September 1, 2011
I am a shareholder in several mortgage REITs including AGNC and Annaly Management (NLY). When the mortgage crisis hit in 2007 and 2008 my prior investments in less prudent Alt-A REITs such as Hanover (now a minuscule part of Walter Investment Corp.(WAC) and IMPAC Mortgage were almost entirely wiped out. I am still in the process of recovering from those losses. I am using the REITs to recover real estate bubble losses in my traditional IRA and ROTH IRA accounts.
I wish your agency had been so concerned about REITs several years ago, but please do not change the rules now. The successful REITs buy only government backed debt compounded by leverage and passing on the profits to average citizen shareholders like me.
Please don't upset the applecart now by limiting the leverage, currently 6-8 times debt to equity. The REITs pass along the profits to me and I pay now or will pay later when I make withdrawals from my IRA.
Why not eliminate the special treatment of hedge fund profits. That is where the money is.
I am not sophisticated enough to hedge or use puts or calls or buy on margin or speculate in commodities. I am just trying to responsibly invest for my own retirement. REITs, just as they are, offer this average investor an opportunity for superior dividends as a result of REITs playing by the rules you previously established.