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ARR > SEC Filings for ARR > Form 10-Q on 1-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT, INC.

Form 10-Q for ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT, INC.


1-Nov-2012

Quarterly Report


Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this report. In addition, reference should be made to our audited financial statements and notes thereto and related Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations included in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

References to "we", "us", "our", "ARMOUR" or the "Company" are to ARMOUR Residential REIT, Inc. References to "ARRM" are to ARMOUR Residential Management LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This report contains various "forward-looking statements." Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "seeks," "approximately," "intends," "plans," "projects," "estimates" or "anticipates" or the negative of these words and phrases or similar words or phrases. All forward-looking statements may be impacted by a number of risks and uncertainties, including statements regarding the following subjects:

? our business and investment strategy;

? our anticipated results of operations;

? statements about future dividends;

? our ability to obtain financing arrangements;

? our understanding of our competition and ability to compete effectively;

? market, industry and economic trends; and

? interest rates.

The forward-looking statements in this report are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account all information currently available to us. These beliefs, assumptions and expectations are subject to risks and uncertainties and can change as a result of many possible events or factors, not all of which are known to us. If a change occurs, our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations may vary materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements. You should carefully consider these risks before you make an investment decision with respect to our stock.

We cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which apply only as of the date of this report. We do not intend and disclaim any duty or obligation to update or revise any industry information or forward-looking statements set forth in this report to reflect new information, future events or otherwise, except as required under the U.S. Federal securities laws.

Overview

We are a Maryland corporation formed to invest primarily in hybrid adjustable rate, adjustable rate and fixed rate residential mortgage backed securities ("RMBS"). These securities are issued or guaranteed by a U.S.
Government-sponsored entity ("GSE"), such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), or guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Administration (Ginnie Mae) (collectively, "Agency Securities"). From time to time, a portion of our portfolio may be invested in unsecured notes and bonds issued by U.S. Government-chartered entities (collectively, "Agency Debt"), U.S. Treasuries and money market instruments, subject to certain income tests we must satisfy for our qualification as a real estate investment trust ("REIT"). As of September 30, 2012, Agency Securities account for 100% of our portfolio. It is expected that the percentage will continue to be 100% or close thereto. On December 1, 2011, our stockholders approved an amendment to our charter to alter our investment asset class restriction in response to potential changes in Agency Securities to include non-Agency as well as Agency Securities in our investment asset class restriction. While we remain committed to investing in Agency Securities for so long as an adequate supply and pricing exists, we believe it is prudent for us to have the flexibility to invest in non-Agency Securities and respond to changes in GSE policy.

We are externally managed by ARRM, an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). ARRM is also the external manager of JAVELIN Mortgage Investment Corp. ("JAVELIN"), a publicly traded REIT, which invests in and manages a leveraged portfolio of Agency Securities, non-Agency Securities and other mortgage-related investments. Our Co-Chief Executive Officers ("Co-CEOs"), Scott J. Ulm and Jeffrey J. Zimmer, and Chief Financial Officer ("CFO"), James R. Mountain, also serve as the Co-CEOs and CFO of JAVELIN, respectively. ARRM is an entity affiliated with the executive officers of ARMOUR and JAVELIN.


We seek attractive long-term investment returns by investing our equity capital and borrowed funds in our targeted asset class of Agency Securities. We earn returns on the spread between the yield on our assets and our costs, including the interest cost of the funds we borrow, after giving effect to our hedges. We intend to qualify and have elected to be taxed as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code ("the Code"). We will generally not be subject to federal income tax to the extent that we distribute our taxable income to our stockholders and as long as we satisfy the ongoing REIT requirements including meeting certain asset, income and stock ownership tests. Our business plan is to identify and acquire Agency Securities, finance our acquisitions with borrowings under a series of short-term repurchase agreements at the most competitive interest rates available to us and then cost-effectively hedge our interest rate and other risks based on our entire portfolio of assets, liabilities and derivatives and our management's view of the market. Successful implementation of our business plan requires us to address interest rate risk, maintain adequate liquidity and effectively hedge interest rate risks. We execute our business plan in a manner consistent with our intention of qualifying as a REIT and avoid regulation as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the "1940 Act").

Our results of operations and financial condition are affected by various factors, many of which are beyond our control, including, among other things, our net interest income, the market value of our assets and the supply of and demand for such assets. We invest in financial assets and markets. Recent events, such as those discussed below, can affect our business in ways that are difficult to predict and may produce results outside of typical operating variances. Our net interest income varies primarily as a result of changes in interest rates, borrowing costs and prepayment speeds, the behavior of which involves various risks and uncertainties. Prepayment rates, as reflected by the rate of principal pay downs and interest rates vary according to the type of investment, conditions in financial markets, government actions, competition and other factors, none of which can be predicted with any certainty. In general, as prepayment rates on our Agency Securities purchased at a premium increase, related purchase premium amortization increases, thereby reducing the net yield on such assets. Because changes in interest rates may significantly affect our activities, our operating results depend, in large part, upon our ability to manage interest rate risks and prepayment risks effectively while maintaining our status as a REIT. In addition, since we have not elected to use cash flow hedge accounting, earnings reported in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP") will fluctuate even in situations where our derivatives are operating as intended. As a result of this mark-to-market accounting treatment, our results of operations are likely to fluctuate far more than if we were to designate our derivative activities as cash flow hedges. Comparisons with companies that use cash flow hedge accounting for all or part of their derivative activities may not be meaningful.

We anticipate that, for any period during which changes in the interest rates earned on our assets do not coincide with interest rate changes on our borrowings, such assets will reprice more slowly than the corresponding liabilities. Consequently, changes in interest rates, particularly short-term interest rates, may significantly influence our net interest income. With the maturities of our assets generally of longer term than those of our liabilities, interest rate increases will tend to decrease our net interest income and the market value of our assets (and therefore our book value). Such rate increases could possibly result in operating losses or adversely affect our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Prepayments on Agency Securities and the underlying mortgage loans may be influenced by changes in market interest rates and a variety of economic and geographic factors beyond our control, as well as policy decisions by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, their regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency ("FHFA"), Ginnie Mae and others. Consequently prepayment rates cannot be predicted with certainty. To the extent we have acquired Agency Securities at a premium or discount to par, or face value, changes in prepayment rates may impact our anticipated yield. In periods of declining interest rates, prepayments on our Agency Securities will likely increase. If we are unable to reinvest the proceeds of such prepayments at comparable yields, our net interest income may suffer. The recent climate of government intervention in the mortgage markets significantly increases the risk associated with prepayments.

While we intend to use strategies to economically hedge some of our interest rate risk, we do not intend to hedge all of our exposure to changes in interest rates and prepayment rates, as there are practical limitations on our ability to insulate our portfolio from all potential negative consequences associated with changes in short-term interest rates in a manner that will allow us to seek attractive net spreads on our portfolio.

In addition, a variety of other factors relating to our business may also impact our financial condition and operating performance; these factors include,

? our degree of leverage;

? our access to funding and borrowing capacity;

? our use of derivatives to hedge interest rate risk;

? the REIT requirements; and

? the requirements to qualify for an exemption under the 1940 Act and other regulatory and accounting policies related to our business.

For a discussion of additional risks relating to our business see "Risk Factors" in Item 1A, the Risk Factors below, and in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.


Our Manager

We are externally managed by ARRM pursuant to an amended and restated management agreement as further amended and restated on June 18, 2012 (the "2012 Management Agreement") (see Note 14 to the condensed consolidated financial statements). All of our executive officers are also employees of ARRM. ARRM manages our day-to-day operations, subject to the direction and oversight of the Board of Directors ("Board"). The 2012 Management Agreement expires after an initial term of 10 years on June 18, 2022 and is thereafter automatically renewed for an additional five-year term unless terminated under certain circumstances. Either party must provide 180 days prior written notice of any such termination.

Pursuant to the 2012 Management Agreement, ARRM is entitled to receive a management fee payable monthly in arrears in an amount equal to 1/12th of 1% of gross equity raised until gross equity raised was $50 million. Thereafter, the monthly management fee would be 1/12th of the sum of (a) 1.5% of gross equity raised up to $1 billion plus (b) 0.75% of gross equity raised in excess of $1 billion. We are also obligated to reimburse certain expenses incurred by ARRM and its affiliates. ARRM is further entitled to receive a termination fee from us under certain circumstances.

ARRM is entitled to receive a monthly management fee regardless of the performance of our portfolio. Accordingly, the payment of our monthly management fee may not decline in the event of a decline in our earnings and may cause us to incur losses.

Market and Interest Rate Trends and the Effect on our Portfolio

Developments at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

In February 2011, the U.S. Treasury along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released a report entitled, "Reforming America's Housing Finance Market" to the U.S. Congress outlining recommendations for reforming the U.S. housing system, specifically Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and transforming the U.S. Government's involvement in the housing market. It is unclear how future legislation may impact the housing finance market and the investing environment for Agency Securities as the method of reform is undecided and has not yet been defined by the regulators. Without U.S. Government support for residential mortgages, we may not be able to execute our current business model in an efficient manner.

We cannot predict whether or when new actions may occur, the timing and pace of current actions already implemented, or what impact if any, such actions, or future actions, could have on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

U.S. Government Market Intervention

The U.S. Federal Reserve's ("the Fed") program to purchase Agency Securities which had commenced in January 2009 and was terminated on March 31, 2010 had a significant impact on market prices. In total, $1.3 trillion of Agency Securities were purchased. In addition, through the course of 2009, the U.S. Treasury purchased $250.0 billion of Agency Securities. An effect of these purchases has been an increase in the prices of Agency Securities, which has decreased our net interest margin. When these programs terminated, the market expectation was that it might cause a decrease in demand for these securities which would likely reduce their market price. However, this has not happened and we continue to see strong demand as these securities remain desirable assets in this rather volatile economic environment. It is difficult to quantify the impact, as there are many factors at work at the same time that affect the price of Agency Securities and, therefore, our yield and book value. Due to the unpredictability in the markets for our securities in particular and yield generating assets in general, there is no pattern that can be implied with any certainty. In March 2011, the U.S. Treasury announced that it will begin the orderly wind down of its remaining Agency Securities with sales up to $10.0 billion per month, subject to market conditions. It is unclear how these sales will affect market conditions and pricing. On September 21, 2011, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced that it will begin reinvesting principal payments from its holdings of Agency Debt and Agency Securities. In September 2012, the Fed announced a program, popularly referred to as "QE3," to purchase an additional $40 billion of Agency Securities per month until the unemployment rate and other economic indicators improve. QE3 plus its existing investment programs are expected to grow the Fed's Agency Securities holding by approximately $85 billion per month at least through the end of 2012. The Fed also extended through at least mid-2015 its plan to keep the Federal Funds Rate between zero and 0.25%. The Fed expects these measures will put downward pressure on long-term interest rates.

In the short term, the Fed's actions have driven Agency Securities prices to record highs, thereby compressing interest rate spreads and reducing the correlation between mortgage rates and rates on U.S. Treasuries and interest rate swaps. These factors have contributed to a challenging reinvestment and interest rate hedging environment.


Financial Regulatory Reform Bill and Other Government Activity

We believe that we conduct our business in a manner that allows us to avoid being regulated as an investment company under the 1940 Act pursuant to the exemption provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) for entities that are primarily engaged in the business of purchasing or otherwise acquiring "mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate." On August 31, 2011, the SEC issued a concept release (No. IC-29778; File No. SW7-34-11, Companies Engaged in the Business of Acquiring Mortgages and Mortgage-Related Instruments) pursuant to which it is reviewing whether certain companies that invest in mortgage backed securities ("MBS") and rely on the exemption from registration under Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act (such as us) should continue to be allowed to rely on such exemption from registration. If we fail to continue to qualify for this exemption from registration as an investment company, or the SEC determines that companies that invest in MBS are no longer able to rely on this exemption, our ability to use leverage would be substantially reduced and we would be unable to conduct our business as planned, or we may be required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act, either of which could negatively affect the value of shares of our stock and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Certain programs initiated by the U.S. Government, through the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ("FDIC"), to provide homeowners with assistance in avoiding residential mortgage loan foreclosures are currently in effect. The programs may involve, among other things, the modification of mortgage loans to reduce the principal amount of the loans or the rate of interest payable on the loans, or to extend the payment terms of the loans. While the effect of these programs has not been as extensive as originally expected, the effect of such programs for holders of Agency Securities could be that such holders would experience changes in the anticipated yields of their Agency Securities due to (i) increased prepayment rates and (ii) lower interest and principal payments.

In March 2009, the Home Affordable Modification Program ("HAMP") was introduced to provide homeowners with assistance in avoiding residential mortgage loan foreclosures. HAMP is designed to help at risk homeowners, both those who are in default and those who are at imminent risk of default, by providing the borrower with affordable and sustainable monthly payments. In an effort to continue to provide meaningful solutions to the housing crisis, effective June 1, 2012, the Obama administration expanded the population of homeowners that may be eligible for HAMP.

On July 21, 2010, President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law. The Dodd-Frank Act is extensive, complicated and comprehensive legislation that impacts practically all aspects of banking, and a significant overhaul of many aspects of the regulation of the financial services industry. Although many provisions remain subject to further rulemaking, the Dodd-Frank Act implements numerous and far-reaching changes that affect financial companies, including our company, and other banks and institutions which are important to our business model. Certain notable rules are, among other things:

? Requiring regulation and oversight of large, systemically important financial institutions by establishing an interagency council on systemic risk and implementation of heightened prudential standards and regulation by the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve for systemically important financial institutions (including nonbank financial companies), as well as the implementation of the FDIC resolution procedures for liquidation of large financial companies to avoid market disruption;

? Applying the same leverage and risk-based capital requirements that apply to insured depository institutions to most bank holding companies, savings and loan holding companies and systemically important nonbank financial companies;

? Limiting the U.S. Federal Reserve's emergency authority to lend to nondepository institutions to facilities with broad-based eligibility, and authorizing the FDIC to establish an emergency financial stabilization fund for solvent depository institutions and their holding companies, subject to the approval of Congress, the Secretary of the U.S.

Treasury and the U.S. Federal Reserve;

? Creating regimes for regulation of over-the-counter derivatives and non-admitted property and casualty insurers and reinsurers;

? Implementing regulation of hedge fund and private equity advisers by requiring such advisers to register with the SEC;

? Providing for the implementation of corporate governance provisions for all public companies concerning proxy access and executive compensation; and

? Reforming regulation of credit rating agencies.

Many of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, including certain provisions described above are subject to further study, rulemaking, and the discretion of regulatory bodies. As the hundreds of regulations called for by the Dodd-Frank Act are promulgated, we will continue to evaluate the impact of any such regulations. It is unclear how this legislation may impact the borrowing environment, investing environment for Agency Securities and interest rate swap contracts as much of the bill's implementation has not yet been defined by the regulators.

In addition, in 2010, the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervisors of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the oversight body of the Basel Committee, published its "calibrated" capital standards for major banking institutions ("Basel III"). Under these standards, when fully phased in on January 1, 2019, banking institutions will be required to maintain heightened Tier 1 common equity, Tier 1 capital and total capital ratios, as well as maintaining a "capital conservation buffer." Beginning with the Tier 1 common equity and Tier 1 capital ratio requirements, Basel III will be phased in incrementally between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2019. The final package of Basel III reforms were approved by the G20 leaders in November 2010 and are subject to individual adoption by member nations, including the United States by January 1, 2013. It is unclear how the adoption of Basel III will affect our business at this time.


In September 2011, the White House announced work on a major initiative to allow certain homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth to refinance. In October 2011, the FHFA announced changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program, ("HARP") to expand access to refinancing for qualified individuals and families whose homes have lost value, including increasing the HARP loan-to-value ratio above 125%. However, this would only apply to mortgages guaranteed by the GSEs. In addition, the expansion does not change the time period which these loans were originated, maintaining the requirement that the loans must have been guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to June 2009. There are many challenging issues to this proposal, notably the question as to whether a loan with a loan-to-value ratio of 125% qualifies as a mortgage or an unsecured consumer loan. The chances of this initiative's success have created additional uncertainty in the Agency Securities market, particularly with respect to possible increases in prepayment rates. We do not expect this announcement to have a significant impact on our results of operations.

On January 4, 2012, the Fed released a report titled "The U.S. Housing Market:
Current Conditions and Policy Considerations" to Congress providing a framework for contemplating certain issues and tradeoffs that policy makers might consider. It is unclear how future legislation may impact the housing finance market and the investing environment for Agency Securities as the method of reform is undecided and has not yet been defined by the regulators.

On September 28, 2012 the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority ("FSA") released the results of its review of the process for setting the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") interest rate for various currencies and maturities ("Wheatley Review"). Some of our derivative positions use various maturities of U.S. dollar LIBOR. Our borrowings in the repurchase market have also historically tracked these LIBOR rates. The Wheatley Review found, among other things, that potential conflicts of interests coupled with insufficient oversight and accountability resulted in some reported LIBOR rates that did not reflect the true cost of inter-bank borrowings they were meant to represent.

The Wheatley Review also proposes a number of remedial actions, including:

? New statutory authority for the FSA to supervise and regulate the LIBOR setting process.
? Establishing a new independent oversight body to administer the LIBOR setting process.

? Eliminating LIBOR rates for certain currencies and maturities where markets are not sufficiently deep and liquid.

? Ceasing immediate reporting of rates submitted by individual participating banks.

? Establishing controls to ensure that submitted rates represent actual transactions.

There can be no assurance whether or when the Wheatley Review recommendations will be implemented in whole or in part. The company's derivatives and repurchase borrowings are conducted in U.S. dollars for maturities with historically deep and liquid markets. However, there can be no assurance whether the implementation of any Wheatley Review recommendations would have a material impact on the future reported levels of LIBOR rates relevant to the company's derivatives or repurchase borrowings.

Credit Market Disruption and Current Conditions

During the past few years, the residential housing and mortgage markets in the U.S. have experienced a variety of difficulties and changed economic conditions including loan defaults, credit losses and decreased liquidity. These conditions have resulted in volatility in the value of the Agency Securities we purchase and an increase in the average collateral requirements under our repurchase agreements we have obtained. While these markets have recovered significantly, further increased volatility and deterioration in the broader residential mortgage and RMBS markets may adversely affect the performance and market value of the Agency Securities and other high quality RMBS.

Despite modest economic expansion during the first quarter of 2012, signs of decline remain evident in job growth, housing, and inflation. While the first quarter of 2012 U.S. economic performance reflected an upward trend in job growth and U.S. real gross domestic product, preliminary second quarter results reflect a slowing in the first quarter improvements, notably in job growth and the unemployment rate, which, in May, remained unchanged at 8.2% in March. Consumer price inflation also declined, reflecting decreases in crude oil and gasoline prices. Expectations of long-run inflation are projected to be subdued, at or below 2% due to a slightly increased unemployment rate as well as anchored long run inflation projections. Data suggests that the economy continues to grow modestly, however, not at the rate anticipated.

Interest Rates

The overall credit market deterioration since August 2007 has also affected . . .

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