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Table of Contents


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:
 
1-10777
AMBAC FINANCIAL GROUP INC
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
13-3621676
(State of incorporation)
 
(I.R.S. employer identification no.)
One World Trade Center
New York
NY
 
10007
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip code)
 
(212)
658-7470
 
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Trading Symbols
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share
 
AMBC
 
New York Stock Exchange
Warrants
 
AMBC WS
 
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 No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes 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 (§232.405 of this chapter) 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, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer”, “accelerated filer”, “smaller reporting company”and"emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act): (Check one):
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 Act). Yes No

The aggregate market value of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of the close of business on June 30, 2019 was $767,503,767. As of February 24, 2020, there were 45,577,874 shares of Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share, were outstanding.

Documents Incorporated By Reference
Portions of the Registrant’s proxy statement for its 2020 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K in response to Part III Items 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.


Table of Contents

AMBAC FINANCIAL GROUP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
 
Item Number
Page
 
Item Number
Page
 
 
PART II (CONTINUED)
 
1
 
7A
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk
 
 
8
 
 
9
 
 
9A
 
 
9B
 
 
 
1A
 
10
1B
 
11
2
 
12
3
 
13
4
 
14
 
 
 
5
 
15
6
 
 
7
 
 
 
 
 
 
Executive Summary
 
 
 
 
 
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Special Purpose and Variable Interest Entities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ambac UK Financial Results Under UK Accounting Principles
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Table of Contents

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT PURSUANT TO THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995
In this Annual Report, we have included statements that may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “estimate,” “project,” “plan,” “believe,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “planned,” “potential” and similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “should,” “would,” “could,” and “may,” or the negative of those expressions or verbs, identify forward-looking statements. We caution readers that these statements are not guarantees of future performance. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our beliefs regarding future events, which may by their nature be inherently uncertain and some of which may be outside our control. These statements may relate to plans and objectives with respect to the future, among other things which may change. We are alerting you to the possibility that our actual results may differ, possibly materially, from the expected objectives or anticipated results that may be suggested, expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our results to differ, possibly materially, from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, those discussed under “Risk Factors” in Part I, Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Any or all of management’s forward-looking statements here or in other publications may turn out to be incorrect and are based on management’s current belief or opinions. Ambac’s actual results may vary materially, and there are no guarantees about the performance of Ambac’s securities. Among events, risks, uncertainties or factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are: (1) the highly speculative nature of Ambac’s common stock and volatility in the price of Ambac’s common stock; (2) uncertainty concerning the Company’s ability to achieve value for holders of its securities, whether from Ambac Assurance Corporation ("Ambac Assurance") and its subsidiaries or from transactions or opportunities apart from Ambac Assurance and its subsidiaries, including new business initiatives; (3) changes in Ambac Assurance’s estimated representation and warranty recoveries or loss reserves over time; (4) failure to recover claims paid on Puerto Rico exposures or incurrence of losses in amounts higher than expected; (5) adverse effects on Ambac’s share price resulting from future offerings of debt or equity securities that rank senior to Ambac’s common stock; (6) potential of rehabilitation proceedings against Ambac Assurance; (7) dilution of current shareholder value or adverse effects on Ambac’s share price resulting from the issuance of additional shares of common stock; (8) inadequacy of reserves established for losses and loss expenses and possibility that changes in loss reserves may result in further volatility of earnings or financial results; (9) increased fiscal stress experienced by issuers of public finance obligations or an increased incidence of Chapter 9 filings or other restructuring proceedings by public finance issuers, including an increased risk of loss on revenue bonds of distressed public finance issuers due to recent judicial decisions adverse to revenue bond holders; (10) the Company's inability to realize the expected recoveries included in its financial statements; (11) insufficiency or unavailability of collateral to pay secured obligations; (12) credit risk throughout the Company’s business, including but not limited to credit risk related to residential mortgage-backed securities, student loan and
 
other asset securitizations, public finance obligations (including obligations of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its instrumentalities and agencies) and exposures to reinsurers; (13) credit risks related to large single risks, risk concentrations and correlated risks; (14) the risk that the Company’s risk management policies and practices do not anticipate certain risks and/or the magnitude of potential for loss; (15) risks associated with adverse selection as the Company’s insured portfolio runs off; (16) adverse effects on operating results or the Company’s financial position resulting from measures taken to reduce risks in its insured portfolio; (17) disagreements or disputes with Ambac Assurance's primary insurance regulator; (18) our inability to mitigate or remediate losses, commute or reduce insured exposures or achieve recoveries or investment objectives, or the failure of any transaction intended to accomplish one or more of these objectives to deliver anticipated results; (19) the Company’s substantial indebtedness could adversely affect its financial condition and operating flexibility; (20) the Company may not be able to obtain financing or raise capital on acceptable terms or at all due to its substantial indebtedness and financial condition; (21) the Company may not be able to generate the significant amount of cash needed to service its debt and financial obligations, and may not be able to refinance its indebtedness; (22) restrictive covenants in agreements and instruments may impair the Company’s ability to pursue or achieve its business strategies; (23) loss of control rights in transactions for which we provide insurance due to a finding that Ambac Assurance has defaulted; (24) the impact of catastrophic environmental or natural events on significant portions of our insured portfolio; (25) adverse tax consequences or other costs resulting from the characterization of the Company’s surplus notes or other obligations as equity; (26) risks attendant to the change in composition of securities in the Company’s investment portfolio; (27) changes in prevailing interest rates; (28) the expected discontinuance of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate; (29) factors that may influence the amount of installment premiums paid to the Company; (30) default by one or more of Ambac Assurance's portfolio investments, insured issuers or counterparties; (31) market risks impacting assets in the Company’s investment portfolio or the value of our assets posted as collateral in respect of interest rate swap transactions; (32) risks relating to determinations of amounts of impairments taken on investments; (33) the risk of litigation and regulatory inquiries or investigations, and the risk of adverse outcomes in connection therewith, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, operations, financial position, profitability or cash flows; (34) actions of stakeholders whose interests are not aligned with broader interests of the Company's stockholders; (35) system security risks, data protection breaches and cyber attacks; (36) changes in accounting principles or practices that may impact the Company’s reported financial results; (37) the economic impact of “Brexit”; (38) operational risks, including with respect to internal processes, risk and investment models, systems and employees, and failures in services or products provided by third parties; (39) the Company’s financial position that may prompt departures of key employees and may impact the Company’s ability to attract qualified executives and employees; (40) fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely impact the insured portfolio in the event of loss reserves or claim payments denominated in a currency other than US dollars and the value of non-US dollar denominated securities in our investment portfolio; and (41) other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time.


| Ambac Financial Group, Inc. 1 2019 FORM 10-K |

Table of Contents

PART I
Item 1.    Business
INTRODUCTION
Ambac Financial Group, Inc. ("AFG"), headquartered in New York City, is a financial services holding company incorporated in the State of Delaware on April 29, 1991. AFG provides financial guarantee insurance policies through its principal operating subsidiary, Ambac Assurance Corporation ("Ambac Assurance" or "AAC") and its wholly owned subsidiary Ambac Assurance UK Limited (“Ambac UK”), both of which have been in runoff since 2008. References to “Ambac,” the “Company,” “we,” “our,” and “us” are to AFG and its subsidiaries, as the context requires. AFG has $483 million in net assets (excluding it's investment in subsidiaries), no outstanding debt and significant net operating loss carry-forwards of $3,535 million ($2,285 million is allocated to Ambac Assurance) at December 31, 2019.  See Schedule II for more information on the holding company.
Management reviews financial information, allocates resources and measures financial performance on a consolidated basis. As a result, the Company has a single reportable segment.
Corporate Strategy:
Since the exit from rehabilitation of Ambac Assurance’s Segregated Account (as defined below) in February 2018, Ambac has been focused on and continues to progress all key strategic priorities, specifically:
Active runoff of Ambac Assurance and its subsidiaries through transaction terminations, policy commutations, reinsurance, settlements and restructurings, with a focus on our watch list credits and known and potential future adversely classified credits, that we believe will improve our risk profile, and maximizing the risk-adjusted return on invested assets;
Ongoing rationalization of Ambac's capital and liability structures;
Loss recovery through active litigation management and exercise of contractual and legal rights;
Ongoing review and adjustments focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of Ambac's operating platform; and
Evaluation of opportunities in certain business sectors that meet acceptable criteria that will generate long-term stockholder value with attractive risk-adjusted returns.
With respect to our new business strategy, we continue to evaluate and pursue strategic opportunities in credit, insurance, asset management and other financial services that we believe would be synergistic to Ambac and would leverage our core competencies. While we have increased our efforts in evaluating such potential opportunities, we continue to be measured and disciplined in our approach as we seek to deploy our capital on opportunities that will generate sustainable long-term shareholder value. Although we are exploring new business opportunities for Ambac, no assurance can be given that we will be able to identify or execute a suitable transaction and/or obtain the financial and other resources that may be required to finance the acquisition or development of any new businesses or assets. Due to these factors, as well as uncertainties relating to the ability of Ambac Assurance
 
to deliver value to Ambac, the value of our securities remains speculative.
The execution of Ambac’s strategy to increase the value of its investment in Ambac Assurance is subject to the restrictions set forth in the Settlement Agreement, dated as of June 7, 2010 (the "Settlement Agreement"), by and among Ambac Assurance, Ambac Credit Products LLC ("ACP"), AFG and certain counterparties to credit default swaps with ACP that were guaranteed by Ambac Assurance, as well as the Stipulation and Order (as defined in Note 1. Background and Business Description to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K) and in the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes (as defined in Note 1. Background and Business Description to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K), each of which requires OCI (as defined below) and, under certain circumstances, holders of the debt instruments benefiting from such restrictions, to approve certain actions taken by or in respect of Ambac Assurance. In exercising its approval rights, OCI will act for the benefit of policyholders, and will not take into account the interests of Ambac. See Note 1. Background and Business Description to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further information.
Opportunities for remediating losses on poorly performing insured transactions also depend on market conditions, including the perception of Ambac Assurance’s creditworthiness, the structure of the underlying risk and associated policy as well as other counterparty specific factors. Ambac Assurance's ability to commute policies or purchase certain investments may also be limited by available liquidity.
Financial Guarantee Insurance:
Ambac provides financial guarantee insurance policies through its principal operating subsidiaries, AAC and Ambac UK, both of which have been in runoff since 2008. Insurance policies issued provide an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee which protects the holder of a debt obligation against non-payment when due of the principal and interest on the obligations guaranteed. Pursuant to such guarantees, Ambac Assurance and its subsidiaries make payments if the obligor responsible for making payments fails to do so when due. Revenues from financial guarantees consist of: (i) premiums earned from insurance contracts, net of reinsurance, and (ii) amendment and consent fees. Expenses from financial guarantees consist of: (i) loss and commutation payments; (ii) loss adjustment expenses, including those relating to the remediation of problem credits; and (iii) insurance intangible amortization.
Ambac Assurance and its subsidiaries have been working toward reducing uncertainties within their insured portfolios such as exposures to financially stressed municipal entities (including Puerto Rico) and asset-backed securities (including residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS") and student loan-backed securities). Additionally, Ambac Assurance and its subsidiaries are actively prosecuting legal claims (including RMBS-related lawsuits), managing the regulatory frameworks applicable to the insurance entities, seeking to optimize capital allocation in a challenging environment that includes long duration obligations, and attempting to retain key employees.


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The deterioration of Ambac Assurance's and Ambac UK's financial condition beginning in 2007 has prevented these companies from being able to write new financial guaranty business. Not writing new business has and continues to negatively impact Ambac’s operations and financial results. Ambac Assurance’s ability to pay dividends and, as a result, AFG’s liquidity, have been significantly restricted by the deterioration of Ambac Assurance’s financial condition and by regulatory, legal and contractual restrictions. It is highly unlikely that Ambac Assurance will be able to make dividend payments to AFG for the foreseeable future. Refer to "Dividend Restrictions, Including Contractual Restrictions" below and Note 8. Insurance Regulatory Restrictions to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K, for more information on dividend payment restrictions.
Derivatives:
Interest rate derivative transactions are executed through Ambac Financial Services (“AFS”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ambac Assurance. The primary activity of AFS is to economically hedge interest rate risk in the financial guarantee and investment portfolios. Accordingly, interest rate derivatives are positioned to benefit from rising rates. Under agreements governing interest rate derivative positions, AFS generally must post collateral or margin in excess of the market value of the swaps and futures contracts. All AFS derivative contracts containing ratings-based downgrade triggers that could result in collateral or margin posting or a termination have been triggered. A termination of AFS’s derivatives could result in losses. AFS has borrowed cash and securities from Ambac Assurance to help support its collateral and margin posting requirements, previous termination payments and other cash needs.
Credit derivative contracts were executed through ACP, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ambac Assurance, for which fees are collected over the contract term. Credit derivative contract terms are substantially similar to financial guarantee insurance. Credit derivatives also permit certain counterparties to assert mark-to-market termination claims under certain conditions; however, the assertion of such mark-to-market claims based on the Segregated Account Rehabilitation Proceedings (as defined below) and related circumstances has been enjoined by the Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation (as defined below) and orders of the Rehabilitation Court (as defined below). See discussion of “Ambac Assurance Liquidity” in Part II, Item 7 included in this Form 10-K for further information.
Ambac derives derivative revenues from (i)  changes in the fair value of the derivatives portfolio resulting from interest rate or credit changes and (ii) the value of future contract terminations or settlements which may differ from the carrying value of the those contracts.
Credit risks relating to interest rate derivative positions primarily relate to the default of a counterparty. AFS's interest rate derivatives generally consist of centrally cleared swaps, US treasury futures and some over-the-counter ("OTC") swaps with financial guarantee customers or bank counterparties. Counterparty default exposure is mitigated through the use of industry standard collateral posting agreements or margin posting requirements.
Cleared swaps, futures and OTC derivatives with bank counterparties require margin or collateral to be posted up to
 
or in excess of the market value of the interest rate derivatives. Interest rate derivative contracts entered into with financial guarantee customers are not subject to collateral posting agreements.
Credit risk associated with financial guarantee customer derivatives and credit derivatives, is managed through the risk management processes described in the Risk Management Group section below. In some cases, interest rate derivatives between Ambac and financial guarantee customers are placed through a third party financial intermediary and similarly do not require collateral posting.
Ambac manages a variety of market risks inherent in its businesses, including credit, market, liquidity, operational and legal. These risks are identified, measured, and monitored through a variety of control mechanisms, which are in place at different levels throughout the organization. See “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” included in Part II, Item 7A in this Form 10-K for further information.
Segregated Account
In March 2010, Ambac Assurance established a segregated account pursuant to Wisconsin Stat. §611.24(2) (the “Segregated Account”) to segregate certain segments of Ambac Assurance’s liabilities. The Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin (“OCI” (which term shall be understood to refer to such office as regulator of Ambac Assurance and to refer to the Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Wisconsin as rehabilitator of the Segregated Account (the “Rehabilitator”), as the context requires)) commenced rehabilitation proceedings in the Wisconsin Circuit Court for Dane County (the “Rehabilitation Court”) with respect to the Segregated Account (the “Segregated Account Rehabilitation Proceedings”) in order to permit OCI to facilitate an orderly run-off and/or settlement of the liabilities allocated to the Segregated Account pursuant to the provisions of the Wisconsin Insurers Rehabilitation and Liquidation Act. Ambac Assurance, itself, did not enter rehabilitation proceedings.
A plan of rehabilitation for the Segregated Account, as amended (the "Segregated Account Rehabilitation Plan") became effective on June 12, 2014. On September 25, 2017 the Rehabilitator filed a motion in the Rehabilitation Court seeking entry of an order approving an amendment to the Segregated Account Rehabilitation Plan (the "Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation"). Following the conclusion of a Confirmation Hearing on January 22, 2018, the Rehabilitation Court entered an order granting the Rehabilitator's motion and confirming the Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation. On February 12, 2018 (the "Effective Date"), the Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation became effective. Consequently, the rehabilitation of the Segregated Account was concluded. Refer to Note 1. Background and Business Description to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K, for more information on the Segregated Account and the Segregated Account Rehabilitation Proceedings.
Enterprise Risk Management
The Company's policies and procedures relating to risk assessment and risk management are overseen by its Board of Directors. The Board of Directors takes an enterprise-wide approach to risk management oversight that is designed to support the Company's business plans at a level of risk considered by the Board to be


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reasonable. A fundamental part of risk assessment and risk management is not only understanding the risks the Company faces and what steps management is taking to manage those risks, but also understanding what level of risk is appropriate for the Company. The Board of Directors periodically reviews the Company's business plan, factoring risk management into account. It also approves the Company's risk appetite statements, which articulate the Company's tolerance for certain risks and describes the general types of risk that the Company accepts, within certain parameters, or attempts to avoid.
While the Board of Directors has the ultimate oversight responsibility for the risk management process, various committees of the Board also have responsibilities related to risk assessment and risk management, and management has responsibility for managing the risks to which the Company is exposed and reporting on such matters to the Board of Directors and applicable Board committees.
The Audit Committee oversees the management of risks associated with the integrity of Ambac’s financial statements and its compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. In addition, the Audit Committee discusses policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management, including major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures. The Audit Committee reviews with management, internal auditors and independent auditors Ambac's critical accounting policies, Ambac's system of internal controls over financial reporting and the quality and appropriateness of disclosure and content in the financial statements and other external financial communications.
The Compensation Committee oversees the management of risk primarily associated with our ability to attract, motivate and retain quality talent (particularly executive talent) and with setting financial incentives that do not motivate undue risk-taking.
The Governance and Nominating Committee oversees the management of risk primarily associated with Ambac’s ability to attract and retain quality directors, Ambac’s corporate governance programs and practices and our compliance therewith. Additionally, the Governance and Nominating Committee oversees the processes for evaluation of the performance of the Board of Directors and its committees each year and considers risk management effectiveness as part of its evaluation. The Governance and Nominating Committee also performs oversight of the business ethics and compliance program, and reviews compliance with Ambac’s Code of Business Conduct.
The Strategy Committee oversees the management of risk and risk appetite primarily with respect to strategic plans and initiatives.
The Board of Directors also receives quarterly updates from Board committees, and the Board provides guidance to individual committee activities as appropriate.
In order to assist the Board of Directors in overseeing Ambac’s risk management, Ambac uses enterprise risk management, a company-wide process that involves the Board of Directors, management and other personnel in an integrated effort to identify, assess and manage a broad range of risks (e.g., credit, financial,
 
legal, liquidity, market, model, operational, regulatory, reputational and strategic), that may affect the Company’s ability to execute on its corporate strategy and fulfill its business objectives. The Enterprise Risk Committee (“ERC”), which is a management committee, is comprised of senior level management responsible for assisting in the management of the Company’s risks on an individual and aggregate basis. The ERC produces the relevant risk management information for senior management and the Board of Directors.
Ambac management has established other committees to assist in managing the risks embedded in the enterprise. These committees will meet monthly or as needed on an ad hoc basis.
The Risk Committee's objective is to establish an interdisciplinary team of professionals from different parts of the Company to provide oversight of the key risk remediation issues impacting Ambac. The purview of the committee is to review and approve risk remediation activities for the financial guarantee insured portfolio. Additionally, the Risk Committee will provide oversight and review new risk remediation structures or approaches in connection with risk remediation plans or anticipated transactions. Members of the Risk Committee include the Chief Executive Officer, Head of Risk Management, Chief Financial Officer and senior managers from throughout risk, corporate services, operations, investment management, legal and finance.
The Asset Liability Management Committee's (“ALCO”) objective is to foster an enterprise wide culture and approach to liquidity management, asset management, asset valuation and hedging. Members of ALCO include the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and senior managers from investment management and the Risk Management Group.
The Disclosure Committee's objective is to assist the CEO and CFO in their responsibilities to design, establish, maintain and evaluate the effectiveness of disclosure controls and procedures. Members of the Disclosure Committee include the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Head of Risk Management and senior managers from throughout finance, legal, risk and corporate services.
Available Information
Our Internet address is www.ambac.com. We make available free of charge, through the investor relations section of our web site, annual reports 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 Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, as well as proxy statements, as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Our Investor Relations Department can be contacted at Ambac Financial Group, Inc., One World Trade Center, 41st Floor, New York, New York 10007, Attn: Investor Relations, telephone: 212-208-3222 email: ir@ambac.com. The reference to our website address does not constitute inclusion or incorporation by reference of the information contained on our website in this Form 10-K or other filings with the SEC and the information contained on our website is not part of this document.


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RISK MANAGEMENT GROUP
Financial guarantee insurance was sold in three principal markets: U.S. public finance, U.S. structured finance and international finance. Ambac’s financial guarantee insurance policies and credit derivative contracts expose the Company to the direct credit risk of the assets and/or obligor supporting the guaranteed obligation. In addition, insured transactions expose Ambac to indirect risks that may increase our overall risk, such as credit risk separate from, but correlated with, our direct credit risk; market; model; economic; natural disaster and mortality or other non-credit type risks. Please refer to Item 7 “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Financial Guarantees in Force” section below for details on the financial guarantee insured portfolio.
The Risk Management Group ("RMG") is primarily responsible for the development, implementation and oversight of loss mitigation strategies, surveillance and remediation of the insured financial guarantee portfolio (including through the pursuit of recoveries in respect of paid claims and commutations of policies). Our ability to execute certain risk management activities may be limited by the restrictions set forth in the Settlement Agreement, the Stipulation and Order and the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes. See Note 1. Background and Business Description to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further information.
Ambac’s RMG has an organizational structure designed around four primary areas of focus: Surveillance, Risk Remediation, Credit Risk Management and Loss Reserving and Analytics.
Surveillance
This group's focus is on the early identification of potential stress or deterioration in connection with credit exposures in the insured portfolio and the related credit analysis associated with these and other insured portfolio exposures. Additionally, surveillance will evaluate the impact of changes in the economic, regulatory or political environment on the insured portfolio.
Analysts in this group perform periodic credit reviews of insured exposures according to a schedule based on the risk profile of the guaranteed obligations or as necessitated by specific credit events or other macro-economic variables. Risk-adjusted surveillance strategies have been developed for each bond type with review periods and scope of review based upon each bond type’s risk profile. The risk profile is assessed regularly in response to our own experience and judgments or external factors such as the economic environment and industry trends. Active surveillance enables analysts to track single credit migration and industry credit and performance trends.
The focus of a credit review is to assess performance, identify credit trends and recommend appropriate credit classifications, ratings and changes to a transaction or bond type’s review period and surveillance requirements. Please refer to Note 2. Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further discussion of the various credit classifications utilized by Ambac. If a problem is detected, the Surveillance group will then work with the Risk Remediation group on a loss mitigation plan, as necessary.
 
Surveillance for collateral dependent transactions, including, but not limited to, residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) and student loan transactions, focuses on reviews of the underlying asset cash flows and, if applicable, the performance of servicers or collateral managers. Ambac Assurance generally receives periodic reporting of transaction performance from issuers or trustees. Surveillance analysts review these reports to monitor performance and, if necessary, seek legal advice to ensure that reporting and application of cash flows comply with transaction requirements.
Risk Remediation
Risk Remediation's focus is on exposure reduction, loss mitigation, avoiding defaults, and restructuring related to the insured portfolio of Ambac Assurance. In particular, this group focuses on reducing exposure to credits that have current negative developing trends, have the potential for future adverse development or are already adversely classified by, among other things, securing rights and remedies, both of which may help to mitigate losses in the event of further deterioration or event of default, or, as available, working with an issuer to refinance or retire debt.
Loss mitigation and restructuring focuses on the analysis, implementation and execution of commutation and related claims reduction, defeasance or workout strategies for policies with potential future claims. Efforts are focused on minimizing claims and maximizing recoveries, typically following an event of default.
The emphasis on reducing risk is centered on reducing enterprise-wide exposure on a prioritized basis.
For certain adversely classified, survey list and watch list credits, RMG analysts will develop and implement a remediation or loss mitigation plan that could include actions such as working with the issuer, trustee, bond counsel, servicer and other interested parties in an attempt to remediate the problem and minimize Ambac Assurance’s exposure to potential loss. Other actions could include working with bond holders and other economic stakeholders to negotiate, structure and execute solutions, such as commutations. In addition, reinsurance is used as a remediation tool to reduce exposure to certain targeted policies.
Adversely classified, survey list and watch list credits are tracked closely by RMG analysts as part of the risk remediation process and are discussed at regularly scheduled meetings with Credit Risk Management (see discussion following in “Credit Risk Management”) and the Risk Committee (see prior discussion in "Risk Committee"). In some cases, the RMG will engage restructuring or workout experts, attorneys and/or other consultants with appropriate expertise in the targeted loss mitigation area to assist management in examining the underlying contracts or collateral, providing industry specific advice and/or executing strategies.
We have established cross-functional teams in key areas of focus, comprised of personnel both within the RMG and in other departments, to target proactive mitigation and remediation of losses and potential future losses associated with certain credits and sectors in the insured portfolio. Examples of such efforts include teams of professionals focused on (i) the review and enforcement of contractual representations and warranties ("R&W") supporting RMBS policies, (ii) RMBS servicing and remediation and (iii) the analysis and prioritization of policies with projected claims or the potential for future material adverse development to target and


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execute risk reduction, restructuring and commutation strategies. Members of these cross-functional teams will often work with external experts in the pursuit of risk reduction efforts.
The team focused on recoveries from sponsors where Ambac Assurance believes material breaches of representations and warranties occurred with respect to certain RMBS policies has (i) engaged experienced consultants to perform the re-underwriting of loan files and (ii) consults with internal and external legal counsel with regard to loan putbacks as well as settlement and litigation strategies (refer to Note 2. Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies and Note 7. Financial Guarantee Insurance Contracts to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further discussion on this topic).
Credit Risk Management ("CRM")
The CRM function manages the decision process for all material matters that affect credit exposures within the insured portfolio. CRM provides a forum for independent assessments, reviews and approvals and drives consistency and timeliness. The scope of credit matters under the purview of CRM includes material amendments, consents and waivers, evaluation of remediation or loss mitigation plans, credit review scheduling, credit classifications, rating designations, review of watch list or adversely classified credits, sector reviews and overall portfolio reviews. Formal plans or transactions that relate to risk remediation, loss mitigation or restructuring may also require Risk Committee approval.
Control Rights
In structured transactions, including certain structured public finance transactions, Ambac Assurance may be the control party as a result of insuring the transaction’s senior class or tranche of debt obligations. The control party may direct specified parties, usually the trustee, to take or not take certain actions following contractual defaults or trigger events. Control rights and the scope of direction and remedies vary considerably among our insured transactions. Because Ambac Assurance is party to and/or has certain rights in documents supporting transactions in the insured portfolio, Ambac Assurance frequently receives requests for amendments, consents and waivers (“ACWs”). RMG reviews, analyzes and processes all requests for ACWs.
As a part of the Segregated Account Rehabilitation Proceedings, the Rehabilitation Court enjoined certain actions by other parties to preserve Ambac Assurance’s control rights that could otherwise have lapsed or been compromised. Pursuant to the Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation and orders of the Rehabilitation Court, such protections continue after the conclusion of the Segregated Account Rehabilitation Proceedings.
Watch List Credits
Credits that demonstrate the potential for long-term material adverse development, represent significant size or sector concentration, or have certain structural, credit or other complexities, but are otherwise currently performing, may be designated as a watch list credit as part of the CRM process. Watch list credits are more closely monitored for potential adverse development and are primary targets for proactive risk reduction efforts by the RMG.
Adversely Classified Credits
Credits that are either in default or have developed problems that eventually may lead to a default are tracked closely by the appropriate RMG teams and discussed as part of the CRM process.
 
Adversely classified credit meetings include members of RMG and other groups within the Company, as necessary. As part of the review, relevant information, along with the plan for corrective actions and a reassessment of the credit’s rating and credit classification is considered. Internal and/or external counsel generally review the documents underlying any problem credit and, if applicable, an analysis is prepared outlining Ambac Assurance’s rights and potential remedies, the duties of all parties involved and recommendations for corrective actions. Ambac Assurance also meets with relevant parties to the transaction as necessary. The review schedule for adversely classified credits is tailored to the remediation plan to track and prompt timely action and proper internal and external resourcing. A summary of developments regarding adversely classified credits and credit trends is also provided to AFG’s and Ambac Assurance’s Board of Directors no less than quarterly.
The insured portfolio contains exposures that are correlated and/or concentrated. RMG's surveillance activities include identifying these types of exposures and identifying the risks that would or could trigger credit deterioration across these related exposures. When such risks materialize, an adverse credit classification may be designated across these correlated and/or concentrated exposures. This is the case with student loans and RMBS, for example, which have several correlations including those associated with consumer lending, unemployment and home prices. In the past, our not-for-profit healthcare and our leveraged lease exposures experienced periods of stress arising from their concentrated and/or correlated risks, when there were major changes to healthcare reimbursement programs, especially Medicaid, or significant weakness in consumer and business travel, in the case of the former and the latter, respectively. In the future, Ambac’s portfolio may be subject to similar credit deterioration arising from concentrated and/or correlated risks. Examples of other such risks that could impact our portfolio, and that our surveillance is designed to monitor include the impact of potential municipal bankruptcy contagion, the impact of tax reform on state and municipal bond issuers, or the impact of large scale domestic military cutbacks on our military housing portfolio or event risk such as natural disasters or other regional stresses. Most such risks cannot be predicted, and may materialize unexpectedly or develop rapidly. Although our surveillance allows us to connect the event and stress to the related exposures and assign an adverse credit classification and estimate losses across the affected credits, when necessary, we may not have adequate resources or contractual rights and remedies to mitigate loss arising from such risks.
Amendment, Consent and Waiver Review / Approval
The decision to approve or reject ACWs is based upon certain credit factors, such as the issuer’s ability to repay the bonds and the bond’s security features and structure. As part of the CRM process, members of the RMG review, analyze and process all requests for ACWs. All ACWs are initially screened for materiality by surveillance analysts. Non-material AWCs require the approval of at least the surveillance analyst and the surveillance manager. Material ACWs are within the purview of the CRM process, as noted above. For material ACWs, CRM has established minimum requirements that may be modified to require more or varied approvals depending upon the matter’s complexity, size or other characteristics.
Ambac Assurance assigns internal credit ratings to individual exposures as part of the ACW process and at surveillance reviews.


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These internal credit ratings, which represent Ambac Assurance’s independent judgments, are based upon underlying credit parameters consistent with the exposure type.
Loss Reserving and Analytics ("LRA")
LRA manages the quarterly loss reserving process for insured portfolio credits with projected policy claims. It also supports the development, operation and/or maintenance of various analytical models used in the loss reserving process as well as in other risk management functions. LRA works with surveillance and risk remediation analysts responsible for a particular credit on the development, review and implementation of loss reserve scenarios and related analysis.
INSURANCE REGULATORY MATTERS AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS
Regulatory Matters
United States
Ambac Assurance and Everspan Insurance Company ("Everspan") are domiciled in the State of Wisconsin and, as such, are subject to the insurance laws and regulations of the State of Wisconsin (the “Wisconsin Insurance Laws”) and are regulated by the OCI. In addition, Ambac Assurance and Everspan are subject to the insurance laws and regulations of the other jurisdictions in which they are licensed. See Note 8. Insurance Regulatory Restrictions to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further information on regulatory restrictions.
In addition, pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Stipulation and Order and the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes, Ambac Assurance must seek prior approval by OCI of certain corporate actions. The Settlement Agreement, Stipulation and Order and indenture for the Tier 2 Notes include covenants which restrict the operations of Ambac Assurance. The Settlement Agreement will remain in force until the surplus notes issued thereunder have been redeemed, repurchased or repaid in full. The Stipulation and Order will remain in force for so long as OCI determines it to be necessary. The indenture for the Tier 2 Notes will remain in force until the Tier 2 Notes have been redeemed, repurchased or repaid in full. Certain of the restrictions in the Settlement Agreement and indenture for the Tier 2 Notes may be waived with the approval of the OCI and/or the requisite percentage of holders of debt securities issued thereunder.
United Kingdom
The Prudential Regulatory Authority ("PRA") and Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") (and their predecessor regulator the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”)) have exercised significant oversight of Ambac UK since 2008, after AFG, Ambac Assurance and Ambac UK began experiencing financial stress. In 2009, Ambac UK’s license to write new business was curtailed by the FSA and the insurance license was limited to undertaking only run-off related activity. As such, Ambac UK is authorized to run-off its insurance portfolio in the United Kingdom, and to do the same through a branch in Milan, Italy, and a number of other EU countries. EU legislation has allowed Ambac UK to conduct business in EU states other than the United Kingdom through a “passporting” arrangement, which eliminates the necessity of additional licensing or authorization in those other EU jurisdictions. See Item 1A. Risk Factors in Part I, Item 1A and Note 8. Insurance Regulatory Restrictions to the Consolidated
 
Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further information on Brexit related developments as well as other regulatory restrictions.
Regulation of change in control
Under Wisconsin law applicable to insurance holding companies, any acquisition of control of AFG, and any other direct or indirect control of Ambac Assurance and Everspan, requires the prior approval of the OCI. “Control” is defined as the direct or indirect power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of a person. Any purchaser of 10% or more of the outstanding voting stock of a corporation is presumed to have acquired control of that corporation and its subsidiaries unless the OCI, upon application, determines otherwise. For purposes of this test, AFG believes that a holder of common stock having the right to cast 10% or more of the votes which may be cast by the holders of all shares of common stock of AFG would be deemed to have control of Ambac Assurance and Everspan within the meaning of the Wisconsin Insurance Laws. The United Kingdom has similar requirements applicable in respect of AFG, as the ultimate holding company of Ambac UK.
Dividend Restrictions, Including Contractual Restrictions
Due to contractual and regulatory restrictions, Ambac Assurance has been unable to pay common dividends to AFG since 2008 and will be unable to pay common dividends in 2020 without certain approvals, including the prior consent of the OCI, which is unlikely. Ambac Assurance’s ability to pay dividends is further restricted by the Settlement Agreement, the Stipulation and Order, the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes and the terms of its Auction Market Preferred Shares ("AMPS"). See Note 8. Insurance Regulatory Restrictions to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further information on dividends.
As a result of these restrictions, Ambac Assurance is not expected to pay dividends to AFG for the foreseeable future.
While the UK insurance regulatory laws impose no statutory restrictions on an insurer’s ability to declare a dividend, the PRA’s and FCA’s capital requirements in practice act as a restriction on the payment of dividends, where a firm has a lower level of regulatory capital than its regulatory capital requirement as is the case for Ambac UK. Further, the FSA amended Ambac UK’s license in 2010 such that the PRA must specifically approve (“non-objection”) any transfer of value and/or assets from Ambac UK to Ambac Assurance or any other Ambac group company, other than in respect of certain disclosed contracts between the two parties (such as in respect of a management services agreement between Ambac Assurance and Ambac UK). As a result, Ambac UK is not expected to pay any dividends to Ambac Assurance for the foreseeable future.
Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement and the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes, Ambac Assurance may not make any “Restricted Payment” (which includes dividends from Ambac Assurance to AFG) in excess of $5 million in the aggregate per annum, other than Restricted Payments from Ambac Assurance to AFG in an amount up to $7.5 million per annum solely to pay operating expenses of AFG. Concurrent with making any such Restricted Payment, a pro rata amount of Ambac Assurance's surplus notes would also need to be redeemed at par. Any such payment on surplus notes would require either payment or collateralization of


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a proportional amount of the Tier 2 Notes (or interest thereon) in accordance with the terms of the Tier 2 Note indenture.
The Stipulation and Order requires OCI approval for the payment of any dividend or distribution on the common stock of Ambac Assurance.
Under the terms of Ambac Assurance’s AMPS, dividends may not be paid on the common stock of Ambac Assurance unless all accrued and unpaid dividends on the AMPS for the then current dividend period have been paid, provided, that dividends on the common stock may be made at all times for the purpose of, and only in such amounts as are necessary for, enabling AFG (i) to service its indebtedness for borrowed money as such payments become due or (ii) to pay its operating expenses. If dividends are paid on the common stock as provided in the prior sentence, dividends on the AMPS become cumulative until the date that all accumulated and unpaid dividends have been paid on the AMPS.
INVESTMENTS AND INVESTMENT POLICY
As of December 31, 2019, the consolidated non-VIE investments of Ambac had an aggregate fair value of approximately $3,792 million. Investments are managed both internally by officers of Ambac, who are experienced investment managers, and by external investment managers. All investments are made in accordance with the general objectives, policies, and guidelines for investments reviewed or overseen by Ambac's Board of Directors or the Board of Directors of the applicable subsidiary. These policies and guidelines include liquidity, credit quality, diversification and duration objectives and are periodically reviewed and revised as appropriate. Additionally, senior credit personnel monitor the portfolio on a continuous basis.
As of December 31, 2019, the Ambac Assurance and Everspan non-VIE investment portfolio had an aggregate fair value of approximately $2,812 million. Ambac Assurance’s and Everspan’s investment objectives are to achieve the highest risk-adjusted after-tax return on a diversified portfolio consistent with Ambac Assurance’s and Everspan’s risk tolerance while employing active asset/liability management practices to satisfy all operating and strategic liquidity needs. In addition to internal investment policies and guidelines, Ambac Assurance’s investment portfolio is subject to limits on the types and quality of investments imposed by applicable insurance laws and regulations, which may be waived by the applicable regulatory authority in certain instances. The Board of Directors of Ambac Assurance approves any changes to Ambac Assurance's investment policy. Changes to Ambac Assurance’s investment policies are subject to approval by OCI pursuant to covenants made by Ambac Assurance in the Settlement Agreement, the Stipulation and Order and the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes. See Note 1. Background and Business Description to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for more information about the Settlement Agreement, the Stipulation and Order and the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes. Such requirements could adversely impact the performance of the investment portfolio.
As of December 31, 2019, the non-VIE Ambac UK investment portfolio had an aggregate fair value of approximately $609 million. Ambac UK’s investment policy is designed with the primary objective of ensuring that Ambac UK is able to meet its financial obligations as they fall due, in particular with respect to policy holder claims. Ambac UK’s investment portfolio is subject to internal investment guidelines and may be subject to limits on types and quality of investments imposed by its regulator. The
 
Board of Directors of Ambac UK approves any changes or exceptions to Ambac UK’s investment policy.
As of December 31, 2019, the non-VIE AFG (parent company only) investment portfolio had an aggregate fair value of approximately $434 million. The primary investment objective is to preserve capital for strategic uses while maximizing income. The investment portfolio is subject to internal investment guidelines. Such guidelines set forth minimum credit rating requirements and credit risk concentration limits. Included in the investment portfolio is AFG's investment in securities insured or issued by Ambac Assurance, including surplus notes ($63 million fair value at December 31, 2019) that are eliminated in consolidation.
The following table provide certain information concerning the consolidated investments of Ambac:
 
2019
 
2018
Investment Category
($ in millions)
December 31,
Carrying
Value (2)
 
Weighted
Average
Yield (1)
 
Carrying
Value (2)
 
Weighted
Average
Yield (1)
Municipal obligations
$
215

 
5.4
%
 
$
880

 
5.6
%
Corporate securities
1,430

 
4.6
%
 
1,278

 
5.6
%
Foreign obligations
44

 
0.8
%
 
31

 
1.1
%
U.S. government obligations
156

 
2.0
%
 
94

 
1.9
%
Residential mortgage-backed securities
248

 
8.9
%
 
259

 
10.2
%
Asset-backed securities
484

 
5.6
%
 
574

 
7.9
%
Total long-term investments
2,577

 
5.0
%
 
3,116

 
6.2
%
Short-term investments
737

 
1.5
%
 
430

 
2.5
%
Other investments (3)
478

 
%
 
391

 
%
Total
$
3,792

 
4.2
%
 
$
3,937

 
5.7
%
(1)
Yields are stated on a pre-tax basis, based on average amortized cost for both long and short term fixed-income investments.
(2)
Includes investments guaranteed by Ambac Assurance and Ambac UK. Refer to Note 10. Investments of the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for further discussion of Ambac insured securities held in the investment portfolio.
(3)
Other investments include interests in pooled investment funds that are either classified as trading securities or are reported under the equity method and Ambac's interests in an unconsolidated trust created in connection with its sale of junior surplus notes on August 28, 2014.
EMPLOYEES
As of December 31, 2019, Ambac had 93 employees in the United States and 11 employees in the United Kingdom. Ambac considers its employee relations to be satisfactory.
Item 1A.    Risk Factors
Capitalized terms used but not defined in this section shall have the meanings ascribed thereto in Part I, Item 1 in this Form 10-K or in Note 1. Background and Business Description to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K unless otherwise indicated.
Our risk factors are organized in the following sections.
 
 
Page
Risks Related to AFG Common Shares
 
Risks Related to Insured Portfolio Losses
 
Risks Related to Indebtedness
 
Risks Related to Capital, Liquidity and Markets
 
Risks Related to Financial and Credit Markets
 
Risks Related to the Company's Business
 
Risks Related to International Business
 
Risks Related to Taxation
 
Risks Related to Strategic Plan
 


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Risks Related to AFG Common Shares
Investments in AFG's common stock are highly speculative and the price per share of AFG's common stock may be subject to a high degree of volatility, including significant price declines.
Ambac's principal business is in run-off and faces significant risks and uncertainties described elsewhere in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors. Although AFG's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange ("NYSE"), there can be no assurance as to the liquidity of the trading market or the price at which such shares can be sold. The price of the shares may decline substantially in response to a number of events or circumstances, including but not limited to:
adverse developments in our financial condition or results of operations;
changes in the actual or perceived risk within our insured portfolio, particularly with regards to concentrations of credit risk, such as in Puerto Rico;
actual or perceived adverse developments with regards to Ambac Assurance's RMBS litigations;
changes to regulatory status;
changes in investors’ or analysts’ valuation measures for our stock;
market trends unrelated to our stock;
market and industry perception of our success, or lack thereof, in pursuing our business strategy;
the impact or perceived impact of any acquisition, disposition or other strategic transaction, including entry into a new line of business, on the value or long-term prospects of the Company; and
results and actions of other participants in our industry.
In addition, the price of AFG's shares may be affected by the additional risks described below, including risks associated with Ambac Assurance’s ability to deliver value to AFG. Investments in AFG's common stock should be considered highly speculative and may be subject to a high degree of volatility.
The occurrence of certain events could result in the initiation of rehabilitation proceedings against Ambac Assurance, with resulting adverse consequences to holders of our securities.
Increased loss development in the insured portfolio or significant losses or other events resulting from litigation, including the failure to achieve expected recoveries from existing litigations concerning insured residential mortgage-backed securities ("RMBS"), may prompt OCI to determine that it is in the best interests of policyholders to initiate rehabilitation proceedings with respect to Ambac Assurance, either preemptively or in response to any such event.
If, as a result of the occurrence of any such event(s), OCI decides to initiate rehabilitation proceedings with respect to Ambac Assurance, adverse consequences may result, including, without limitation and absent enforceable protective injunctive relief, the assertion of damages by counterparties (including mark-to-market claims with respect to insured transactions executed in ISDA format), the acceleration of losses based on early termination triggers, and the loss of control rights in insured transactions. Any such consequences may reduce any residual value of Ambac
 
Assurance. Additionally, the rehabilitator would assume control of all of Ambac Assurance’s assets and management of Ambac Assurance. In exercising control, the rehabilitator would act for the benefit of policyholders, and would not take into account the interests of our securityholders. Such actions may result in material adverse consequences for our securityholders.
The issuance of additional shares of AFG's common stock, including shares underlying issued and outstanding warrants, and/or debt or equity securities that rank senior or pari passu to AFG's common stock may dilute current shareholder value or have adverse effects on the market price of AFG’s common stock.
If AFG issues additional shares of common stock to raise capital, whether for select business transactions, general corporate purposes, in exchange for other securities, or in connection with the exercise of issued and outstanding warrants, the value of current stockholders’ interests may be diluted as AFG is not required to offer any such shares to existing stockholders on a preemptive basis.
AFG cannot predict the effect, if any, of future sales of its common stock, or the availability of shares for future sales, on the market price of its common stock. Sales of substantial amounts of common stock or the perception that such sales could occur may adversely affect the prevailing market price for its common stock.
If AFG were to issue debt or additional equity securities in the future that rank senior or pari passu to its common stock, they could be governed by an indenture or other instrument containing covenants restricting AFG's operating flexibility. Additionally, any convertible or exchangeable securities issued in the future may have rights, preferences and privileges more favorable than those of common stock or may result in dilution to owners of common stock, either of which could have an adverse impact on our stock price. Holders of common stock bear the risk of future offerings reducing the market price of AFG's common stock and diluting the value of their stock holdings in the Company.
AFG may not be able to realize value from Ambac Assurance or generate earnings apart from Ambac Assurance.
The value of AFG's common stock is dependent upon realizing residual value and/or receiving dividends from its main operating subsidiary, Ambac Assurance; the receipt of payments to be made by Ambac Assurance pursuant to the intercompany tax sharing agreement (the "Amended TSA") and the intercompany expense sharing and cost allocation agreement (the "Cost Allocation Agreement"); the receipt of payments on the Owner Trust Certificate issued to AFG by Corolla Trust (the "Owner Trust Certificate"), which was created in 2014 to monetize AFG's ownership interest in junior surplus notes issued by the Segregated Account; the receipt of payments on investments made in securities issued by Ambac Assurance; and the receipt of payments on other investments. There can be no assurance that AFG will be able to realize residual value and/or receive dividends from Ambac Assurance, which is in run-off. AFG's ability to realize residual value and/or receive dividends from Ambac Assurance will depend upon, amongst other considerations, Ambac Assurance's ability to satisfy all of its obligations that are senior to AFG's equity interests, including obligations to policyholders, holders of its indebtedness (including surplus notes, junior surplus notes, the Ambac Note and the Tier 2 Notes) and holders of its preferred stock. Ambac Assurance's ability to satisfy all of its obligations is dependent on


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a number of considerations including its ability to achieve recoveries and mitigate losses from its insured portfolio, which is subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including as a result of varying potential perceptions of the value of Ambac Assurance’s guarantees and securities.
Due to the above considerations, as well as applicable legal and contractual restrictions described elsewhere herein, it is highly unlikely that Ambac Assurance will be able to pay AFG any dividends for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, the payments to be made to AFG under the Amended TSA and the intercompany Cost Allocation Agreement are subject to contingencies that are difficult to predict and, in certain instances, to OCI approval, making the amount and timing, if any, of such payments uncertain. Payments to be made under the Amended TSA, in particular, depend on the generation of future taxable income by Ambac Assurance above certain thresholds. Ambac Assurance’s ability to generate taxable income above such thresholds is uncertain. Due to these factors, there can be no assurance as to the amounts that AFG will receive from Ambac Assurance under the Amended TSA. Moreover, the Cost Allocation Agreement provides that Ambac Assurance's reimbursement of AFG's operating expenses after 2017 is subject to the approval of OCI and limited to $4.0 million per annum. We can provide no assurance as to whether OCI will approve such reimbursement or any portion thereof.
It is also uncertain whether and to what extent AFG will realize value from the Owner Trust Certificate. The Owner Trust Certificate is subordinated to $299.2 million of senior secured notes issued by Corolla Trust plus interest thereon. Such notes and the Owner Trust Certificate are collateralized by and payable solely from a $350.0 million face amount junior surplus note plus interest thereon. Ambac Assurance became the obligor under the junior surplus notes on February 12, 2018 pursuant to the Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation. No payment of interest on or principal of a junior surplus note may be made until all existing and future indebtedness of Ambac Assurance, including (but not limited to) senior ranking surplus notes, policy claims and claims having statutory priority, have been paid in full. All payments of principal and interest on junior surplus notes are subject to the prior approval of OCI. If OCI does not approve the payment of interest on junior surplus notes, such interest will accrue and compound annually until paid. Payments on the senior secured notes issued by Corolla Trust will only be made when and to the extent that Ambac Assurance makes payments on the junior surplus note held by Corolla Trust. The senior secured notes must be paid in full before any payments will be made on the Owner Trust Certificate. If Corolla Trust has failed to pay all interest and principal outstanding on the senior secured notes within three business days of August 28, 2039, the senior secured noteholders may also take possession of and sell the junior surplus note. If such a sale were to occur, it is uncertain whether and to what extent there would be any value for the Owner Trust Certificate after satisfaction of the senior secured notes. AFG could also decide to sell the Owner Trust Certificate to Ambac Assurance, the Corolla Trust or a third party, including at a discount to par value.
The value of AFG's common stock may also depend upon the ability of Ambac to generate earnings apart from Ambac Assurance. As noted below in Risks Related to Strategic Plan, Ambac is selectively exploring potential business opportunities that, among other things, may permit utilization of Ambac’s net
 
operating loss carry-forwards, but there are no assurances regarding its ability to find or execute such business opportunities or the prospects of any such opportunities.
Risks Related to Insured Portfolio Losses
Loss reserves may not be adequate to cover potential losses, and changes in loss reserves may result in further volatility of net income and comprehensive income.
Loss reserves are established when management has observed credit deterioration, in most cases, when the underlying credit is considered adversely classified. Loss reserves established with respect to our non-derivative financial guarantee insurance policies are based upon estimates and judgments by management, including estimates and judgments with respect to the probability of default, the severity of loss upon default, management’s ability to execute policy commutations and/or restructurings, and estimated remediation recoveries for, among other things, breaches by RMBS issuers of representations and warranties. The objective of establishing loss reserve estimates is not to, and our loss reserves do not, reflect the worst possible outcome. While our reserving scenarios reflect a wide range of possible outcomes (on a probability weighted basis) reflecting the significant uncertainty regarding future developments and outcomes, our loss reserves may change materially based on future developments. As a result of inherent uncertainties in the estimates and judgments made to determine loss reserves, there can be no assurance that either the actual losses in our financial guarantee insurance portfolio will not exceed such reserves or that our reserves will not increase or decrease materially over time as circumstances, our assumptions, or our models change.
Additionally, inherent in our estimates of loss severities and remediation recoveries is the assumption that Ambac Assurance or its subsidiaries, as applicable, will retain control rights in respect of our insured portfolio. However, according to the terms of relevant transaction documents, Ambac Assurance or its subsidiaries, as applicable, may lose control rights in many insured transactions if, among other things, the relevant insurer is the subject of delinquency proceedings and/or other regulatory actions. If Ambac Assurance or its subsidiaries lose control rights, their ability to mitigate loss severities and realize remediation recoveries will be compromised, and actual ultimate losses in the insured portfolio could exceed current loss reserves.
Some issuers of public finance obligations insured by Ambac Assurance are experiencing fiscal stress that could result in increased losses on those obligations or increased liquidity claims, including losses or claims resulting from payment defaults, Chapter 9 bankruptcy or other restructuring proceedings or loss of market access.
Some issuers of public finance obligations insured by Ambac Assurance have reported, or may report, budget shortfalls, significantly underfunded pensions or other fiscal stresses that imperil their ability to pay debt service or will require them to significantly raise taxes and/or cut spending in order to satisfy their obligations. Furthermore, over time, the consequences of poor public policy decisions by state and local governments or increases in tax burdens can impact demographic trends, such as out-migration from one state or municipality to another, that may negatively impact the creditworthiness of related issuers. Some issuers of obligations insured by Ambac Assurance have declared


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a payment moratorium, defaulted or filed for bankruptcy or similar debt adjustment proceedings, raising concerns about their ultimate ability or willingness to service the debt insured by Ambac Assurance and Ambac Assurance's ability to recover claims paid in the future. If the issuers of the obligations in the public finance portfolio are unable to raise taxes, cut spending, or receive federal or state assistance, or if such issuers default or file for bankruptcy under Chapter 9 or for similar relief under other laws that allow for the adjustment of debts, Ambac Assurance may experience liquidity claims and/or ultimate losses on those obligations, which could adversely affect the Company's business, financial condition and results of operations.
Catastrophic environmental or public health events, particularly those associated with hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, drought and pandemics, that result in loss of human life, significant property damage, and/or material disruption of economic activity, can have a material negative impact on the financial performance of issuers of public finance, investor owned utility, privatized military housing and other obligations insured by Ambac Assurance. Such stresses could result in liquidity claims or permanent losses on those obligations.
Ambac Assurance insures the obligations of a number of issuers that have been, or may in the future be, substantially affected by environmental or public health events (e.g. coronavirus), including flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, drought and pandemics.
The short and long term impact of catastrophic environmental or public health events on issuers and their obligations is by its very nature uncertain and is determined by a number of factors including, but not limited to, the level of Federal Government support via emergency disaster relief funding measures, both related to FEMA and otherwise, flood insurance, low interest loans, hazard mitigation, the level of state and local government support, the effectiveness of governmental support or intervention, the magnitude of commercial insurance recoveries, management of disaster recovery or public health crisis remediation efforts, and the outcome of certain socio-economic variables. Consequently, if issuers affected by such catastrophic events do not receive adequate measures of support or realize the appropriate level of economic recovery, it could impact their ultimate ability to service the debt insured by Ambac Assurance and Ambac Assurance's ability to recover claims paid in the future.
In addition, certain catastrophic environmental events, notably wildfires, can result in significant potential liabilities for issuers such as investor owned utilities that increase bankruptcy risk and the potential default on obligations of the issuer, including obligations insured by Ambac Assurance.
Ambac Assurance insures obligations of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, including certain of its authorities and public corporations that are either subject to a Title III bankruptcy protection proceeding under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Stability Act ("PROMESA") or have otherwise suspended debt service payments. Ambac Assurance has made and may continue to be required to make significant amounts of policy payments over the next several years, the recoverability of which is subject to great uncertainty, which may lead to material permanent losses. While we believe our reserves are adequate to cover losses on Puerto Rico insured bonds, there can be no
 
assurance that Ambac Assurance may not incur additional losses in the future, particularly given the uncertainty related to the ongoing Title III proceedings and the developing economic, political and legal circumstances in Puerto Rico. Such losses may have a material adverse effect on Ambac Assurance's results of operation and financial condition.
Ambac Assurance has exposure to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (the "Commonwealth"), including its authorities and public corporations. Each has its own credit risk profile attributable to, as applicable, discrete revenue sources, direct general obligation pledges and/or general obligation guarantees. Ambac Assurance had approximately $1,123 million of net par exposure to the Commonwealth and these instrumentalities at December 31, 2019. Components of the overall Puerto Rico net par outstanding include capital appreciation bonds that are reported at the par amount at the time of issuance of the related insurance policy as opposed to the current accreted value of the bonds. The outstanding net insured amount including accretion on capital appreciation bonds is approximately $1,343 million at December 31, 2019. Total net insured lifetime debt service (net par and interest) to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its instrumentalities was approximately $2,813 million at December 31, 2019.
As a result of the developments described in these Risk Factors and elsewhere in this 10-K (see Part II, Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Financial Guarantees in Force, and Note 7. Financial Guarantee Insurance Contracts to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K), the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and certain of its instrumentalities are continuing to default on debt service payments, including payments owed on bonds insured by Ambac Assurance. Ambac Assurance has made, and may continue to be required to make, significant amounts of policy payments over the next several years, the recoverability of which is subject to great uncertainty, which may lead to material permanent losses. Our exposure to Puerto Rico is impacted by the amount of monies available for debt service, which is in turn affected by a number of factors including variability in economic growth and demographic trends, tax revenues, changes in law or the effects thereof, essential services expense, as well as federal funding of Commonwealth needs.
Substantial uncertainty also exists with respect to the ultimate outcome for creditors in Puerto Rico due to the Commonwealth Plan of Adjustment or changes thereto, as well as legislation enacted by the Commonwealth and the United States, including PROMESA, as well as actions taken in reliance on such laws, including Title III filings. Ambac Assurance is involved in multiple litigations relating to such actions and other issues and may not be successful in pursuing claims or protecting its interests.
Given the numerous uncertainties and risks existing with respect to the restructuring process, outcomes associated with the Commonwealth Plan of Adjustment or any changes thereto and relevant litigation, no assurance can be given that ultimate debt service discounts will not be very severe and cause Ambac to experience losses materially exceeding current reserves. It is possible that certain restructuring process solutions, together with associated legislation, budgetary, and/or public policy proposals could be adopted and could significantly further impair our exposures. In addition, there are possible final legal determinations, including failing to recognize or properly d


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ifferentiate legal structures and protections applicable to such exposures, that could result in losses exceeding our current reserves by a material amount and further increases to our loss reserves. In particular, in a Title III process, should court-approved plans of adjustment for the Commonwealth, Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority ("PRHTA"), the Puerto Rico Public Buildings Authority ("PBA") or any other issuers of Ambac-insured debt that may or may not file for Title III protection contemplate discounts to debt service implied by, or even worse than, the Commonwealth Revised Fiscal Plan (May 9, 2019) or Ambac receive unfavorable judgments in the litigations to which it is a party, Ambac’s financial condition would be materially adversely affected. For example, the amended disclosure statement and plan of adjustment ("Amended POA") to restructure $35 billion of debt and other claims against the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Public Building Authority ("PBA"), and Employees Retirement Systems ("ERS"), as well as more than $50 billion in pension liabilities that was filed by the Federal Oversight Management Board for Puerto Rico ("Oversight Board") on February 28, 2020, provides for an average of 3.9% recoveries on claims for non-General Obligation and PBA bonds, including revenue bonds insured by Ambac. If the Amended POA was confirmed in its current form Ambac's financial condition would be materially adversely affected. It is also possible that economic or demographic outcomes may be as, or worse than, forecasted in the Commonwealth Revised Fiscal Plan or under proposals or plans promulgated by the Commonwealth or its instrumentalities in or in connection with a Title III process or otherwise. Even a negotiated restructuring to which Ambac agrees as part of mediation or other process may involve material losses in excess of current reserves. While our reserving scenarios reflect a wide range of possible outcomes reflecting the significant uncertainty regarding future developments and outcomes, given our exposure to Puerto Rico and the economic, fiscal, legal and political uncertainties associated therewith, our loss reserves may ultimately prove to be insufficient to cover our losses, potentially by a material amount, and may be subject to material volatility.
Certain judicial decisions related to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's PROMESA Title III proceedings may materially adversely affect our Public Finance insured portfolio.
On January 13, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for Writ of Certiorari to review decisions in March and June 2019 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit that affirmed decisions by the U.S. District Court overseeing the PROMESA Title III proceedings for the PRHTA, decisions which found that under Sections 928(a) and 922(d) of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, municipal issuers of revenue bonds secured by special revenues are permitted, but not required, to apply special revenues to pay debt service on such revenue bonds during the pendency of bankruptcy proceedings for such municipal issuers. The complainants, including Ambac Assurance, had sought an order compelling PRHTA, as the debtor, to continue to make debt service payments on its revenue bonds from pledged special revenues during the pendency of its Title III case, but the First Circuit affirmed the District Court’s dismissals of the complaints, holding that it could not compel the issuer to make such payments. The First Circuit's decisions challenge what had been a commonly understood notion in the municipal finance marketplace that
 
municipal revenue bondholders secured by special revenues (as defined in Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code) would continue to receive payment during a bankruptcy of the municipal issuer. Although the First Circuit’s decisions are binding only on federal district and bankruptcy courts in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico and Rhode Island, they introduce significant uncertainty into the public finance market, may make it more difficult for municipal instrumentalities to procure revenue bond financings in the future and increase the credit risk to bondholders of existing special revenue bonds, particularly those from weaker issuers. In the wake of the decisions, rating agencies have taken ratings actions on, or announced their intention to review ratings given to, bonds issued across the country highlighting the potential contagion effect of the various Puerto Rico proceedings under PROMESA.
It is unclear how these rulings may ultimately impact Ambac's revenue bond municipal exposures, inclusive of Puerto Rico. However, potential impacts could include ratings downgrades, decreased or more costly access to capital markets to certain issuers to refinance the insured debt or raise new debt, and lower recoveries in a restructuring or bankruptcy. At December 31, 2019, Ambac Assurance insured approximately $4,109 million of net par of bonds of special revenue issuers, including $277 million net par of watch list exposure and $615 million net par of adversely classified exposure, $503 million of which was Puerto Rico exposure.
We are subject to credit risk and other risks in our insured portfolio, including related to RMBS and securities backed by student loans. We are also subject to risks associated with adverse selection as our insured portfolio runs off. Measures taken to reduce such risks may have an adverse effect on the Company's operating results or financial position.
Performance of our insured transactions, including (but not limited to) RMBS transactions and those involving securities backed by student loans, can be adversely affected by general economic conditions, such as recession, rising unemployment rates, underemployment, home prices that decline or do not increase in the patterns assumed in our models, increasing foreclosure rates and unavailability of consumer credit, mortgage product attributes, such as interest rate adjustments and balloon payment obligations, borrower and/or originator fraud, mortgage and student loan servicer performance or underperformance and financial difficulty, such as risks related to whether the servicer may be required to delay the remittance of any cash collections held by it or received by it after the time it becomes subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings.
While further deterioration in the performance of consumer assets, including mortgage-related assets and student loans, may occur, the timing, extent and duration of any future deterioration of the credit markets is unknown, as is the impact on potential claim payments and ultimate losses on the securities within our portfolio. In addition, there can be no assurance that any governmental or private sector initiatives designed to address such credit deterioration in the markets will be successful or inure to the benefit of the transactions we insure. For example, any initiative which permits the discharge of student loan debt in bankruptcy may adversely affect our portfolio. Similarly, servicer settlements with governmental authorities regarding foreclosure or servicing irregularities are generally designed to protect borrowers and may increase losses on securities we insure. In particular, the student


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loan industry and, specifically, trusts with securities insured by Ambac Assurance have been subject to heightened Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) scrutiny and enforcement action over servicing and collections practices and potential chain of title issues and, consequently, any settlements, orders, consents or penalties resulting from CFPB actions, or any failure on the part of servicers or other parties asserting claims against delinquent borrowers to establish title to the loans, could lead to increased losses on securities we insure.
In addition, there can be no assurance that Ambac Assurance would be successful, or that it would not be delayed, in enforcing the subordination provisions, credit enhancements or other contractual provisions of the RMBS that Ambac Assurance insures.
As the runoff of the insured portfolio continues, the proportion of exposures we rate as below investment grade relative to the aggregate insured portfolio is likely to continue to increase, leaving the portfolio increasingly concentrated in higher risk exposures. This risk may result in greater volatility or have adverse effects on the Company's results from operations and on our financial condition.
One of our primary goals is to create shareholder value through transaction terminations, policy commutations, reinsurance, settlements and restructurings that we believe will improve our risk profile. As we take such actions to reduce known and potential risks, such actions may negatively impact our operating results or financial position in one or more reporting periods.
Our credit risk management policies and practices may not adequately identify significant risks.
As described in Part I, Item 1, “Risk Management” in this Form 10-K, we have established risk management policies and practices which seek to mitigate our exposure to credit risk in our insured portfolio. Ongoing surveillance of credit risks in our insured portfolio is an important component of our risk management process. These policies and practices in the past have not insulated us from risks that were unforeseen and which had unanticipated loss severity, and such policies and practices may not do so in the future. There can be no assurance that these policies and practices will be adequate to avoid future losses. If we are not able to identify significant risks, we may not be able to timely remediate such risks, thereby increasing the amount of losses to which we are exposed. An inability to identify significant risks could also result in the failure to establish loss reserves that are sufficient in relation to such risks.
We use analytical models and tools to assist our projection of performance of our insured obligations and our investment portfolio but actual results could differ materially from the model and tool outputs and related analyses.
We rely on internally and externally developed complex financial models, including default models related to RMBS and a waterfall tool provided by a nationally recognized vendor for RMBS and student loan exposures, to project performance of our insured obligations and similar securities in our investment portfolio. These models and tools assume various conditions, probability scenarios, facts and circumstances, and there can be no assurance that such models or tools accurately predict or measure the quantum of losses, loss reserves and timing of losses. Differences
 
in the models and tools that we employ, uncertainties or flaws in these financial models and tools, or faulty assumptions inherent in these financial models and tools or those determined by management could lead to material changes in projected outcomes, and could include increased losses, loss reserves and/or other than temporary investment impairments. Moreover, estimates of transaction performance depend in part on the interpretation of contracts and other bases of our legal rights. Such interpretations may prove to be incorrect or different interpretations may be employed by bond trustees and other transaction participants and, ultimately courts, which could lead to increased losses, loss reserves and/or investment impairments.
Political developments may materially adversely affect our insured portfolio.
Our insured exposures and our results of operations can be materially affected by political developments at the federal, state and/or local government levels. Government shutdowns, trade disputes, political turnover, judicial decisions, adverse changes in federal funding, or poor public policy decision making could disrupt the national and local economies where we have insured exposures. In addition, we are exposed to correlation risk as a result of the possibility that multiple credits may concurrently and/or consecutively experience losses or increased stress as a result of any such event or series of events.
Risks Related to Indebtedness
Ambac Assurance's ability to generate the significant amount of cash needed to service its debt and financial obligations and its ability to refinance all or a portion of its indebtedness or obtain additional financing depends on many factors beyond our control.
Ambac Assurance is highly leveraged. Ambac Assurance’s ability to make payments on and/or refinance its debt and to fund its operations will depend on its ability to generate substantial operating cash flow and on the performance of the insured portfolio. Ambac Assurance’s cash flow generation will depend on receipt of premiums, investment returns, earnings from subsidiaries and potential litigation recoveries offset by policyholder claims, commutation payments, reinsurance premiums, operating and loss adjustment expenses, and interest expense, which will be subject to prevailing economic conditions and to financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control and many of which are event-driven.
As of December 31, 2019, Ambac Assurance had approximately $2,044 million of indebtedness outstanding (the Tier 2 Notes and the Ambac Note) that are senior to its surplus notes. Ambac Assurance had $574 million principal balance of surplus notes outstanding plus $365 million principal balance of junior surplus notes outstanding as of December 31, 2019. The Tier 2 Notes and the Ambac Note are secured by potential litigation recoveries (and in the case of the Ambac Note, other assets), the receipt of which is highly uncertain, as more fully discussed in Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors. Failure to achieve litigation recoveries in an amount sufficient to repay the Tier 2 Notes and the Ambac Note would materially weaken Ambac Assurance’s ability to service its indebtedness.
If Ambac Assurance cannot pay its policyholders’ claims or service its debt, it will have to take actions such as selling assets, restructuring or refinancing its debt or seeking additional capital. Any of these remedies may not, if necessary, be effected on commercially reasonable terms, or at all. Because of these and other factors beyond our control, Ambac Assurance may be unable to pay the principal, interest or other amounts on its indebtedness when due or ever.


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We have substantial indebtedness, which could adversely affect our financial condition, operational flexibility and our ability to obtain financing in the future.
Our substantial indebtedness could have significant consequences for our financial condition and operational flexibility. For example, it could:
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic, competitive and industry conditions;
limit our ability to obtain additional financing in the future for working capital, capital expenditures, payment of policyholder claims, debt service requirements, acquisitions, general corporate purposes or other purposes on satisfactory terms or at all;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to the payment of our indebtedness, thereby reducing the funds available to us for operations and to fund the execution of our key strategies;
limit or restrict us from making strategic acquisitions or cause us to make non-strategic divestitures;
limit our ability or increase the costs to refinance indebtedness or repay such indebtedness due to ongoing interest accretion;
limit our ability to attract and retain key employees; and
limit our ability to enter into hedging transactions by reducing the number of counterparties with whom we can enter into such transactions, as well as the volume of those transactions.
Despite current indebtedness levels, we may incur additional debt. While restrictive covenants in certain of our contracts may limit the amount of additional indebtedness Ambac Assurance may incur, we may obtain waivers of those restrictions and incur additional indebtedness in the future. In addition, if Ambac incurred indebtedness, its ability to make scheduled payments on, or refinance, any such indebtedness may depend on the ability of our subsidiaries to make distributions or pay dividends, which in turn will depend on their future operating performance and contractual, legal and regulatory restrictions on the payment of distributions or dividends to which they may be subject. There can be no assurance that any such dividends or distributions would be made. This could further exacerbate the risks associated with our substantial leverage.
There may not be sufficient collateral to pay any or all of the Secured Notes or Tier 2 Notes.
In addition to Ambac Assurance’s right to representation and warranty ("R&W") recoveries in respect of the RMBS litigations, which is inherently uncertain, the Ambac Note is also secured by cash and securities having an estimated fair market value of approximately $197 million. However, there can be no assurance that the fair market value of these securities will not decrease significantly. The value of the securities collateral in the event of liquidation will depend on market and economic conditions, the availability of buyers and other factors. Consequently, when combined with potential R&W recoveries, liquidating the securities collateral securing the Ambac Note may not produce proceeds in an amount sufficient to pay all amounts due on the Secured Notes.
In the event of rehabilitation, liquidation, conservation, dissolution or other insolvency proceeding, Ambac Assurance cannot assure
 
holders that the proceeds from any sale or liquidation of the securities collateral will be sufficient to pay any or all of Ambac Assurance’s obligations under the Ambac Note.
In addition, in the event of any such proceeding, it is possible that the rehabilitator, trustee, or competing creditors will assert that the value of the collateral with respect to the Ambac Note or the Tier 2 Notes, including Ambac Assurance’s rights to recoveries in respect of the RMBS litigations, is less than the then-current principal amount outstanding under the Ambac Note and the Secured Notes and/or the Tier 2 Notes on the date of the rehabilitation filing. Upon a finding by the court overseeing an Ambac Assurance rehabilitation that the Ambac Note and the Secured Notes and/or the Tier 2 Notes are under-collateralized, the claims in the rehabilitation proceeding with respect to the Ambac Note, the Secured Notes or the Tier 2 Notes may be bifurcated between a secured claim up to the value of the collateral and an unsecured claim for any deficiency. As a result, the claim of the holders of the Secured Notes or the Tier 2 Notes could be unsecured in whole or in part. The ability of the holders of the Secured Notes or Tier 2 Notes to realize upon any of the collateral securing the Ambac Note and the Secured Notes or Tier 2 Notes, as the case may be, may also be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency law limitations or similar limitations applicable in insurance company rehabilitation or liquidation proceedings.
Ambac Assurance has not made regular interest or principal payments on surplus notes and may be unable or permitted to repay surplus notes in full at their scheduled maturity of June 7, 2020 or ever.
Payments of interest and principal on surplus notes are subject to the prior approval of the OCI. Since the issuance of the surplus notes in 2010, OCI has declined to approve regular payments of interest on surplus notes, although the OCI has permitted exceptional payments in connection with (a) increasing the percentage of deferred policy payments of the Segregated Account of Ambac Assurance from 25% to 45% in 2014 and (b) a one-time payment of approximately six months of interest on the surplus notes outstanding immediately after the consummation of the Rehabilitation Exit Transactions in 2018. Ambac Assurance may not receive approval from OCI to make payments as and when scheduled, including the payment of the surplus notes on their scheduled maturity date of June 7, 2020. If the OCI does not approve the making of any payment of principal of or interest on surplus notes on the scheduled payment date or scheduled maturity date thereof, the scheduled payment date or scheduled maturity date, as the case may be, shall be extended until OCI grants approval to make the payment. Interest will accrue, compounded on each anniversary of the original scheduled payment date or scheduled maturity date, on any unpaid principal or interest through the actual date of payment, at 5.1% per annum. Holders of surplus notes will have no rights to enforce the payment of the principal of, or interest on, surplus notes in the absence of OCI approval to pay such amount. As a result, holders of surplus notes may not be paid in full at the scheduled maturity date or ever. If OCI does not approve regular payments on the surplus notes within the next several years, the total amount due (principal and accrued interest) for surplus notes may exceed Ambac Assurance's financial resources and holders of surplus notes may not ever be paid in full. If Ambac Assurance becomes subject to a rehabilitation or liquidation under Wisconsin insurance law, prior to the


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repayment of surplus notes, holders of surplus notes may not receive any recoveries on their investments.
Ambac Assurance has ongoing obligations related to surplus notes.
Subject to approval by OCI, Ambac Assurance may be required to make interest and principal (to the extent due) payments in cash on surplus notes on an annual basis. Ambac Assurance will be required to continue to make such payments, as and when approved by OCI, until all of the surplus notes mature, are repaid in full or are otherwise repurchased or retired. Ambac Assurance is also obligated to make payments on junior surplus notes, subject to OCI approval, after the senior surplus notes and other indebtedness have been paid in full. Ambac Assurance may not have the ability to borrow, raise or otherwise have access to the funds necessary to pay such amounts when due.
Surplus notes are subordinated in right of payment to other claims, which could impair the right of the holders of such notes to receive interest and principal in the event of our insolvency or a similar occurrence.
Surplus notes are unsecured obligations of Ambac Assurance and are expressly subordinated in right of payment to all of Ambac Assurance’s existing and future indebtedness (other than junior surplus notes) and policy claims. The surplus notes are subject to provisions of Wisconsin insurance law, which establishes the priority of distribution of claims from the estate of an insolvent insurance company. In the event that Ambac Assurance becomes subject to rehabilitation, liquidation, conservation or dissolution, holders of Ambac Assurance’s senior indebtedness and policy claims would be afforded a higher priority of distribution than holders of the surplus notes, and accordingly would have the right to be paid in full before holders of the surplus notes would be paid. Due to the nature of Ambac Assurance’s business, the amount of such higher priority claims in any rehabilitation, liquidation, conservation or dissolution is likely to be many times greater than any free and divisible surplus and it is likely that the holders of surplus notes would not recover any payment in such circumstances. In addition, claims of holders of the surplus notes will be subordinated to certain liabilities of the Company’s subsidiaries that are guaranteed by Ambac Assurance.
Increases in interest rates will increase the cost of servicing our debt and could reduce our profitability.
The Secured Notes bear interest at a variable rate. As a result, increases in interest rates will increase the cost of servicing the Secured Notes and could adversely affect our profitability and cash flows. Each one percentage point increase in interest rates would result in an $17.6 million increase in the annual cash interest payments due on the Secured Notes.
The amount of interest payable on the Secured Notes is set only once per interest period based on the three-month LIBOR rate on the applicable interest determination date, which rate may fluctuate substantially, and affect our ability to make payment on the Secured Notes.
In the past, the level of the three-month LIBOR rate has experienced significant fluctuations. Historical levels, fluctuations and trends of the three-month LIBOR rate are not necessarily indicative of future levels. Any historical upward or downward trend in the three-month LIBOR rate is not an indication that the
 
three-month LIBOR rate is more or less likely to increase or decrease at any time during an interest period for the Secured Notes, and historical levels of the three-month LIBOR rate should not be taken as an indication of its future performance. In addition, although the actual three-month LIBOR rate on an interest payment date or at other times during an interest period may be higher than the three-month LIBOR rate on the applicable interest determination date, the only relevant date for purposes of determining the interest payable on the Secured Notes is the three-month LIBOR rate as of the respective interest determination date. Changes in the three-month LIBOR rates between interest determination dates will not affect the interest payable on the Secured Notes.
The Secured Notes will bear interest at floating rates that could rise significantly, increasing Ambac Assurance’s interest expense and reducing its cash flow. If Ambac Assurance’s interest expense increases significantly, whether due to changes in LIBOR or increased borrowing costs when it refinances its current indebtedness, Ambac Assurance may not be able to make payments with respect to the Secured Notes or its other indebtedness.
Ambac’s estimated R&W recovery may change over time, causing the perceived value of the collateral securing the Secured Notes and Tier 2 Notes to change, and any such change may be material.
Ambac reevaluates its estimated R&W recoveries on a quarterly basis in connection with the preparation of its financial statements. See “Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates” in Part II, Item 7, Note 2. Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies and Note 7. Financial Guarantee Insurance Contracts to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019. As a result of any reevaluation, the estimated amount of Ambac’s R&W recovery may be adjusted upward or downward due to, among other things, changes in management's view of such estimated recoveries and/or changes in the loss reserves related to such recoveries, and any adjustment may be material. Changes in estimated R&W recoveries may result in material changes in Ambac’s financial condition, including its capital and liquidity. In addition, any adjustment to estimated R&W recoveries may alter the perceived value of the collateral securing the Secured Notes and Tier 2 Notes before payment on the Secured Notes or Tier 2 Notes is made in full, which may affect the value of, and trading market, if any, for, the Secured Notes or Tier 2 Notes. Management makes no representation that the estimated R&W recoveries will not change, materially or at all, including in the near term. There can be no assurance that the estimated R&W recoveries securing the Secured Notes and Tier 2 Notes will equal or exceed the principal amount of the Secured Notes and Tier 2 Notes, respectively, at all times prior to maturity.
Risks Related to Capital, Liquidity and Markets
Our inability to realize the expected recoveries included in our financial statements could adversely impact our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations and the value of our securities, including the Secured Notes and Tier 2 Notes.
Ambac Assurance is pursuing claims in litigation with respect to certain RMBS transactions that it insured. These claims are based on, among other things, representations with respect to the characteristics of the securitized loans, the absence of borrower fraud in the underlying loan pools or other misconduct in the


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origination process, the compliance of loans with the prevailing underwriting policies, and compliance of the RMBS transaction counterparties with policies and procedures related to loan origination and securitization. In such cases, where contract claims are being pursued, the sponsor of the transaction is contractually obligated to repurchase, cure or substitute collateral for any loan that breaches the representations and warranties. However, generally the sponsors have not honored those obligations and have vigorously defended claims brought against them.
As of December 31, 2019, we have estimated RMBS R&W subrogation recoveries of $1,702 million (net of reinsurance) included in our financial statements. These estimated recoveries are based on the contractual claims brought in the aforementioned litigations and represent a probability-weighted estimate of amounts we expect to recover under various possible scenarios. The estimated recoveries we have recorded do not represent the best or the worst possible outcomes with respect to any particular transaction or group of transactions.
There can be no assurance that Ambac Assurance will be successful in prosecuting its claims in the RMBS litigations. The outcome of any litigation, including the RMBS litigations, is inherently unpredictable, including because of risks intrinsic in the adversarial nature of litigation. Motions made to the court, rulings and appeals - in the cases being prosecuted by Ambac Assurance or in other relevant cases - could delay or otherwise impact any recovery by Ambac Assurance. Moreover, rulings that may be adverse to Ambac Assurance (in any of its RMBS litigations, as well as in other RMBS cases in which it is not a party) could affect Ambac Assurance’s ability to pursue its claims or alter settlement dynamics with RMBS litigation defendants. Any litigation award or settlement may be for an amount less than the amount necessary (even when combined with other pledged collateral) to pay the Secured Notes or the Tier 2 Notes, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations and make it more difficult for Ambac Assurance to repay the Ambac Note (and therefore make it more difficult for the issuer of the Secured Notes to repay the Secured Notes) and/or the Tier 2 Notes and/or Ambac Assurance’s outstanding surplus notes, on a timely basis or at all. In the event that Ambac Assurance is unable to satisfy its obligations with respect to the Secured Notes or Tier 2 Notes, holders will have the right to foreclose on any available collateral and to sue Ambac Assurance for failure to make required payments; however, there can be no assurance that the sale of collateral will produce proceeds in an amount sufficient to pay any or all amounts due on the Secured Notes or Tier 2 Notes, as the case may be, or that holders will be successful in any litigation seeking payments. Additionally, while Ambac Assurance may pursue settlement negotiations, there can be no assurance that any settlement negotiations will materialize or that any settlement agreement can be reached on terms acceptable to Ambac Assurance, or at all. Depending on the length of time required to resolve these litigations, either through settlement or at trial, Ambac Assurance could incur greater litigation expenses than currently projected. If a case is brought to trial, Ambac Assurance’s ultimate recovery would be subject to the additional risks inherent in any trial, including adverse findings or determinations by the trier of fact or the court, which could adversely impact the value of our securities, including the Secured Notes and Tier 2 Notes.
 
Any litigation award is subject to risks of recovery, including that the sponsor is unable pay a judgment that Ambac Assurance may obtain in litigation. In some instances, Ambac Assurance also has claims against a parent or an acquirer of the counterparty. However, Ambac Assurance may not be successful in enforcing its claims against any successor entity.
The RMBS litigations could also be adversely affected if Ambac Assurance does not have sufficient resources to actively prosecute its claims or becomes subject to rehabilitation, liquidation, conservation or dissolution, or otherwise impaired by actions of OCI.
Our ability to realize the estimated RMBS R&W subrogation recoveries included in our financial statements and the time of the recoveries, if any, is subject to significant uncertainty, including the risks described above and uncertainties inherent in the assumptions used in estimating such recoveries. The amount of these subrogation recoveries is significant and if we were unable to recover all such amounts, our stockholders’ equity as of December 31, 2019 would decrease from $1,536 million to $(165) million.
We expect to recover material amounts of claims payments through remediation measures including the litigation described above as well as through cash flows in the securitization structures of transactions that Ambac Assurance insures. Realization of such expected recoveries is subject to various risks and uncertainties, including the rights and defenses of other parties with interests that conflict with Ambac Assurance's interests, the performance of the collateral and assets backing the obligations that Ambac Assurance insures, and the performance of servicers involved in securitizations in which Ambac Assurance participates as insurer. Additionally, our ability to realize recoveries in insured transactions may be impaired if the continuing orders of the Rehabilitation Court are not effective.
Adverse developments with respect to such variables may cause our recoveries to fall below expectations, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, including our capital and liquidity, and may result in adverse consequences such as impairing the ability of Ambac Assurance to honor its financial obligations; the initiation of rehabilitation proceedings against Ambac Assurance; decreased likelihood of Ambac Assurance delivering value to AFG, through dividends or otherwise; diminished business prospects due to third party concerns about our ability to recover losses; and a significant drop in the value of securities issued or insured by AFG or Ambac Assurance, including the Secured Notes and Tier 2 Notes.
Ambac’s estimate of RMBS litigation recoveries is subject to significant uncertainty and changes to the estimate could adversely impact its liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.
For Ambac’s RMBS cases for which it records an RMBS R&W subrogation recovery in its financial statements, Ambac has obtained loan files from the relevant original pool and has conducted loan file re-underwriting to derive a breach rate that is extrapolated to estimate the damages Ambac expects to recover. Ambac does not estimate an RMBS R&W subrogation recovery for litigations where its sole claim is for fraudulent inducement.


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The amount estimated for purposes of Ambac’s RMBS R&W subrogation recovery and the amount Ambac may ultimately receive is subject to significant uncertainty, as described in the immediately preceding risk factor. Ambac’s findings and assumptions regarding collateral performance and Ambac’s expectations with respect to the outcome of the RMBS litigations have a significant impact on Ambac’s estimated RMBS R&W subrogation recovery. If these findings, assumptions or estimates prove to be incorrect or otherwise do not support our claims, actual recoveries could differ materially from those estimated. Actual recoveries will ultimately depend on future events and there can be no assurance that our view of collateral performance or our estimated RMBS R&W subrogation recoveries will not differ from actual events. Although Ambac believes that its methodology for estimating recoveries is appropriate, the methodologies Ambac uses to estimate expected collateral losses and specific transaction performance may not be similar to methodologies used by Ambac’s competitors, counterparties or other market participants. The determination of expected RMBS R&W subrogation recoveries is an inherently subjective and complex process involving numerous estimates and assumptions and judgments by management, using both internal and external data sources to derive a specific transaction's cash flows. As a result, Ambac’s current estimates may not reflect Ambac’s ultimate recovery, and management makes no representation that the actual amounts recovered, if any, will not differ materially from those estimated. The failure of Ambac’s actual recoveries to meet or exceed its current estimates could result in a material adverse effect on Ambac’s financial condition, including its capital and liquidity.
We may not be able to commute or reduce insured exposures.
In pursuing the objective of improving our financial position, we are seeking to commute or reduce insured exposures. De-risking transactions may not be feasible or economically viable. We cannot provide any assurance that any such transaction will be consummated in the future, or if it is, as to the timing, terms or conditions of any such transaction. Even if we consummate one or more of such transactions, doing so may ultimately prove to be unsuccessful in creating value for any or all of our stakeholders and may adversely affect our operating results or financial position.
Revenues and cash flow would be adversely impacted by a decline in realization of installment premiums.
A significant percentage of our premium revenue is attributable to installment premiums. The amount of installment premiums we actually realized could be reduced in the future due to factors such as early termination of insurance contracts, accelerated prepayments of underlying obligations or insufficiency of cash flows (by the premium paying entity). Such reductions would result in lower revenues.
The composition of the securities in our investment portfolio exposes us to greater risk than before we invested in "alternative assets."
Each of Ambac Assurance and Ambac UK maintains a portion of its investment portfolio in below investment grade securities, equities and/or “alternative assets” with the objective to increase the risk-adjusted portfolio returns. Investments in below investment grade securities, equities and “alternative assets” could expose Ambac Assurance and/or Ambac UK to greater earnings volatility, increased losses and decreased liquidity in the investment portfolio.
 
We may have future capital needs and may not be able to obtain third-party financing or raise additional third-party capital on acceptable terms, or at all.
An inability to obtain third-party debt financing or raise additional third-party capital, when required by us or when business conditions warrant, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. The economic conditions affecting our industry, as well as other factors, may constrain our financing abilities. Our ability to secure third-party financing, if available, and to satisfy or refinance our financial obligations under indebtedness outstanding from time to time will depend upon regulatory conditions, our future operating performance, the availability of credit generally, economic conditions and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. The market conditions and the macroeconomic conditions that affect our industry could have a material adverse effect on our ability to secure third-party financing on favorable terms, if at all.
If third-party financing is not available when needed, or is available on unfavorable terms, we may be unable to take advantage of business opportunities, respond to competitive pressures or refinance our outstanding indebtedness, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Ambac Assurance may in the future report a policyholders’ deficit or become insolvent.
While the Rehabilitation Exit Transactions and related transactions were designed to improve our financial condition, we will continue to be subject to risks and uncertainties that could materially affect our financial position. Therefore, even following consummation of the Rehabilitation Exit Transactions, circumstances may occur that would cause Ambac Assurance to report a policyholders’ deficit or not comply in the future with the statutory minimum policyholders’ surplus or undergo rehabilitation. In addition, Ambac Assurance may become insolvent in the future. OCI has prescribed or permitted additional accounting practices for Ambac Assurance and Everspan which are described in Note 8. Insurance Regulatory Restrictions to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K.
The determination of the amount of other-than temporary impairments taken on our investments is highly subjective and could materially impact our results of operations or financial position.
The determination of the amount of impairments on our investments varies by investment type and is based upon our periodic evaluation and assessment of known and inherent risks associated with the respective asset class. Such evaluations and assessments are revised as conditions change and new information becomes available. Management updates its evaluations regularly and reflects changes in impairments as such evaluations are revised. There can be no assurance that our management has accurately assessed the level of impairments taken in our financial statements. Furthermore, additional impairments may need to be taken in the future. Historical trends may not be indicative of future impairments. In particular, we use financial models and tools to project impairments with respect to RMBS held in our investment portfolio, including Ambac Assurance guaranteed RMBS. Differences in the models and tools we employ and/or flaws in these models and tools and/or faulty assumptions inherent in these


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models and tools and those determined by management, could lead to increased impairments with respect to RMBS in our investment portfolio.
Risks Related to the Financial and Credit Markets
Changes in prevailing interest rate levels and market conditions could adversely impact our business results and prospects.
Increases in prevailing interest rate levels can adversely affect the value of our investment portfolio and, therefore, our financial strength. In the event that investments must be sold in order to pay claims, to pay debt obligations, to meet collateral posting requirements or to meet other liquidity needs, such investments would likely be sold at discounted prices. Additionally, increasing interest rates would have an adverse impact on our insured portfolio. For example, increasing interest rates could result in higher claim payments in respect of defaulted obligations that bear floating rates of interest. Higher interest rates can also lead to increased credit stress on consumer asset-backed transactions (as the securitized assets supporting a portion of these exposures are floating rate consumer obligations), slower prepayment speeds and resulting “extension risk” relative to such consumer asset-backed transactions in our insured and investment portfolios, and decreased refinancing activity.
Decreasing interest rates could result in early terminations of financial guarantee insurance policies in respect of which we are paid on an installment basis and do not receive a termination premium, thus reducing premium earned for these transactions. Decreases in prevailing interest rates may also limit growth of, or reduce, investment income and may adversely impact our interest rate swap portfolio.
Our investment portfolio may also be adversely affected by credit rating downgrades, ABS and RMBS prepayment speeds, foreign exchange movements, spread volatility, and credit losses.
We are subject to credit risk throughout our businesses, including large single risks, risk concentrations, correlated risks and reinsurance counterparty credit risk.
We are exposed to the risk that issuers of debt which we have insured (or with respect to which we have written credit
 
derivatives), issuers of debt which we hold in our investment portfolio, reinsurers and other contract counterparties (including derivative counterparties) may default in their financial obligations, whether as the result of insolvency, lack of liquidity, operational failure, fraud or other reasons. These credit risks could cause increased losses and loss reserves, and/or estimates of credit impairments and mark-to-market losses with respect to credit derivatives in our financial guarantee business; and we could experience losses and decreases in the value of our investment portfolio and, therefore, our financial strength. Such credit risks may be in the form of large single risk exposures to particular issuers, reinsurers or counterparties; losses caused by catastrophic events (including terrorist acts and natural disasters); losses caused by increases in municipal defaults; losses in respect of different, but correlated, credit exposures; or other forms
Uncertainties regarding the expected discontinuance of the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate or any other interest rate benchmark could have adverse consequences.
In 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR"), announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. As a result, LIBOR and certain other indices which are utilized as benchmarks are not expected to be published after 2021. Ambac Assurance and Ambac UK insure securities, own assets, are party to certain derivative contracts and have issued debt and other obligations that reference LIBOR. While regulators and market participants have suggested substitute rates for LIBOR, such as the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, the impact of the discontinuance of LIBOR is uncertain. Similarly, it is not possible to know whether LIBOR will continue to be viewed as an acceptable benchmark , what rate or rates may become accepted alternatives to LIBOR, or what the effect of any such changes in views and alternative may have on the financial markets for LIBOR-linked financial instruments for the period preceding LIBOR no longer being published. Differences in contractual provisions of certain legacy assets and liabilities and other factors, may cause the consequences of the discontinuance of LIBOR to vary by instrument. As a result, the value of our assets, derivatives and liabilities; costs to operate our business; and the losses associated with our insured portfolio may be affected in a way that may ultimately materially adversely impact Ambac’s results of operations and financial condition. In addition, Ambac may experience adverse tax and accounting impacts, system and model disruption, and increased liquidity demands in connection with the transition away from LIBOR that may have adverse operational consequences resulting in further adverse impacts on Ambac’s results of operations and financial condition.
Risks Related to the Company's Business
We are subject to the risk of litigation and regulatory inquiries or investigations, and the outcome of proceedings we are or may become involved in could have a material adverse effect on our business, operations, financial position, profitability or cash flows.
Ambac Assurance is defending or otherwise involved in various lawsuits relating to its financial guarantee business. In addition, the Company from time to time receives various regulatory inquiries and requests for information. Please see Note 17. Commitments and Contingencies to the Consolidated Financial


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Statements included in Part II, Item 8 in this Form 10-K for information on these various proceedings.
It is not possible to predict whether additional suits involving AFG, Ambac Assurance or one or more other subsidiaries will be filed or whether additional regulatory inquiries or requests for information will be made, and it is also not possible to predict the outcome of litigation, inquiries or requests for information. It is possible that there could be unfavorable outcomes in these or other proceedings. Management is unable to make a meaningful estimate of the amount or range of loss that could result from unfavorable outcomes or of the expenses that will be incurred in defending these lawsuits. Under some circumstances, adverse results in any such proceedings and/or the incurring of significant litigation expenses could be material to our business, operations, financial position, profitability or cash flows.
The Settlement Agreement, Stipulation and Order and Indenture for the Tier 2 Notes contain restrictive covenants that may impair our ability to pursue our business strategies.
Pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement, Stipulation and Order and indenture for the Tier 2 Notes, Ambac Assurance must seek prior approval by OCI of certain corporate actions. The Settlement Agreement, Stipulation and Order and indenture for the Tier 2 Notes also include covenants which restrict the operations of Ambac Assurance which, (i) in the case of the Settlement Agreement, remain in force until the surplus notes that were issued pursuant to the Settlement Agreement have been redeemed, repurchased or repaid in full, (ii) in the case of the Stipulation and Order, remain in place until the OCI decides to relax such restrictions, and (iii) in the case of the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes, remain in force until the Tier 2 Notes have been redeemed, repurchased or repaid in full. Certain of these restrictions may be waived with the approval of holders of the applicable debt securities and/or OCI. If we are unable to obtain the required consents under the Settlement Agreement, the Stipulation and Order and/or the indenture for the Tier 2 Notes, we may not be able to execute our planned business strategies.
OCI has certain enforcement rights with respect to the Settlement Agreement and Stipulation and Order. Disputes may arise over the interpretation of such agreements, the exercise or purported exercise of rights thereunder, or the performance of or failure or purported failure to perform obligations thereunder. Any such dispute could have material adverse effects on the Company, whether through litigation, administrative proceedings, supervisory orders, failure to execute transactions sought by management, interference with corporate strategies, objectives or prerogatives, inefficient decision-making or execution, forced realignment of resources, increased costs, distractions to management, strained working relationships or otherwise. Such effects would also increase the risk that OCI would seek to initiate rehabilitation proceedings against Ambac Assurance.
System security risks, data protection breaches and cyber-attacks could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
We rely on our information technology systems for many enterprise-critical functions and a prolonged failure or interruption of these systems for any reason could cause significant disruption to our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and operating results. Our information technology and application systems may be vulnerable to threats
 
from computer viruses, natural disasters, unauthorized access, cyber-attack and other similar disruptions. Computer hackers may be able to penetrate our network’s system security and misappropriate or compromise confidential information, create system disruptions or cause shutdowns. In addition to our own confidential information, we sometimes receive and are required to protect confidential information obtained from third parties and personally identifiable information of individuals. To the extent any disruption or security breach results in a loss or damage to our data, or inappropriate disclosure of our confidential information or that of others, or personally identifiable information of individuals, it could cause significant financial losses that are either not, or not fully, insured against, cause damage to our reputation, affect our relationships with third parties, lead to claims against us, result in regulatory action, or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business or results of operations. In addition, we may be required to incur significant costs to mitigate the damage caused by any security breach, or to protect against future damage. Moreover, although we have disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place, we may not be able to adequately execute these plans in a timely fashion in the event of a disruption to our information technology and application systems.
We may incur losses resulting from operational risk due to inadequate or failed internal processes, breakdown of settlement or communication systems, or from external events leading to disruption of our business. Events subject to operational risk include:
Internal Fraud - misappropriation of assets, intentional mismarking of positions
External Fraud - theft of information, third-party theft and forgery
Clients, Products, & Business Practice - improper trade, fiduciary breaches
Damage to Physical Assets
Business Disruption & System Failures - software failures, hardware failures; and
Execution, Delivery, & Process Management - data entry errors, accounting errors, failed mandatory reporting, settlement errors, and negligence.
We may be adversely affected by failures in services or products provided by third parties.
We have outsourced and may continue to outsource certain activities of our operations and business, and rely upon third-party vendors for other essential services and information, such as the provision of data used in setting loss reserves and the provision of risk management information and services. A material failure by an external service or information provider or a material defect in the products, services or information provided thereby could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Our inability to attract and retain qualified executives and employees or the loss of any of these personnel could negatively impact our business.
Our ability to execute on our business strategies depends on the retention and recruitment of qualified executives and other professionals. We rely substantially upon the services of our current executive team. In addition to these officers, we require key staff with risk mitigation, structured finance, insurance, credit,


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investment, accounting, finance, legal and technical skills. As a result of Ambac’s financial situation, there is a higher risk that executive officers and other key staff will leave the Company and replacements may not be motivated to join the Company. The loss of the services of members of our senior management team or our inability to hire and retain other talented personnel could delay or prevent us from succeeding in executing our strategies, which could further negatively impact our business.
Our business could be negatively affected by actions of stakeholders whose interests may not be aligned with the broader interests of our stockholders.
Ambac could be negatively affected as a result of actions by stakeholders whose interests may not be aligned with the broader interests of our stockholders, and responding to any such actions could be costly and time-consuming, disrupt operations and divert the attention of management and employees. Such activities could interfere with our ability to execute on our strategic plans.
Risks Related to International Business
Uncertainty regarding the economic and regulatory impact of "Brexit" may have an adverse effect on Ambac's insured international portfolio and the value of its foreign investment, both of which primarily reside with its subsidiary Ambac UK.
Following a Parliamentary general election in the United Kingdom ("UK") on December 12, 2019, the Conservative Party won a substantial majority under the leadership of Boris Johnson (who therefore remains Prime Minister). He campaigned on a platform of delivering a prompt exit by the UK ("Brexit") from the European Union ("EU") on terms already agreed between the UK and the EU under the EU-UK Withdraw Agreement which had been agreed earlier in 2019. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement the UK left the EU at the end of January 2020.
The Withdrawal Agreement's terms include a transition period from the date of departure to the end of December 2020 (the "Exit Date"). The structure of the Withdrawal Agreement and UK departure anticipate that a future trade framework between the UK and EU applying after the end of the transition period is to be negotiated during this transition period (the "New Trade Agreement"). Such negotiations are expected to be complex and potentially contentious between the parties, suggesting that the transition period may be insufficient time for such negotiations.
Consequently, there remains a material risk that on the Exit Date the UK automatically exits the EU without a New Trade Agreement (a “no deal Brexit”), and also with no certain path to negotiating a future trade relationship with the EU.
Absent action by the EU or member states, in the event of a no deal Brexit, the activities in the European Economic Area (“EEA”) of UK passporting insurers, including Ambac UK, will become unlawful on the Exit Date. They will lose their legal authorization to serve clients who benefit from policies issued by UK incorporated insurers under freedom of services passporting rights (and thereby may be unable to legally collect premiums or pay claims).
At December 31, 2019, Ambac UK’s insured portfolio included four policies in the EU written under current passporting rights, with an aggregate par value of $1,407 million. In respect of these four policies, there is premium receivable of $23 million and loss
 
and loss expense reserves (net of subrogation recoverable) of $2 million.  Absent legally binding transitional arrangements, Ambac UK may be unable to collect these premiums or pay the claims to which these premiums receivable and loss and loss expense reserves relate after the Exit Date. Ambac UK’s ability to restructure these policies to mitigate this risk is limited. Nonpayment of claims under any of the affected policies could lead to the loss of control rights in the related transaction(s), which would expose Ambac UK to greater risk of loss. In addition, under applicable English law, a court may hold that Ambac UK has an enforceable obligation to pay claims irrespective of the EU regulatory position in law. Consequently Ambac UK could find itself in a position where it was not in receipt of premium on a relevant policy, but chose to pay claims to avoid loss of control rights and/or other consequences of non-payment, notwithstanding the EU regulatory characterization in law.
Additionally, if UK insurers have branches in EEA Member States they may be legally obliged to either capitalize them, as a so-called third country branch from an institution whose home state is outside the EEA, or close them down and no longer be legally represented in those EU jurisdictions. Ambac UK has a branch in Italy, with one remaining policy issued from the branch. The branch is not capitalized separately from Ambac UK. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the future nature and status of the branch is unclear, particularly with respect to the need for capitalization to support the one remaining branch policy. Given that Ambac UK is undercapitalized in terms of applicable regulatory capital rules it will be difficult for the UK regulator to agree to assets leaving the company for this purpose.
There is a risk that absent agreement with the Italian regulator regarding the future of the branch, under law the Italian regulator could institute insolvent winding up proceedings against the branch as an unlicensed insurance business. In this scenario the one branch policy would then be terminated by operation of law notwithstanding the prejudicial outcome to policy holders. This chain of events could in turn trigger cross defaults with a consequential loss by Ambac UK of its controlling creditor rights in many or all transactions. This would greatly inhibit Ambac UK’s ability to exercise its rights in transactions generally, and in particular with respect to mitigating potential or actual loss in those transactions.
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (“EIOPA”) has made a series of recommendations to EU insurance regulators in light of Brexit.  Acting on these recommendations European regulatory authorities have put in place (or are putting in place) legal frameworks that facilitate the orderly run off of branch operations and of insurance policies issued in EEA member states by UK insurers. The effect of these legal frameworks is to allow the continued run off of insurance policies issued in EEA member states by UK insurers prior to Exit Date that terminate after this date in the event that the draft departure agreement has not been approved prior to Exit Date.
In light of no deal Brexit risk, the UK financial regulatory authority has been actively encouraging regulated firms to put into place contingency plans, as have been EU and EU member states’ financial regulatory bodies. Ambac UK is in discussion with the PRA and other relevant regulatory authorities to enable the continued orderly run off of its policies issued in the EEA under passporting rights as well as the Italian branch operation in line


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with the EIOPA recommendations and legal frameworks which have been, or are planned to be, put in place by EEA member states.
In addition to the direct impact on insurers cited above, general uncertainty and the perceptions as to the ultimate impact of Brexit may adversely affect business activity, political stability, foreign exchange rates and economic conditions in the UK, the Eurozone, and the EU, which may result in additional credit and other stresses on Ambac UK's insured and investment portfolios and may ultimately adversely impact Ambac's results of operations and financial condition.
Actions of the PRA and FCA could reduce the value of Ambac UK realizable by Ambac Assurance, which would adversely affect our securityholders.
Ambac’s international business is operated by Ambac UK, which is regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (“PRA”) for prudential purposes and the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) for conduct purposes. Under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”), the PRA authorized Ambac UK to carry out financial guaranty insurance business in the UK and in the EU by way of the EU’s passporting regime (although this may change following Brexit), subject to the terms and conditions of the permission granted by the PRA and consented to by the FCA. However, the terms of Ambac UK’s regulatory authority are now restricted and Ambac UK is in run-off. Among other things, Ambac UK may not write any new business, and, with respect to any entity within the Ambac group of affiliates, commute, vary or terminate any existing financial guaranty policy, transfer certain assets, or pay dividends, without the prior approval of the PRA and FCA. The PRA and FCA act generally in the interests of Ambac UK policyholders and will not take into account the interests of securityholders of Ambac when considering whether to provide any such approval. Accordingly, determinations made by the PRA and FCA, in their capacity as Ambac UK’s regulator, could potentially result in adverse consequences for our securityholders and also reduce the value realizable by Ambac Assurance for Ambac UK.
Regulatory uncertainty in relation to Ambac UK’s capital position could adversely affect the value of Ambac UK and affect our securityholders.
Under applicable regulatory capital rules (“Solvency II”) Ambac UK remains deficient in terms of capital.  Ambac UK does not have a remedial plan other than to build its assets over time by on-going premium collections and earned investment income, as well as attempting to accelerate the run-off of its exposures.  Further, there currently is no prospect of any capital support from the Ambac group of affiliates.  The PRA is aware of Ambac UK’s position and prospects. The PRA supervisory statement SS7/15 “Supervision of firms in difficulty or run-off” notes that “there are many circumstances in which a run-off strategy is in the best interests of policyholders” and notes that the PRA will review such firms and that they “may be permitted to continue activities necessary to carry out existing contracts in a manner, and for so long as, the PRA considers necessary in order to afford an appropriate degree of protection to policyholders”.  Ambac UK clearly falls into this category and therefore Ambac UK’s current run-off approach remains at all times subject to the PRA continuing to take no action in relation to its capital deficit and related Solvency II requirements. Alternative courses of action open to the
 
PRA could adversely impact the anticipated run-off trajectory of Ambac UK and impact its value.
Risks Related to Taxation
Surplus notes received in the AMPS Exchange and by holders of Deferred Amounts pursuant to the Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation along with other debt reissued by Ambac may not be fungible for U.S. federal income tax purposes with other surplus notes and debt currently outstanding.
Surplus notes received in the AMPS Exchange and by holders of Deferred Amounts pursuant to the Second Amended Plan of Rehabilitation along with other debt reissued by Ambac (together "Reissued Debt") have different issue prices for U.S. federal income tax purposes than the originally issued outstanding surplus notes and other debt and, therefore, are expected to accrue original issue discount (“OID”) in an amount that differs from the amounts of OID accruing on the originally issued surplus notes and other debt currently outstanding, as the case may be. Therefore, Reissued Debt may not be fungible with the other outstanding surplus notes and debt, as applicable, for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Because Reissued Debt has the same CUSIP numbers as other related surplus notes and debt currently outstanding, the Reissued Debt will not be readily distinguishable from the other outstanding surplus notes and debt, as applicable. This could create uncertainty in the market and could adversely affect the liquidity and/or trading values of surplus notes and other debt.
Certain surplus notes or other obligations of Ambac Assurance may be characterized as equity of Ambac Assurance and as a result, Ambac Assurance may no longer be a member of the U.S. federal income tax consolidated group of which AFG is the common parent.
It is possible that certain surplus notes or other obligations of Ambac Assurance may be characterized as equity of Ambac Assurance for U.S. federal income tax purposes. If such surplus notes or other obligations are characterized as equity of Ambac Assurance that is taken into account for tax affiliation purposes and it is determined that such “equity” represented more than twenty percent of the total value of the stock of Ambac Assurance, Ambac Assurance may no longer be characterized as an includable corporation that is affiliated with AFG. As a result, Ambac Assurance would no longer be characterized as a member of the U.S. federal income tax consolidated group of which AFG is the common parent (the “Ambac Consolidated Group”) and Ambac Assurance would be required to file a separate consolidated tax return as the common parent of a new U.S. federal income tax consolidated group including Ambac Assurance as the new common parent and Ambac Assurance’s affiliated subsidiaries (the “Ambac Assurance Consolidated Tax Group”).
To the extent Ambac Assurance is no longer a member of the Ambac Consolidated Group, Ambac Assurance’s net operating loss carry-forwards ("NOLs") (and certain other available tax attributes of Ambac Assurance and the other members of the Ambac Assurance Consolidated Tax Group) may no longer be available for use by the Ambac Assurance Consolidated Tax Group or any of the remaining members of the Ambac Assurance Consolidated Tax Group to reduce the U.S. federal income tax liabilities of the Ambac Assurance Consolidated Tax Group. AFG, Ambac Assurance and their affiliates entered into a tax sharing agreement that would require AFG to make certain tax elections


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that could mitigate the loss of NOLs and other tax attributes resulting from a deconsolidation of Ambac Assurance from the Ambac Consolidated Group. However, in the event of a deconsolidation, certain other benefits resulting from U.S. federal income tax consolidation may no longer be available to the Ambac Consolidated Group, including certain favorable rules relating to transactions occurring between members of the Ambac Consolidated Group and members of the Ambac Assurance Consolidated Tax Group.
If surplus notes or other obligations are characterized as equity of Ambac Assurance, the Ambac Assurance NOLs (and certain other tax attributes or tax benefits of the Ambac Consolidated Group) may be subject to limitation under Section 382 of the Tax Code.
It is possible that certain surplus notes or other obligations may be characterized as equity of Ambac Assurance for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Such characterization could result in an “ownership change” of Ambac Assurance for purposes of Section 382 of the Tax Code. If such an ownership change were to occur, the value and amount of the Ambac Assurance NOLs would be substantially impaired, increasing the U.S. federal income tax liability of Ambac Assurance and materially reducing the value of Ambac Assurance’s stock owned by AFG and the potential of future cash tolling or dividend payments from Ambac Assurance to AFG.
Deductions with respect to interest accruing on certain surplus notes may be eliminated or deferred until payment.
To the extent certain surplus notes are characterized as equity for U.S. federal income tax purposes, accrued interest will not be deductible by Ambac Assurance. In addition, even if such surplus notes are characterized as debt for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the deduction of interest accruing on such surplus notes may be deferred until paid or eliminated in part depending upon (i) the terms of any deferral and payment provisions provided in such surplus notes, (ii) whether such surplus notes have “significant original issue discount,” and (iii) the yield to maturity of surplus notes. To the extent deductions with respect to interest are eliminated or deferred, the U.S. federal income tax of the members of the Ambac Consolidated Group or the members of the Ambac Assurance Consolidated Tax Group as the case may be, could be increased reducing the amount of cash available to pay its obligations.
Risks Related to Strategic Plan
Ambac is exploring select business opportunities which may permit utilization of Ambac’s net operating loss carry-forwards; however, such business opportunities may not be consummated, or if consummated, may not create value and may negatively impact our financial results.
Ambac is exploring select business opportunities which may, amongst other things, permit utilization of its net operating loss carry-forwards. Such business opportunities may involve the acquisition of assets or existing businesses or the development of businesses through new or existing subsidiaries. It is not possible at this time to predict the future prospects or other characteristics of any such business opportunities. Although we intend to conduct business, financial and legal due diligence in connection with the evaluation of any future business or acquisition opportunities, there can be no assurance our due diligence investigations will identify
 
every matter that could have a material adverse effect on us. Efforts to pursue select business opportunities may be unsuccessful or require significant financial or other resources, which could have a negative impact on our operating results and financial condition. No assurance can be given that Ambac will be able to complete such business opportunities, generate any earnings or be able to successfully integrate any such business into our current operating structure.
Moreover, Ambac’s ability to enter into new businesses, including new businesses apart from Ambac Assurance, is also subject to significant doubt, given the financial condition of Ambac Assurance, counterparty or rating agency concerns about our ability to mitigate insured portfolio losses or recover losses in litigation, the difficulty of leveraging or monetizing Ambac’s other assets, and the uncertainty of its ability to raise capital. Due to these factors, as well as those relating to Ambac Assurance as described in this Item 1A. Risk Factors, the value of our securities is speculative.
Ambac’s current strategy and initiatives have been derived from, and created as a consequence of, the Company’s current financial condition and circumstances. Should changes in Ambac’s circumstances or financial condition or in the political, economic and/or legal environment occur, there can be no assurance that all or any part of such strategy and/or initiatives will not be abandoned or amended to take account of such changes. Any such adjustment or abandonment may have an adverse effect on our securities.
Item 1B.
Unresolved Staff Comments — No matters require disclosure.
Item 2.    Properties
The executive office of Ambac has relocated to One World Trade Center, New York, New York 10007, consisting of 46,927 square feet of office space, under a sublease agreement that expires in January 2030. Ambac continues to hold a lease at One State St