|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2011
|Fair Value [Abstract]|
Fair Value Measurements
ASC 820 defines fair value as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. ASC 820 clarifies that fair value should be based on the assumptions market participants would use when pricing an asset or liability and establishes a fair value hierarchy that prioritizes the information used to develop those assumptions. The fair value hierarchy gives the highest priority to quoted prices available in active markets (i.e., observable inputs) and the lowest priority to data lacking transparency (i.e., unobservable inputs). Additionally, ASC 820 requires an entity to consider all aspects of nonperformance risk, including the entity's own credit standing, when measuring fair value of a liability.
ASC 820 establishes a three level hierarchy to be used when measuring and disclosing fair value. An instrument's categorization within the fair value hierarchy is based on the lowest level of significant input to its valuation. Following is a description of the three levels:
Following are descriptions of the valuation methodologies used to measure material assets and liabilities at fair value and details of the valuation models, key inputs to those models and significant assumptions utilized.
Investment securities - The Company holds a portfolio of AFS and trading securities that are carried at fair value in the condensed consolidated balance sheet. AFS securities are primarily composed of Agency and non-Agency RMBS while the Company's U.S. Treasuries are classified as trading securities. The Company determines the fair value of its U.S. Treasuries and Agency RMBS based upon prices obtained from third-party pricing providers or broker quotes received using bid price, which are deemed indicative of market activity. In determining the fair value of its non-Agency RMBS, management judgment is used to arrive at fair value that considers prices obtained from third-party pricing providers, broker quotes received and other applicable market data. If observable market prices are not available or insufficient to determine fair value due to principally illiquidity in the marketplace, then fair value is based upon internally developed models that are primarily based on observable market-based inputs but also include unobservable market data inputs (including prepayment speeds, delinquency levels, and credit losses). The Company classified 100% of its U.S. Treasuries as Level 1 fair value assets at September 30, 2011. The Company classified 99.8% of its RMBS AFS securities reported at fair value as Level 2 at September 30, 2011. AFS and trading securities account for 78.4% and 18.6%, respectively, of all assets reported at fair value at September 30, 2011.
Derivative instruments - The Company may enter into a variety of derivative financial instruments as part of its hedging strategies. The Company principally executes over-the-counter, or OTC, derivative contracts, such as interest rate swaps. The Company utilizes internally developed models that are widely accepted in the market to value its OTC derivative contracts. The specific terms of the contract are entered into the model as well as market observable inputs such as interest rate forward curves and interpolated volatility assumptions. As all significant inputs into these models are market observable, the Company classified 100% of the interest rate swaps, swaptions and credit default swaps reported at fair value as Level 2 at September 30, 2011.
The Company also enters into certain other derivative financial instruments, such as TBAs and inverse interest-only securities. These instruments are similar in form to the Company's AFS securities and the Company utilizes broker quotes to value these instruments. The Company classified 100% of its inverse interest-only securities at fair value as Level 2 at September 30, 2011. The Company reported 100% of its TBAs as Level 1 as of September 30, 2011.
The Company's Risk Management Committee governs trading activity relating to derivative instruments. The Company's policy is to minimize credit exposure related to financial derivatives used for hedging, by limiting the hedge counterparties to major banks, financial institutions, exchanges, and private investors who meet established capital and credit guidelines, as well as by limiting the amount of exposure to any individual counterparty.
The Company has netting arrangements in place with all derivative counterparties pursuant to standard documentation developed by the International Swap and Derivatives Association, or ISDA. Additionally, both the Company and the counterparty are required to post cash collateral based upon the net underlying market value of the Company's open positions with the counterparty. Posting of cash collateral typically occurs daily, subject to certain dollar thresholds. Due to the existence of netting arrangements, as well as frequent cash collateral posting at low posting thresholds, credit exposure to the Company and/or to the counterparty is considered materially mitigated. Based on the Company's assessment, there is no requirement for any additional adjustment to derivative valuations specifically for credit.
Recurring Fair Value
The following tables display the Company's assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis. The Company often economically hedges the fair value change of its assets or liabilities with derivatives and other financial instruments. The tables below display the hedges separately from the hedged items, and therefore do not directly display the impact of the Company's risk management activities.
The valuation of Level 3 instruments requires significant judgment by the third-party pricing providers and/or management. The third-party pricing providers and/or management rely on inputs such as market price quotations from market makers (either market or indicative levels), original transaction price, recent transactions in the same or similar instruments, and changes in financial ratios or cash flows to determine fair value. Level 3 instruments may also be discounted to reflect illiquidity and/or non-transferability, with the amount of such discount estimated by the third-party pricing provider in the absence of market information. Assumptions used by the third-party pricing provider due to lack of observable inputs may significantly impact the resulting fair value and therefore the Company's financial statements. The Company's Valuation Committee reviews all valuations that are based on pricing information received from a third-party pricing provider. As part of this review, prices are compared against other pricing or input data points in the marketplace, along with internal valuation expertise, to ensure the pricing is reasonable. In addition, the Company performs back-testing of pricing information to validate price information and identify any pricing trends of a third-party price provider.
In determining fair value, third-party pricing providers use various valuation approaches, including market and income approaches. Inputs that are used in determining fair value of an instrument may include pricing information, credit data, volatility statistics, and other factors. In addition, inputs can be either observable or unobservable.
The availability of observable inputs can vary by instrument and is affected by a wide variety of factors, including the type of instrument, whether the instrument is new and not yet established in the marketplace and other characteristics particular to the instrument. The third-party pricing provider uses prices and inputs that are current as of the measurement date, including during periods of market dislocations. In periods of market dislocation, the availability of prices and inputs may be reduced for many instruments. This condition could cause an instrument to be reclassified to or from various levels within the fair value hierarchy.
Securities for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the bid price (in the case of long positions) or the ask price (in the case of short positions) at the close of trading on the date as of which value is determined. Exchange-traded securities for which no bid or ask price is available are valued at the last traded price.
OTC derivative contracts, including interest rate swaps, are valued by the Company using observable inputs, such as quotations received from the counterparty, dealers or brokers, whenever available and considered reliable. In instances where models are used, the value of an OTC derivative depends upon the contractual terms of, and specific risks inherent in, the instrument as well as the availability and reliability of observable inputs. Such inputs include market prices for reference securities, yield curves, credit curves, volatility measures, prepayment rates and correlation of such inputs. Certain OTC derivatives, such as swaps, have inputs which can generally be corroborated by market data and are therefore classified within Level 2.
The table below presents the reconciliation for all of the Company's Level 3 assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis. The Level 3 items presented below may be hedged by derivatives and other financial instruments that are classified as Level 1 or Level 2. Thus, the table below does not fully reflect the impact of the Company's risk management activities.
(a) Change in unrealized gains on AFS securities is recorded in equity as accumulated other comprehensive income.
The Company did not incur transfers between Level 1 and Level 2 or Level 2 and Level 3 for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2011. Transfers between Levels are deemed to take place on the first day of the reporting period in which the transfer has taken place.
Nonrecurring Fair Value
The Company may be required to measure certain assets or liabilities at fair value from time to time. These periodic fair value measures typically result from application of certain impairment measures under GAAP. These items would constitute nonrecurring fair value measures under ASC 820. As of September 30, 2011, the Company did not have any assets or liabilities measured at fair value on a nonrecurring basis.
Fair Value of Financial Instruments
In accordance with ASC 820, the Company is required to disclose the fair value of financial instruments, both assets and liabilities recognized and not recognized in the condensed consolidated balance sheet, for which fair value can be estimated.
The following describes the Company's methods for estimating the fair value for financial instruments. Descriptions are not provided for those items that have zero balances as of the current balance sheet date.
The entire disclosure for the fair value of financial instruments (as defined), including financial assets and financial liabilities (collectively, as defined), and the measurements of those instruments as well as disclosures related to the fair value of non-financial assets and liabilities. Such disclosures about the financial instruments, assets, and liabilities would include: (1) the fair value of the required items together with their carrying amounts (as appropriate); (2) for items for which it is not practicable to estimate fair value, disclosure would include: (a) information pertinent to estimating fair value (including, carrying amount, effective interest rate, and maturity, and (b) the reasons why it is not practicable to estimate fair value; (3) significant concentrations of credit risk including: (a) information about the activity, region, or economic characteristics identifying a concentration, (b) the maximum amount of loss the entity is exposed to based on the gross fair value of the related item, (c) policy for requiring collateral or other security and information as to accessing such collateral or security, and (d) the nature and brief description of such collateral or security; (4) quantitative information about market risks and how such risks are managed; (5) for items measured on both a recurring and nonrecurring basis information regarding the inputs used to develop the fair value measurement; and (6) for items presented in the financial statement for which fair value measurement is elected: (a) information necessary to understand the reasons for the election, (b) discussion of the effect of fair value changes on earnings, (c) a description of [similar groups] items for which the election is made and the relation thereof to the balance sheet, the aggregate carrying value of items included in the balance sheet that are not eligible for the election; (7) all other required (as defined) and desired information.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef