2013, Standard & Poor’s affirmed its AA+ long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States and revised the outlook from negative to stable, and in July 2013, Moody’s affirmed its Aaa government bond rating of the United States and revised the outlook from negative to stable. We do not know what effect any changes in the ratings of U.S. sovereign debt, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will ultimately have on the U.S. economy, the value of our securities or the ability of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to satisfy its guarantees of Agency MBS if necessary.

On January 2, 2013, the U.S. Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, or the Taxpayer Relief Act, which extended, for most Americans, tax cuts implemented under President George W. Bush’s administration. However, the Taxpayer Relief Act delayed the implementation of the budget sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which provided for automatic federal spending cuts, from January 2, 2013 to March 1, 2013. The automatic spending cuts required under the Budget Control Act of 2011 went into effect on March 1, 2013. At the end of January 2013, Congress temporarily increased the debt ceiling amount and deferred any further decision on how to resolve the debt ceiling issue until May 19, 2013. This was again temporarily delayed due to government tax revenues being greater than anticipated and Congress passing temporary funding measures until mid-October 2013. On October 1, 2013, the U.S. government was partially shut-down due to the inability of the U.S. Congress to pass a continuous funding resolution to provide funding for most government agencies and functions. On October 17, 2013, President Obama signed into law a bill passed by the U.S. Congress that funds the government through January 15, 2014, extends the debt ceiling through February 7, 2014, calls for a Congressional agreement on a long-term budget by mid-December 2013, and continues the budget sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act of 2011. In January 2014, Congress passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill that will fund the U.S. government through September 30, 2014. On February 12, 2014, the Senate approved the debt ceiling legislation (previously approved by the House of Representatives), which suspended the debt ceiling until March 2015. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on February 15, 2014. A failure by the U.S. government to reach agreement on future budgets and debt ceilings, reduce its budget deficit or a further downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt and government-sponsored agencies debt could have a material adverse effect on the U.S. economy and on the global economy. These events could have a material adverse effect on our borrowing costs, the availability of financing and the liquidity and valuation of securities in general and particularly the securities in our portfolio.

48


 

Our Portfolio

At December 31, 2013 and December 31, 2012, our total assets, the fair value of our Agency MBS portfolio and its allocation were approximately as follows:

 

 

 

December 31,
2013

 

 

December 31,
2012

 

 

 

(dollar amounts in thousands)

 

Total assets

 

$

8,619,491

 

 

$

9,285,105

 

Fair value of Agency MBS

 

$

8,556,446

 

 

$

9,244,333

 

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (less than 1 year reset)

 

 

19

%

 

 

21

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (1-2 year reset)

 

 

9

%

 

 

2

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (2-3 year reset)

 

 

15

%

 

 

12

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (3-4 year reset)

 

 

10

%

 

 

20

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (4-5 year reset)

 

 

3

%

 

 

13

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (5-7 year reset)

 

 

15

%

 

 

9

%

Adjustable-rate Agency MBS (>7 year reset)

 

 

8

%

 

 

1

%

15-year fixed-rate Agency MBS

 

 

20

%

 

 

18

%

30-year fixed-rate Agency MBS

 

 

1

%

 

 

4

%

 

 

 

100

%

 

 

100

%

Stockholders’ equity available to common stockholders at December 31, 2013 was approximately $829 million, or $5.98 per share. The $829 million equals total stockholders’ equity of $878.3 million less the Series A Preferred Stock liquidating value of approximately $48 million and less the difference between the Series B Preferred Stock liquidating value of $25.2 million and the proceeds from its sale of $23.9 million.

Results of Operations

Years Ended December 31, 2013 and 2012

For the year ended December 31, 2013, our net income available to common stockholders was approximately $70 million, or $0.49 per diluted share, based on a weighted average of 146.4 million fully diluted shares outstanding. This includes net income of $75.7 million minus the payment of preferred dividends of $5.7 million. For the year ended December 31, 2012, our net income available to common stockholders was approximately $94.4 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, based on a weighted average of 142.5 million fully diluted shares outstanding. This included net income of $100.2 million minus the payment of preferred dividends of $5.8 million.

Net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2013 totaled $81.8 million, or 34.5% of gross income, compared to $109.8 million, or 40.9% of gross income, for the year ended December 31, 2012. Net interest income is comprised of the interest income earned on mortgage investments (net of premium amortization expense) less interest expense from borrowings. Interest income net of premium amortization expense for the year ended December 31, 2013 was $174.8 million, compared to $195.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, a decrease of 10.8%, due primarily to a decrease in the weighted average coupons on Agency MBS (from 3.10% in 2012 to 2.67% in 2013), partially offset by an increase in the weighted average portfolio outstanding, from approximately $8.7 billion in 2012 to approximately $8.86 billion in 2013, and a decrease in premium amortization expense of $10.7 million. Interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2013 was $93 million, compared to $86.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2012, an increase of approximately 8%, which resulted primarily from an increase in the weighted average interest rates, after giving effect to the swap agreements, from 1.08% in 2012 to 1.15% in 2013, and an increase in the average borrowings outstanding, from $7.88 billion in 2012 to $8.01 billion in 2013.

Recoveries on Non-Agency MBS were approximately $397 thousand for the year ended December 31, 2013 compared to $1.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2012.

The results of our operations are affected by a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, and primarily depend on, among other things, the level of our net interest income, the market value of our MBS, the supply of, and demand for, MBS in the marketplace, and the terms and availability of financing. Our net interest income varies primarily as a result from changes in interest rates, the slope of the yield curve (the differential between long-term and short-term interest rates), borrowing costs (our interest expense) and prepayment speeds on our MBS portfolios, the behavior of which involves various risks and uncertainties. Interest rates and prepayment speeds, as measured by the constant prepayment rate, vary according to the type of investment, conditions in the financial markets, competition and other factors, none of which can be predicted with any certainty. With respect to our business operations, increases in interest rates, in general, may, over time, cause: (i) the interest expense associated with our borrowings, which

49


 

are primarily comprised of repurchase agreements, to increase; (ii) the value of our MBS portfolios and, correspondingly, our stockholders’ equity to decline; (iii) coupons on our MBS to reset, although on a delayed basis, to higher interest rates; (iv) prepayments on our MBS portfolios to slow, thereby slowing the amortization of our MBS purchase premiums; and (v) the value of our interest rate swap agreements and, correspondingly, our stockholders’ equity to increase. Conversely, decreases in interest rates, in general, may, over time, cause: (i) prepayments on our MBS portfolios to increase, thereby accelerating the amortization of our MBS purchase premiums; (ii) the interest expense associated with our borrowings to decrease; (iii) the value of our MBS portfolios and, correspondingly, our stockholders’ equity to increase; (iv) the value of our interest rate swap agreements and, correspondingly, our stockholders’ equity to decrease; and (v) coupons on our MBS to reset, although on a delayed basis, to lower interest rates. In addition, our borrowing costs and credit lines are further affected by the type of collateral pledged and general conditions in the credit markets.

During the year ended December 31, 2013, premium amortization expense decreased $10.7 million, or 14.8%, to $62 million from $72.8 million during the year ended December 31, 2012, due primarily to a decrease in lower future CPR projections, partially offset by an increase in the amortization of unearned premium on securities acquired in 2013 and 2012 at higher premiums.

The table below shows the approximate constant prepayment rate of our Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2013

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2012

 

Portfolio

 

First
Quarter

 

 

Second
Quarter

 

 

Third
Quarter

 

 

Fourth
Quarter

 

 

First
Quarter

 

 

Second
Quarter

 

 

Third
Quarter

 

 

Fourth
Quarter

 

Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS

 

 

24

%

 

 

24

%

 

 

23

%

 

 

15

%

 

 

22

%

 

 

24

%

 

 

26

%

 

 

26

%

During the years ended December 31, 2013 and December 31, 2012, there was no gain or loss recognized in earnings due to hedge ineffectiveness. We have determined that our hedges are still considered “highly effective.” There were no components of the derivative instruments’ gain or loss excluded from the assessment of hedge effectiveness.

During the year ended December 31, 2013, we received proceeds of approximately $637 million from the sales of Agency MBS and recognized a net gain of approximately $9.2 million. During the year ended December 31, 2012, we received proceeds of approximately $141 million from the sales of Agency MBS and recognized a net gain on sales of approximately $4.4 million.

Total expenses were approximately $15.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2013, compared to approximately $15.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. For the year ended December 31, 2013, we incurred management fees of approximately $12 million, which is based on a percentage of our equity (see Note 10 to the accompanying audited financial statements) compared to management fees of approximately $11.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. “Other expenses” (as detailed in Note 14 to the accompanying audited financial statements) decreased by $70 thousand.

Years Ended December 31, 2012 and 2011

For the year ended December 31, 2012, our net income available to common stockholders was approximately $94.4 million, or $0.67 per diluted share, based on a weighted average of 142.5 million fully diluted shares outstanding. This included net income of $100.2 million minus the payment of preferred dividends of $5.8 million. For the year ended December 31, 2011, our net income available to common stockholders was approximately $117 million, or $0.90 per diluted share, based on a weighted average of 132.8 million fully diluted shares outstanding. This included net income of $122.9 million minus the payment of preferred dividends of $5.9 million.

Net interest income for the year ended December 31, 2012 totaled $109.8 million, or 40.9% of gross income, compared to $134.9 million, or 47.7% of gross income, for the year ended December 31, 2011. Net interest income is comprised of the interest income earned on mortgage investments (net of premium amortization expense) less interest expense from borrowings. Interest income net of premium amortization expense for the year ended December 31, 2012 was $195.9 million, compared to $224.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, a decrease of 12.6%, due primarily to an increase in premium amortization expense of $14.2 million and a decrease in the weighted average coupons on Agency MBS (from 3.59% in 2011 to 3.10% in 2012), partially offset by an increase in the weighted average portfolio outstanding from approximately $7.9 billion in 2011 to approximately $8.7 billion in 2012. Interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2012 was $86.1 million, compared to $89.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2011, a decrease of 3.6%, which resulted from a decline in weighted average short-term interest rates, after giving effect to the swap agreements, from 1.24% in 2011 to 1.08% in 2012, partially offset by an increase in the average borrowings outstanding from $7.1 billion in 2011 to $7.88 billion in 2012.

Recoveries on Non-Agency MBS were approximately $1.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 compared to $2.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2011.

50


 

During the year ended December 31, 2012, premium amortization expense increased $14.2 million, or 24.3%, from $58.6 million during the year ended December 31, 2011 to $72.8 million, due primarily to an increase in the amortization of unearned premium on securities acquired in 2012 and 2011 at higher premiums.

The table below shows the approximate constant prepayment rate of our Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2012

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2011

 

Portfolio

 

First
Quarter

 

 

Second
Quarter

 

 

Third
Quarter

 

 

Fourth
Quarter

 

 

First
Quarter

 

 

Second
Quarter

 

 

Third
Quarter

 

 

Fourth
Quarter

 

Agency MBS and Non-Agency MBS

 

 

22

%

 

 

24