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ARR > SEC Filings for ARR > Form 10-K on 6-Mar-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for ARMOUR RESIDENTIAL REIT, INC.



Annual Report

Item 7. 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.

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. References to "Enterprise" are to Enterprise Acquisition Corp., which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARMOUR after completion of the business combination ("Merger Agreement") described below.


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 common stock, along with the following factors that could cause actual results to vary from our forward-looking statements:

(1) the factors referenced in this report, including those set forth under the section captioned "Risk Factors";

(2) the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and related efforts, along with any changes in laws and regulations affecting the relationship between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the federal government and the federal reserve system;

(3) mortgage loan modification programs and future legislative action;

(4) availability, terms and deployment of capital;

(5) changes in economic conditions generally;

(6) changes in interest rates, interest rate spreads and the yield curve or prepayment rates;

(7) general volatility of the financial markets, including markets for mortgage securities;

(8) inflation or deflation;

(9) availability of suitable investment opportunities;

(10) the degree and nature of our competition, including competition for Agency Securities from the U.S. Treasury;

(11) changes in our business and investment strategy;

(12) our dependence on our manager and ability to find a suitable replacement if our manager were to terminate their management relationship with us;

(13) the existence of conflicts of interest in our relationship with our manager, certain of our directors and our officers, which could result in decisions that are not in the best interest of our stockholders;

(14) changes in personnel at our manager or the availability of qualified personnel at our manager;

(15) limitations imposed on our business by our status as a REIT;

(16) changes in GAAP in the U.S., including interpretations thereof; and

(17) changes in applicable laws and regulations.

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.


We are an externally-managed Maryland corporation organized in 2008, managed by ARRM. We invest primarily in hybrid adjustable rate, adjustable rate and fixed rate residential mortgage backed securities issued or guaranteed by a U.S. Government-sponsored entity ("GSE"), such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (more commonly known as Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (more commonly known as Freddie Mac), or guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Administration, a U.S. Government corporation (more commonly known as 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"). On December 1, 2011, our stockholders approved an amendment to our charter to broaden 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 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 shareholders 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 mitigate 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 mitigate interest rate risks. We execute our business plan in a manner consistent with our intention of qualifying as a REIT and avoiding regulation as an investment company.

Our Manager

We are externally-managed by ARRM pursuant to our Management Agreement (see Note 7 to the 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 Management Agreement expires on November 6, 2014, and is thereafter automatically renewed for an additional one-year term unless terminated under certain circumstances. ARRM must provide 180 days prior notice of any such termination.

ARRM is entitled to receive a management fee payable monthly in arrears in an amount equal to 1/12th of an amount, with a minimum based on 1/12th of $900,000, (inclusive of the original gross merger equity as defined below), determined as follows:

our gross equity raised up to $50 million, 1% (per annum) of gross equity;

our gross equity raised up to $1.0 billion, 1.5% (per annum) of gross equity;

our gross equity raised in excess of $1.0 billion, 0.75% (per annum) of gross equity.

"Gross Equity Raised" represents an amount in dollars calculated as of the date of determination that is equal to (a) our initial equity capital following the consummation of the Merger (see below), plus (b) equity capital raised in public or private issuances of our equity securities (calculated before underwriting fees and distribution expenses, if any), less (c) capital returned to our stockholders, as adjusted to exclude (d) one-time charges pursuant to changes in GAAP and certain non-cash charges after discussion between the Manager and the Board and approved by a majority of the Board.

Enterprise Acquisition Corp. (prior to November 6, 2009)

Enterprise was a Delaware blank check company incorporated on July 9, 2007, in order to serve as a vehicle for the acquisition of one or more operating businesses.

On July 29, 2009, Enterprise entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger (the "Merger" and "Merger Agreement"), with ARMOUR and ARMOUR Merger Sub Corp., a Delaware corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARMOUR ("Merger Sub Corp."). The Merger Agreement provided for two primary transactions: (i) the merger of Merger Sub Corp. with and into Enterprise with Enterprise surviving the merger and becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARMOUR and (ii) ARMOUR becoming the new publicly-traded corporation of which the holders of Enterprise securities became security holders of ARMOUR. A summary of these transactions is as follows:

On November 5, 2009, the stockholders of Enterprise approved certain proposals to: (i) amend Enterprise's amended and restated certificate of incorporation to allow for a business combination with ARMOUR and (ii) adopt the Merger Agreement and approve the merger of Merger Sub Corp. with and into Enterprise, which we refer to as the Business Combination.

On November 6, 2009, Merger Sub Corp. merged with and into Enterprise pursuant to the Merger Agreement. In connection with the closing, the holders of Enterprise common stock and warrants became holders of the securities of ARMOUR after the Business Combination.

Factors that Affect our Results of Operations and Financial Condition

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 and 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 do not qualify to use cash flow hedge accounting, earnings reported in accordance with 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 able to designate our derivative activities as cash flow hedges. Comparisons with companies that are eligible to 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 shareholders.

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 and Ginnie Mae. 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 mitigate some of our interest rate risk, we do not intend to mitigate 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 mitigate interest rate risk; and

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

ARRM, our manager, is entitled to receive a monthly management fee that is based on our gross equity raised (see Note 7 to the consolidated financial statements), 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.

For a discussion of additional risks relating to our business see "Risk Factors" in Item 1A above.

Market and Interest Rate Trends and the Effect on our Portfolio

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. While these markets have recovered a great deal, further increased volatility and deterioration in the broader residential mortgage and Residential Mortgage Backed Securities ("RMBS") markets may adversely affect the performance and market value of the Agency Securities and other high quality RMBS.

The uncertainty in the U.S. interest rate markets in 2011 has produced volatility and opportunities in our markets. Early in 2011, optimism about an economic acceleration caused many economists to increase their U.S. Gross Domestic Product forecast, with some predicting a U.S. Federal Reserve tightening of monetary policy in early 2012. However, the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee ("FOMC") noted in late January 2012 that despite some evidence of moderate expansion in the economy and improvement in overall labor conditions and increase in household spending, the unemployment rate remains elevated, business fixed investment has slowed and the housing sector remains depressed. Because of low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation the FOMC said in its January meeting that it anticipates current economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014. This environment and outlook has created strong demand for Agency Securities and has also reduced the costs of our financing and hedging.

On August 5, 2011, Standard & Poor's Corporation downgraded the U.S.'s credit rating from AAA to AA+ and on August 8, 2011, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's credit ratings were downgraded from AAA to AA+. Because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are in conservatorship of the U.S. Government, the U.S.'s credit rating downgrade and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's credit rating downgrades will impact the credit risk associated with Agency Securities and, therefore, may decrease the value of the Agency Securities in our portfolio.

Developments at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

Payments on the Agency Securities in which we invest are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because of the guarantee and the underwriting standards associated with mortgages underlying Agency Securities, Agency Securities historically have had high stability in value and been considered to present low credit risk. In 2008, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were placed under the conservatorship of the U.S. Government due to the significant weakness of their financial condition. It is unclear how and when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may be restructured by the U.S. Government and the impact that may have on our existing portfolio and continuing investment strategy.

In response to the credit market disruption and the deteriorating financial condition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Congress and the U.S. Treasury undertook a series of actions in 2008 aimed at stabilizing the financial markets in general and the mortgage market in particular. These actions include the large-scale buying of mortgage backed securities, significant equity infusions into banks and aggressive monetary policy.

In addition, the U.S. Federal Reserve initiated a program in 2008 to purchase $200.0 billion in direct obligations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks and $1.3 trillion in Agency Securities issued and guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. The U.S. Federal Reserve stated that its actions were intended to reduce the cost and increase the availability of credit for the purchase of houses, which in turn was expected to support housing markets and foster improved conditions in financial markets more generally. This purchase program was completed on March 31, 2010. We are unable to predict the timing or manner in which the U.S. Treasury or the Federal Reserve will liquidate their holdings or make further interventions in the Agency Securities markets, or what impact, if any, such action could have on the Agency Securities market, the Agency Securities we hold, our business, results of operations and financial condition.

In February 2010, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced that they would execute wholesale repurchases of loans which they considered seriously delinquent from existing mortgage pools. This action temporarily decreased the value of these securities until complete details of the programs and the timing were announced and reduced our yield in the months of repayment. Freddie Mac implemented its purchase program in February 2010 with actual purchases beginning in March 2010. Fannie Mae began their process in March 2010 and announced it would implement the initial purchases over a period of three months, beginning in April 2010. Further, both agencies announced that on an ongoing basis they would purchase loans from the pools of mortgage loans underlying their mortgage pass-through certificates that became 120 days delinquent.

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 program to purchase Agency Securities which had commenced in January 2009 and was terminated on March 31, 2010 has 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 mortgage backed securities into Agency mortgage backed securities.

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 Investment Company 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 MBS and rely on the exemption from registration under Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 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 Act, either of which could negatively affect the value of shares of our common stock and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders.

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.

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;

. . .

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