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UNITED STATES
 
 
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
 
 
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
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: 001-38082
 
kreflogoa20.jpg
 
 
KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc.
 
 
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
 
Maryland
 
 
 
47-2009094
 
 
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
 
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
9 West 57th Street,
Suite 4200
New York,
NY
 
 
 
10019
 
 
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
 
 
(Zip Code)
 
(212) 750-8300
 
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
 
Title of each class
 
Trading Symbol(s)
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
 
 
Common stock, par value $0.01 per share
 
KREF
 
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 x No
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     No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).     Yes     No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company" and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer        Accelerated filer    
Non-accelerated filer         Smaller reporting company    
Emerging growth company    
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.    
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).     Yes     No

The aggregate market value of the registrant's common stock held by non-affiliates was approximately $478.3 million as of June 28, 2019 (the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter) based on the closing sale price on the New York Stock Exchange on that date.

The number of shares of the registrant's common stock, par value $0.01 per share, outstanding as of February 14, 2020 was 57,486,583.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) pursuant to Regulation 14A relating to the registrant’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders will be incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K in response to Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III. The definitive proxy statement will be filed with the SEC no later than 120 days after the registrant’s fiscal year end.




KKR REAL ESTATE FINANCE TRUST INC.
FORM 10-K
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2019
INDEX
 
PAGE
                    SIGNATURES



CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), which reflect our current views with respect to, among other things, our operations and financial performance. You can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "outlook," "believe," "expect," "potential," "continue," "may," "should," "seek," "approximately," "predict," "intend," "will," "plan," "estimate," "anticipate," the negative version of these words, other comparable words or other statements that do not relate strictly to historical or factual matters. By their nature, forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, are not statements of historical fact or guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions or changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict or quantify. Our expectations, beliefs and projections are expressed in good faith and we believe there is a reasonable basis for them. However, there can be no assurance that management's expectations, beliefs and projections will result or be achieved and actual results may vary materially from what is expressed in or indicated by the forward-looking statements.

There are a number of risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such risks, uncertainties and other important factors include, among others, the risks, uncertainties and factors set forth under Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors" in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the following:

the general political, economic and competitive conditions in the United States and in any foreign jurisdictions in which we invest; 

the level and volatility of prevailing interest rates and credit spreads; 

adverse changes in the real estate and real estate capital markets; 

general volatility of the securities markets in which we participate; 

changes in our business, investment strategies or target assets; 

difficulty in obtaining financing or raising capital; 

adverse legislative or regulatory developments;

reductions in the yield on our investments and increases in the cost of our financing; 

acts of God such as hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, acts of war and/or terrorism and other events that may cause unanticipated and uninsured performance declines and/or losses to us or the owners and operators of the real estate securing our investments; 

deterioration in the performance of properties securing our investments that may cause deterioration in the performance of our investments and, potentially, principal losses to us; 

defaults by borrowers in paying debt service on outstanding indebtedness; 

the adequacy of collateral securing our investments and declines in the fair value of our investments; 

adverse developments in the availability of desirable investment opportunities whether they are due to competition, regulation or otherwise; 

difficulty in successfully managing our growth, including integrating new assets into our existing systems; 

the cost of operating our platform, including, but not limited to, the cost of operating a real estate investment platform and the cost of operating as a publicly traded company; 

the availability of qualified personnel and our relationship with our Manager;




subsidiaries of KKR & Co. Inc. control us and KKR's interests may conflict with those of our stockholders in the future; 

our qualification as a real estate investment trust ("REIT") for U.S. federal income tax purposes and our exclusion from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "Investment Company Act"); and

authoritative accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP") or policy changes from such standard-setting bodies such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the "FASB"), the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"), the Internal Revenue Service, the New York Stock Exchange and other authorities that we are subject to, as well as their counterparts in any foreign jurisdictions where we might do business.

There may be other factors that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements, including factors set forth under Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors" and Part II, Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our other periodic filings with the SEC, which are accessible on the SEC's website at www.sec.gov and on the investor relations section of our website at www.kkrreit.com. You should evaluate all forward-looking statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K in the context of these risks and uncertainties.

We caution you that the risks, uncertainties and other factors referenced above may not contain all of the risks, uncertainties and other factors that are important to you. In addition, we cannot assure you that we will realize the results, benefits or developments that we expect or anticipate or, even if substantially realized, that they will result in the consequences or affect us or our business in the way expected. All forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K apply only as of the date made and are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in other filings we make with the SEC. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.

Except where the context requires otherwise, the terms "Company," "we," "us," "our" and "KREF" refer to KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc., a Maryland corporation, and its subsidiaries; "Manager" refers to KKR Real Estate Finance Manager LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, our external manager; and "KKR" refers to KKR & Co. Inc., a Delaware corporation, and its subsidiaries.




PART I.

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

Our Company

KREF is a real estate finance company that focuses primarily on originating and acquiring senior loans secured by institutional-quality commercial real estate ("CRE") properties that are owned and operated by experienced and well-capitalized sponsors and located in liquid markets with strong underlying fundamentals. Our target assets also include mezzanine loans, preferred equity and other debt-oriented instruments with these characteristics. Our investment objective is capital preservation and the generation of attractive risk-adjusted returns for our stockholders over the long term, primarily through dividends.

We began our investment activities in October 2014 with an initial commitment of $400.0 million from KKR. We raised an additional $438.1 million in equity commitments from third-party investors and certain current and former employees of, and consultants to, KKR that brought our total committed capital base to $838.1 million, which was fully drawn prior to our initial public offering ("IPO") that generated net proceeds of $225.9 million on May 5, 2017. We had a book value of $1,122.0 million as of December 31, 2019 and established a portfolio of diversified investments, consisting of performing senior loans, mezzanine loans, and commercial mortgage-backed securities ("CMBS") B-Pieces (indirectly-owned through an equity-method investment), which had a value of $5,075.0 million.

We are organized as a holding company externally managed by our Manager, an indirect subsidiary of KKR & Co. Inc., and operate our business primarily through various subsidiaries in a single segment that originates, acquires, and finances our target assets.
We conduct our operations as a REIT for federal income tax purposes while seeking to avoid registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, (the "Investment Company Act"). We generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes on the portion of our annual net taxable income that we distribute to stockholders if we maintain our qualification as a REIT.
We are traded on the NYSE under the symbol “KREF.” We were incorporated in Maryland on October 2, 2014, and our principal executive offices are located at 9 West 57th Street, New York, New York.
Our Manager and KKR

We are externally managed by our Manager, an indirect subsidiary of KKR, a leading global investment firm with over 40-year history of leadership, innovation and investment excellence. KKR manages multiple alternative asset classes including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate, and credit, with strategic manager partnerships that manage hedge funds. KKR is listed on the NYSE (NYSEKKR) and reported $218.4 billion of assets under management ("AUM") as of December 31, 2019. KKR's "One-Firm" culture encourages collaboration and leveraging resources and relationships across KKR to help find creative solutions for clients seeking capital and strategic partnerships. We believe our Manager's relationship with KKR and its differentiated global investment management platform provides us with significant advantages in sourcing, evaluating, underwriting and managing our investments.

In connection with the performance of its duties, our Manager benefits from the resources, relationships and expertise of KKR's real estate group ("KKR Real Estate"), which provides equity and debt capital across a variety of real estate sectors and strategies. Established in 2011 under the leadership of Ralph F. Rosenberg, Global Head of KKR Real Estate and Chairman of our board of directors, KKR Real Estate had $9.4 billion of AUM as of December 31, 2019. Mr. Rosenberg, who has 30 years of real estate equity and debt transactions experience, is supported at KKR Real Estate by a team of approximately 85 dedicated professionals across nine offices globally. We believe that KKR Real Estate's global relationships with property owners, managers, lenders, brokers and advisors and real-time knowledge derived from its broadly diversified real estate holdings provide our Manager with access to sourcing channels as well as operational and strategic insights to help our Manager evaluate and monitor individual investment opportunities. Additionally, our Manager leverages the proprietary information available to us through KKR's global investment platforms to conduct thorough underwriting and due diligence and develop a deeper understanding of the opportunities, risks and challenges of the investments that we review. Further, our Manager benefits from KKR Credit & Markets, comprised of a team of 38 investment professionals that advise KKR's investment teams and portfolio companies on executing equity and debt capital markets solutions.


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Our Manager is led by an experienced team of senior real estate investment professionals, including Christen E.J. Lee and Matthew A. Salem, our Co-Chief Executive Officers and Co-Presidents, and W. Patrick Mattson, our Chief Operating Officer, who collectively average over 20 years of CRE experience. Our Manager's senior leadership team is supported by 19 other investment professionals with significant expertise in executing our investment strategy. Our Manager's investment committee, which is comprised of Messrs. Rosenberg, Lee, Salem, Mattson, Roger Morales, Head of KKR's Real Estate Acquisitions Americas, Justin Pattner, Head of KKR's Real Estate Equity Americas, Billy Butcher, Chief Operating Officer of KKR Global Real Estate, and Jenny Box, Co-Head of KKR’s Special Situations Americas, advises and consults with our Manager and its investment professionals with respect to our investment strategy, portfolio construction, financing and investment guidelines and risk management and approves all of our investments.

Our Investment Strategy

Our investment strategy is to originate or acquire senior loans collateralized by institutional-quality CRE assets that are owned and operated by experienced and well-capitalized sponsors and located in liquid markets with strong underlying fundamentals. We also intend to invest in mezzanine loans, preferred equity and other debt-oriented instruments with these characteristics. Through our Manager, we have access to KKR's integrated, global real estate investment platform and its established sourcing, underwriting and structuring capabilities to develop our own view on value and evaluate and structure credit risk from an owner's and a lender's perspective. In addition, we believe that we benefit from our access to KKR's global network and real estate and other investment holdings, which provide our Manager with access to information and market data that is not available to many of our competitors. In many instances, we are able to make investments where we believe we have a sourcing, underwriting or execution advantage by leveraging the KKR brand, industry knowledge and proprietary relationships.

We pursue opportunities for which we believe that we are lending at a substantial discount to our Manager's view of intrinsic real estate value, which our Manager substantiates through an independent assessment of value. We also seek investment opportunities where there is the potential to increase the value of the underlying loan collateral through improving property management or implementing strategic capital improvement initiatives, and as such, focus on lending to sponsors with histories of successful execution in their respective asset classes or markets. Additionally, we endeavor to make loans with covenants and structural features that align the incentives of us and our borrowers to the extent that the operating performance of the underlying collateral deteriorates.

Our financing strategy and investment process are discussed in more detail in "—Our Financing Strategy" and "—Investment Guidelines" below.

Our Target Assets

Our target assets primarily include senior loans, as well as mezzanine loans, preferred equity and other debt-oriented investments:

Senior Loans—We focus on originating and acquiring senior loans that are secured by CRE properties and evidenced by a first-priority mortgage. The loans may vary in duration, bear interest at a fixed or floating rate and amortize, and typically require a balloon payment of principal at maturity, but are typically anticipated to be floating rate and shorter-term duration. These investments may include whole loans or pari passu participations within such senior loans. 

Mezzanine Loans—We may syndicate senior participations in our originated senior loans to other investors and retain a subordinated debt position for our portfolio, typically a mezzanine loan. We may also directly originate or acquire mezzanine loans. These are loans (including pari passu participations in such loans) made to the owner of a mortgage borrower and secured by a pledge of equity interests in the mortgage borrower. These loans are subordinate to a senior loan, but senior to the owner's equity. These loans may be tranched into senior and junior mezzanine loans, with the junior mezzanine lenders secured by a pledge of the equity interests in the more senior mezzanine borrower. The mezzanine lender typically has different rights as compared to the more senior lenders, including the right to cure defaults under the senior loan and any senior mezzanine loan and purchase the senior loan and any senior mezzanine loan, in each case under certain circumstances following a default on the senior loan. Following a default on a mezzanine loan, and subject to negotiated terms with the mortgage lender or other mezzanine lenders, the mezzanine lender generally has the right to foreclose on its equity interest and become the owner of the property, directly or indirectly, subject to the lien of the senior loan and any other debt senior to it including any outstanding senior mezzanine loans.

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Preferred Equity—We may make investments that are subordinate to any mortgage or mezzanine loan, but senior to the common equity of the mortgage borrower or owner of a mortgage borrower, as applicable. Preferred equity investments typically pay a preferred return from the investment's cash flow rather than interest payments and often have the right for such preferred return to accrue if there is insufficient cash flow for current payment. These interests are not secured by the underlying real estate, but upon the occurrence of a default, the preferred equity provider typically has the right to effect a change of control with respect to the ownership of the property. 

CMBS B-Pieces (New Issue)—We may also make investments that consist of below investment-grade bonds comprising some or all of the BB-rated, B-rated and unrated tranches of a CMBS securitization pool. The underlying loans are typically aggregated into a pool and sold as securities to different investors. Under the pooling and servicing agreements that govern these pools, the loans are administered by a trustee and servicers, who act on behalf of all investors and distribute the underlying cash flows to the different classes of securities in accordance with their seniority. The below-investment grade securities that comprise each CMBS B-Piece have generally in the past been acquired in aggregate. Due to their first loss position, these investments are typically offered at a discount to par. These investments typically carry a 10-year weighted average life due to prepayment restrictions on the underlying loans. We generally intend to hold these investments through maturity, but may, from time to time, opportunistically sell positions should liquidity become available or be required. Under the risk retention rules under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") that went into effect in December 2016, CMBS B-Piece investments may also include BBB-rated securities and are subject to certain additional restrictions that, among other things, prohibit hedging CMBS B-Pieces or selling CMBS B-Pieces for a period of at least five years from the date the investment was made. We currently hold CMBS B-Piece investments indirectly through our investment in an aggregator vehicle alongside KKR Real Estate Credit Opportunity Partners L.P. ("RECOP I"), a KKR-managed investment fund. See Part II, Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Our Portfolio." 

Other Real Estate Securities—We may make investments in real estate that take the form of CMBS (other than CMBS B-Pieces) or Collateralized Loan Obligations ("CLO") that are collateralized by pools of real estate debt instruments, often senior loans. We may also acquire the debt securities of other REITs or other entities engaged in real estate operating or financing activities, but generally not for the purpose of exercising control over such entities.

Our Portfolio

We began operations in October 2014 and have established a portfolio of diversified investments, consisting of performing senior loans, mezzanine loans and CMBS B-Pieces (indirectly-owned through RECOP I), which had a value of $5,075.0 million as of December 31, 2019, a 23% increase compared to 2018. We believe our current portfolio, comprised of target assets representative of our investment philosophy, validates our ability to execute on our stated market opportunity and investment strategy, including lending against high-quality real estate in liquid markets with strong fundamentals to experienced and well-capitalized sponsors. As we continue to scale our portfolio, we expect that our originations will continue to be heavily weighted toward floating-rate loans. We expect the majority of our future investment activity to focus on originating floating-rate senior loans that we finance with our repurchase facilities and non-mark-to-market financing including term lending arrangements, asset based financing and collateralized loan obligations. In addition, we originate floating-rate loans for which we syndicate a senior position and retain a subordinated interest for our portfolio. As of December 31, 2019, our portfolio had experienced no impairments and did not contain any legacy assets that were originated prior to October 2014. As of December 31, 2019, all of our investments were located in the United States.












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The following charts illustrate the growth in our portfolio, origination volume, average loan size originated, net income and book value, as well as the compound annual growth rate ("CAGR") over the years ended December 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 (dollars in millions):

totalporttotalloanchart.gif


itemicharts2.gif


bookvaluechart.gif









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The map below illustrates the geographic distribution of the properties securing our loan portfolio as of December 31, 2019:

geomap.jpg

The following charts illustrate the diversification of our loan portfolio, based on type of investment, interest rate, underlying property type, geographic location, vintage and loan to value as of December 31, 2019(A):
piechartsbusiness.jpg
The charts above are based on total assets. Total assets reflect the principal amount of our senior and mezzanine loans, including junior participations in our originated senior loans for which we have syndicated the senior participations and retained the junior participations for our portfolio and excludes pari passu loan syndications and vertical loan participations.

(A)    Excludes CMBS B-Piece investments held through RECOP I, our equity method investment.
(B)
LTV is generally based on the initial loan amount divided by the as-is appraised value as of the date the loan was originated or by the current principal amount as of the date of the most recent as-is appraised value.

Our senior loans had a weighted average loan to value ratio ("LTV") of 66% as of December 31, 2019, and we have focused our portfolio on senior positions in the capital structure where the sponsor has meaningful cash or imputed equity subordinated to

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our position to provide what we believe is downside protection in the event of credit impairment at the asset level. As of December 31, 2019, we maintained a controlling position in all of our senior loans and subordinate debt positions (subject to the terms of our master repurchase agreements, as applicable).

For additional information regarding our portfolio as of December 31, 2019, see Part II, Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."

Our Financing Strategy

We raise capital through offerings of our equity and debt securities to fund future investments. In addition, as part of our portfolio financing strategy, we may use both direct and structural leverage. Our use of direct leverage includes the utilization of repurchase facilities, term lending arrangements, asset based financing, collateralized loan obligations and revolving credit agreements. Term lending arrangements, asset based financing and collateralized loan obligations provide us with non-mark-to-market financing sources, which reduces our exposure to market fluctuations. In addition, we may use structural leverage by syndicating senior mortgage interests in our originated senior loans to other investors and create a subordinated interest that we retain for our portfolio. When utilizing structural leverage, our retained interest is generally a mezzanine loan, secured by a pledge of 100% of the equity ownership interests in the owner of the real property and is generally not subject to recourse. Our retained interest when utilizing structural leverage is subordinate to the lien of the third-party lender that owns the senior interest.

During the year ended December 31, 2019, we (i) entered into a new $900.0 million non-mark-to-market term lending agreement, (ii) increased the borrowing capacity on our corporate revolving credit facility ("Revolver") by $150.0 million to $250.0 million, and (iii) increased our non-mark-to-market financing to $2.8 billion as of December 31, 2019, representing 72% of our total outstanding portfolio financing, as compared to 60% of our total portfolio financing as of December 31, 2018.
The following table details our outstanding financing arrangements as of December 31, 2019 (amounts in thousands):
 
 
Portfolio Financing Outstanding Principal Balance
 
Maximum Capacity
Master repurchase agreements
 
$
1,088,217

 
$
2,000,000

Term loan financing
 
798,180

 
1,000,000

Term lending agreement
 
870,051

 
900,000

Collateralized loan obligations
 
810,000

 
810,000

Asset specific financing
 
142,268

 
300,000

Revolving credit agreements
 

 
250,000

Non-consolidated senior interests
 
143,600

 
143,600

Total portfolio financing
 
$
3,852,316

 
$
5,403,600


The following chart illustrates our progress in diversifying our financing sources and expanding our non-mark-to-market financing sources to reduce our exposure to market volatility:
outstandingsecfinchart.jpg
(1)    Based on outstanding face amount of secured financing facilities and excludes convertible notes and Revolver.

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Financing Risk Management

The amount of leverage employed on our assets will depend on our Manager's assessment of the credit, liquidity, price volatility and other risks of those assets and the financing counterparties and availability of particular types of financing at any given time.

We plan to maintain leverage levels appropriate to our specific portfolio. On average, we are targeting a leverage ratio on our senior loans between 3.5 and 4.0-to-1 on a debt to equity basis, as compared to our total leverage ratio of 3.5-to-1 as of December 31, 2019. We will endeavor to match the terms and indices of our assets and liabilities and will also seek to minimize the risks associated with mark-to-market and recourse borrowing.

Investment Guidelines

Under the management agreement with our Manager, our Manager is required to manage our business in accordance with certain investment guidelines, which include:

seeking to invest our capital in a broad range of investments in or relating to CRE debt; 

not making investments that would cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes; 

not making investments that would cause us or any of our subsidiaries to be required to be registered as an investment company under the Investment Company Act; 

allowing allocation of investment opportunities sourced by our Manager to one or more KKR funds advised by our Manager or its affiliates in addition to us, in accordance with the allocation policy then in effect, as applied by our Manager in a fair and equitable manner; 

prior to the deployment of capital into investments, causing our capital to be invested in any short-term investments in money market funds, bank accounts, overnight repurchase agreements with primary federal reserve bank dealers collateralized by direct U.S. government obligations and other instruments or investments reasonably determined by our Manager to be of high quality; and

investing not more than 25% of our "equity" in any individual investment without the approval of a majority of our board of directors or a duly constituted committee of our board of directors (it being understood, however, that for purposes of the foregoing concentration limit, in the case of any investment that is comprised (whether through a structured investment vehicle or other arrangement) of securities, instruments or assets of multiple portfolio issuers, such investment for purposes of the foregoing limitation will be deemed to be multiple investments in such underlying securities, instruments and assets and not such particular vehicle, product or other arrangement in which they are aggregated).


Impact of Interest Rate Environment

Generally, our business model is such that rising interest rates will result in an increase to our net income, while declining interest rates will decrease our net income. Our net interest income currently benefits from in-the-money LIBOR floors in our loan portfolio, which benefit is expected to initially decrease as LIBOR increases. There can be no assurance that we will continue to utilize LIBOR floors. As of December 31, 2019, 99.2% of our investments by total assets earned a floating rate of interest indexed to one-month LIBOR, and of those investments that were financed, all were financed with liabilities that pay a floating rate of interest indexed to one-month LIBOR.

Additionally, floating-rate senior loans typically have lower interest rate sensitivity and less susceptibility to price declines than fixed-rate investments when short-term rates rise. As a result, we believe that our investment strategy, which is primarily focused on originating or acquiring LIBOR-based senior loans, strategically positions our portfolio to earn attractive risk-adjusted yields in a rising interest rate environment. In a declining interest rate environment, our interest income generally

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decreases as LIBOR decreases; in certain circumstances, however, LIBOR floors relating to our loan portfolio may offset some of the impact from declining rates. As of December 31, 2019, approximately half of our loan portfolio by current principal amount outstanding had a LIBOR floor in place of 2.0% or higher.

With respect to our fixed-rate exposure in our portfolio, an increase in long-term interest rates could have a negative impact on the market value of those investments. Several factors would impact the ultimate market value, including but not limited to, the remaining duration, underlying LTV and credit profile today, credit spreads and other factors.

With respect to our fixed-rate CMBS portfolio indirectly held through an equity method investment, rising interest rates could have a negative effect on the value of the securities in our portfolio. Such CMBS securities are purchased at a substantial discount to their face amount and are much more sensitive to changes in the underlying credit of the securities and credit spreads than to fluctuations in interest rates. However, an increase in long-term rates, with other factors held constant, may have a negative impact on the market value of the CMBS portfolio.

The following chart illustrates the sensitivity of our net interest income to changes in LIBOR on a per weighted average diluted common share basis:
portfoliogrowthslides4q21.jpg
(1)     Assumes loans are drawn up to maximum approved advance rate based on current principal amount outstanding as of December 31, 2019.

For a further discussion, see Part II, Item 7. "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk—Interest Rate Risk."

Taxation of the Company

We elected to be treated as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with our taxable year ended December 31, 2014 and expect to continue to operate so as to qualify as a REIT. So long as we qualify as a REIT, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on net taxable income that we distribute annually to our stockholders. In order to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the real estate qualification of sources of our income, the composition and values of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the diversity of ownership of our stock. In order to comply with REIT requirements, we may need to forego otherwise attractive opportunities and limit our expansion opportunities and limit the manner in which we conduct our operations.

See Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors—Risks Related to our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Considerations."


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Competition

We are engaged in a competitive business. In our lending and investing activities, we compete for opportunities with a variety of institutional lenders and investors, including other REITs, specialty finance companies, public and private funds (including funds that KKR or its affiliates may in the future sponsor, advise and/or manage), commercial and investment banks, commercial finance and insurance companies and other financial institutions. Several other REITs have raised, or are expected to raise, significant amounts of capital, and may have investment objectives that overlap with ours, which may create additional competition for lending and investment opportunities. Some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us. Many of our competitors are not subject to the operating constraints associated with REIT rule compliance or maintenance of an exclusion from registration under the Investment Company Act. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of loans and investments, offer more attractive pricing or other terms and establish more relationships than us. Furthermore, competition for originations of and investments in our target assets may lead to the yields of such assets decreasing, which may further limit our ability to generate satisfactory returns.

In addition, changes in the financial regulatory regime could decrease the current restrictions on banks and other financial institutions and allow them to compete with us for investment opportunities that were previously not available to them. See Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Company—Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations, changes in the interpretation thereof or newly enacted laws or regulations and any failure by us to comply with these laws or regulations, could require changes to certain of our business practices, negatively impact our operations, cash flow or financial condition, impose additional costs on us, subject us to increased competition or otherwise adversely affect our business."

We believe access to our Manager's and KKR's professionals and their industry expertise and relationships provide us with competitive advantages in assessing risks and determining appropriate pricing for potential investments. We believe these relationships will enable us to compete more effectively for attractive investment opportunities. However, we may not be able to achieve our business goals or expectations due to the competitive risks that we face. For additional information concerning these competitive risks, see Part I, Item 1A. "Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Lending and Investment Activities—We operate in a competitive market for lending and investment opportunities, and competition may limit our ability to originate or acquire desirable loans and investments or dispose of assets we target and could also affect the yields of these assets and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations."

Employees

We do not have any employees. We are externally managed by our Manager pursuant to the management agreement between our Manager and us. Our executive officers are employees of our Manager or one or more of its affiliates. See "—Our Manager and KKR."
Additional Information Available

Our website address is www.kkrreit.com. Information on our website is not incorporated by reference herein and is not a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We make available free of charge on our website or provide a link on our website to our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after those reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. To access these filings, go to the “Investor Relations” page on our website, then click on “SEC Filings”. Our SEC filings are also available to the public from the SEC’s internet site at http://www.sec.gov. From time to time, we may use our website at www.kkrreit.com as a channel of distribution of material information. Financial and other material information regarding our company is routinely posted and accessible on our website. In addition, you may automatically receive e-mail alerts and other information about our company by enrolling your e-mail address by visiting the “E-mail Alerts” section of the “Investor Relations” page on our website.

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Table of Contents

ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

The following risks could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations, and the trading price of our common stock could decline. These risk factors do not identify all risks that we face, and our operations could also be affected by factors that are not presently known to us or that we currently consider to be immaterial to our operations. Due to risks and uncertainties, known and unknown, our past financial results may not be a reliable indicator of future performance, and historical trends should not be used to anticipate results or trends in future periods. Refer also to the other information set forth in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our financial statements and the related notes thereto.

Risks Related to Our Lending and Investment Activities
We operate in a competitive market for lending and investment opportunities, and competition may limit our ability to originate or acquire desirable loans and investments or dispose of assets we target and could also affect the yields of these assets and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
A number of entities compete with us to make the types of loans and investments we seek to originate or acquire. Our profitability depends, in large part, on our ability to originate or acquire target assets on attractive terms. In originating or acquiring target assets, we compete with a variety of institutional lenders and investors, including other REITs, specialty finance companies, public and private funds (including funds that KKR or its affiliates may in the future sponsor, advise and/or manage), commercial and investment banks, commercial finance and insurance companies and other financial institutions. Several other REITs have raised, or are expected to raise, significant amounts of capital, and may have investment objectives that overlap with ours, which may create additional competition for lending and investment opportunities. Some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to us, such as the U.S. government. Many of our competitors are not subject to the operating constraints associated with REIT rule compliance or maintenance of an exclusion from registration under the Investment Company Act. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of loans and investments, offer more attractive pricing or other terms and establish more relationships than us. Furthermore, competition for originations of and investments in our target assets may lead to the yields of such assets decreasing, which may further limit our ability to generate satisfactory returns. In addition, changes in the financial regulatory regime could decrease the current restrictions on banks and other financial institutions and allow them to compete with us for investment opportunities that were previously not available to them. “—Risks Related to Our Company—Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations, changes in the interpretation thereof or newly enacted laws or regulations and any failure by us to comply with these laws or regulations, could require changes to certain of our business practices, negatively impact our operations, cash flow or financial condition, impose additional costs on us, subject us to increased competition or otherwise adversely affect our business.

As a result of this competition, desirable loans and investments in our target assets may be limited in the future and we may not be able to take advantage of attractive lending and investment opportunities from time to time. We can provide no assurance that we will be able to identify and originate loans or make investments that are consistent with our investment objectives. We cannot assure you that the competitive pressures we face will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, our investment strategy with respect to certain types of investments may depend, in part, on our ability to enter into satisfactory relationships with joint ventures, operating partners and/or strategic co-investors. There can be no assurance that current relationships with such parties will continue (whether on currently applicable terms or otherwise) or that we will be able to establish relationships with other such persons in the future if desired and on terms favorable to us.

Our loans and investments expose us to risks associated with debt-oriented real estate investments generally.
We seek to invest primarily in debt investments in or relating to real estate assets. Any deterioration of real estate fundamentals generally, and in the United States in particular, could negatively impact our performance, increase the default risk applicable to borrowers, and/or make it relatively more difficult for us to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns. Changes in general economic conditions will affect the creditworthiness of borrowers and/or the value of underlying real estate collateral relating to our investments and may include economic and/or market fluctuations, changes in environmental, zoning and other laws, casualty or condemnation losses, regulatory limitations on rents, decreases in property values, changes in the appeal of properties to tenants, changes in supply and demand of real estate products, fluctuations in real estate fundamentals (including average occupancy and room rates for hotel properties), energy and supply shortages, various uninsured or uninsurable risks, natural disasters, terrorism, acts of war, changes in government regulations (such as rent control), political and legislative

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uncertainty, changes in monetary policy, changes in real property tax rates and operating expenses, changes in interest rates, changes in the availability of debt financing and/or mortgage funds which may render the sale or refinancing of properties difficult or impracticable, increased mortgage defaults, increases in borrowing rates, negative developments in the economy that depress travel activity, adverse changes in demand and/or real estate values generally and other factors that are beyond our control.

We cannot predict the degree to which economic conditions generally, and the conditions for real estate debt investing in particular, will improve or decline. Any declines in the performance of the U.S. and global economies or in the real estate debt markets could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Fluctuations in interest rates and credit spreads could reduce our ability to generate income on our loans and other investments, which could lead to a significant decrease in our results of operations, cash flows and the market value of our investments and could materially impair our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

Our primary interest rate exposures relate to the yield on our loans and other investments and the financing cost of our debt, as well as any interest rate swaps that we utilize for hedging purposes. Changes in interest rates and credit spreads will affect our net income from loans and other investments, which is the difference between the interest and related income earned on interest-earning investments and the interest and related expense incurred in financing these investments. Generally, the composition of our investments is such that rising interest rates will increase our net income, while declining interest rates will decrease our net income. As of December 31, 2019, 99.2% of our investments by total assets earned a floating rate of interest indexed to one-month USD LIBOR. The remaining 0.8% of our investments earned a fixed rate of interest. In a declining interest rate environment, our interest income generally decreases as LIBOR decreases; in certain circumstances, however, LIBOR floors relating to our floating rate loans may offset some of the impact from declining rates. Also, in a declining interest rate environment, the value of our fixed-rate investments may increase and if interest rates were to increase, the value of these fixed-rate investments may fall; however, the interest income generated by these fixed-rate investments would not be affected
by market interest rates. The interest rates we pay under our current financing facilities are floating rate. Accordingly, our interest expense will generally increase as interest rates increase and decrease as interest rates decrease. Increases in interest rates and/or credit spreads may negatively affect demand for loans and could result in higher borrower default rates, while decreases in interest rates and/or credit spreads may decrease our interest income on floating-rate investments and may lead to a higher prepayment rates on our loans.

Our operating results depend, in part, on differences between the income earned on our investments, net of credit losses, and our financing costs. The yields we earn on our floating-rate assets and our borrowing costs tend to move in the same direction in response to changes in interest rates. However, one can rise or fall faster than the other, causing our net interest margin to expand or contract. In addition, we could experience reductions in the yield on our investments and an increase in the cost of our financing. Although we seek to match the terms of our liabilities to the expected lives of loans that we acquire or originate, circumstances may arise in which our liabilities are shorter in duration than our assets, resulting in their adjusting faster in response to changes in interest rates. For any period during which our investments are not match-funded, the income earned on such investments may respond more slowly to interest rate fluctuations than the cost of our borrowings. Consequently, changes in interest rates, particularly short-term interest rates, may immediately and significantly decrease our results of operations and cash flows and the market value of our investments. Interest rate and credit spread fluctuations resulting in our interest and related expense exceeding interest and related income would result in operating losses for us, and any such reduction in our net interest income could materially impair our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders. Changes in the level of interest rates and credit spreads may also affect our ability to make loans or investments and the value of our loans and investments.

We may not have control over certain of our loans and investments.
Our ability to manage our portfolio of loans and investments may be limited by the form in which they are made. In certain situations, we may:

acquire investments subject to rights of senior classes, special servicers or collateral managers under intercreditor, servicing agreements or securitization documents;

pledge our investments as collateral for financing arrangements;

acquire only a minority and/or a non-controlling participation in an underlying investment;


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co-invest with others through partnerships, joint ventures or other entities, thereby acquiring non-controlling interests; or

rely on independent third-party management or servicing with respect to the management of an asset.

Therefore, we may not be able to exercise control over all aspects of our loans or investments. Such financial assets may involve risks not present in investments where senior creditors, junior creditors, servicers or third-party controlling investors are not involved. Our rights to control the process following a borrower default may be subject to the rights of senior or junior creditors or servicers whose interests may not be aligned with ours. A partner or co-venturer may have financial difficulties resulting in a negative impact on such asset, may have economic or business interests or goals that are inconsistent with ours, or may be in a position to take action contrary to our investment objectives. In addition, we will generally pay all or a portion of the expenses relating to our joint ventures and we may, in certain circumstances, be liable for the actions of our partners or co-venturers.

CRE-related investments that are secured, directly or indirectly, by real property are subject to delinquency, foreclosure and loss, which could result in losses to us.
CRE debt instruments (e.g., mortgages, mezzanine loans and preferred equity) that are secured by commercial property are subject to risks of delinquency and foreclosure and risks of loss that are greater than similar risks associated with loans made on the security of single-family residential property. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by an income-producing property typically is dependent primarily upon the successful operation of the property rather than upon the existence of independent income or assets of the borrower. If the net operating income of the property is reduced, the borrower’s ability to repay the loan may be impaired. Net operating income of an income-producing property can be affected by, among other things:

tenant mix and tenant bankruptcies;

success of tenant businesses;

property management decisions, including with respect to capital improvements, particularly in older building structures;

property location and condition;

competition from other properties offering the same or similar services;

changes in laws that increase operating expenses or limit rents that may be charged;

any liabilities relating to environmental matters at the property;

changes in national, regional or local economic conditions and/or specific industry segments;

declines in national, regional or local real estate values;

declines in national, regional or local rental or occupancy rates;

changes in interest rates and in the state of the credit and securitization markets and the debt and equity capital markets, including diminished availability or lack of debt financing for CRE;

changes in real estate tax rates and other operating expenses;

changes in governmental rules, regulations and fiscal policies, including environmental legislation, income tax regulations and other tax legislation;
  
acts of God, terrorism, social unrest and civil disturbances, which may decrease the availability of or increase the cost of insurance or result in uninsured losses; and

adverse changes in zoning laws.


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In addition, we are exposed to the risk of judicial proceedings with our borrowers and entities in which we invest, including bankruptcy or other litigation, as a strategy to avoid foreclosure or enforcement of other rights by us as a lender or investor. In the event that any of the properties or entities underlying or collateralizing our loans or investments experiences any of the foregoing events or occurrences, the value of, and return on, such investments could decline and could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Loans on properties in transition will involve a greater risk of loss than conventional mortgage loans.
We have in the past and may in the future invest in transitional loans to borrowers who are typically seeking short-term capital to be used in an acquisition or rehabilitation of a property. The typical borrower under a transitional loan has usually identified an undervalued asset that has been under-managed and/or is located in a recovering market. If the market in which the asset is located fails to improve according to the borrower’s projections, or if the borrower fails to improve the quality of the asset’s management and/or the value of the asset, the borrower may not receive a sufficient return on the asset to satisfy the transitional loan, and we bear the risk that we may not recover some or all of our investment.

Furthermore, the renovation, refurbishment or expansion of a property by a borrower involves risks of cost overruns and noncompletion. Estimates of the costs of improvements to bring an acquired property up to standards established for the market position intended for that property may prove inaccurate. Other risks may include rehabilitation costs exceeding original estimates, possibly making a project uneconomical, environmental risks, delays in legal and other approvals (e.g., for condominiums) and rehabilitation and subsequent leasing of the property not being completed on schedule. If such renovation is not completed in a timely manner, or if it costs more than expected, the borrower may experience a prolonged reduction of net operating income and may not be able to make payments on our investment on a timely basis or at all, which could result in significant losses.

In addition, borrowers usually use the proceeds of a conventional mortgage to repay a transitional loan. Transitional loans therefore are subject to risks of a borrower’s inability to obtain permanent financing to repay the transitional loan. In the event of any default under transitional loans that may be held by us, we bear the risk of loss of principal and non-payment of interest and fees to the extent of any deficiency between the value of the mortgage collateral and the principal amount and unpaid interest of the transitional loan. To the extent we suffer such losses with respect to these transitional loans, it could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Prepayment rates may adversely affect the value of our portfolio of assets.
Generally, our borrowers may repay their loans prior to their stated final maturities. In periods of declining interest rates and/or credit spreads, prepayment rates on loans generally increase. If general interest rates or credit spreads decline at the same time, the proceeds of such prepayments received during such periods are likely to be reinvested by us in assets yielding less than the yields on the assets that were prepaid. We may not be able to reinvest the principal repaid at the same or higher yield of the original investment. In addition, the value of our assets may be affected by prepayment rates on loans. If we originate or acquire mortgage-related securities or a pool of mortgage securities, we anticipate that the underlying mortgages will prepay at a projected rate generating an expected yield. If we purchase assets at a premium to par value, when borrowers prepay their loans faster than expected, the corresponding prepayments on the mortgage-related securities may reduce the expected yield on such securities because we will have to amortize the related premium on an accelerated basis. Conversely, if we purchase assets at a discount to par value, when borrowers prepay their loans slower than expected, the decrease in corresponding prepayments on the mortgage-related securities may reduce the expected yield on such securities because we will not be able to accrete the related discount as quickly as originally anticipated. In addition, as a result of the risk of prepayment, the market value of the prepaid assets may benefit less than other fixed income securities from declining interest rates.

Prepayment rates on loans may be affected by a number of factors including, but not limited to, the then-current level of interest rates and credit spreads, fluctuations in asset values, the availability of mortgage credit, the relative economic vitality of the area in which the related properties are located, the servicing of the loans, possible changes in tax laws, other opportunities for investment, and other economic, social, geographic, demographic and legal factors and other factors beyond our control. Consequently, such prepayment rates cannot be predicted with certainty and no strategy can completely insulate us from prepayment or other such risks. If prepayment rates exceed our expectations, we may have greater difficulty in redeploying the proceeds into new investment opportunities, which may significantly increase our cash balance and exacerbate the risks related to our cash management strategy. For further discussion of the risks related to capital deployment, see “—Difficulty in redeploying the proceeds from repayments of our existing loans and investments may cause our financial performance and returns to investors to suffer” below.


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Difficulty in redeploying the proceeds from repayments of our existing loans and investments may cause our financial performance and returns to investors to suffer.
In light of our investment strategy and the need to be able to invest capital quickly to capitalize on potential investment opportunities, we may from time to time maintain cash pending deployment into investments, which may at times be significant. Such cash may be held in an account of ours for the benefit of stockholders or may be invested in money market accounts or other similar temporary investments. While the duration of such holding period is expected to be relatively short, in the event we are unable to find suitable investments, such cash positions may be maintained for longer periods. It is not anticipated that the temporary investment of such cash into money market accounts or other similar temporary investments pending deployment into investments will generate significant interest, and such low interest payments on the temporarily invested cash may adversely affect our financial performance and returns to investors.

In addition, we have also invested in CMBS, and may from time to time invest in CMBS and CRE CLO securities as part of our short-term cash management strategy. Subordinate interests such as CMBS, CRE CLO securities and similar structured finance investments generally are not actively traded and are relatively illiquid investments. Volatility in CMBS and CRE CLO trading markets may cause the value of these investments to decline. In addition, if the underlying mortgage portfolio has been overvalued by the originator, or if the values subsequently decline and, as a result, less collateral value is available to satisfy interest and principal payments and any other fees in connection with the trust or other conduit arrangement for such securities, we may incur significant losses. For further discussion of the risks related to such investments, see “—Our investments in CMBS and other similarly structured finance investments, as well as those we structure, sponsor or arrange, would pose additional risks, including the risks of the securitization process, the risk that we will not be able to recover some or all of our
investment, the possibility that the CMBS market will be significantly affected by current or future regulation and the risk that we will not be able to hedge or transfer our CMBS B-Piece investments for a significant period of time” below.

The due diligence process that our Manager undertakes in regard to investment opportunities may not reveal all facts that may be relevant in connection with an investment and if our Manager incorrectly evaluates the risks of our investments, we may experience losses.
Before making investments for us, our Manager conducts due diligence that it deems reasonable and appropriate based on the facts and circumstances relevant to each potential investment. When conducting diligence, our Manager may be required to evaluate important and complex business, financial, tax, accounting, environmental and legal issues. Outside consultants, legal advisors, accountants and investment banks may be involved in the due diligence process in varying degrees depending on the type of potential investment. Our Manager’s loss estimates may not prove accurate, as actual results may vary from estimates. If our Manager underestimates the asset-level losses relative to the price we pay for a particular investment, we may experience losses with respect to such investment.

In addition, it is difficult for real estate debt investors in certain circumstances to receive full transparency with respect to underlying investments because transactions are often effectuated on an indirect basis through pools or conduit vehicles rather than directly with the borrower. Loan structures or the terms of investments may make it difficult for us to monitor and evaluate investments. Therefore, we cannot assure you that our Manager will have knowledge of all information that may adversely affect such investment.

CMBS B-Pieces, mezzanine loans, preferred equity and other investments that are subordinated or otherwise junior in an issuer’s capital structure and that involve privately negotiated structures expose us to greater risk of loss.
We invest in debt instruments (including, indirectly through RECOP I, in CMBS B-Pieces) and preferred equity that are subordinated or otherwise junior in an issuer’s capital structure and that involve privately negotiated structures. Our investments in subordinated debt and mezzanine tranches of a borrower’s capital structure and our remedies with respect thereto, including the ability to foreclose on any collateral securing such investments, are subject to the rights of any senior creditors and, to the extent applicable, contractual intercreditor and/or participation agreement provisions. Significant losses related to such loans or investments could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Investments in subordinated debt involve greater credit risk of default than the senior classes of the issue or series. As a result, with respect to our investments in CMBS B-Pieces, mezzanine loans and other subordinated debt, we would potentially receive payments or interest distributions after, and must bear the effects of losses or defaults on the senior debt (including underlying senior loans, senior mezzanine loans, B-Notes, preferred equity or senior CMBS bonds, as applicable) before, the holders of other more senior tranches of debt instruments with respect to such issuer. As the terms of such loans and investments are

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subject to contractual relationships among lenders, co-lending agents and others, they can vary significantly in their structural characteristics and other risks.

Mezzanine loans are by their nature structurally subordinated to more senior property-level financings. If a borrower defaults on our mezzanine loan or on debt senior to our loan, or if the borrower is in bankruptcy, our mezzanine loan will be satisfied only after the property-level debt and other senior debt is paid in full. In addition, mezzanine loans may have higher loan-to-value ratios than conventional mortgage loans, resulting in less equity in the property and increasing the risk of loss of principal. As a result, a partial loss in the value of the underlying collateral can result in a total loss of the value of the mezzanine loan. Moreover, even if we are able to foreclose on the underlying collateral following a default on a mezzanine loan, we would be substituted for the defaulting borrower and, to the extent income generated on the underlying property is insufficient to meet outstanding debt obligations on the property, may need to commit substantial additional capital and/or deliver a replacement guarantee by a creditworthy entity, which could include us, to stabilize the property and prevent additional defaults to lenders with existing liens on the property. Significant losses related to our mezzanine loans and our indirect CMBS B-Piece investments would result in operating losses for us and may limit our ability to make distributions to
our stockholders.

Investments in preferred equity involve a greater risk of loss than conventional debt financing due to a variety of factors, including their non-collateralized nature and subordinated ranking to other loans and liabilities of the entity in which such preferred equity is held. Accordingly, if the issuer defaults on our investment, we would only be able to proceed against such entity in accordance with the terms of the preferred equity, and not against any property owned by such entity. Furthermore, in the event of bankruptcy or foreclosure, we would only be able to recoup our investment after all lenders to, and other creditors of, such entity are paid in full. As a result, we may lose all or a significant part of our investment, which could result in significant losses.

In addition, our investments in senior loans may be effectively subordinated to the extent we borrow under a warehouse loan (which can be in the form of a repurchase agreement) or similar facility and pledge the senior loan as collateral. Under these arrangements, the lender has a right to repayment of the borrowed amount before we can collect on the value of the senior loan, and therefore if the value of the pledged senior loan decreases below the amount we have borrowed, we would experience a loss.

Investments may be concentrated in terms of geography, asset types and sponsors, which could subject us to increased risk of loss.
We are not required to observe specific diversification criteria, except as may be set forth in the investment guidelines adopted by our board of directors. Therefore, our investments in our target assets may at times be concentrated in certain property types that may be subject to higher risk of default or foreclosure, or secured by properties concentrated in a limited number of geographic locations.

To the extent that our assets are concentrated in any one region, sponsor or type of asset, economic and business downturns generally relating to such type of asset, sponsor or region may result in defaults on a number of our investments within a short time period, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition. In addition, because of asset concentrations, even modest changes in the value of the underlying real estate assets could have a significant impact on the value of our investment. As a result of any high levels of concentration, any adverse economic, political or other conditions that disproportionately affects those geographic areas or asset classes could have a magnified adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition, and the value of our stockholders’ investments could vary more widely than if we invested in a more diverse portfolio of loans.

Our investments in CMBS and other similarly structured finance investments, as well as those we structure, sponsor or arrange ,would pose additional risks, including the risks of the securitization process, the risk that we will not be able to recover some or all of our investment, the possibility that the CMBS market will be significantly affected by current or future regulation and the risk that we will not be able to hedge or transfer our CMBS B-Piece investments for a significant period of time.
We have invested and may from time to time invest in pools or tranches of CMBS and other similar securities. The collateral underlying CMBS generally consists of commercial mortgages or real property that have a multifamily or commercial use, such as retail space, office buildings, warehouse property and hotels. CMBS have been issued in a variety of issuances, with varying structures including senior and subordinated classes. Our investments in CMBS are subject to losses. In general, losses on a mortgaged property securing a senior loan included in a securitization will be borne first by the equity holder of the property,

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then by a cash reserve fund or letter of credit, if any, then by the holder of a mezzanine loan or B-Note, if any, then by the “first loss” subordinated security holder (generally, the B-Piece buyer) and then by the holder of a higher-rated security. In the event of default and the exhaustion of any equity support, reserve fund, letter of credit, mezzanine loans or B-Notes, and any classes of securities junior to those in which we invest, we will not be able to recover some or all of our investment in the securities we purchase. There can be no assurance that our CMBS underwriting practices will yield their desired results and there can be no assurance that we will be able to effectively achieve our investment objective or that projected returns will be achieved.

In addition, the CMBS market may be significantly affected by current or future regulation. The risk retention rules under the Dodd-Frank Act, which generally require a sponsor of a CMBS transaction to retain, directly or indirectly, at least 5% of the credit risk of the securitized assets collateralizing the CMBS, went into effect in December 2016. The impact of these requirements on the CMBS securitization market generally are uncertain and may result in many CMBS market participants ceasing origination of and investment in CMBS, a lack of liquidity in the CMBS market and increased costs in CMBS transactions. As a result, there may be little or no CMBS investment opportunities available to us and any opportunities that are available may be less attractive than CMBS opportunities prior to the effectiveness of the risk retention rules. The rules may also negatively affect the market value of our current CMBS holdings as well as the larger commercial real estate debt markets.
If we invest in a CMBS B-Piece because a sponsor of a CMBS utilizes us as an eligible third-party purchaser to satisfy the risk retention rules under the Dodd-Frank Act, we will be required to meet certain conditions, including holding the related CMBS B-Piece, without transferring or hedging the CMBS B-Piece, for a significant period of time (at least five years), which could prevent us from mitigating losses on the CMBS B-Piece. Even if we seek to transfer the CMBS B-Piece after five years, any subsequent purchaser of the CMBS B-Piece will be required to satisfy the same conditions that we were required to satisfy when we acquired the interest from the CMBS sponsor. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that any secondary market liquidity will exist for such CMBS B-Pieces.
We currently expect to make our CMBS B-Piece investments indirectly through our investment in an aggregator vehicle alongside RECOP I, a KKR-managed investment fund. See “—Risks Related to Our Relationship with Our Manager and Its Affiliates—There are various conflicts of interest in our relationship with KKR, including with our Manager and in the allocation of investment opportunities to KKR investment vehicles and us, which could result in decisions that are not in the best interests of our stockholders” and Part II, Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Our Portfolio.”
Any credit ratings assigned to our investments will be subject to ongoing evaluations and revisions and we cannot assure you that those ratings will not be downgraded.
Some of our investments may be rated by rating agencies. Any credit ratings on our investments are subject to ongoing evaluation by credit rating agencies, and we cannot assure you that any such ratings will not be downgraded or withdrawn by a rating agency in the future if, in its judgment, circumstances warrant. If rating agencies assign a lower-than-expected rating or reduce or withdraw, or indicate that they may reduce or withdraw, their ratings of our investments in the future, the value and liquidity of our investments could significantly decline, which would adversely affect the value of our investment portfolio and could result in losses upon disposition or the failure of borrowers to satisfy their debt service obligations to us.
We may need to foreclose on certain of the loans we originate or acquire, which could result in losses that harm our results of operations and financial condition.
We may find it necessary or desirable to foreclose on certain of the loans we originate or acquire, and the foreclosure process may be lengthy and expensive. If we foreclose on an asset, we may take title to the property securing that asset, and if we do not or cannot sell the property, we would then come to own and operate it as “real estate owned.” Owning and operating real property involves risks that are different (and in many ways more significant) than the risks faced in owning an asset secured by that property. In addition, the liquidation proceeds upon sale of the underlying real estate may not be sufficient to recover our cost basis in the loan, resulting in a loss to us.
Whether or not we have participated in the negotiation of the terms of any such loans, we cannot assure you as to the adequacy of the protection of the terms of the applicable loan, including the validity or enforceability of the loan and the maintenance of the anticipated priority and perfection of the applicable security interests. Furthermore, claims may be asserted by lenders or borrowers that might interfere with enforcement of our rights. Borrowers may resist foreclosure actions by asserting numerous claims, counterclaims and defenses against us, including, without limitation, lender liability claims and defenses, even when the assertions may have no basis in fact, in an effort to prolong the foreclosure action and seek to force the lender into a modification of the loan or a favorable buy-out of the borrower’s position in the loan. In some states, foreclosure actions can

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take several years or more to litigate. At any time prior to or during the foreclosure proceedings, the borrower may file for bankruptcy, which would have the effect of staying the foreclosure actions and further delaying the foreclosure process and potentially resulting in a reduction or discharge of a borrower’s debt. Foreclosure may create a negative public perception of the related property, resulting in a diminution of its value. Even if we are successful in foreclosing on a loan, the liquidation proceeds upon sale of the underlying real estate may not be sufficient to recover our cost basis in the loan, resulting in a loss. Furthermore, any costs or delays involved in the foreclosure of the loan or a liquidation of the underlying property will further reduce the net proceeds and, thus, increase any such loss to us.
We may be subject to lender liability claims, and if we are held liable under such claims, we could be subject to losses.
In recent years, a number of judicial decisions have upheld the right of borrowers to sue lending institutions on the basis of various evolving legal theories, collectively termed “lender liability.” Generally, lender liability is founded on the premise that a lender has either violated a duty, whether implied or contractual, of good faith and fair dealing owed to the borrower or has assumed a degree of control over the borrower resulting in the creation of a fiduciary duty owed to the borrower or its other creditors or stockholders. No assurance can be given that such claims will not arise or that we will not be subject to significant liability if a claim of this type did arise.
Any distressed loans or investments we make, or loans and investments that later become distressed, may subject us to losses and other risks relating to bankruptcy proceedings.
While our investment strategy focuses primarily on investments in “performing” real estate-related interests, our investment program may include making distressed investments from time to time (e.g., investments in defaulted, out-of-favor or distressed loans and debt securities) or may involve investments that become “non-performing” following our acquisition thereof. Certain of our investments may, therefore, include specific securities of companies that typically are highly leveraged, with significant burdens on cash flow and, therefore, involve a high degree of risk of substantial or total losses on our investments and in certain circumstances, may become subject to certain additional potential liabilities that may exceed the value of our original investment therein. For example, under certain circumstances, a lender who has inappropriately exercised control over the management and policies of a debtor may have its claims subordinated or disallowed or may be found liable for damages suffered by parties as a result of such actions.
During an economic downturn or recession, securities of financially troubled or operationally troubled issuers are more likely to go into default than securities of other issuers. Securities of financially troubled issuers and operationally troubled issuers are less liquid and more volatile than securities of companies not experiencing financial difficulties. The market prices of such securities are subject to erratic and abrupt market movements and the spread between bid and ask prices may be greater than normally expected. Investment in the securities of financially troubled issuers and operationally troubled issuers involves a high degree of credit and market risk.

In certain limited cases (e.g., in connection with a workout, restructuring and/or foreclosing proceedings involving one or more of our debt investments), the success of our investment strategy with respect thereto will depend, in part, on our ability to effectuate loan modifications and/or restructures. The activity of identifying and implementing any such restructuring programs entails a high degree of uncertainty. There can be no assurance that we will be able to successfully identify and implement such restructuring programs. Further, such modifications and/or restructuring may entail, among other things, a substantial reduction in the interest rate and a substantial writedown of the principal of such loan, debt securities or other interests. However, even if a restructuring were successfully accomplished, a risk exists that, upon maturity of such real estate loan, debt securities or other interests replacement “takeout” financing will not be available.
These financial difficulties may never be overcome and may cause borrowers to become subject to bankruptcy or other similar administrative and operating proceedings. There is a possibility that we may incur substantial or total losses on our investments and in certain circumstances, become subject to certain additional potential liabilities that may exceed the value of our original investment therein. For example, under certain circumstances, a lender who has inappropriately exercised control over the management and policies of a debtor may have its claims subordinated or disallowed or may be found liable for damages suffered by parties as a result of such actions. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to our investments, we may lose our entire investment, may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than our original investment and/or may be required to accept payment over an extended period of time. In addition, under certain circumstances, payments to us and distributions by us to the stockholders may be reclaimed if any such payment or distribution is later determined to have been a fraudulent conveyance, preferential payment or similar transaction under applicable bankruptcy and insolvency laws. Furthermore, bankruptcy laws and similar laws applicable to administrative proceedings may delay our ability to realize value on collateral for loan positions held by us or may adversely affect the priority of such loans through doctrines such as equitable

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subordination or may result in a restructure of the debt through principles such as the “cramdown” provisions of the bankruptcy laws.
A prolonged economic slowdown, a lengthy or severe recession or declining real estate values could impair our investments and harm its operations.
We believe the risks associated with our business will be more severe during periods of economic slowdown or recession if these periods are accompanied by declining real estate values. Declining real estate values will likely reduce the level of new mortgage and other real estate‑related loan originations since borrowers often use appreciation in the value of their existing properties to support the purchase or investment in additional properties. Borrowers may also be less able to pay principal and interest on our loans if the value of real estate weakens. Further, declining real estate values significantly increase the likelihood that we will incur losses on its loans in the event of default because the value of our collateral may be insufficient to cover its cost on the loan. Any sustained period of increased payment delinquencies, foreclosures or losses could adversely affect our Manager’s ability to invest in, sell and securitize loans, which would materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and business and our ability to pay dividends to stockholders.
We may experience a decline in the fair value of our assets.
A decline in the fair value of our assets may require us to recognize an “other-than-temporary” impairment against such assets under GAAP if we were to determine that, with respect to any assets in unrealized loss positions, we do not have the ability and intent to hold such assets to maturity or for a period of time sufficient to allow for recovery to the original acquisition cost of such assets. If such a determination were to be made, we would recognize unrealized losses through earnings and write down the amortized cost of such assets to a new cost basis, based on the fair value of such assets on the date they are considered to be other-than-temporarily impaired. Such impairment charges reflect non-cash losses at the time of recognition; subsequent disposition or sale of such assets could further affect our future losses or gains, as they are based on the difference between the sale price received and adjusted amortized cost of such assets at the time of sale. If we experience a decline in the fair value of our assets, it could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Some of our portfolio investments may be recorded at fair value and, as a result, there will be uncertainty as to the value of these investments.
Some or all of our portfolio investments may be in the form of positions or securities that are not publicly traded and are recorded at their estimated fair value. The fair value of investments that are not publicly traded may not be readily determinable. Our Manager will value these investments at fair value which may include unobservable inputs. Because such valuations are subjective, the fair value of certain of our assets may fluctuate over short periods of time and our Manager’s determinations of fair value may differ materially from the values that would have been used if a ready market for these securities existed. Our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected if our Manager’s determinations regarding the fair value of these investments were materially higher than the values that we ultimately realize upon their disposal.
We may invest in derivative instruments, which would subject us to increased risk of loss.
Subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT, we may also invest in, or use as part of our investment strategy, certain derivative instruments, including swaps, futures, forwards and options. Generally, a derivative is a financial contract the value of which depends upon, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate or index and may relate to individual debt or equity instruments, interest rates, currencies or currency exchange rates, commodities, related indices or other assets. The gross returns to be exchanged or swapped between the parties under a derivative instrument are generally calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” which may be significantly greater than the amount of cash or assets required to establish or maintain the derivative position. Accordingly, trading in derivative instruments can result in large amounts of leverage, which may magnify the gains and losses experienced by us in respect of derivative instruments and may result in a loss of capital that is more exaggerated than would have resulted from an investment that did not involve the use of leverage inherent in the derivative contract.
While the judicious use of derivative instruments can be beneficial, such instruments involve risks different from, and, in certain cases, greater than, the risks presented by more traditional investments. Many of the derivative instruments used by us will be privately negotiated in over-the-counter (“OTC”) markets. Such derivatives are highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques and risk analyses different from those associated with equities and bonds. The use of derivative instruments also requires an understanding not only of the underlying asset, reference rate or index but also of the derivative

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itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the derivative under all possible market conditions. The use of derivative instruments may also require us to sell or purchase portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices below or above the current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation we can realize on an investment or may cause us to hold a security that it might otherwise want to sell. We may also have to defer closing out certain derivative positions to avoid adverse tax consequences and there may be situations in which derivative instruments are not elected that result in losses greater than if such instruments had been used. Furthermore, amounts paid by us as premiums and cash or other assets held in margin accounts with respect to our derivative instruments would not be available to us for other investment purposes, which may result in lost opportunities for gain.
Investing in derivative instruments may present various additional market and counterparty-related risks including, but not limited to:
Lack of Liquidity: Derivative instruments, especially when purchased in large amounts, may not be liquid in all circumstances, so that in volatile markets we may not be able to close out a position without incurring a loss. Although both OTC and exchange-traded derivative markets may experience the lack of liquidity, OTC non-standardized derivative transactions are generally less liquid than exchange-traded instruments, particularly because participants in OTC markets are not required to make continuous markets in the contracts they trade.

Volatility: The prices of derivative instruments, including swaps, futures, forwards and options, are highly volatile and such instruments may subject us to significant losses. The value of such derivatives also depends upon the price of the underlying asset, reference rate or index, which may also be subject to volatility. In addition, actual or implied daily limits on price fluctuations and speculative position limits on the exchanges or OTC markets in which we may conduct our transactions in derivative instruments may prevent prompt liquidation of positions, subjecting us to the potential of greater losses. Derivative instruments that may be purchased or sold by us may include instruments not traded on an exchange. The risk of nonperformance by the obligor on such an instrument may be greater and the ease with which we can dispose of or enter into closing transactions with respect to such an instrument may be less than in the case of an exchange-traded instrument. In addition, significant disparities may exist between “bid” and “asked” prices for derivative instruments that are traded OTC and not on an exchange. Such OTC derivatives are also typically not subject to the same type of investor protections or governmental regulation as exchange traded instruments.

Imperfect Correlation: When used for hedging purposes, an imperfect or variable degree of correlation between price movements of the derivative instrument and the underlying asset, reference rate or index sought to be hedged may prevent us from achieving the intended hedging effect or expose us to the risk of loss. The imperfect correlation between the value of a derivative and the underlying assets may result in losses on the derivative transaction that are greater than the gain in the value of the underlying assets in our portfolio.

Valuation Risk: The derivative instruments used by us may be difficult to value or involve the risk of mispricing or improper valuation, especially where the markets for such derivatives instruments are illiquid and/or such derivatives involve complex structures, or where there is imperfect correlation between the value of the derivative instrument and the underlying asset, reference rate or index.

Counterparty Risk: Derivative instruments also involve exposure to counterparty risk, since contract performance depends in part on the financial condition of the counterparty. See “—Risks Related to Our Financing and Hedging —We will be subject to counterparty risk associated with any hedging activities.”

Additionally, our Manager may cause us to take advantage of investment opportunities with respect to derivative instruments that are neither presently contemplated nor currently available, but which may be developed in the future, to the extent such opportunities are both consistent with our investment objectives and legally permissible. Any such investments may expose us to unique and presently indeterminate risks, the impact of which may not be capable of determination until such instruments are developed and/or our Manager determines to make such an investment on our behalf.
Transactions denominated in foreign currencies may subject us to foreign currency risks.
Although we have not done so to date, we may originate, invest in or acquire assets denominated in foreign currencies, which may expose us to foreign currency risk. As a result, a change in foreign currency exchange rates may have an adverse impact on the valuation of our assets, as well as our income and distributions. Any such changes in foreign currency exchange rates may

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impact the measurement of such assets or income for the purposes of the REIT tests and may affect the amounts available for payment of dividends on our common stock. See “—Risks Related to Our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Considerations.”
Loans or investments involving international real estate-related assets are subject to special risks that we may not manage effectively, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.
Our investment guidelines permit investments in non-U.S. assets, subject to the same guidelines as investments in U.S. assets. To the extent that we invest in non-U.S. real estate-related assets, we may be subject to certain risks associated with international investments generally, including, among others:
currency exchange matters, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates and costs associated with conversion of investment principal and income from one currency to another;

less developed or efficient financial markets than in the United States, which may lead to potential price volatility and relative illiquidity;

the burdens of complying with international regulatory requirements and prohibitions that differ between jurisdictions;

changes in laws or clarifications to existing laws that could impact our tax treaty positions, which could adversely impact the returns on our investments;

a less developed legal or regulatory environment, differences in the legal and regulatory environment or enhanced legal and regulatory compliance;

political hostility to investments by foreign investors;

higher inflation rates;

higher transaction costs;

difficulty enforcing contractual obligations;

fewer investor protections;

potentially adverse tax consequences; or

other economic and political risks.

If any of the foregoing risks were to materialize, they could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
The lack of liquidity in certain of our target assets may adversely affect our business.
The illiquidity of some or all of our investments may make it difficult for us to sell such investments if the need or desire arises. In addition, certain of our investments may become less liquid after investment as a result of periods of delinquencies, defaults or turbulent market conditions, which may make it more difficult for us to dispose of such assets at advantageous times or in a timely manner. Moreover, many of our investments will not be registered under the relevant securities laws, resulting in prohibitions on their transfer, sale, pledge or their disposition except in transactions that are exempt from registration requirements or are otherwise in accordance with such laws. As a result, many of our investments are expected to be illiquid, and 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 previously recorded our investments. Further, we may face other restrictions on our ability to liquidate an investment to the extent that we or our Manager has or could be attributed as having material, non-public information regarding such business entity. As a result, our ability to vary our portfolio in response to changes in economic or other conditions may be relatively limited, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

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We have utilized and may utilize in the future non-recourse long-term securitizations to finance our loans and investments, which may expose us to risks that could result in losses.
We have utilized and may utilize in the future, non-recourse securitizations of certain of our portfolio investments to generate cash for funding new loans and investments and other purposes. These transactions generally involve us creating a special-purpose vehicle, contributing a pool of our assets to the entity, and selling interests in the entity on a non-recourse basis to purchasers (whom we would expect to be willing to accept a lower interest rate to invest in investment-grade loan pools). We would expect to retain all or a portion of the equity and potentially other tranches in the securitized pool of loans or investments. In addition, we have retained in the past and may in the future retain a pari passu participation in the securitized pool of loans.
Prior to any such financing, we may use short-term facilities to finance the acquisition of securities until a sufficient quantity of investments had been accumulated, at which time we would refinance these facilities through a securitization, such as a CMBS, or issuance of CLOs, or the private placement of loan participations or other long-term financing. As a result, we would be subject to the risk that we would not be able to acquire, during the period that our short-term facilities are available, a sufficient amount of eligible investments to maximize the efficiency of a CMBS, CLO or private placement issuance. We also would be subject to the risk that we would not be able to obtain short-term credit facilities or would not be able to renew any short-term credit facilities after they expire should we find it necessary to extend our short-term credit facilities to allow more time to seek and acquire the necessary eligible investments for a long-term financing. The inability to consummate securitizations of our portfolio to finance our loans and investments on a long-term basis could require us to seek other forms of potentially less attractive financing or to liquidate assets at an inopportune time or price, which could adversely affect our performance and our ability to grow our business. Moreover, conditions in the capital markets, including volatility and disruption in the capital and credit markets, may not permit a non-recourse securitization at any particular time or may make the issuance of any such securitization less attractive to us even when we do have sufficient eligible assets. We may also suffer losses if the value of the mortgage loans we acquire declines prior to securitization. Declines in the value of a mortgage loan can be due to, among other things, changes in interest rates and changes in the credit quality of the loan. In addition, we may suffer a loss due to the incurrence of transaction costs related to executing these transactions. To the extent that we incur a loss executing or participating in future securitizations for the reasons described above or for other reasons, it could materially and adversely impact our business and financial condition.
In addition, the securitization of our portfolio might magnify our exposure to losses because any equity interest we retain in the issuing entity would be subordinate to the notes issued to investors and we would, therefore, absorb all of the losses sustained with respect to a securitized pool of assets before the owners of the notes experience any losses. The inability to securitize our portfolio may hurt our performance and our ability to grow our business. At the same time, the securitization of our loans or investments might expose us to losses, as the residual loans or investments in which we do not sell interests will tend to be riskier and more likely to generate losses. Moreover, the Dodd-Frank Act contains a risk retention requirement for all asset-backed securities, which requires both public and private securitizers to retain not less than 5% of the credit risk of the assets collateralizing any asset-backed security issuance. Significant restrictions exist, and additional restrictions may be added in the future, regarding who may hold risk retention interests, the structure of the entities that hold risk retention interests and when and how such risk retention interests may be transferred. Therefore such risk retention interests will generally be illiquid. As a result of the risk retention requirements, we have and may in the future be required to purchase and retain certain interests in a securitization into which we sell mortgage loans and/or when we act as issuer, may be required to sell certain interests in a securitization at prices below levels that such interests have historically yielded and/or may be required to enter into certain arrangements related to risk retention that we have not historically been required to enter into. Accordingly, the risk retention rules may increase our potential liabilities and/or reduce our potential profits in connection with securitization of mortgage loans. It is likely, therefore, that these risk retention rules will increase the administrative and operational costs of asset securitizations.
Risks Related to Our Company
Our investment strategy may be changed without stockholder consent.
While we primarily seek to make real estate-related debt investments, our Manager may otherwise implement on our behalf strategies or discretionary approaches it believes from time to time may be best suited to prevailing market conditions in furtherance of that purpose, subject to the supervision and direction of our board of directors and the limitations set forth in our organizational documents and governing agreements. There can be no assurance that our Manager will be successful in implementing any particular investment strategy. Our Manager may change our investment strategy or asset allocation at any time without the consent of stockholders, which could result in our Manager making investments that are different from, and

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possibly riskier than, the investments described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. A change in our investment strategy may also increase our exposure to interest rate and real estate market fluctuations and could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Accounting rules for certain of our transactions are highly complex and involve significant judgment and assumptions, which could impact our ability to timely prepare consolidated financial statements.
Accounting rules for loan impairment, transfers of financial assets, securitization transactions, consolidation of VIEs, loan loss reserves and other aspects of our operations are highly complex and involve significant judgment and assumptions. These complexities could lead to a delay in preparation of financial information and the delivery of this information to our stockholders. Changes in accounting interpretations or assumptions could also impact our consolidated financial statements and our ability to timely prepare our consolidated financial statements. Our inability to timely prepare our consolidated financial statements in the future would likely have a significant adverse effect on our stock price.
Provisions for loan losses are difficult to estimate.
Our provision for loan losses is evaluated on a quarterly basis. The determination of our provision for loan losses requires us to make certain estimates and judgments, which may be difficult to determine. Our estimates and judgments are based on a number of factors, including projected cash flow from the collateral securing our loans, debt structure, including the availability of reserves and recourse guarantees, likelihood of repayment in full at the maturity of a loan, potential for refinancing and expected market discount rates for varying property types, all of which remain uncertain and are subjective. Our estimates and judgments may not be correct and, therefore, our results of operations and financial condition could be severely impacted.
In addition, in June 2016, the FASB, issued Accounting Standards Update 2016-13, “Financial Instruments—Credit Losses, Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments (Topic 326),” which replaces the current “incurred loss” model for recognizing credit losses with an “expected loss” model referred to as the Current Expected Credit Loss model, or CECL. Under the CECL model, which became effective for us for fiscal 2020 and for interim periods therein, we are required to present certain financial assets carried at amortized cost, such as loans held for investment, at the net amount expected to be collected. The measurement of expected credit losses is to be based on information about past events, including historical experience, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts that affect the collectability of the reported amount. This measurement will take place at the time the financial asset is first added to the balance sheet and updated quarterly thereafter. This differs significantly from the “incurred loss” model previously required under GAAP, which delayed recognition until it was probable a loss has been incurred. Accordingly, we expect that the adoption of the CECL model will materially affect how we determine our allowance for loan losses and could require us to significantly increase our allowance and recognize provisions for loan losses earlier in the lending cycle. Moreover, the CECL model may create more volatility in the level of our allowance for loan losses. If we are required to materially increase our level of allowance for loan losses for any reason, such increase could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Operational risks may disrupt our business, result in losses or limit our growth.
We rely heavily on KKR’s financial, accounting, communications and other data processing systems. Such systems may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of tampering or a breach of the network security systems or otherwise. In addition, such systems are from time to time subject to cyberattacks. Breaches of our network security systems could involve attacks that are intended to obtain unauthorized access to our proprietary information, destroy data or disable, degrade or sabotage our systems, often through the introduction of computer viruses, cyberattacks and other means and could originate from a wide variety of sources, including unknown third parties outside the firm. We and our Manager’s employees have been and expect to continue to be the target of fraudulent calls, emails and other forms of activities. The costs related to cyber or other security threats or disruptions may not be fully insured or indemnified by other means. In addition, cybersecurity has become a top priority for regulators around the world, and some jurisdictions have enacted laws requiring companies to notify individuals of data security breaches involving certain types of personal data. Although KKR takes various measures to ensure the integrity of such systems, there can be no assurance that these measures will provide protection. If such systems are compromised, do not operate properly or are disabled, or if we fail to comply with the relevant laws and regulations, we could suffer financial loss, a disruption of our businesses, liability to investors, regulatory intervention or reputational damage. Generally, our Manager will not be liable for losses incurred due to the failure of any such systems.

In addition, we are highly dependent on information systems and technology. Our information systems and technology may not continue to be able to accommodate our growth, and the cost of maintaining such systems may increase from its current level.

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Such a failure to accommodate growth, or an increase in costs related to such information systems, could have a material adverse effect on us.
Furthermore, we depend on our headquarters in New York City, where most of our Manager’s personnel are located, for the continued operation of our business. A disaster or a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our business, including a disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, or directly affecting our headquarters, could have a material adverse impact on our ability to continue to operate our business without interruption. KKR’s disaster recovery programs may not be sufficient to mitigate the harm that may result from such a disaster or disruption. In addition, insurance and other safeguards might only partially reimburse us for our losses, if at all.
Finally, we rely on third-party service providers for certain aspects of our business, including for certain information systems, technology and administration. Any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties or failures of their information systems and technology could impair the quality of our operations and could affect our reputation and hence adversely affect our business.
All of our assets may be subject to recourse.
All of our assets, including any investments made by us and any funds held by us, may be available to satisfy all of our liabilities and other obligations. If we become subject to a liability, parties seeking to have the liability satisfied may have recourse to our assets generally and not be limited to any particular asset, such as the asset representing the investment giving rise to the liability.
State licensing requirements will cause us to incur expenses and our failure to be properly licensed may have a material adverse effect on us and our operations.
Nonbank companies are generally required to hold licenses in a number of U.S. states to conduct lending activities. State licensing statutes vary from state to state and prescribe or impose various recordkeeping requirements; restrictions on loan origination and servicing practices, including limits on finance charges and the type, amount and manner of charging fees; disclosure requirements; requirements that licensees submit to periodic examination; surety bond and minimum specified net worth requirements; periodic financial reporting requirements; notification requirements for changes in principal officers, stock ownership or corporate control; restrictions on advertising; and requirements that loan forms be submitted for review. Obtaining and maintaining licenses will cause us to incur expenses and failure to be properly licensed under state law or otherwise may have a material adverse effect on us and our operations.
Avoiding the need to register under the Investment Company Act imposes significant limits on our operations. Your investment return may be reduced if we are required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act.
We currently conduct, and intend to continue to conduct, our operations so that we are not required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. We believe we are not an investment company under Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the Investment Company Act because we do not engage primarily, or hold ourselves out as being engaged primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. In addition, we intend to conduct our operations so that we do not come within the definition of an investment company under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act because less than 40% of our total assets on an unconsolidated basis will consist of “investment securities” (the “40% test”). Excluded from the term “investment securities” (as that term is defined in the Investment Company Act) are securities issued by majority-owned subsidiaries that are themselves not investment companies and are not relying on the exclusion from the definition of investment company set forth in Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act.

To avoid the need to register as an investment company, the securities issued to us by any wholly owned or majority-owned subsidiaries that we may form in the future that are excluded from the definition of investment company under Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act, together with any other investment securities we may own, may not have a value in excess of 40% of the value of our total assets on an unconsolidated basis. We will monitor our holdings to ensure ongoing compliance with this test, but there can be no assurance that we will be able to avoid the need to register as an investment company. The 40% test limits the types of businesses in which we may engage through our subsidiaries. In addition, the assets we and our subsidiaries may originate or acquire are limited by the provisions of the Investment Company Act and the rules and regulations promulgated under the Investment Company Act, which may adversely affect our business.

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We hold our assets primarily through direct or indirect wholly owned or majority-owned subsidiaries, certain of which are excluded from the definition of investment company pursuant to Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act. To qualify for the exclusion pursuant to Section 3(c)(5)(C) based on positions set forth by the staff of the SEC, each such subsidiary generally is required to hold at least (i) 55% of its assets in “qualifying” real estate assets and (ii) at least 80% of its assets in “qualifying” real estate assets and real estate-related assets. For our subsidiaries that maintain this exclusion or another exclusion or exception under the Investment Company Act (other than Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) thereof), our interests in these subsidiaries do not and will not constitute “investment securities.”
As a consequence of our seeking to avoid the need to register under the Investment Company Act on an ongoing basis, we and/or our subsidiaries may be restricted from making certain investments or may structure investments in a manner that would be less advantageous to us than would be the case in the absence of such requirements. In particular, a change in the value of any of our assets could negatively affect our ability to avoid the need to register under the Investment Company Act and cause the need for a restructuring of our investment portfolio. For example, these restrictions may limit our and our subsidiaries’ ability to invest directly in mortgage-backed securities that represent less than the entire ownership in a pool of senior loans, debt and equity tranches of securitizations and certain asset-backed securities, non-controlling equity interests in real estate companies or in assets not related to real estate; however, we and our subsidiaries may invest in such securities to a certain extent. In addition, seeking to avoid the need to register under the Investment Company Act may cause us and/or our subsidiaries to acquire or hold additional assets that we might not otherwise have acquired or held or dispose of investments that we and/or our subsidiaries might not have otherwise disposed of, which could result in higher costs or lower proceeds to us than we would have paid or received if we were not seeking to comply with such requirements. Thus, avoiding registration under the Investment Company Act may hinder our ability to operate solely on the basis of maximizing profits.
We will determine whether an entity is a majority-owned subsidiary of our company. The Investment Company Act defines a majority-owned subsidiary of a person as a company 50% or more of the outstanding voting securities of which are owned by such person, or by another company which is a majority-owned subsidiary of such person. The Investment Company Act defines voting securities as any security presently entitling the owner or holder thereof to vote for the election of directors of a company. We treat entities in which we own at least a majority of the outstanding voting securities as majority-owned subsidiaries for purposes of the 40% test. We have not requested that the SEC or its staff approve our treatment of any entity as a majority-owned subsidiary, and neither has done so. If the SEC or its staff were to disagree with our treatment of one or more subsidiary entities as majority-owned subsidiaries, we may need to adjust our strategy and our assets in order to continue to pass the 40% test. Any adjustment in our strategy or assets could have a material adverse effect on us.
We classify our assets for purposes of certain of our subsidiaries’ Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion from the Investment Company Act based upon no-action positions taken by the SEC staff and interpretive guidance provided by the SEC and its staff. Based on such guidance, to qualify for the exclusion pursuant to Section 3(c)(5)(C), each such subsidiary generally is required to hold at least (i) 55% of its assets in “qualifying” real estate assets and (ii) 80% of its assets in “qualifying” real estate assets and real estate-related assets. “Qualifying” real estate assets for this purpose include senior loans, certain B-Notes and certain mezzanine loans that satisfy various conditions as set forth in SEC staff no-action letters and other guidance, and other assets that the SEC staff in various no-action letters and other guidance has determined are the functional equivalent of senior loans for the purposes of the Investment Company Act. We treat as real estate-related assets B-Notes and mezzanine loans that do not satisfy the conditions set forth in the relevant SEC staff no-action letters and other guidance, and debt and equity securities of companies primarily engaged in real estate businesses. Unless a relevant SEC no action letter or other guidance applies, we expect to treat preferred equity interests as real estate-related assets. The SEC has not published guidance with respect to the treatment of CMBS for purposes of the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion. Unless the SEC or its staff issues guidance with respect to CMBS, we intend to treat CMBS as a real estate-related asset. These no-action positions are based on specific factual situations that may be substantially different from the factual situations we and our subsidiaries may face, and a number of these no-action positions were issued more than twenty years ago. There may be no guidance from the SEC staff that applies directly to our factual situations and as a result we may have to apply SEC staff guidance that relates to other factual situations by analogy. No assurance can be given that the SEC or its staff will concur with our classification of our assets. In addition, the SEC or its staff may, in the future, issue further guidance that may require us to re-classify our assets for purposes of the Investment Company Act, including for purposes of our subsidiaries’ compliance with the exclusion provided in Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act. There is no guarantee that we will be able to adjust our assets in the manner required to avoid the need to register under the Investment Company Act and any adjustment in our strategy or assets could have a material adverse effect on us.

To the extent that the SEC or its staff provide more specific guidance regarding any of the matters bearing upon the definition of investment company and the exemptions to that definition, we may be required to adjust our strategy accordingly. On August 31, 2011, the SEC issued a concept release and request for comments regarding the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion (Release No. IC-29778) in which it contemplated the possibility of issuing new rules or providing new interpretations of the

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exemption that might, among other things, define the phrase “liens on and other interests in real estate” or consider sources of income in determining a company’s “primary business.” Any additional guidance from the SEC or its staff could provide additional flexibility to us, or it could further inhibit our ability to pursue the strategies we have chosen.
There can be no assurance that we and our subsidiaries will be able to successfully avoid operating as an unregistered investment company. If it were established that we were an unregistered investment company, there would be a risk that we would be subject to monetary penalties and injunctive relief in an action brought by the SEC, that we would be unable to enforce contracts with third parties, that third parties could seek to obtain rescission of transactions undertaken during the period it was established that we were an unregistered investment company, and that we would be subject to limitations on corporate leverage that would have an adverse impact on our investment returns.
If we were required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act, we would become subject to substantial regulation with respect to our capital structure (including our ability to use borrowings), management, operations, transactions with affiliated persons (as defined in the Investment Company Act) and portfolio composition, including disclosure requirements and restrictions with respect to diversification and industry concentration and other matters. Compliance with the Investment Company Act would, accordingly, limit our ability to make certain investments and require us to significantly restructure our business plan, which could materially adversely affect our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.
Changes in laws or regulations governing our operations, changes in the interpretation thereof or newly enacted laws or regulations and any failure by us to comply with these laws or regulations, could require changes to certain of our business practices, negatively impact our operations, cash flow or financial condition, impose additional costs on us, subject us to increased competition or otherwise adversely affect our business.
The laws and regulations governing our operations, as well as their interpretation, may change from time to time, and new laws and regulations may be enacted. Accordingly, any change in these laws or regulations, changes in their interpretation, or newly enacted laws or regulations and any failure by us to comply with these laws or regulations, could require changes to certain of our business practices, negatively impact our operations, cash flow or financial condition, impose additional costs on us or otherwise adversely affect our business. For example, from time to time the market for real estate debt transactions has been adversely affected by a decrease in the availability of senior and subordinated financing for transactions, in part in response to regulatory pressures on providers of financing to reduce or eliminate their exposure to such transactions. Furthermore, if regulatory capital requirements-whether under the Dodd-Frank Act, Basel III (i.e., the framework for a comprehensive set of capital and liquidity standards for internationally active banking organizations, which was adopted in June 2011 by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, an international body comprised of senior representatives of bank supervisory authorities and central banks from 27 countries, including the United States) or other regulatory action-are imposed on private lenders that provide us with funds, or were to be imposed on us, they or we may be required to limit, or increase the cost of, financing they provide to us or that we provide to others. Among other things, this could potentially increase our financing costs, reduce our ability to originate or acquire loans and reduce our liquidity or require us to sell assets at an inopportune time or price.
Various laws and regulations currently exist that restrict the investment activities of banks and certain other financial institutions but do not apply to us, which we believe creates opportunities for us to participate in certain investments that are not available to these more regulated institutions. However, the current presidential administration has promised that it will seek to deregulate the financial industry, including by amending the Dodd-Frank Act, which may decrease the restrictions on banks and other financial institutions and allow them to compete with us for investment opportunities that were previously not available to them. For example, in 2018, a bill was signed into law that eased the regulation and oversight of certain banks under the Dodd-Frank Act.. See “—Risks Related to Our Lending and Investment Activities—We operate in a competitive market for lending and investment opportunities, and competition may limit our ability to originate or acquire desirable loans and investments or dispose of assets we target and could also affect the yields of these assets and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.”
There has been increasing commentary amongst regulators and intergovernmental institutions on the role of nonbank institutions in providing credit and, particularly, so-called “shadow banking,” a term generally taken to refer to credit intermediation involving entities and activities outside the regulated banking system. For example, in August 2013, the Financial Stability Board issued a policy framework for strengthening oversight and regulation of “shadow banking” entities. The report outlined initial steps to define the scope of the shadow banking system and proposed general governing principles for a monitoring and regulatory framework. A number of other regulators, such as the Federal Reserve, and international organizations, such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions, are studying the shadow banking system. At this time, it is too early to assess whether any rules or regulations will be proposed or to what extent any finalized rules or regulations will have on the nonbank lending market. If rules or regulations were to extend to us or our affiliates the regulatory

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and supervisory requirements, such as capital and liquidity standards, currently applicable to banks, then the regulatory and operating costs associated therewith could adversely impact the implementation of our investment strategy and our returns. In an extreme eventuality, it is possible that such regulations could render the continued operation of our company unviable.
In the United States, the process established by the Dodd-Frank Act for designation of systemically important nonbank firms has provided a means for ensuring that the perimeter of prudential regulation can be extended as appropriate to cover large shadow banking institutions. The Dodd-Frank Act established the Financial Stability Oversight Council (the “FSOC”), which is comprised of representatives of all the major U.S. financial regulators, to act as the financial system’s systemic risk regulator. The FSOC has the authority to review the activities of nonbank financial companies predominantly engaged in financial activities and designate those companies as “systematically important financial institutions” (“SIFIs”) for supervision by the Federal Reserve. Such designation is applicable to companies where material distress or failure could pose risk to the financial stability of the United States. On December 18, 2014, the FSOC released a notice seeking public comment on the potential risks posed by aspects of the asset management industry, including whether asset management products and activities may pose potential risks to the U.S. financial system in the areas of liquidity and redemptions, leverage, operational functions, and resolution, or in other areas. On April 18, 2016, the FSOC released an update on its multi-year review of asset management products and activities and created an interagency working group to assess potential risks associated with certain leveraged funds. On December 4, 2019, the FSOC issued final guidance regarding the FSOC’s procedures for designating nonbank financial companies as SIFIs. This guidance implemented a number of reforms to the FSOC’s prior SIFI designation approach by shifting from an “entity-based” approach to an “activities-based” approach whereby the FSOC will primarily focus on regulating activities that pose systematic risk to the financial stability of the United States, rather than designations of individual firms. Under the guidance, designation of a nonbank financial company as a SIFI would only occur if the FSOC determined that the expected benefits justify the expected costs of the designation. While the impact of this guidance cannot be known at this time whether any regulation will be implemented or what form it will take, increased regulation of nonbank credit extension could negatively impact our operations, cash flows or financial condition, impose additional costs on us, intensify the regulatory supervision of us or otherwise adversely affect our business.

Changes in laws or regulations governing the operations of borrowers could affect our returns with respect to those borrowers.
Government counterparties or agencies may have the discretion to change or increase regulation of a borrower’s operations, or implement laws or regulations affecting a borrower’s operations, separate from any contractual rights it may have. A borrower could also be materially and adversely affected as a result of statutory or regulatory changes or judicial or administrative interpretations of existing laws and regulations that impose more comprehensive or stringent requirements on such company. Governments have considerable discretion in implementing regulations, including, for example, the possible imposition or increase of taxes on income earned by a borrower or gains recognized by us on our investment in such borrower, that could impact a borrower’s business as well as our return on our investment with respect to such borrower. Changes in government rules, regulations and fiscal policies, including increases in property taxes, changes in zoning laws and increasing costs to comply with environmental law could increase operating expenses for our borrowers. Likewise, changes in rent control or rent stabilization laws or other residential landlord/tenant laws could result in lower revenue growth or significant unanticipated expenditures for our borrowers. For example, in 2016, voters in Mountain View, California passed a referendum that limits rent increases on existing tenants (but not on new move-ins) in communities built before 1995. These initiatives and any other future enactments of rent control or rent stabilization laws or other laws regulating multifamily housing may reduce our borrowers’ rental revenues or increase their operating costs. Such laws and regulations may limit our borrowers’ ability to charge market rents, increase rents, evict tenants or recover increases in their operating costs, which may, in turn, impact our return on our investment with respect to such borrowers.
We are subject to risks from litigation filed by or against us.
Legal or governmental proceedings brought by or on behalf of third parties may adversely affect our financial results. Our investment activities may include activities that are hostile in nature and will subject it to the risks of becoming involved in such proceedings. The expense of defending claims against us and paying any amounts pursuant to settlements or judgments would be borne by us and would reduce net assets. Our Manager will be indemnified by us in connection with such proceedings, subject to certain conditions. Similarly, we may from time to time institute legal proceedings on behalf of ourselves or others, the ultimate outcome of which could cause us to incur substantial damages and expenses, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.

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The obligations associated with being a public company require significant resources and attention from our Manager’s senior management team.
As a public company with listed equity securities, we must comply with laws, regulations and requirements, including the requirements of the Exchange Act, certain corporate governance provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), related regulations of the SEC and requirements of the NYSE, with which we were not required to comply as a private company. The Exchange Act requires that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we establish and maintain effective internal controls and procedures for financial reporting. These reporting and other obligations place significant demands on our Manager’s senior management team, administrative, operational and accounting resources and cause us to incur significant expenses. We may need to upgrade our systems or create new systems, implement additional financial and other controls, reporting systems and procedures, and create or outsource an internal audit function. If we are unable to accomplish these objectives in a timely and effective fashion, our ability to comply with the financial reporting requirements and other rules that apply to reporting companies could be impaired.
If we are unable to implement and maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting in the future, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock may be negatively affected.
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal controls over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. In addition, we are required to furnish a report by management on the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Once we are no longer an emerging growth company, our independent registered public accounting firm will be required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting on an annual basis. The process of designing, implementing and testing the internal controls over financial reporting required to comply with this obligation is time consuming, costly and complicated. If we identify material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting, if we are unable to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner or to assert that our internal controls over financial reporting is effective or if, once we are no longer an emerging growth company, our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected. We could also become subject to investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could require additional financial and management resources.

We are an “emerging growth company,” and we cannot be certain if the reduced reporting requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our common stock less attractive to investors.
We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in Section 2(a) of the Securities Act, as modified by the JOBS Act. We currently take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies, including but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier, including if we have more than $1.07 billion (as may be adjusted for inflation) in annual revenues as of the end of our fiscal year, we have more than $700.0 million in market value of our stock held by non-affiliates as of the end of our second fiscal quarter or we issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible debt over a three-year period. We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our per share trading price may be adversely affected and more volatile.
Risks Related to Our Financing and Hedging
Our indebtedness may subject us to increased risk of loss and could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We currently have outstanding indebtedness and, subject to market conditions and availability, we may incur a significant amount of additional debt through bank credit facilities (including term loans and revolving facilities), warehouse facilities and structured financing arrangements, public and private debt issuances (including through securitizations) and derivative

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instruments, in addition to transaction or asset-specific funding arrangements and additional repurchase agreements. We may also issue debt or equity securities to fund our growth. The percentage of leverage we employ will vary depending on our available capital, our ability to obtain and access financing arrangements with lenders, the type of asset we are funding, whether the financing is recourse or non-recourse, debt restrictions contained in those financing arrangements and the lenders’ and rating agencies’ estimate of the stability of our investment portfolio’s cash flow. We may significantly increase the amount of leverage we utilize at any time without approval of our board of directors. In addition, we may leverage individual assets at substantially higher levels. Incurring substantial debt could subject us to many risks that, if realized, would materially and adversely affect us, including the risk that:
our cash flow from operations may be insufficient to make required payments of principal of and interest on our debt or we may fail to comply with covenants contained in our debt agreements, which is likely to result in (1) acceleration of such debt (and any other debt containing a cross-default or cross-acceleration provision), which we then may be unable to repay from internal funds or to refinance on favorable terms, or at all, (2) our inability to borrow undrawn amounts under our financing arrangements, even if we are current in payments on borrowings under those arrangements, which would result in a decrease in our liquidity, and/or (3) the loss of some or all of our collateral assets to foreclosure or sale;

our debt may increase our vulnerability to adverse economic and industry conditions with no assurance that investment yields will increase in an amount sufficient to offset the higher financing costs;

we may be required to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our debt, thereby reducing funds available for operations, future business opportunities, stockholder distributions or other purposes; and

we may not be able to refinance any debt that matures prior to the maturity (or realization) of an underlying investment it was used to finance on favorable terms or at all.

There can be no assurance that a leveraging strategy will be successful, and such strategy may subject us to increased risk of loss and could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
We leverage certain of our target assets, which may adversely affect our return on our investments and may reduce cash available for distribution.
We leverage certain of our target assets through borrowings under our repurchase agreements. Leverage can enhance our potential returns but can also exacerbate losses. The return on our investments and cash available for distribution to stockholders may be reduced if market conditions cause the cost of our financing to increase relative to the income that can be derived from the assets acquired, which could adversely affect the price of our common stock. In addition, our debt service payments will reduce cash flow available for distributions to stockholders. As a borrower, we are also subject to the risk that we may not be able to meet our debt service obligations. To the extent that we cannot meet our debt service obligations, we risk the loss of some or all of our assets to foreclosure or sale to satisfy our debt obligations.
The utilization of any of our repurchase facilities is subject to the pre-approval of the lender.
We utilize repurchase agreements to finance the purchase of certain investments. In order for us to borrow funds under a repurchase agreement, our lender must have the right to review the potential assets for which we are seeking financing and approve such assets in its sole discretion. Accordingly, we may be unable to obtain the consent of a lender to finance an investment and alternate sources of financing for such asset may not exist.
Our master repurchase agreements impose, and additional lending facilities may impose, restrictive covenants, which would restrict our flexibility to determine our operating policies and investment strategy and to conduct our business.
We borrow funds under master repurchase agreements with various counterparties. The documents that govern these master repurchase agreements and the related guarantees contain, and additional lending facilities may contain, customary affirmative and negative covenants, including financial covenants applicable to us that may restrict our flexibility to determine our operating policies and investment strategy. In particular, our master repurchase agreements require us to maintain a certain amount of cash or set aside assets sufficient to maintain a specified liquidity position that would allow us to satisfy our collateral obligations. As a result, we may not be able to leverage our assets as fully as we would otherwise choose, which could reduce our return on assets. If we are unable to meet these collateral obligations, our financial condition and prospects could

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deteriorate rapidly. If we fail to meet or satisfy any of these covenants, we would be in default under these agreements, and our lenders could elect to declare outstanding amounts due and payable, terminate their commitments, require the posting of additional collateral and enforce their interests against existing collateral. We may also be subject to cross-default and acceleration rights in our other debt facilities. Further, this could also make it difficult for us to satisfy the requirements necessary to maintain our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes or to avoid our registration under the Investment Company Act. Our master repurchase agreements also grant certain consent rights to the lenders thereunder which give them the right to consent to certain modifications to the pledged collateral. This could limit our ability to manage a pledged investment in a way that we think would provide the best outcome for our stockholders.
These types of financing arrangements also involve the risk that the market value of the assets pledged or sold by us to the provider of the financing may decline in value, in which case the lender or counterparty may require us to provide additional collateral or lead to margin calls that may require us to repay all or a portion of the funds advanced. We may not have 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 including by selling assets at a time when we might not otherwise choose to do so, which we may not be able to achieve on favorable terms or at all. Posting additional margin would reduce our cash available to make other, higher yielding investments (thereby decreasing our return on equity). If we cannot meet these requirements, the lender or counterparty could accelerate our indebtedness, increase the interest rate on advanced funds and terminate our ability to borrow funds from it, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and ability to implement our investment strategy. In the case of repurchase transactions, if the value of the underlying security has declined as of the end of that term, or if we default on our obligations under the repurchase agreement, we will likely incur a loss on our repurchase transactions.
We depend on, or may in the future depend on, repurchase agreements, bank credit facilities, warehouse facilities and structured financing arrangements, public and private debt issuances (including through securitizations) and derivative instruments, in addition to transaction or asset-specific funding arrangements and other sources of financing to execute our business plan, and our inability to access funding could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and business.
Our ability to fund our investments may be impacted by our ability to secure bank credit facilities (including term loans and revolving facilities), warehouse facilities and structured financing arrangements, public and private debt issuances (including through securitizations) and derivative instruments, in addition to transaction or asset-specific funding arrangements and additional repurchase agreements on acceptable terms. We may also rely on short-term financing that would be especially exposed to changes in availability. Our access to sources of financing will depend upon a number of factors, over which we have little or no control, including:
general economic or market conditions;

the market’s view of the quality of our assets;

the market’s perception of our growth potential;

our current and potential future earnings and cash distributions; and

the market price of the shares of our common stock.

We may need to periodically access the capital markets to raise cash to fund new investments. Unfavorable economic or capital market conditions may increase our funding costs, limit our access to the capital markets or could result in a decision by our potential lenders not to extend credit. An inability to successfully access the capital markets could limit our ability to grow our business and fully execute our business strategy and could decrease our earnings and liquidity. In addition, any dislocation or weakness in the capital and credit markets could adversely affect our lenders and could cause one or more of our lenders to be unwilling or unable to provide us with financing or to increase the costs of that financing. In addition, as regulatory capital requirements imposed on our lenders are increased, they may be required to limit, or increase the cost of, financing they provide to us. In general, this could potentially increase our financing costs and reduce our liquidity or require us to sell assets at an inopportune time or price. We cannot provide any assurance that we will be able to obtain any such financing on favorable terms or at all.

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Interest rate fluctuations could increase our financing costs, which could lead to a significant decrease in our results of operations, cash flows and the market value of our investments.
To the extent that our financing costs are determined by reference to floating rates, such as LIBOR or a Treasury index, the amount of such costs will depend on the level and movement of interest rates. In a period of rising interest rates, our interest expense on floating-rate debt would increase, while any additional interest income we earn on our floating-rate investments may be subject to caps and may not compensate for such increase in interest expense. At the same time, the interest income we earn on our fixed-rate investments would not change, the duration and weighted average life of our fixed-rate investments would increase and the market value of our fixed-rate investments would decrease. Similarly, in a period of declining interest rates, our interest income on floating-rate investments would decrease, while any decrease in the interest we are charged on our floating-rate debt may be subject to floors and may not compensate for such decrease in interest income and interest we are charged on our fixed-rate debt would not change. Any such scenario could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Changes in the method for determining LIBOR or a replacement of LIBOR may affect the value of the financial obligations to be held or issued by us that are linked to LIBOR and could affect our results of operations or financial condition.     
Regulators and law-enforcement agencies from a number of governments, including entities in the United States, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, have been conducting civil and criminal investigations into whether the banks that contributed to the British Bankers’ Association, or the BBA, in connection with the calculation of daily LIBOR may have underreported or otherwise manipulated or attempted to manipulate LIBOR. Several financial institutions have reached settlements with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice Fraud Section and the U.K. Financial Services Authority in connection with investigations by such authorities into submissions made by such financial institutions to the bodies that set LIBOR and other interbank offered rates. In such settlements, such financial institutions admitted to submitting rates to the BBA that were lower than the actual rates at which such financial institutions could borrow funds from other banks. Additional investigations remain ongoing with respect to other major banks and no assurance can be made that there will not be further admissions or findings of rate setting manipulation or that improper manipulation of LIBOR or other similar inter-bank lending rates will not occur in the future.
Based on a review conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority of the U.K., or the FCA, and a consultation conducted by the European Commission, proposals have been made for governance and institutional reform, regulation, technical changes and contingency planning. In particular: (a) new legislation has been enacted in the United Kingdom pursuant to which LIBOR submissions and administration are now “regulated activities” and manipulation of LIBOR has been brought within the scope of the market abuse regime; (b) legislation has been proposed which if implemented would, among other things, alter the manner in which LIBOR is determined, compel more banks to provide LIBOR submissions, and require these submissions to be based on actual transaction data; and (c) LIBOR rates for certain currencies and maturities are no longer published daily. In addition, pursuant to authorization from the FCA, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (formerly NYSE Euronext Rate Administration Limited), or the IBA, took over the administration of LIBOR from the BBA on February 1, 2014. Any new administrator of LIBOR may make methodological changes to the way in which LIBOR is calculated or may alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of LIBOR.
In a speech on July 27, 2017, Andrew Bailey, the Chief Executive of the FCA, announced the FCA’s intention to cease sustaining LIBOR after 2021. The FCA has statutory powers to require panel banks to contribute to LIBOR where necessary. The FCA has decided not to ask, or to require, that panel banks continue to submit contributions to LIBOR beyond the end of 2021. The FCA has indicated that it expects that the current panel banks will voluntarily sustain LIBOR until the end of 2021. The FCA’s intention is that after 2021, it will no longer be necessary for the FCA to ask, or to require, banks to submit contributions to LIBOR. The FCA does not intend to sustain LIBOR through using its influence or legal powers beyond that date. It is possible that the IBA and the panel banks could continue to produce LIBOR on the current basis after 2021, if they are willing and able to do so, but we cannot make assurances that LIBOR will survive in its current form, or at all. The Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing U.S.—dollar LIBOR with the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR, a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities. It is unclear whether SOFR will attain market acceptance as a LIBOR replacement or whether new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established such that it continues to exist after 2021.

We cannot predict the effect of the FCA’s decision not to sustain LIBOR, or, if changes are ultimately made to LIBOR, the effect of those changes. As of December 31, 2019, 99.9% of our loans by principal balance earned a floating rate of interest indexed to LIBOR, and 100.0% of our outstanding financing arrangements (excluding convertible notes) bear interest indexed

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to LIBOR. All of these arrangements provide procedures for determining an alternative base rate in the event that LIBOR is discontinued. Regardless, there can be no assurances as to what alternative base rates may be and whether such base rate will be more or less favorable than LIBOR and any other unforeseen impacts of the potential discontinuation of LIBOR. Any changes, reforms or replacements relating to LIBOR could increase our interest expense and could have an adverse impact on the market for or value of any LIBOR-linked securities, loans, derivatives and other financial obligations or extensions of credit held by or due to us or on our overall financial condition or results of operations. In addition, there could be a mismatch between the timing of adjusting the floating base rate from LIBOR to an alternative base rate upon the discontinuation of LIBOR, between our financing arrangements and our loan investments, which may have an immediate and significant adverse impact on our results of operations and cash flows and the market value of our investments. We intend to monitor the developments with respect to the potential phasing out of LIBOR after 2021 and work with our lenders and borrowers to minimize the impact of any LIBOR transition on our financial condition and results of operations, but can provide no assurances regarding the impact of the discontinuation of LIBOR.
We are subject to counterparty risk associated with our debt obligations.
Our counterparties for critical financial relationships may include both domestic and international financial institutions. These institutions could be severely impacted by credit market turmoil, changes in legislation, allegations of civil or criminal wrongdoing and may as a result experience financial or other pressures. In addition, if a lender or counterparty files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, our borrowings under financing agreements with them may become subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, thus depriving us, at least temporarily, of the benefit of these assets. Such an event could restrict our access to financing and increase our cost of capital. If any of our counterparties were to limit or cease operation, it could lead to financial losses for us.
We may utilize a wide variety of derivative financial instruments for risk management purposes, the use of which may entail greater than ordinary investment risks.
While not anticipated to be a meaningful component of our investment strategy, we may, subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT, utilize a wide variety of derivative financial instruments for risk management purposes, the use of which is a highly specialized activity that may entail greater than ordinary investment risks. Any such hedging transactions may not be effective in mitigating risk in all market conditions or against all types of risk (including unidentified or unanticipated risks), thereby resulting in losses to us. Engaging in hedging transactions may result in a poorer overall performance for us than if we had not engaged in any such hedging transaction, and our Manager may not be able to effectively hedge against, or accurately anticipate, certain risks that may adversely affect our investment portfolio. In addition, our investment portfolio will always be exposed to certain risks that cannot be fully or effectively hedged, such as credit risk relating both to particular securities and counterparties.
Hedging may adversely affect our earnings, which could reduce our cash available for distribution to stockholders.
Subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT, we may pursue various hedging strategies to seek to reduce our exposure to adverse changes in interest rates and fluctuations in currencies. Our hedging activity will vary in scope based on the level and volatility of interest rates, exchange rates, the type of assets held and other changing market conditions. Interest rate and currency hedging may fail to protect or could adversely affect us because, among other things:
interest, currency and/or credit hedging can be expensive and may result in us generating less net income;

available interest or currency rate hedges may not correspond directly with the interest rate or currency risk for which protection is sought;

due to a credit loss, prepayment or asset sale, the duration of the hedge may not match the duration of the related asset or liability;

the amount of income that a REIT may earn from hedging transactions (other than hedging transactions that satisfy certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) or that are done through a taxable REIT subsidiary) to offset interest rate losses is limited by U.S. federal income tax provisions governing REITs;

the credit quality of the hedging counterparty owing money on the hedge may be downgraded to such an extent that it impairs our ability to sell or assign our side of the hedging transaction;

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we may fail to recalculate, readjust and execute hedges in an efficient manner; and

legal, tax and regulatory changes could occur and may adversely affect our ability to pursue hedging strategies and/or increase the costs of implementing such strategies.

Any hedging activity in which we engage may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows. Therefore, while we may enter into such transactions seeking to reduce risks, unanticipated changes in interest rates, credit spreads or currencies may result in poorer overall investment performance than if we had not engaged in any such hedging transactions. In addition, the degree of correlation between price movements of the instruments used in a hedging strategy and price movements in the portfolio positions or liabilities being hedged may vary materially. Moreover, for a variety of reasons, we may not seek to establish a perfect correlation between such hedging instruments and the portfolio positions or liabilities being hedged. Any such imperfect correlation may prevent us from achieving the intended hedge and expose us to risk of loss.
In addition, some hedging instruments involve additional risk because they are not traded on regulated exchanges, guaranteed by an exchange or its clearing house, or regulated by any U.S. or foreign governmental authorities. Consequently, we cannot assure you that a liquid secondary market 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 significant losses. In addition, certain regulatory requirements with respect to derivatives, including record keeping, financial responsibility or segregation of customer funds and positions are still under development and could impact our hedging transactions and how we and our counterparty must manage such transactions.
We are subject to counterparty risk associated with any hedging activities.
We are subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to derivative contracts (whether a clearing corporation in the case of exchange-traded instruments or to our hedge counterparty in the case of OTC instruments). If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations under a derivative contract due to financial difficulties, we may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery under the derivative contract in a dissolution, assignment for the benefit of creditors, liquidation, winding-up, bankruptcy, or other analogous proceeding. In the event of the insolvency of a counterparty to a derivative transaction, the derivative transaction would typically be terminated at its fair market value. If we are owed this fair market value in the termination of the derivative transaction and our claim is unsecured, we will be treated as a general creditor of such counterparty, and will not have any claim with respect to the underlying security. We may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances. In addition, the business failure of a hedging counterparty with whom we enter into a hedging transaction will most likely result in its default, which may result in the loss of unrealized profits and force us to cover our commitments, if any, at the then current market price.
Currently, certain categories of interest rate and credit default swaps are subject to mandatory clearing, and more are expected to be cleared in the future. The counterparty risk for cleared derivatives is generally lower than for uncleared OTC derivative transactions because generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared derivative contract and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing house for performance of financial obligations. However, there can be no assurance that a clearing house, or its members, will satisfy the clearing house’s obligations to us. Counterparty risk with respect to certain exchange-traded and OTC derivatives may be further complicated by recently enacted U.S. financial reform legislation.
We may enter into hedging transactions that could expose us to contingent liabilities in the future.
Subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT, part of our investment strategy may involve entering into hedging transactions that could require us to fund cash payments in certain circumstances (such as the early termination of the hedging instrument caused by an event of default or other early termination event, or the decision by a counterparty to request margin securities it is contractually owed under the terms of the hedging instrument). The amount due with respect to an early termination would generally be equal to the unrealized loss of such open transaction positions with the respective counterparty and could also include other fees and charges. These economic losses will be reflected in our results of operations, and our ability to fund these obligations will depend on the liquidity of our assets and access to capital at the time, and the need to fund these obligations could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

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If we enter into certain hedging transactions or otherwise invest in certain derivative instruments, failure to obtain and maintain an exemption from being regulated as a commodity pool operator by our Manager could subject us to additional regulation and compliance requirements which could materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.
The Commodity Exchange Act of 1936, as amended, and rules promulgated thereunder (the “CFTC Rules”) by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for certain derivative instruments, including swaps, futures and foreign exchange derivatives (“Regulated CFTC Instruments”). Under this regulatory framework, mortgage real estate investment trusts (“mREITs”) that trade in Regulated CFTC Instruments are considered “commodity pools” and the operators of such mREITs would be considered “commodity pool operators” (“CPOs”). Absent an exemption, a CPO of an mREIT must register with the CFTC and become subject to CFTC Rules applicable to registered CPOs, including with respect to disclosure, reporting, recordkeeping and business conduct in respect of the mREIT. We may from time to time, directly or indirectly, invest in Regulated CFTC Instruments, which may subject us to oversight by the CFTC.
Our Manager has qualified for the exemption from the CPO registration requirement in respect of our company pursuant to the no-action relief issued by the CFTC staff to operators of qualifying mREITs and has filed a notice of exemption with the CFTC. Our Manager qualifies for the exemption in respect of our company on the basis that we identify as a “mortgage REIT” for U.S. federal income tax purposes and our trading in Regulated CFTC Instruments does not exceed a certain de minimis threshold identified in the no-action relief. Subject to any amendments to CFTC Rules or the position of the CFTC staff, including the continuing availability of the mREIT no-action relief, our Manager will seek to either comply with CFTC Rules without relying on any exemption from CPO registration or rely on other exemptions (which may prevent us from trading in Regulated CFTC Instruments in order to satisfy the conditions for the relevant exemption).
The CFTC has substantial enforcement power with respect to violations of the laws over which it has jurisdiction, including anti-fraud and anti-manipulation provisions. Among other things, the CFTC may suspend or revoke the registration of a person who fails to comply, prohibit such a person from trading or doing business with registered entities, impose civil money penalties, require restitution and seek fines or imprisonment for criminal violations. Additionally, a private right of action exists against those who violate the laws over which the CFTC has jurisdiction or who willfully aid, abet, counsel, induce or procure a violation of those laws. In the event we fail to receive interpretive relief from the CFTC on this matter, are unable to claim an exemption from registration and fail to comply with the regulatory requirements of these new rules, we may be unable to use certain types of hedging instruments or we may be subject to significant fines, penalties and other civil or governmental actions or proceedings, any of which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Risks Related to Our Relationship with Our Manager and Its Affiliates
We depend on our Manager and its personnel for our success. We may not find a suitable replacement for our Manager if the management agreement is terminated, or if key personnel cease to be employed by our Manager and its affiliates or otherwise become unavailable to us.
We do not have any employees and are externally managed and advised by our Manager, an indirect subsidiary of KKR. Our Manager has significant discretion as to the implementation of our investment and operating policies and strategies. Accordingly, our success depends on the efforts, experience, diligence, skill and network of business contacts of the officers and key personnel of our Manager and its affiliates. Our Manager is managed by senior professionals of KKR Real Estate. These individuals evaluate, negotiate, execute and monitor our loans and investments and advise us regarding maintenance of our qualification as a REIT and exclusion from registration under the Investment Company Act; therefore, our success will depend on their skill and management expertise and continued service with our Manager and its affiliates. Furthermore, there is increasing competition among financial sponsors, investment banks and other real estate debt investors for hiring and retaining qualified investment professionals and there can be no assurance that such professionals will continue to be associated with us, our Manager or its affiliates or that any replacements will perform well. The departure of any of the officers or key personnel of our Manager and its affiliates could have a material adverse effect on our performance.
In addition, we can offer no assurance that our Manager will remain our investment manager or that we will continue to have access to our Manager’s officers and key personnel. The current term of the management agreement extends to December 31, 2020 and will be automatically renewed for additional one-year terms thereafter; provided, however, that our Manager may terminate the management agreement annually upon 180 days’ prior notice. If the management agreement is terminated and no suitable replacement is found to manage us, we may not be able to execute our business plan.

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Termination of the management agreement would be costly.
Termination of the management agreement without cause will be difficult and costly. The management agreement may be terminated upon the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of our independent directors, based upon (1) unsatisfactory performance by our Manager that is materially detrimental to us and our subsidiaries taken as a whole or (2) our determination that the management fee and incentive fee payable to our Manager are not fair, subject to our Manager’s right to prevent any termination due to unfair fees by accepting a reduction of management and/or incentive fees agreed to by at least two-thirds of our independent directors. We must provide our Manager 180 days’ written notice of any termination. Additionally, upon such a termination, or if we materially breach the management agreement and our Manager terminates the management agreement, the management agreement provides that we will pay our Manager a termination fee equal to three times the sum of the average annual management fee and the average annual incentive fee, in each case earned by our Manager during the 24-month period immediately preceding the most recently completed calendar quarter prior to the date of termination. These provisions increase the cost to us of terminating the management agreement and adversely affect our ability to terminate the management agreement without cause.
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 in good faith and is not responsible for any action of our board of directors in following or declining to follow any advice or recommendations of our Manager, including as set forth in the investment guidelines of the management agreement. Under the terms of the management agreement, our Manager and its affiliates and their respective directors, officers, employees, managers, trustees, control persons, partners, equityholders and stockholders are not liable to us, our directors, stockholders or any subsidiary of ours, or their directors, officers, employees or stockholders for any acts or omissions performed in accordance with and pursuant to the management agreement, whether by or through attempted piercing of the corporate veil, by or through a claim, by the enforcement of any judgment or assessment or by any legal or equitable proceeding, or by virtue of any statute, regulation or other applicable law, or otherwise, except by reason of acts or omissions constituting bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of their duties under the management agreement.

We have agreed to indemnify our Manager and its affiliates and their respective directors, officers, employees and stockholders with respect to all expenses, losses, damages, liabilities, demands, charges and claims arising from acts or omissions of our Manager not constituting bad faith, fraud, willful misconduct, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of duties, performed or not performed in good faith in accordance with and pursuant to the management agreement. As a result, we could experience poor performance or losses for which our Manager would not be liable.
The historical returns generated by funds managed by affiliates of our Manager should not be considered indicative of our future results or of any returns expected on an investment in shares of our common stock.
The past performance of vehicles and funds advised by affiliates of our Manager, as well as KKR’s and its affiliates’ other investment funds, vehicles and accounts, is not predictive of our performance, in particular because the investment objectives of such other funds, vehicles and accounts differ from our investment objectives. Investors should not assume that they will experience returns, if any, comparable to those experienced by investors in such vehicles. Moreover, we and the other vehicles advised by affiliates of our Manager are different in several respects, including:
asset or instrument types targeted may differ;

our use of leverage and hedging strategies may differ;

our fee structures differ;

we may not acquire or sell assets at similar times; and

the other vehicles advised by affiliates of our Manager have operated under market conditions that may differ materially from market conditions that will exist at the time we make investments.


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Our Manager’s fee structure may not create proper incentives or may induce our Manager and its affiliates to make certain loans or investments, including speculative investments, which increase the risk of our loan and investment portfolio.
We pay our Manager base management fees regardless of the performance of our portfolio. Our Manager’s entitlement to base management fees, which are not based upon performance metrics or goals, might reduce its incentive to devote its time and effort to seeking loans and investments that provide attractive risk-adjusted returns for our portfolio. Because the base management fees are also based in part on our outstanding equity, our Manager may also be incentivized to advance strategies that increase our equity, and there may be circumstances where increasing our equity will not optimize the returns for our stockholders. Consequently, we are required to pay our Manager base management fees in a particular period despite experiencing a net loss or a decline in the value of our portfolio during that period.
In addition, our Manager has the ability to earn incentive fees each quarter based on our earnings, which may create an incentive for our Manager to invest in assets with higher yield potential, which are generally riskier or more speculative, or sell an asset prematurely for a gain, in an effort to increase our short-term net income and thereby increase the incentive fees to which it is entitled. If our interests and those of our Manager are not aligned, the execution of our business plan and our results of operations could be adversely affected, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
There are various conflicts of interest in our relationship with KKR, including with our Manager and in the allocation of investment opportunities to KKR investment vehicles and us, which could result in decisions that are not in the best interests of our stockholders.
We are subject to conflicts of interest arising out of our relationship with KKR, including our Manager and its affiliates. Until such time as (1) KKR and its affiliates cease to own at least 25% of the outstanding shares of our common stock, (2) KKR REFT Asset Holdings LLC (“KKR REFT Asset Holdings”) elects to convert the share of our special voting preferred stock into one share of our common stock or (3) beneficial and/or record ownership of the share of our special voting preferred stock is transferred to any person other than KKR or its affiliates, the share of our special voting preferred stock gives KKR REFT Asset Holdings the right, solely with respect to the election of members of our board of directors, to vote the number of votes necessary to equal a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in an election of directors and thereby control our policy and operations. In addition, pursuant to our stockholders agreement, so long as KKR REFT Asset Holdings and its affiliates own at least 25% of the outstanding shares of our common stock, KKR REFT Asset Holdings will have the right to nominate at least half of the directors to our board of directors. In addition, we are managed by our Manager, a KKR affiliate, and our executive officers are employees of our Manager or one or more of its affiliates. There is no guarantee that the policies and procedures adopted by us, the terms and conditions of the management agreement or the policies and procedures adopted by our Manager, KKR and their affiliates, will enable us to identify, adequately address or mitigate these conflicts of interest.

Some examples of conflicts of interest that may arise by virtue of our relationship with our Manager and KKR include:
Fees and expenses.  KKR may earn fees and/or other compensation from us, our holding vehicles and other entities through which we invest, and, in connection with equity investments made by us, if any, entities in which we invest (“portfolio entities”). In particular, KKR has in the past and may in the future act as underwriter or placement agent in connection with an offering of securities or instruments by us and other entities in which we invest and may also provide syndication services to such entities, including in respect of co-investments in transactions in which we participate. The fee potential inherent in a particular investment or transaction could be viewed as an incentive for our Manager to seek to refer, allocate or recommend an investment or transaction to us. In addition, we or our portfolio entities may engage consultants, including KKR Capstone, a group of entities that are not KKR affiliates or subsidiaries but operate under several consulting agreements with KKR, and our Manager’s network of senior advisors, industry advisors and real estate consultants. We will directly bear, or indirectly bear through portfolio entities, the cost of operating and consulting services provided by these consultants. While our Manager believes that the fees, reimbursable expenses and other compensation paid to these consultants are reasonable and generally at market rates for the relevant activities, such compensation is not negotiated at arm’s length and from time to time may be in excess of fees, reimbursable expenses or other compensation that may be charged by comparable third parties. In addition, we may provide loans or otherwise invest alongside one or more KKR investment vehicles or with KKR (investing for their own account) and other co-investors. We and KKR investment vehicles may also pursue similar real estate credit investment strategies. Our Manager and KKR will determine, in their sole discretion, the appropriate allocation of investment-related expenses, including broken deal expenses incurred in respect of unconsummated investments and expenses more generally relating to a particular investment strategy, among the funds, vehicles and accounts participating or that would have participated in such investments or that otherwise participate in the relevant investment strategy, as

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applicable, which may result in us bearing more or less of these expenses than other participants or potential participants in the relevant investments.

KKR’s investment advisory and proprietary activities.  KKR may make strategic investments or enter into transactions for operational funding purposes, which, in each case, will be investments or transactions that are not offered to us, and also may make opportunistic investments pursuant to investment strategies that mirror, or are similar to in whole or in part, investment strategies implemented by us and KKR on behalf of itself and KKR investment vehicles. Therefore, KKR and its affiliates may compete with, and have interests adverse to us. The existence of KKR, its affiliates and KKR investment vehicles investing in the same or similar investments that may be made by us could, among other adverse consequences, affect the terms of loans and other investments pursued by us and the demand for such financing. In such circumstances, KKR’s interest in maximizing the investment return of its proprietary entities creates a conflict of interest in that our Manager may be motivated to allocate more attractive investments to the proprietary entities under its management and allocate less attractive investments to us. Similarly, KKR may be motivated to allocate scarce investment opportunities to the proprietary entities under its management rather than to us. Additionally, KKR has in the past given and is expected to continue to give advice or take action (including entering into short sales or other “opposite way trading” activities) with respect to the investments held by, and transactions of, KKR investment vehicles or proprietary entities of KKR that are different from or otherwise inconsistent with, the advice given or timing or nature of any action taken with respect to the investments held by us and our transactions. Additionally, the investment programs employed by KKR for KKR investment vehicles or proprietary entities of KKR could conflict with the transactions and strategies employed by our Manager in managing our company. Where our company, proprietary entities of KKR and KKR investment vehicles have provided financing to the same borrower, their interests may be in conflict irrespective of whether their investments are at different levels of the capital structure.

Other KKR activities.  Conflicts of interest may arise in allocating time, services or resources among our investment activities, KKR investment vehicles, KKR, other entities affiliated with KKR and the senior officers of KKR. Although members of the KKR Real Estate team intend to devote such time as may be necessary to conduct our business affairs in an appropriate manner, our Manager and KKR will continue to devote the resources necessary to manage the investment activities of KKR, KKR investment vehicles, other entities affiliated with KKR and the executives of KKR and, therefore, conflicts may arise in the allocation of time, services and resources. KKR is not precluded from conducting activities unrelated to us. In addition, KKR may expand the range of services that it provides over time. Except as and to the extent expressly provided in the management agreement with our Manager, our Manager and KKR will not be restricted in the scope of their business or in the performance of any such services (whether now offered or undertaken in the future) even if such activities could give rise to conflicts of interest.

No assurance of ability to participate in investment opportunities.  As indicated above, certain KKR investment vehicles, including any seed investments, do and may in the future pursue the same investment opportunities as us. Subject to our organizational documents and governing agreements, KKR has sole discretion to determine the manner in which investment opportunities are allocated between us, KKR and KKR investment vehicles. This allocation presents inherent conflicts of interest where demand exceeds available supply. As a result, our share of investment opportunities may be materially affected by competition from KKR investment vehicles and from proprietary entities of KKR. The conflicts inherent in making such allocation decisions may not always be resolved to our advantage. Generally, and subject to our organizational documents and governing agreements, our Manager will allocate investment opportunities between us and KKR investment vehicles in a manner that is consistent with an allocation methodology established by our Manager reasonably designed to help ensure allocations of opportunities are made over time on a fair and equitable basis. However, we will not necessarily have any priority in respect of any category of investments, and the allocation of investment opportunities in accordance with our Manager’s allocation methodology may result in us being allocated less than a pro rata share of an investment opportunity or none of such opportunity. For example, on January 10, 2017 we made a $40.0 million commitment to an aggregator vehicle alongside RECOP I, a KKR-managed investment fund. During the aggregator vehicle’s investment period, investment opportunities available to KKR that fall within the primary investment strategy of acquiring newly issued CMBS B-Pieces will be shared pro rata between such aggregator vehicle and another KKR aggregator vehicle based on capital commitments. In respect of investments that are within the vehicles’ investment objective but outside the primary investment strategy that are suitable for us or other KKR investment vehicles, KKR will allocate such opportunities among the aggregators, us and such other KKR investment vehicles in their sole discretion. For more information, see Part II, Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Our Portfolio.” In addition, certain

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KKR investment vehicles have priority investment rights to certain investment opportunities that may be suitable for us, and such vehicles with priority investment rights could be established by KKR in the future. These include, but are not limited to, KKR’s special situations, mezzanine and real estate funds.

Duties owed to KKR investment vehicles.  KKR, including our Manager, may structure an investment as a result of which one or more KKR investment vehicles are offered the opportunity to participate in the same or separate debt tranche of an investment allocated to us. As advisor to such KKR investment vehicles, KKR, including our Manager, may owe a fiduciary or other duty to the KKR investment vehicles and may face a conflict of interest in respect of the advice they give to, or the decisions made with regard to, us and such KKR investment vehicles.

Co-investments.  We may co-invest together with KKR investment vehicles and/or KKR proprietary balance sheet entities in some or all of our investment opportunities. KKR may also offer co-investment opportunities to vehicles in which KKR personnel, non-employee consultants and other associated persons of KKR or any of its affiliate entities may invest and to third-party co-investors. In such circumstances, the size of the investment opportunity otherwise available to us may be less than it would otherwise have been, and we may participate in such opportunities on different and potentially less favorable economic terms than such parties if our Manager deems such participation as being otherwise in our best interests. Furthermore, when KKR proprietary entities or KKR investment vehicles have interests or requirements that do not align with our interests, including differing liquidity needs or desired investment horizons, conflicts may arise in the manner in which any voting or control rights are exercised with respect to the relevant investment, potentially resulting in an adverse impact on us. Generally, such transactions are not required to be presented to our board of directors for approval, and there can be no assurances that any conflicts will be resolved in our favor.

Investments in which KKR and/or KKR investment vehicles have a different principal interest.  Without the approval of KKR’s global conflicts and compliance committee, we will not acquire a controlling interest in any class or tranche of debt securities of any borrower in which KKR or any KKR investment vehicle has a pre-existing controlling equity interest (excluding any investments shared by us and such parties upon initial investment or any related follow-on investment). However, in circumstances where KKR’s global conflicts and compliance committee approves a transaction of this type, approval by our board of directors is generally not required, and our interests and those of KKR or such KKR investment vehicle may not always be aligned, which may give rise to actual or potential conflicts of interest and actions taken for us may be adverse to KKR or such KKR investment vehicle, or vice versa.

Competing interests; allocation of resources.   KKR may make investments on behalf of itself and/or KKR investment vehicles that are competitive with our investments. In providing advice and recommendations to, or with respect to, such investments and in dealing in such investments on behalf of such KKR investment vehicles or KKR, to the extent permitted by law, KKR will not take into consideration our interests or our Manager’s investments. Accordingly, such advice, recommendations and dealings may result in adverse consequences to us and our investments. Conflicts of interest may also arise with respect to the allocation of our Manager’s time and resources between our investments and other investments. In addition, conflicts of interest may arise where KKR personnel and non-employee consultants serve as directors or interim executives of, or otherwise are associated with, our portfolio entities (e.g., if the entity is in financial difficulty) or entities that are competitors of certain of our portfolio entities.

Information sharing.  Although we have leveraged, and plan to continue to leverage KKR’s firm-wide resources to help source, conduct due diligence on, structure, syndicate and create value for our investments, the information-sharing policies and procedures of KKR relating to confidential information and the information barrier between the public and private side of KKR, as well as certain legal and contractual and tax constraints, could significantly limit our ability to do so. In addition, in providing services in respect of our investments and other investments, our Manager may come into possession of information that it is prohibited from acting on (including on our behalf) or disclosing as a result of applicable confidentiality requirements or applicable law, even though such action or disclosure would be in our interests. Furthermore, to the extent not restricted by confidentiality requirements or applicable law, KKR may apply experience and information gained in providing services to our investments to provide services to competing investments of KKR investment vehicles, which may have adverse consequences for us or our investments.

Other affiliate transactions.  We may borrow money from multiple lenders, including KKR. Although our Manager will approve such transactions only on terms, including the consideration to be paid, that are determined

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by our Manager in good faith to be appropriate for us, it is possible that the interests of such affiliated lender could be in conflict with ours and the interests of our stockholders. KKR may also, on our behalf, effect transactions, including transactions in the secondary markets where KKR is also acting as a broker or other advisor on the other side of the same transaction. Notwithstanding that KKR may not receive commissions from such agency cross-transactions, it may nonetheless have a potential conflict of interest with respect to us and the other parties to those transactions to the extent it receives commissions or other compensation from such other parties.

KKR stakes in third-party hedge fund managers.  KKR has stakes in third-party hedge fund managers. Funds and accounts managed by such third-party managers and underlying portfolio funds and accounts may invest in securities or other financial instruments of companies in which we may also have an interest, or in competitors of ours or our investments. Actions taken by any of these third-party hedge fund managers in respect of any of the foregoing may adversely impact our company.

Transactions with any KKR fund or affiliate.   Pursuant to the terms of the management agreement, and subject to applicable law, our Manager will not consummate on our behalf any transaction that involves (i) the sale of any investment to or (ii) the acquisition of any investment from KKR, any KKR fund or any of their affiliates unless such transaction (A) is on terms no less favorable to us than could have been obtained on an arm’s length basis from an unrelated third party and (B) has been approved in advance by a majority of our independent directors. Although our Manager will seek to resolve any conflicts of interest in a fair and equitable manner in accordance with the allocation policy and its prevailing policies and procedures with respect to conflicts resolution among KKR funds generally, only those transactions set forth in this paragraph will be required to be presented for approval by the independent directors.

Management agreement.  The management agreement was negotiated between related parties and its terms, including fees payable to our Manager, may not be as favorable to us as if they had been negotiated with an unaffiliated third party. In addition, we may choose not to enforce, or to enforce less vigorously, our rights under the management agreement because of our desire to maintain an ongoing relationship with our Manager.

Service providers.  Certain advisors and other service providers, or their affiliates (including accountants, administrators, lenders, bankers, brokers, attorneys, consultants and investment or commercial banking firms), to us and our investments may also provide goods or services to or have business, personal, political, financial or other relationships with KKR (including our Manager). Such advisors and service providers may be investors in KKR investment vehicles, sources of investment opportunities for KKR, our company or KKR investment vehicles or may otherwise be co-investors with or counterparties to transactions involving the foregoing. These relationships may influence our Manager in deciding whether to select or recommend such a service provider to perform services for us or a borrower (the cost of which will generally be borne directly or indirectly by us or such borrower, as applicable).

Our Manager manages our portfolio pursuant to very broad investment guidelines and is not required to seek the approval of our board of directors for each investment, financing, asset allocation or hedging decision made by it, which may result in riskier loans and investments and which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our Manager is authorized to follow very broad investment guidelines that provide it with broad discretion over investment, financing, asset allocation and hedging decisions. Our board of directors will periodically review our investment guidelines and our loan and investment portfolio but will not, and will not be required to, review and approve in advance all of our proposed loans and investments or our Manager’s financing, asset allocation or hedging decisions. In addition, in conducting periodic reviews, our directors may rely primarily on information provided to them by our Manager or its affiliates. Subject to maintaining our REIT qualification and our exclusion from registration under the Investment Company Act, our Manager has significant latitude within the broad investment guidelines in determining the types of loans and investments it makes for us, and how such loans and investments are financed or hedged, which could result in investment returns that are substantially below expectations or that result in losses, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We do not own the KKR name, but we will use it as part of our corporate name pursuant to a license agreement with KKR. Use of the name by other parties or the termination of our license agreement may harm our business.
We entered into a license agreement with KKR pursuant to which it granted us a fully paid-up, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use the name “KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc.” and the ticker symbol “KREF”. Under this agreement, we have a right to use this name and ticker symbol for so long as our Manager (or another affiliate of KKR) serves as our Manager

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pursuant to the management agreement and our Manager (or another managing entity) remains an affiliate of KKR under the license agreement. The license agreement may also be earlier terminated by either party as a result of certain breaches or for convenience upon 90 days’ prior written notice. KKR and its affiliates retain the right to continue using the “KKR” name. We are also unable to preclude KKR and its affiliates from licensing or transferring ownership of the “KKR” name to third parties, some of whom may compete with us. Consequently, we are unable to prevent any damage to goodwill that may occur as a result of the activities of KKR or others. Furthermore, in the event that the license agreement is terminated, we will be required to change our name and ticker symbol and cease using the “KKR” name. Any of these events could disrupt our recognition in the marketplace, damage any goodwill we may have generated and otherwise harm our business.
Risks Related to Our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Considerations
If we do not maintain our qualification as a REIT, we will be subject to tax as a regular corporation and could face a substantial tax liability.
We expect to continue to operate so as to qualify as a REIT under the Code. However, 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. Our continued qualification as a REIT will depend on our continuing ability to meet various requirements concerning, among other things, our sources of income, the nature of our investments, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our stock. We also own interests in entities that have elected to be taxed as REITs. If any such entity were to fail to qualify as a REIT, it could negatively impact our ability to satisfy the REIT requirements. Notwithstanding the availability of cure provisions in the Code, various compliance requirements could be failed and could jeopardize our REIT status. Furthermore, new tax legislation, administrative guidance or court decisions, in each instance potentially with retroactive effect, could make it more difficult or impossible for us to continue 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 under current laws, among other things, means being unable to deduct distributions to stockholders in computing taxable income and being subject to U.S. federal income tax on taxable income at regular corporate income tax rates
any resulting tax liability could be substantial and could have a material adverse effect on our book value;

unless we were entitled to relief under applicable statutory provisions, we would be required to pay taxes as described above, 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 and for which we had taxable income; and

we generally would not be eligible to elect to be taxed as a REIT for the subsequent four full taxable years.

Even if we maintain our qualification as a REIT, we may incur tax liabilities that would reduce our cash available for distribution to stockholders.
Even if we maintain our qualification as a REIT, we may become subject to U.S. federal income taxes and related state and local taxes. For example, net income from the sale of properties that are “dealer” properties sold by a REIT (a “prohibited transaction” under the Code) will be subject to a 100% tax. We may not make sufficient distributions to avoid excise taxes applicable to REITs. Similarly, if we were to fail an income or asset test (and did not lose our REIT status because such failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect), we would have to pay a penalty tax, which could be material. We also may decide to retain net capital gain we earn from the sale or other disposition of our investments and pay income tax directly on such income. In that event, our stockholders would be treated as if they earned that income and paid the tax on it directly. However, stockholders that are tax-exempt, such as charities or qualified pension plans, would have no benefit from their deemed payment of such tax liability unless they file U.S. federal income tax returns and seek a refund of such tax on such return. We also may be subject to state and local taxes on our income or property, including franchise, payroll, mortgage recording and transfer taxes, either directly or at the level of the other companies through which we indirectly own assets. For example, our taxable REIT subsidiaries are subject to full U.S. federal, state, local and foreign corporate-level income taxes. Any taxes we pay directly or indirectly will reduce our cash available for distribution to stockholders.
Complying with REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities and limit our expansion opportunities.
In order to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, our sources of income, the nature of our investments in real estate and related assets, the amounts we distribute to our

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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.
Complying with REIT requirements may force us to liquidate or restructure otherwise attractive investments.
In order to qualify as a REIT, we must also ensure that at the end of each calendar quarter, at least 75% of the value of our assets consists of cash, cash items, government securities and qualified REIT real estate assets. The remainder of our investments in securities cannot include more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer or 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer unless we and such issuer jointly elect for such issuer to be treated as a taxable REIT subsidiary under the Code. The total value of all of our investments in taxable REIT subsidiaries cannot exceed 20% of the value of our total assets. In addition, no more than 5% of the value of our assets can consist of the securities of any one issuer other than a taxable REIT subsidiary, and no more than 25% of our assets can consist of debt of “publicly offered” REITs (i.e., REITs that are required to file annual and periodic reports with the SEC under the Exchange Act) that is not secured by real property or interests in real property. If we fail to comply with these requirements, we must dispose of a portion of our assets or otherwise come into compliance within 30 days after the end of the calendar quarter in order to avoid losing our REIT status and suffering adverse tax consequences. As a result, we may be required to liquidate or restructure otherwise attractive investments. These actions could have the effect of reducing our income and amounts available for distribution to our stockholders.
Complying with REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively and may cause us to incur tax liabilities.
The REIT provisions of the Code substantially limit our ability to hedge liabilities and assets. Any income from a properly identified hedging transaction we enter into to manage risk of interest rate changes with respect to borrowings made or to be made to acquire or carry real estate assets or to manage risk of currency fluctuations with respect to our REIT qualifying income, or to offset any such hedging transaction, does not constitute “gross income” for purposes of the 75% or 95% gross income tests that we must satisfy in order to maintain our qualification as a REIT. To the extent that we enter into other types of hedging transactions, the income from those transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both of these gross income tests. As a result of these rules, we intend to limit our use of advantageous hedging techniques or implement those hedges through a taxable REIT subsidiary. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities because our taxable REIT subsidiaries would be subject to tax on gains or expose us to greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to bear. In addition, losses in our taxable REIT subsidiaries generally will not provide any tax benefit, except for being carried forward against future taxable income in the taxable REIT subsidiaries.
Our charter does not permit any person (including certain entities treated as individuals for this purpose) to own more than 9.8% of any class or series of our outstanding capital stock, and attempts to acquire shares of any class or series of our capital stock in excess of this 9.8% limit would not be effective without an exemption from those prohibitions by our board of directors.
To maintain our qualification as a REIT, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding capital stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Code to include certain entities). Our charter provides that no person may beneficially or constructively own more than 9.8% in value or in number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of any class or series of our outstanding capital stock, provided that KKR and certain of its affiliates are excluded from this limitation. Our board of directors, in its sole discretion, may exempt (prospectively or retroactively) a person from this limitation if it obtains such representations, covenants and undertakings as it deems appropriate to conclude that granting the exemption will not cause us to lose our status as a REIT. The constructive ownership rules under the Code and our charter are complex and may cause shares of our outstanding stock owned by a group of related individuals or entities to be deemed to be constructively owned by one individual. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% of any class or series of our outstanding capital stock by an individual or entity could cause an individual to own constructively in excess of 9.8% of such class or series of our outstanding capital stock, and thus violate the ownership limit. Any attempted transfer of our capital stock that, if effective, would result in a violation of the ownership limit, will cause the number of shares causing the violation to automatically be transferred to a trust for the exclusive benefit of one or more charitable beneficiaries designated by us and the intended transferee will acquire no rights in the shares. Despite these restrictions, it is possible that there could be five or fewer individuals who own more than 50% in value of our outstanding capital stock, which could cause us to fail to continue to qualify as a REIT. In addition, there can be no assurance that our board of directors, as permitted in our charter, will not decrease this ownership limit in the future (provided, however, that a decreased stock ownership limit will not be effective for any person whose ownership of our stock is in excess of the decreased ownership limit until such person’s ownership percentage of our stock equals or falls below the decreased ownership limit).

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The ownership limit could have the effect of discouraging a takeover or other transaction in which holders of our common stock might receive a premium for their shares over the then prevailing market price or which holders might believe to be otherwise in their best interests (and even if such change in control would not reasonably jeopardize our REIT status). The exemptions to the ownership limit granted to date may limit our board of directors’ power to increase the ownership limit or grant further exemptions in the future.
We may choose to make distributions in the form of shares of our own stock, in which case stockholders may be required to pay income taxes without receiving any cash dividends.
In connection with our qualification as a REIT, we are required to annually distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (which does not equal net income, as calculated in accordance with GAAP), determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gain. To satisfy this requirement, we may make distributions that are payable in cash and/or shares of our common stock at the election of each stockholder. As a publicly offered REIT, as long as at least 20% of the total dividend is available in cash and certain other requirements are satisfied, the IRS will treat the stock distribution as a dividend (to the extent applicable rules treat such distribution as being made out of our earnings and profits). Taxable stockholders receiving such distributions will be required to include the full amount of such distributions as ordinary dividend income to the extent of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, U.S. holders may be required to pay income taxes with respect to such distributions in excess of the cash portion of the distribution received. Accordingly, U.S. holders receiving a distribution of our shares may be required to sell shares received in such distribution or may be required to sell other stock or assets owned by them, at a time that may be disadvantageous, in order to satisfy any tax imposed on such distribution. If a U.S. holder sells the stock that it receives as part of the distribution in order to pay this tax, the sales proceeds may be less than the amount it must include in income with respect to the distribution, depending on the value of our shares at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to certain non-U.S. holders, we may be required to withhold U.S. tax with respect to such distribution, including in respect of all or a portion of such distribution that is payable in stock, by withholding or disposing of part of the shares included in such distribution and using the proceeds of such disposition to satisfy the withholding tax imposed. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our common stock in order to pay taxes owed on dividend income, such sale may put downward pressure on the market price of our common stock.
Dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates available for some dividends.
The maximum U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income payable to certain non-corporate U.S. holders is 20%. Dividends payable by REITs, however, generally are not eligible for the reduced qualified dividend rates. For taxable years beginning before January 1, 2026, however, non-corporate taxpayers may deduct up to 20% of certain pass-through business income, including “qualified REIT dividends” (generally, dividends received by a REIT shareholder that are not designated as capital gain dividends or qualified dividend income), subject to certain limitations, resulting in an effective maximum U.S. federal income tax rate of 29.6% on such income. Although the reduced U.S. federal income tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income does not adversely affect the taxation of REITs or dividends payable by REITs, the more favorable rates applicable to regular corporate qualified dividends and the reduced corporate tax rate (currently 21%) could cause certain non-corporate investors 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 shares of REITs, including our common stock.
Our taxable income may be greater than our cash flow available for distribution, including as a result of our investments in certain debt instruments, causing us to recognize “phantom income” for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and certain modifications of debt instruments by us could cause the modified debt to not qualify as a good REIT asset, thereby jeopardizing our REIT qualification.
To qualify as a REIT, we generally must distribute annually to our stockholders at least 90% of our net taxable income, determined without regard to the dividends-paid deduction and excluding net capital gains. We will be subject to regular corporate income taxes on any undistributed REIT taxable income each year, including net capital gains. Additionally, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on any amount by which distributions paid by us in any calendar year are less than the sum of 85% of our ordinary income, 95% of our capital gain net income and 100% of our undistributed income from previous years.
Our taxable income may substantially exceed our net income as determined based on GAAP, or differences in timing between the recognition of taxable income and the actual receipt of cash may occur. For example, we may acquire assets, including debt securities requiring us to accrue OID or recognize market discount income, that generate taxable income in excess of economic

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income or in advance of the corresponding cash flow from the assets referred to as “phantom income.” In addition, if a borrower with respect to a particular debt instrument encounters financial difficulty rendering it unable to pay stated interest as due, we may nonetheless be required to continue to recognize the unpaid interest as taxable income with the effect that we will recognize income but will not have a corresponding amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders. Finally, we may be required under the terms of indebtedness that we incur to use cash received from interest payments to make principal payments on that indebtedness, with the effect of recognizing income but not having a corresponding amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders. Also, in certain circumstances, our ability to deduct interest expenses for U.S. federal income tax purposes may be limited.
As a result of the foregoing, we may generate less cash flow than taxable income in a particular year and find it difficult or impossible to meet the REIT distribution requirements in certain circumstances. In such circumstances, we may be required to (a) sell assets in adverse market conditions, (b) borrow on unfavorable terms, (c) distribute amounts that would otherwise be used for future acquisitions or used to repay debt, or (d) make a taxable distribution of our common stock as part of a distribution in which stockholders may elect to receive shares of our common stock or (subject to a limit measured as a percentage of the total distribution) cash, in order to comply with the REIT distribution requirements.
We may agree to modify the terms of distressed and other debt instruments that we hold. If the amendments to the outstanding debt are “significant modifications” under the applicable U.S. Treasury regulations, the modified debt may be considered to have been reissued to us in a debt-for-debt taxable exchange with the borrower. In certain circumstances, this deemed reissuance may prevent the modified debt from qualifying as a good REIT asset if the underlying security has declined in value and could cause us to recognize income to the extent the principal amount of the modified debt exceeds our adjusted tax basis in the unmodified debt.
The failure of a mezzanine loan to qualify as a real estate asset could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.
We originate and acquire mezzanine loans, for which the IRS has provided a safe harbor but not rules of substantive law. Pursuant to the safe harbor, if a mezzanine loan meets certain requirements, it will be treated by the IRS as a real estate asset for purposes of the REIT asset tests, and interest derived from the mezzanine loan will be treated as qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the REIT 75% income test. Our mezzanine loans typically do not meet all of the requirements of this safe harbor. In the event we own a mezzanine loan that does not meet the safe harbor, the IRS could challenge such loan’s treatment as a real estate asset for purposes of the REIT asset and income tests and, if such a challenge were sustained, we could fail to qualify as a REIT, unless we are able to qualify for a statutory REIT “savings” provision, which may require us to pay a significant penalty tax to maintain our REIT qualification.
Our investments in certain loans may require us to make estimates about the fair value of real property improvements that may be challenged by the IRS.
We have invested and may invest in mortgage loans and mezzanine loans in which the underlying real property was under construction. Such mortgage loans (and mezzanine loans, to the extent they are otherwise qualifying) generally will be treated as real estate assets for purposes of the REIT asset tests, and interest derived from such loans will be treated as qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the REIT 75% income test, provided that the “loan value” of the real property securing the loan is equal to or greater than the highest outstanding principal amount of the loan during any taxable year. With respect to construction loans, the value of the real property securing the loan is the fair value of the land plus the reasonably estimated cost of improvements or developments (other than personal property) that secure the loan and that are to be constructed from the proceeds of the loan. The IRS could challenge our estimates as to the loan value of the real property associated with such construction loans. If such a challenge were sustained and all or a portion of the loan was not treated as a real estate asset, we could fail to qualify as a REIT, unless we are able to qualify for a statutory REIT “savings” provision, which may require us to pay a significant penalty tax to maintain our REIT qualification.
We may fail to qualify as a REIT if the IRS successfully challenges our characterization for U.S. federal income tax purposes of our mezzanine loans or preferred equity investments.
We have invested and may invest in the future in preferred equity investments and mezzanine loans. There is limited case law and administrative guidance addressing whether instruments similar to our mezzanine loans and preferred equity investments will be treated as equity or debt for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We typically do not anticipate obtaining private letter rulings from the IRS or opinions of counsel on the characterization of those investments for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If the IRS successfully recharacterizes a mezzanine loan or preferred equity investment as equity for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would be treated as owning the assets held by the partnership or limited liability company that issued the security

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and we would be treated as receiving our proportionate share of the income of that entity. If that partnership or limited liability company owned nonqualifying assets or earned nonqualifying income, we may not be able to satisfy all of the REIT income or asset tests. Alternatively, if we are treating a mezzanine loan or preferred equity investment as equity for U.S. federal income tax purposes and the IRS successfully recharacterizes the investment as debt, then that investment may be treated as a nonqualifying asset for purposes of the 75% asset test and as producing nonqualifying income for 75% gross income test. In addition, such an investment may be subject to the 10% value test and the 5% asset tests. Accordingly, we could fail to qualify as a REIT if the IRS successfully challenges our characterization of our mezzanine loans or preferred equity investments for U.S. federal income tax purposes unless we are able to qualify for a statutory REIT “savings” provision, which may require us to pay a significant penalty tax to maintain our REIT qualification.
The tax on prohibited transactions will limit our ability to engage in transactions, including certain methods of securitizing or syndicating mortgage loans that would be treated as sales for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
A REIT’s net income from prohibited transactions is subject to a 100% tax with no offset for losses. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property, other than foreclosure property, but including mortgage loans, held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. We might be subject to this tax if we dispose of, securitize or syndicate loans in a manner that was treated as a sale of the loans, if we frequently buy and sell securities in a manner that is treated as dealer activity with respect to such securities for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Therefore, in order to avoid the prohibited transactions tax, we may choose to engage in certain sales of assets through a taxable REIT subsidiary and not at the REIT level, and may limit the structures we utilize for our securitization transactions, even though the sales or structures might otherwise be beneficial to us.
The failure of assets subject to repurchase agreements to qualify as real estate assets could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.
We have entered into financing arrangements that are structured as sale and repurchase agreements pursuant to which we nominally sell certain of our assets to a counterparty and simultaneously enter into an agreement to repurchase these assets at a later date in exchange for a purchase price. Economically, these agreements are financings that are secured by the assets sold pursuant thereto. We believe that we are treated for REIT asset and income test purposes as the owner of the assets that are the subject of such sale and repurchase agreements notwithstanding that such agreements may transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could assert that we do not own the assets during the term of the related sale and repurchase agreement, in which case we could fail to qualify as a REIT.
Liquidation of assets may jeopardize our REIT qualification.
To qualify as a REIT, we must comply with requirements regarding our assets and our sources of income. If we are compelled to liquidate our investments to repay obligations to our lenders, we may be unable to comply with these requirements, ultimately jeopardizing our qualification as a REIT, or we may be subject to a 100% tax on any resultant gain if we sell assets that are treated as dealer property or inventory.
Certain financing activities may subject us to U.S. federal income tax and could have negative tax consequences for our stockholders.
We may enter into securitization transactions and other financing transactions that could result in us, or a portion of our assets, being treated as a taxable mortgage pool for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If we enter into such a transaction in the future, we could be taxable at the highest corporate income tax rate on a portion of the income arising from a taxable mortgage pool, referred to as “excess inclusion income,” that is allocable to the percentage of our shares held in record name by disqualified organizations (generally tax-exempt entities that are exempt from the tax on unrelated business taxable income, such as state pension plans and charitable remainder trusts and government entities). In that case, we could reduce distributions to such stockholders by the amount of tax paid by us that is attributable to such stockholder’s ownership.
If we were to realize excess inclusion income, IRS guidance indicates that the excess inclusion income would be allocated among our stockholders in proportion to the dividends paid. Excess inclusion income cannot be offset by losses of a stockholder. If the stockholder is a tax-exempt entity and not a disqualified organization, then this income would be fully taxable as unrelated business taxable income under Section 512 of the Code. If the stockholder is a foreign person, it would be subject to U.S. federal income tax at the maximum tax rate and withholding will be required on this income without reduction or exemption pursuant to any otherwise applicable income tax treaty.

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Our qualification as a REIT may be dependent on the accuracy of legal opinions or advice rendered or given or statements by the issuers of assets that we acquire, and the inaccuracy of any such opinions, advice or statements may adversely affect our REIT qualification and result in significant corporate-level tax.
When purchasing securities, we may rely on opinions or advice of counsel for the issuer of such securities, or statements made in related offering documents, for purposes of determining whether such securities represent debt or equity securities for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the value of such securities, and also to what extent those securities constitute qualified real estate assets for purposes of the REIT asset tests and produce income that qualifies under the 75% gross income test. The inaccuracy of any such opinions, advice or statements may adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT and result in significant corporate-level tax.
Any taxable REIT subsidiaries owned by us are subject to corporate-level taxes and our dealings with our taxable REIT subsidiaries may be subject to 100% excise tax.
A REIT may own up to 100% of the stock of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries. Both the subsidiary and the REIT must jointly elect to treat the subsidiary as a taxable REIT subsidiary. A corporation of which a taxable REIT subsidiary directly or indirectly owns more than 35% of the voting power or value of the stock will automatically be treated as a taxable REIT subsidiary. Overall, no more than 20% of the gross value of a REIT’s assets may consist of stock or securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries. In addition, the taxable REIT subsidiary rules limit the deductibility of interest paid or accrued by a taxable REIT subsidiary to its parent REIT to assure that the taxable REIT subsidiary is subject to an appropriate level of corporate taxation. The rules also impose a 100% excise tax on certain transactions between a taxable REIT subsidiary and its parent REIT that are not conducted on an arm’s length basis.
Domestic taxable REIT subsidiaries that we own or may form will pay U.S. federal, state and local income tax on their taxable income, and their after-tax net income will be available for distribution to us but will not be required to be distributed to us, unless necessary to maintain our REIT qualification. In certain circumstances, the ability of our taxable REIT subsidiaries to deduct interest expenses for U.S. federal income tax purposes may be limited. While we plan to monitor the aggregate value of the securities of our taxable REIT subsidiaries and intend to conduct our affairs so that such securities will represent less than 20% of the value of our total assets, there can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the taxable REIT subsidiary limitation or avoid the application of the 100% excise tax discussed above in all market conditions.
We may be subject to adverse legislative or regulatory tax changes that could increase our tax liability, reduce our operating flexibility and reduce the price of our common stock.
In recent years, numerous legislative, judicial and administrative changes have been made in the provisions of U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to investments similar to an investment in shares of our common stock. Additional changes to the tax laws are likely to occur. We cannot predict the long-term effect of any recent changes or any future law changes on REITs and their stockholders.
Any such changes could have an adverse effect on an investment in our shares or on the market value or the resale potential of our assets. You are urged to consult with your tax advisor with respect to the impact of recent legislation on your investment in our shares and the status of legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in our shares. Although REITs generally receive certain tax advantages compared to entities taxed as regular corporations, it is possible that future legislation would result in a REIT having fewer tax advantages, and it could become more advantageous for a company that invests in real estate to elect to be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a corporation. Our charter provides our board of directors with the power, under certain circumstances, to revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election and cause us to be taxed as a regular corporation, without the vote of our stockholders. Our board of directors has duties to us and could only cause such changes in our tax treatment if it determines in good faith that such changes are in the best interest of our company.
Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock
KKR controls us and its interests may conflict with ours or those of our stockholders in the future.
As of December 31, 2019, KKR and its affiliates beneficially owned shares of our common stock providing them with an aggregate 38% of the total voting power of our company. Furthermore, until such time as (1) KKR and its affiliates cease to own at least 25% of the outstanding shares of our common stock, (2) KKR REFT Asset Holdings elects to convert the share of our special voting preferred stock into one share of our common stock or (3) beneficial and/or record ownership of the share of

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our special voting preferred stock is transferred to any person other than KKR or its affiliates, the share of our special voting preferred stock gives KKR REFT Asset Holdings the right, solely with respect to the election of members of our board of directors, to vote the number of votes necessary to equal a majority of the votes entitled to be cast in an election of directors and thereby control our policy and operations. In addition, pursuant to our stockholders agreement, so long as KKR REFT Asset Holdings and its affiliates own at least 25% of the outstanding shares of our common stock, KKR REFT Asset Holdings will have the right to nominate at least half of the directors to our board of directors. See “—Risks Related to Our Relationship with Our Manager and Its Affiliates.”
By virtue of KKR’s stock ownership and voting power, in addition to its board designation rights, KKR has the power to significantly influence our business and affairs and is able to influence the outcome of matters required to be submitted to stockholders for approval, including the election of our directors, amendments to our charter, mergers or sales of assets. The influence exerted by KKR over our business and affairs might not be consistent with the interests of some or all of our stockholders. In addition, the concentration of ownership in our officers or directors or stockholders associated with them may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control of our company, including transactions that would be in the best interests of our stockholders and would result in receipt of a premium to the price of our shares of common stock (and even if such change in control would not reasonably jeopardize our qualification as a REIT), and might negatively affect the market price of our common stock.
We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the rules of the NYSE and, as a result, will qualify for, and rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. You will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.
KKR and its affiliates control a majority of the combined voting power of all classes of our stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors. As a result, we will be a “controlled company” within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of the NYSE. Under these rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power in the election of directors is held by an individual, group or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements. For example, controlled companies:
are not required to have a board of directors that is comprised of a majority of “independent directors,” as defined under the rules of such exchange;
are not required to have a compensation committee that is comprised entirely of independent directors; and

are not required to have a nominating and corporate governance committee that is comprised entirely of independent directors.

We intend to utilize these exemptions. Accordingly, for so long as we utilize these exemptions, you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the NYSE.
Certain of our pre-IPO stockholders also hold interests in our Manager, which may influence the incentives that such pre-IPO stockholders have with respect to matters between us and our Manager and such interest may not be consistent with the interest of some or all of our stockholders
Certain of our pre-IPO stockholders collectively hold, as of December 31, 2019, a 29.2% interest in our Manager through their ownership of a class of non-voting limited liability company interests in our Manager (the “Non-Voting Manager Units”). This interest means that these pre-IPO stockholders indirectly share in the fees paid by us to our Manager, which may influence the incentives that such stockholders have with respect to matters between us and our Manager and which interests may not be consistent with our interests of some or all of our stockholders.
Provisions of our charter and bylaws and Maryland law may deter takeover attempts, which may limit the opportunity of our stockholders to sell their shares at a favorable price.
Some of the provisions of Maryland law and our charter and bylaws discussed below could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us, even if doing so might be beneficial to our stockholders by providing them with the opportunity to sell their shares at a premium to the then current market price.
Issuance of stock without stockholder approval.  Our charter authorizes our board of directors, without stockholder approval, to authorize the issuance of up to 300,000,000 shares of common stock and up to 50,000,000 shares of preferred stock, one share of special voting preferred stock and one share of special non-voting preferred stock. Our charter also authorizes our board of

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directors, without stockholder approval, to classify or reclassify any unissued shares of common stock and preferred stock into other classes or series of stock and to amend our charter to increase or decrease the aggregate number of shares of stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that are authorized by the charter to be issued. Preferred stock may be issued in one or more classes or series, the terms of which may be determined by our board of directors without further action by stockholders. Prior to issuance of any such class or series, our board of directors will set the terms of any such class or series, including the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, limitations as to dividends or other distributions, qualifications and terms and conditions of redemption. The issuance of any preferred stock could materially adversely affect the rights of holders of common stock and, therefore, could reduce the value of the common stock. In addition, specific rights granted to future holders of our preferred stock could be used to restrict our ability to merge with, or sell assets to, a third party. The power of our board of directors to cause us to issue preferred stock could, in certain circumstances, make it more difficult, delay, discourage, prevent or make it more costly to acquire or effect a change in control, thereby preserving the current stockholders’ control.
Advance notice bylaw.  Our bylaws contain advance notice procedures for the introduction by a stockholder of new business and the nomination of directors by a stockholder. These provisions could, in certain circumstances, discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect stockholder-nominated directors and to propose and, consequently, approve stockholder proposals opposed by management.
Maryland takeover statutes. The Maryland Business Combination Act could delay or prevent an unsolicited takeover of us. The statute substantially restricts the power of third parties who acquire, or seek to acquire, control of us without the approval of our board of directors to complete mergers and other business combinations even if such transaction would be beneficial to stockholders. “Business combinations” between such a third-party acquirer or its affiliate and us are prohibited for five years after the most recent date on which the acquirer becomes an “interested stockholder.” An “interested stockholder” is defined as any person who beneficially owns 10% or more of the voting power of our outstanding voting stock or an affiliate or associate of ours who, at any time within the two-year period immediately prior to the date in question, was the beneficial owner of 10% or more of the voting power of our then outstanding stock. If our board of directors approved in advance the transaction that would otherwise give rise to the acquirer attaining such status, the acquirer would not become an interested stockholder and, as a result, it could enter into a business combination with us. Our board of directors may, however, provide that its approval is subject to compliance, at or after the time of approval, with any terms and conditions determined by it. Even after the lapse of the five-year prohibition period, any business combination with an interested stockholder must be recommended by our board of directors and approved by the affirmative vote of at least:
80% of the votes entitled to be cast by stockholders; and

two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast by stockholders other than the interested stockholder and affiliates and associates thereof.

The super-majority vote requirements do not apply if, among other considerations, the transaction complies with a minimum price and form of consideration requirements prescribed by the statute. The statute permits various exemptions from its provisions, including business combinations that are exempted by the board of directors prior to the time that an interested stockholder becomes an interested stockholder. Our board of directors has by resolution exempted business combinations between us and any other person, provided that such business combination is first approved by our board of directors.
The Maryland Control Share Acquisition Act of the Maryland General Corporation Law provides that a holder of control shares of a Maryland corporation acquired in a control share acquisition has no voting rights with respect to the control shares except to the extent approved by a vote of two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast on the matter. Shares owned by the acquiror, by officers or by employees who are directors of the corporation are excluded from shares entitled to vote on the matter. Control shares are voting shares of stock that, if aggregated with all other shares of stock owned by the acquiror or in respect of which the acquiror is able to exercise or direct the exercise of voting power (except solely by virtue of a revocable proxy), would entitle the acquiror to exercise voting power in electing directors within one of the following ranges of voting power:
one-tenth or more but less than one-third;

one-third or more but less than a majority; or

a majority or more of all voting power.


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Control shares do not include shares the acquiror is then entitled to vote as a result of having previously obtained stockholder approval or shares acquired directly from the corporation. A control share acquisition means the acquisition of issued and outstanding control shares, subject to certain exceptions.
A person who has made or proposes to make a control share acquisition may compel the board of directors of the corporation to call a special meeting of stockholders to be held within 50 days of demand to consider the voting rights of the shares. The right to compel the calling of a special meeting is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including an undertaking to pay the expenses of the meeting. If no request for a meeting is made, the corporation may itself present the question at any stockholders meeting.
If voting rights are not approved at the meeting or if the acquiror does not deliver an acquiring person statement as required by the statute, then the corporation may, subject to certain limitations and conditions, redeem for fair value any or all of the control shares, except those for which voting rights have previously been approved. Fair value is determined, without regard to the absence of voting rights for the control shares, as of the date of any meeting of stockholders at which the voting rights of the shares are considered and not approved or, if no meeting is held, as of the date of the last control share acquisition by the acquiror. If voting rights for control shares are approved at a stockholders meeting and the acquiror becomes entitled to exercise or direct the exercise of a majority of the voting power, all other stockholders may exercise appraisal rights. The fair value of the shares as determined for purposes of appraisal rights may not be less than the highest price per share paid by the acquiror in the control share acquisition.
The control share acquisition statute does not apply to (a) shares acquired in a merger, consolidation or share exchange if the corporation is a party to the transaction or (b) acquisitions approved or exempted by the charter or bylaws of the corporation.
Our bylaws contain a provision exempting any acquisition of our stock by any person from the foregoing provisions on control shares, which may be amended by our board of directors. In the event that our bylaws are amended to modify or eliminate this provision, acquisitions of our common stock may constitute a control share acquisition.
The Maryland Unsolicited Takeovers Act (“MUTA”) permits the board of directors of a Maryland corporation with at least three independent directors and a class of stock registered under the Exchange Act, without stockholder approval and notwithstanding any contrary provision in its charter or bylaws, to implement certain takeover defenses, including adopting a classified board, increasing the vote required to remove a director or providing that each vacancy on the board of directors may be filled only by a majority of the remaining directors in office, even if the remaining directors do not constitute a quorum. These provisions could have the effect of limiting or precluding a third party from making an unsolicited acquisition proposal for our company or of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control under circumstances that otherwise could provide the holders of shares of our common stock with the opportunity to realize a premium over the then current market price. Our charter contains a provision whereby we have elected to be subject to the provisions of MUTA relating to the filling of vacancies on our board of directors.
In addition, our charter includes certain limitations on the ownership and transfer of our common stock. See “—Risks Related to Our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Items—Our charter does not permit any person (including certain entities treated as individuals for this purpose) to own more than 9.8% of any class or series of our outstanding capital stock, and attempts to acquire shares of any class or series of our capital stock in excess of this 9.8% limit would not be effective without a prior exemption from those prohibitions by our board of directors.”
Our rights and the rights of our stockholders to take action against our directors and officers are limited, which could limit your recourse in the event of actions not in your best interests.
Our charter limits the liability of our present and former directors and officers to us and our stockholders for money damages to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law. Under Maryland law, our present and former directors and officers will not have any liability to us and our stockholders for money damages other than liability resulting from:
actual receipt of an improper benefit or profit in money, property or services; or

active and deliberate dishonesty by the director or officer that was established by a final judgment as being material to the cause of action adjudicated.

Our charter and bylaws require us to indemnify our present and former directors and officers to the maximum extent permitted by Maryland law, in the defense of any proceeding to which he or she is made, or threatened to be made, a party by reason of

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his or her service to us. In addition, we may be obligated to pay or reimburse the defense costs incurred by our present and former directors and officers without requiring a preliminary determination of their ultimate entitlement to indemnification.
Our charter contains provisions that make removal of our directors difficult, which could make it difficult for our stockholders to effect changes to our management.
Our charter provides that, subject to the rights of any series of preferred stock, a director may be removed only for cause upon the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the votes entitled to be cast generally in the election of directors. Under our charter, cause means conviction of a felony or a final judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction holding that a director caused demonstrable, material harm to our company through bad faith or active and deliberate dishonesty. Vacancies may be filled only by a majority of the remaining directors in office, even if less than a quorum. These requirements make it more difficult to change our management by removing and replacing directors and may prevent a change in control of our company that is in the best interests of our stockholders.
Our charter contains provisions that are designed to reduce or eliminate duties of KKR and its affiliates and our directors with respect to corporate opportunities and competitive activities.
Our charter contains provisions designed to reduce or eliminate duties of KKR and its affiliates and of our directors or any person our directors control to refrain from competing with us or to present to us business opportunities that otherwise may exist in the absence of such charter provisions. Under our charter, KKR and its affiliates and our directors or any person our directors control will not be obligated to present to us opportunities unless those opportunities are expressly offered to such person in his or her capacity as a director or officer of our company and those persons will be able to engage in competing activities without any restriction imposed as a result of KKR’s or its affiliates’ status as a stockholder or KKR affiliates’ status as officers or directors of our company.
We have not established a minimum distribution payment level and we cannot assure you of our ability to pay distributions in the future.
We are generally required to distribute to our stockholders at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gain, each year for us to qualify as a REIT under the Code, which requirement we currently intend to satisfy through quarterly distributions of all or substantially all of our net taxable income in such year, subject to certain adjustments. Although we intend to make regular quarterly distributions to holders of our common stock and we currently expect to distribute substantially all of our net taxable income to our stockholders on an annual basis, we have not established a minimum distribution payment level and our ability to pay distributions may be adversely affected by a number of factors, including the risk factors described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Any distributions we make to our stockholders will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our earnings, financial condition, liquidity, debt covenants, maintenance of our REIT qualification, applicable law and such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant from time to time. We believe that a change in any one of the following factors could adversely affect our results of operations and impair our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders:
our ability to make profitable investments;

margin calls or other expenses that reduce our cash flow;

defaults in our asset portfolio or decreases in the value of our portfolio;

the impact of declining interest rates on our net interest income; and

the fact that anticipated operating expense levels may not prove accurate, as actual results may vary from estimates.

As a result, no assurance can be given that the level of any distributions we make to our stockholders will achieve a market yield or increase or even be maintained over time, any of which could materially and adversely affect the market price of our common stock. We may use net operating losses, to the extent available and subject to certain limitations, carried forward to offset future net taxable income, and therefore reduce our dividend requirements. In addition, some of our distributions may include a return of capital, which would reduce the amount of capital available to operate our business.

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In addition, distributions that we make to our stockholders will generally be taxable to our stockholders as ordinary income. REIT dividends (other than capital gain dividends) received by non-corporate stockholders may be eligible for a 20% reduction. However, a portion of our distributions may be designated by us as long-term capital gains to the extent that they are attributable to capital gain income recognized by us or may constitute a return of capital to the extent that they exceed our earnings and profits as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes. A return of capital is not taxable, but has the effect of reducing the basis of a stockholder’s investment in our common stock.


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ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

Our principal executive offices are located in leased office space at 9 West 57th Street, New York, New York. We do not own any real property. We consider these facilities to be suitable and adequate for the management and operations of our business.

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

From time to time, we may be involved in various claims and legal actions arising in the ordinary course of business. As of December 31, 2019, we were not involved in any material legal proceedings.

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

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KKR Real Estate Finance Trust Inc.
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
(dollars in tables in thousands, except per share amounts)

PART II.

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

On May 5, 2017, our common stock began trading on the NYSE under the symbol “KREF.” As of February 14, 2020, there were 31 holders of record of our common stock. This does not include the number of stockholders that hold shares in “street name” through banks or broker-dealers.

Dividends

We intend to make regular quarterly distributions to holders of our common stock. U.S. federal income tax law generally requires that a REIT distribute annually at least 90% of its REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gains, and that it pay tax at regular corporate rates to the extent that it annually distributes less than 100% of its REIT taxable income, as adjusted.

Any distributions we make to our stockholders will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on our earnings, financial condition, liquidity, debt covenants, maintenance of our REIT qualification, applicable law and such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant from time to time. Our earnings, financial condition and liquidity will be affected by various factors, including the net interest and other income from our portfolio, our operating expenses and any other expenditures.

To the extent that in respect of any calendar year, cash available for distribution is less than our REIT taxable income, determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid and excluding net capital gain, we could be required to sell assets or borrow funds to make cash distributions or make a portion of the required distribution in the form of a taxable stock distribution or distribution of debt securities. For more information regarding risk factors that could materially adversely affect our actual results of operations, see Part I. Item IA. “Risk Factors.”

The following table sets forth the dividends declared during each calendar quarter for 2019 and 2018:
Declaration Date
 
Record Date
 
Payment Date
 
Per Share
2019
 
 
 
 
 
 
March 18, 2019
 
March 29, 2019
 
April 12, 2019
 
0.43
June 14, 2019
 
June 28, 2019
 
July 15, 2019
 
0.43
September 13, 2019
 
September 30, 2019
 
October 16, 2019
 
0.43
December 16, 2019
 
December 31, 2019
 
January 15, 2020
 
0.43
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2018
 
 
 
 
 
 
March 9, 2018
 
March 29, 2018
 
April 13, 2018
 
0.40
May 7, 2018
 
June 29, 2018
 
July 13, 2018
 
0.43
September 10, 2018
 
September 28, 2018
 
October 12, 2018
 
0.43
December 17, 2018
 
December 28, 2018
 
January 11, 2019
 
0.43














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Stockholder Return Performance

The following graph is a comparison of the cumulative total stockholder return on shares of our common stock, the Russell 2000 Index (the “Russell 2000”), and the Bloomberg REIT Mortgage Index, a published industry index, from May 5, 2017 (the date our common stock began trading on the NYSE) to December 31, 2019. The graph assumes that $100 was invested on May 5, 2017 in our common stock, the Russell 2000 and the Bloomberg REIT Mortgage Index and that all dividends were reinvested without the payment of any commissions. There can be no assurance that the performance of our shares will continue in line with the same or similar trends depicted in the graph below.

Total Return Performance
stockholdchart.jpg
 
 
Period Ending
 
 
5/5/2017
 
12/31/2017
 
12/31/2018
 
12/31/2019
KKR Real Estate Finance Trust, Inc.
 
100.0

 
102.3

 
106.4

 
123.8

Russell 2000
 
100.0

 
111.6

 
99.3

 
124.6

Bloomberg REIT Mortgage Index
 
100.0

 
107.8

 
105.9