UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K 
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015
or
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                        to                        
Commission File Number: 001-35777
 
New Residential Investment Corp.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Delaware
 
45-3449660
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
1345 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY
 
10105
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
(212) 798-3150
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
N/A
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12 (b) of the Act:
Title of each class:
 
Name of each exchange on which registered:
Common Stock, $0.01 par value per share
 
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
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  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  ý
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  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post such files).    Yes  ý    No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this form 10-K  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer x
 
Accelerated filer ¨
 
 
 
Non-accelerated filer ¨
 
Smaller reporting company ¨
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
 
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ¨    No  ý
The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates as of June 30, 2015 (computed based on the closing price on such date as reported on the NYSE) was: $3.5 billion.
Common stock, $0.01 par value per share: 230,471,202 shares outstanding as of February 18, 2016.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
The information required by Part III (Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14) will be incorporated by reference from the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement for its 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A.A


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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This report contains certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements relate to, among other things, the operating performance of our investments, the stability of our earnings, our financing needs and the size and attractiveness of market opportunities. Forward-looking statements are generally identifiable by use of forward-looking terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “potential,” “intend,” “expect,” “endeavor,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “overestimate,” “underestimate,” “believe,” “could,” “project,” “predict,” “continue” or other similar words or expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions, discuss future expectations, describe future plans and strategies, contain projections of results of operations, cash flows or financial condition or state other forward-looking information. Our ability to predict results or the actual outcome of future plans or strategies is inherently uncertain. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, our actual results and performance could differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results in future periods to differ materially from forecasted results. Factors which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and future prospects include, but are not limited to:
 
reductions in cash flows received from our investments;
the quality and size of the investment pipeline and our ability to take advantage of investment opportunities at attractive risk-adjusted prices;
servicer advances may not be recoverable or may take longer to recover than we expect, which could cause us to fail to achieve our targeted return on our investment in servicer advances;
our ability to deploy capital accretively and the timing of such deployment;
our counterparty concentration and default risks in Nationstar, Ocwen, OneMain and other third-parties;
a lack of liquidity surrounding our investments, which could impede our ability to vary our portfolio in an appropriate manner;
the impact that risks associated with subprime mortgage loans and consumer loans, as well as deficiencies in servicing and foreclosure practices, may have on the value of our Excess MSRs, servicer advances, RMBS and loan portfolios;
the risks that default and recovery rates on our Excess MSRs, servicer advances, real estate securities, residential mortgage loans and consumer loans deteriorate compared to our underwriting estimates;
changes in prepayment rates on the loans underlying certain of our assets, including, but not limited to, our Excess MSRs;
the risk that projected recapture rates on the loan pools underlying our Excess MSRs are not achieved;
the relationship between yields on assets which are paid off and yields on assets in which such monies can be reinvested;
the relative spreads between the yield on the assets we invest in and the cost of financing;
changes in economic conditions generally and the real estate and bond markets specifically;
adverse changes in the financing markets we access affecting our ability to finance our investments on attractive terms, or at all;
changing risk assessments by lenders that potentially lead to increased margin calls, not extending our repurchase agreements or other financings in accordance with their current terms or not entering into new financings with us;
changes in interest rates and/or credit spreads, as well as the success of any hedging strategy we may undertake in relation to such changes;
impairments in the value of the collateral underlying our investments and the relation of any such impairments to our judgments as to whether changes in the market value of our securities or loans are temporary or not and whether circumstances bearing on the value of such assets warrant changes in carrying values;
the availability and terms of capital for future investments;
competition within the finance and real estate industries;
the legislative/regulatory environment, including, but not limited to, the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act, U.S. government programs intended to stabilize the economy, the federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and legislation that permits modification of the terms of loans;
our ability to maintain our qualification as a real estate investment trust for U.S. federal income tax purposes and the potentially onerous consequences that any failure to maintain such qualification would have on our business;

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our ability to maintain our exclusion from registration under the 1940 Act and the fact that maintaining such exclusion imposes limits on our operations;
the risks related to HLSS liabilities that we have assumed;
the impact of current or future legal proceedings and regulatory investigations and inquiries;
the impact of any material transactions with FIG LLC (the Manager) or one of its affiliates, including the impact of any actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest; and
events, conditions or actions that might occur at HLSS or Ocwen.

We also direct readers to other risks and uncertainties referenced in this report, including those set forth under “Risk Factors.” We caution that you should not place undue reliance on any of our forward-looking statements. Further, any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made. New risks and uncertainties arise from time to time, and it is impossible for us to predict those events or how they may affect us. Except as required by law, we are under no obligation (and expressly disclaim any obligation) to update or alter any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that we may make from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING EXHIBITS

In reviewing the agreements included as exhibits to this Annual Report on Form 10-K, please remember they are included to provide you with information regarding their terms and are not intended to provide any other factual or disclosure information about New Residential Investment Corp. (the “Company,” “New Residential” or “we,” “our” and “us”) or the other parties to the agreements. The agreements contain representations and warranties by each of the parties to the applicable agreement. These representations and warranties have been made solely for the benefit of the other parties to the applicable agreement and:
 
should not in all instances be treated as categorical statements of fact, but rather as a way of allocating the risk to one of the parties if those statements proved to be inaccurate;
have been qualified by disclosures that were made to the other party in connection with the negotiation of the applicable agreement, which disclosures are not necessarily reflected in the agreement;
may apply standards of materiality in a way that is different from what may be viewed as material to you or other investors; and
were made only as of the date of the applicable agreement or such other date or dates as may be specified in the agreement and are subject to more recent developments.

Accordingly, these representations and warranties may not describe the actual state of affairs as of the date they were made or at any other time. Additional information about the Company may be found elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the Company’s other public filings, which are available without charge through the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. See “Business—Corporate Governance and Internet Address; Where Readers Can Find Additional Information.”

The Company acknowledges that, notwithstanding the inclusion of the foregoing cautionary statements, it is responsible for considering whether additional specific disclosures of material information regarding material contractual provisions are required to make the statements in this report not misleading.

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NEW RESIDENTIAL INVESTMENT CORP.
FORM 10-K
 
 
 
 
 
INDEX
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Page
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 7A.
Item 8.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Note 1.
 
 
Note 2.
 
 
Note 3.
 
 
Note 4.
 
 
Note 5.
 
 
Note 6.
 
 
Note 7.
 
 
Note 8.
 
 
Note 9.
 
 
Note 10.
 
 
Note 11.
 
 
Note 12.
 
 
Note 13.
 
 
Note 14.
 
 
Note 15.

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Note 16.
 
 
Note 17.
 
 
Note 18.
 
 
Note 19.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
 
Item 9B.
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
Item 15.
 


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PART I

Item 1. Business.

General

New Residential is a publicly traded real estate investment trust (“REIT”) primarily focused on opportunistically investing in, and actively managing, investments related to residential real estate. We were formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Newcastle Investment Corp. (“Newcastle”) in September 2011 and were spun-off from Newcastle on May 15, 2013, which we refer to as the “distribution date.” Our stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “NRZ.” We are externally managed and advised by an affiliate (our “Manager”) of Fortress Investment Group LLC (“Fortress”) pursuant to a management agreement (the “Management Agreement”).

Our goal is to drive strong risk-adjusted returns primarily through our investments, and our investment guidelines are purposefully broad to enable us to make investments in a wide array of assets in diverse markets, including non-real estate related assets such as consumer loans. We generally target assets that generate significant current cash flows and/or have the potential for meaningful capital appreciation. We aim to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our stockholders, which at times incorporates the use of leverage.

We intend to continue to invest opportunistically across the residential real estate market. We expect our asset allocation and target assets to change over time depending on the types of investments our Manager identifies and the investment decisions our Manager makes in light of prevailing market conditions. For more information about our investment guidelines, see “—Investment Guidelines.”

The residential real estate market includes the approximately $10 trillion U.S. mortgage market. This market is comprised of numerous components, including the following:

Mortgage Loans: Performing, Non-performing, Re-performing, and Reverse Loans and Real Estate Owned

Performing loans are mortgage loans where the borrower is generally current on required payments; by contrast, non-performing loans are mortgage loans where the borrower is delinquent or in default. Re-performing loans were formally non-performing but became performing again, often as a result of a loan modification where the lender agrees to modified terms with the borrower rather than foreclosing on the underlying property. Reverse mortgage loans are a special type of loan under which the borrower is typically paid a monthly amount, increasing the balance of the loan, and are typically collected when the property is sold or the borrower no longer resides at the property. If a borrower defaults on a loan and the lender takes ownership of the underlying property through foreclosure, that property is referred to as real estate owned (“REO”).

Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (“RMBS”): Agency and Non-Agency and Call Rights

Mortgage loans are often packaged into pools held in securitization entities which issue securities (RMBS) collateralized by the loans. Agency RMBS are RMBS issued or guaranteed by a U.S. government agency, such as the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), or by a government-sponsored enterprise (“GSE”), such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). Non-Agency RMBS are issued by either public trusts or private label securitization (“PLS”) entities.

RMBS may be subject to call rights. Call rights permit the holder of the rights to purchase all of the mortgage loans which are collateralizing the related securitization for a price generally equal to the outstanding balance of such loans plus interest and certain other amounts (such as outstanding servicing advances and unpaid servicing fees). Call rights may be subject to limitations on when they may be exercised (such as specific dates or upon the reduction of the outstanding balances of the remaining mortgage loans to a specified level).


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Mortgage Servicing Rights and Excess Mortgage Servicing Rights

A mortgage servicing right (“MSR”) provides a mortgage servicer with the right to service a pool of mortgage loans in exchange for a portion of the interest payments made on the underlying mortgage loans. An MSR is made up of two components: a basic fee and an Excess MSR. The basic fee is the amount of compensation for the performance of servicing duties, and the Excess MSR is the amount that exceeds the basic fee. An owner of an Excess MSR is not required to assume any servicing duties, advance obligations or liabilities associated with the loan pool underlying the MSR unless otherwise specified through agreement.

Servicer Advances

Servicer advances are a customary feature of residential mortgage securitization transactions and represent one of the duties for which a servicer is compensated through the basic fee component of the related MSR, since the advances are non-interest bearing. Servicer advances are generally reimbursable cash payments made by a servicer (i) when the borrower fails to make scheduled payments due on a mortgage loan or (ii) to support the value of the collateral property. The purpose of the advances is to provide liquidity, rather than credit enhancement, to the underlying residential mortgage securitization transaction. Servicer advances are generally permitted to be repaid from amounts received with respect to the related mortgage loan or pool of mortgage loans.

For more information, see “—Mortgage Industry Overview” below.

We currently conduct our business through the following segments:

Servicing Related Assets
 
Excess Mortgage Servicing Rights (“Excess MSRs”): We have acquired Excess MSRs on residential mortgage loans with an aggregate unpaid principal balance (“UPB”) as of December 31, 2015 of $402.4 billion. As of December 31, 2015, the carrying value of our Excess MSRs was approximately $1.8 billion, representing 11.9% of our total assets, and our Excess MSRs segment represented 58.4% of our equity, net of financing.
Servicer Advances: We have made three direct investments in servicer advances, including the basic fee component of the related MSRs. The first direct investment was made through a joint venture entity of which we are the managing member (the “Buyer”), and which we consolidate in our financial statements. In addition, we have indirectly invested in servicer advances through securities collateralized by servicer advances. As of December 31, 2015, the carrying value of our servicer advances, including the basic fee component of the related MSRs, and related securities, was approximately $7.9 billion, representing 51.7% of our total assets, and our Servicer Advances segment represented 17.5% of our equity, net of financing and interests held by third party investors in the Buyer.

Residential Securities and Loans
 
Real Estate Securities: We acquire and manage a diversified portfolio of credit sensitive real estate securities, including Non-Agency and Agency RMBS. As of December 31, 2015, the carrying value of our real estate securities, excluding those collateralized by servicer advances, which are included in our Servicer Advances segment above, was approximately $2.1 billion ($0.9 billion for Agency RMBS and $1.2 billion for Non-Agency RMBS), representing 13.6% of our total assets, and our Real Estate Securities segment represented 16.5% of our equity, net of financing. In addition, we own call rights with respect to certain securitization trusts which are collateralized by mortgage loans with a UPB of approximately $200.0 billion.
Real Estate Loans: We have acquired residential mortgage loans, including performing, non-performing, re-performing and reverse mortgage loans, and related REO. We have also directly purchased REO unrelated to the collapse or non-performing loan resolution process. As of December 31, 2015, the carrying value of our residential mortgage loans (including REO) was $1.2 billion, representing 7.6% of our total assets, and our Real Estate Loans segment represented 9.2% of our equity, net of financing.

Other Investments
 
Consumer Loans: In April 2013, we acquired an interest in a pool of consumer loans, including unsecured and homeowner loans, held in an unconsolidated entity. In October 2014, we refinanced this entity and received a distribution in excess of our basis such that the carrying value of our investment in consumer loans was reduced to zero. We continue to own an interest in this entity, from which we expect to receive significant future cash flows.


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In addition, as of December 31, 2015, we had cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash, derivative assets, and other assets of $2.3 billion, representing 15.2% of our total assets, and our Consumer Loans and Corporate segments represented (1.6)% of our equity, net of dividends, financings and other payables, primarily as a result of dividends payable.

The following table summarizes our segments as of December 31, 2015 (in thousands):
 
Servicing Related Assets
 
Residential Securities and Loans
 
Consumer
Loans
 
Corporate
 
Total
 
Excess MSRs
 
Servicer
Advances
 
Real Estate
Securities
 
Real Estate
Loans
 
December 31, 2015
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investments
$
1,798,738

 
$
7,857,841

 
$
2,070,834

 
$
1,157,433

 
$

 
$

 
$
12,884,846

Cash and cash equivalents
18,507

 
95,686

 
42,984

 
13,262

 
6,359

 
73,138

 
249,936

Restricted cash
878

 
93,824

 

 

 

 

 
94,702

Derivative assets

 
2,689

 

 

 

 

 
2,689

Other assets
34

 
198,962

 
1,600,091

 
106,330

 
1,767

 
53,365

 
1,960,549

Total assets
$
1,818,157

 
$
8,249,002

 
$
3,713,909

 
$
1,277,025

 
$
8,126

 
$
126,503

 
$
15,192,722

Debt
$
182,978

 
$
7,550,680

 
$
2,513,538

 
$
1,004,980

 
$
40,446

 
$

 
$
11,292,622

Other liabilities
2,277

 
18,153

 
740,392

 
14,382

 
459

 
137,857

 
913,520

Total liabilities
185,255

 
7,568,833

 
3,253,930

 
1,019,362

 
40,905

 
137,857

 
12,206,142

Total Equity
1,632,902

 
680,169

 
459,979

 
257,663

 
(32,779
)
 
(11,354
)
 
2,986,580

Noncontrolling interests in equity of consolidated subsidiaries

 
190,647

 

 

 

 

 
190,647

Total New Residential stockholders’ equity
$
1,632,902

 
$
489,522

 
$
459,979

 
$
257,663

 
$
(32,779
)
 
$
(11,354
)
 
$
2,795,933


The Market Opportunity

We believe that unfolding developments in the U.S. residential housing market are generating significant investment opportunities. The U.S. residential real estate market is vast: the value of the housing market totaled approximately $21 trillion as of November 2015, including about $12.1 trillion of home equity and $9.4 trillion of mortgage debt outstanding, according to Freddie Mac. The residential mortgage industry is undergoing major structural changes that are transforming the way mortgages are originated, owned and serviced.

We also believe that we are one of only a select number of market participants that have the combination of capital, industry expertise and key business relationships we think are necessary to take advantage of these opportunities.

Mortgage Industry Overview

Over the last few decades the complexity of the market for residential mortgage loans in the U.S. has dramatically increased. A borrower seeking credit for a home purchase will typically obtain financing from a financial institution, such as a bank, savings association or credit union. In the past, these institutions would generally have held a majority of their originated mortgage loans as interest-earning assets on their balance sheets and would have performed all activities associated with servicing the loans, including accepting principal and interest payments, making advances for real estate taxes and property and casualty insurance premiums, initiating collection actions for delinquent payments and conducting foreclosures.

Now, institutions that originate mortgage loans generally hold a smaller portion of such loans as assets on their balance sheets and instead sell a significant portion of the loans they originate to third parties. The GSEs are currently the largest purchasers of home mortgage loans. Under a process known as securitization, the GSEs and financial institutions typically package residential mortgage loans into pools that are sold to securitization trusts. These securitization trusts fund the acquisition of mortgage loans by issuing securities, known as RMBS, which entitle the owner of such securities to receive a portion of the interest and/or principal collected on the mortgage loans in the pool. The purchasers of the RMBS are typically large institutions, such as pension funds, mutual funds, insurance companies, hedge funds and REITs. The agreement that governs the packaging of mortgage loans into a pool, the servicing of such mortgage loans and the terms of the RMBS issued by the securitization trust is often referred to as a pooling and servicing agreement.

In the ten years prior to the credit dislocation in 2007, the securitization market drove an increase in the number of residential mortgage loans outstanding. Since 2007, the mortgage industry has been characterized by reduced origination and securitization activities, particularly for subprime and Alt-A mortgage loans. The role of private capital has increased in financing the mortgage origination process despite the GSEs’ presence as the largest purchasers of home mortgage loans.

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In connection with a securitization, a number of entities perform specific roles with respect to the mortgage loans in a pool, including the trustee and the mortgage servicer. The trustee holds legal title to the mortgage loans on behalf of the owner of the RMBS and either maintains the mortgage note and related documents itself or with a custodian. One or more other entities are appointed pursuant to the pooling and servicing agreement to service the mortgage loans. In some cases, the servicer is the same institution that originated the loan, and, in other cases, it may be a different institution. The duties of servicers for mortgage loans that have been securitized are generally discussed below, and are generally required to be performed in accordance with industry-accepted servicing practices and the terms of the pooling and servicing agreement, mortgage note and applicable law. A servicer generally takes actions, such as foreclosure, in the name and on behalf of the trustee. The trustee or a separate securities administrator for the trust receives the payments collected by the servicer on the mortgage loans and distributes them to the investors in the RMBS pursuant to the terms of the pooling and servicing agreement.

Segments of the Residential Mortgage Loan Market

The residential mortgage market is commonly divided into a number of categories based on certain mortgage loan characteristics, including the credit quality of borrowers and the types of institutions that originate or finance such loans. While there are no universally accepted definitions, the residential mortgage loan market is commonly divided by market participants into the following categories.
 
GSE and Government Guaranteed Loans. This category of mortgage loans includes “conforming loans,” which are first lien mortgage loans that are secured by single-family residences that meet or “conform” to the underwriting standards established by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. The conforming loan limit is established by statute and currently is $417,000 with certain exceptions for high-priced real estate markets. This category also includes mortgage loans issued to borrowers that do not meet conforming loan standards, but who qualify for a loan that is insured or guaranteed by the government through Ginnie Mae, primarily through federal programs operated by the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”) and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Non-GSE or Government Guaranteed Loans. Residential mortgage loans that are not guaranteed by the GSEs or the government are generally referred to as “non-conforming loans” and fall into one of the following categories: jumbo, subprime, Alt-A or second lien loans. The loans may be non-conforming due to various factors, including mortgage balances in excess of Agency underwriting guidelines, borrower characteristics, loan characteristics and level of documentation.

Jumbo. Jumbo mortgage loans have original principal amounts that exceed the statutory conforming limit for GSE loans. Jumbo borrowers generally have strong credit histories and provide full loan documentation, including verification of income and assets.
Subprime. Subprime mortgage loans are generally issued to borrowers with weak credit histories, who make low or no down payments on the properties they purchase or have limited documentation of their income or assets. Subprime borrowers generally pay higher interest rates and fees than prime borrowers.
Alt-A. Alt-A mortgage loans are generally issued to borrowers with risk profiles that fall between prime and subprime. These loans have one or more high-risk features, such as the borrower having a high debt-to-income ratio, limited documentation verifying the borrower’s income or assets, or the option of making monthly payments that are lower than required for a fully amortizing loan. Alt-A mortgage loans generally have interest rates that fall between the interest rates on conforming loans and subprime loans.
Second Lien. Second mortgages and home equity lines are often referred to as second liens and fall into a separate category of the residential mortgage market. These loans typically have higher interest rates than loans secured by first liens because the lender generally will only receive proceeds from a foreclosure of a property after the first lien holder is paid in full. In addition, these loans often feature higher loan-to-value ratios and are less secure than first lien mortgages.

Servicing Related Assets

Excess MSRs

An MSR provides a mortgage servicer with the right to service a pool of mortgage loans in exchange for a portion of the interest payments made on the underlying mortgage loans. This amount typically ranges from 25 to 50 bps times the UPB of the mortgage loans. An MSR is made up of two components: a basic fee and an Excess MSR. The basic fee is the amount of compensation needed for the performance of servicing duties (including advance obligations), and the Excess MSR is the amount that exceeds the basic fee. For example, if an MSR is 30 bps and the basic fee is 5 bps, then the Excess MSR is 25 bps. In our capacity as the owner of an Excess MSR, we are not required to assume any servicing duties, advance obligations or liabilities associated with

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the loan pools underlying our investment, unless otherwise specified through agreement. We have purchased servicer advances, including the basic fee component of the related MSRs, on certain loan pools underlying our Excess MSRs.

As of the third quarter of 2015, the Top 100 mortgage servicers serviced approximately $10 trillion of residential mortgages according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Of the $10 trillion, approximately 74% of these MSRs were serviced by banks, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. We expect this percentage to decline as banks face pressure to reduce their MSR exposure as a result of heightened capital reserve requirements under Basel III, regulatory scrutiny and a more challenging servicing environment, among other reasons. As banks or nonbank servicers sell MSRs, there may be an opportunity for us to invest in the corresponding Excess MSRs.

There are a number of reasons why we believe Excess MSRs may represent a compelling investment opportunity:
 
Supply-Demand Imbalance. Since 2010, banks have sold or committed to sell MSRs totaling more than $3 trillion of the approximately $10 trillion mortgage market. As a result of the regulatory and other pressures facing bank servicers, we believe the volume of MSR sales is likely to be substantial for some period of time. We estimate that MSRs on approximately $150 billion of mortgages are currently for sale, which would require a capital investment of approximately $1 billion to $1.5 billion based on current pricing dynamics. We believe that nonbank servicers, who acquire MSRs and are constrained by capital limitations, such as Nationstar Mortgage LLC (“Nationstar”), will continue to sell a portion of the Excess MSRs. In addition, approximately $1.5 trillion of new loans are expected to be originated in 2016 according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. We believe this creates an opportunity to enter into “flow arrangements,” whereby loan originators agree to sell Excess MSRs on newly originated loans on a recurring basis (often monthly or quarterly). Given this combined dynamic, we believe $2 trillion of MSRs could be sold or available over the next few years. Increased competition for these MSR assets has driven prices higher recently. There can be no assurance that we will make additional investments in Excess MSRs or that any future investment in Excess MSRs will generate returns similar to the returns on our original investments in Excess MSRs.
Attractive Pricing. While prices have rebounded from the lows, we believe that MSRs continue to offer attractive returns.
Significant Barrier to Entry. Non-servicers, like us, cannot directly own an MSR as a named servicer and would therefore need to partner with a servicer in order to invest in MSRs. The number of strong, scalable non-bank servicers is limited. Moreover, in the case of Excess MSRs on Agency pools, the servicer must be Agency-approved. As a result, non-servicers seeking to invest in Excess MSRs generally face a significant barrier to entering the market, particularly if they do not have a relationship with a quality servicer. We believe our track record of investing in Excess MSRs and our established relationship with Nationstar give us a competitive advantage over other potential investors. We have begun the process of acquiring servicing licenses from various states and seeking servicing licenses from GSEs to facilitate our ability to directly purchase mortgage servicing rights.

We pioneered investments in Excess MSRs (while we were a wholly owned subsidiary of Newcastle) and we believe we remain the most active REIT in the sector. However, the timing, size and potential returns of future investments in Excess MSRs may be less attractive than our prior investments in this sector due to a number of factors, most of which are beyond our control.

Servicer Advances

Servicer advances are a customary feature of residential mortgage securitization transactions and represent one of the duties for which a servicer is compensated through the basic fee component of the related MSR, since the advances are non-interest bearing. Our investments in servicer advances include the rights to the basic fee component of the related MSR.

Servicer advances typically fall into one of three categories:
 
Principal and Interest Advances: Cash payments made by the servicer to cover scheduled payments of principal of, and interest on, a mortgage loan that have not been paid on a timely basis by the borrower.
Escrow Advances (Taxes and Insurance Advances): Cash payments made by the servicer to third parties on behalf of the borrower for real estate taxes and insurance premiums on the property that have not been paid on a timely basis by the borrower.
Foreclosure Advances: Cash payments made by the servicer to third parties for the costs and expenses incurred in connection with the foreclosure, preservation and sale of the mortgaged property, including attorneys’ and other professional fees.

The purpose of the advances is to provide liquidity, rather than credit enhancement, to the underlying residential mortgage securitization transaction. Servicer advances are generally permitted to be repaid from amounts received with respect to the related

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mortgage loan, including payments from the borrower or amounts received from the liquidation of the property securing the loan, which is referred to as “loan-level recovery.”

Residential mortgage servicing agreements generally require a servicer to make advances in respect of serviced mortgage loans unless the servicer determines in good faith that the advance would not be ultimately recoverable from the proceeds of the related mortgage loan or the mortgaged property. In many cases, if the servicer determines that an advance previously made would not be recoverable from these sources, or if such advance is not recovered when the loan is repaid or related property is liquidated, then, the servicer is, most often, entitled to withdraw funds from the custodial account for payments on the serviced mortgage loans to reimburse the applicable advance. This is what is often referred to as a “general collections backstop.” See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Servicer advances may not be recoverable or may take longer to recover than we expect, which could cause us to fail to achieve our targeted return on our investment in servicer advances.”

The status of investments in servicer advances for purposes of the REIT requirements is uncertain, and therefore our ability to make these kinds of investments may be limited. We currently hold our investment in servicer advances in a taxable REIT subsidiary.

In 2015, we purchased our first rated bonds backed by securitized pools of servicer advances issued through transactions sponsored by mortgage servicers. Servicer advance securitizations are generally rated “Master Trust” structures with multiple series of notes and one or more variable funding notes sharing in the same pool of collateral. Each note class has a specific advance rate and rating. We may pursue similar investments as opportunities arise.

Residential Securities and Loans

RMBS

We invest in both Agency RMBS and Non-Agency RMBS. As of the third quarter of 2015, approximately $7 trillion of the $10 trillion of residential mortgage loans outstanding was securitized, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. Of the securitized mortgage loans, approximately $6 trillion were Agency RMBS, according to Inside Mortgage Finance, and the balance was Non-Agency RMBS.

Agency RMBS generally offer more stable cash flows and historically have been subject to lower credit risk and greater price stability than the other types of residential mortgage investments we intend to target. The Agency RMBS that we may acquire could be secured by fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages or hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages. More information about certain types of Agency RMBS in which we have invested or may invest is set forth below.

Mortgage pass-through certificates. Mortgage pass-through certificates are securities representing interests in “pools” of mortgage loans secured by residential real property where payments of both interest and principal, plus pre-paid principal, on the securities are made monthly to holders of the securities, in effect “passing through” monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on the mortgage loans that underlie the securities, net of fees paid in connection with the issuance of the securities and the servicing of the underlying mortgage loans.

Interest Only Agency RMBS. This type of stripped security only entitles the holder to interest payments. The yield to maturity of interest only Agency RMBS is extremely sensitive to the rate of principal payments (particularly prepayments) on the underlying pool of mortgage loans. If we decide to invest in these types of securities, we anticipate doing so primarily to take advantage of particularly attractive prepayment-related or structural opportunities in the Agency RMBS markets.

To-be-announced forward contract positions (“TBAs”). We utilize TBAs in order to invest in Agency RMBS. Pursuant to these TBAs, we agree to purchase or sell, for future delivery, Agency RMBS with certain principal and interest terms and certain types of underlying collateral, but the particular Agency RMBS to be delivered would not be identified until shortly before the TBA settlement date. Our ability to purchase Agency RMBS through TBAs may be limited by the 75% income and asset tests applicable to REITs.

We believe there continue to be opportunities to acquire Non-Agency RMBS at attractive risk-adjusted yields, with the potential for meaningful upside if the U.S. economy and housing market continue to strengthen. Furthermore, we believe that in many Non-Agency RMBS vehicles there is a meaningful discrepancy between the value of the Non-Agency RMBS and the recovery value of the underlying collateral. We continue to pursue opportunities in structured transactions that enable us to realize this difference, particularly through the acquisition and execution of call rights. We control the call rights on Non-Agency deals with a total UPB of approximately $200.0 billion. Call rights become exercisable when the current principal balance of the underlying mortgage loans is generally equal to or lower than 10% of their original balance. We will exercise call rights when economical, which is impacted by the value of underlying performing loans as well as non-performing loan and real estate owned percentages and

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values. However, the timing, size and potential returns of future call transactions may be less attractive than our prior activity in this sector due to a number of factors, most of which are beyond our control.

The Non-Agency RMBS we may acquire could be secured by fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages or hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages. The mortgage loan collateral may be classified as “conforming” or “non-conforming,” depending on a variety of factors.

Real Estate Loans and Real Estate Owned

We believe there may be attractive opportunities to invest in portfolios of non-performing and other residential mortgage loans, along with foreclosed properties. In certain of these investments, we would expect to acquire the loans at a deep discount to their face amount, and we (either independently or with a servicing co-investor) would seek to resolve the loans at a substantially higher valuation. In other investments, we would expect to acquire the foreclosed property at a deep discount to its value, and we would seek to monetize the discount through property improvements and sales. We would seek to improve performance by transferring the servicing to Nationstar or another reputable servicer, which we believe could increase our returns. In addition, we may seek to employ leverage to increase returns, either through traditional financing lines or, if available, securitization options.

While a number of portfolios of non-performing residential loans have been sold since the financial crisis, we believe the volume of such sales may increase for a number of reasons. For example, with improved balance sheets, many large banks have more financial flexibility to recognize losses on non-performing assets. HUD, which acquires non-performing loans from Ginnie Mae securitizations, has been increasing the number of portfolio sales. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have also undertaken a number of portfolio sales. In addition, we believe that residential loan servicers—which have traditionally resorted to loan foreclosure procedures and subsequent property sales to maximize recoveries on non-performing loans—may increase sales of defaulted loans. To the extent any of these dynamics results in a meaningful volume of non-performing loan sales, we believe they may pose attractive investment opportunities for us.

Other Investments

We may pursue other types of investments as the market evolves, such as our opportunistic investment in consumer loans in April 2013. Our Manager makes decisions about our investments in accordance with broad investment guidelines adopted by our board of directors. Accordingly, we may, without a stockholder vote, change our target asset classes and acquire a variety of assets that may differ from, and are possibly riskier than, our current portfolio. For more information about our investment guidelines, see “—Investment Guidelines.”


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Our Portfolio

Our portfolio is currently composed of servicing related assets, residential securities and loans and other investments, as described in more detail in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Our Portfolio.” The following table summarizes our consolidated investment portfolio as of December 31, 2015 (dollars in thousands):
 
Outstanding
Face Amount
 
Amortized
Cost Basis
 
Percentage of
Total
Amortized
Cost Basis
 
Carrying Value
 
Weighted
Average Life
(years)(A)
Investments in:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Excess MSRs(B)
$
402,426,021

 
1,593,734

 
12.5
%
 
$
1,798,738

 
6.3

Servicer Advances(B)
7,578,110

 
7,400,068

 
58.4
%
 
7,426,794

 
4.4

Agency RMBS(C)
884,578

 
918,633

 
7.3
%
 
917,598

 
6.6

Non-Agency RMBS(C)
3,533,974

 
1,579,445

 
12.5
%
 
1,584,283

 
6.8

Residential Mortgage Loans
1,365,849

 
1,122,602

 
8.9
%
 
1,106,859

 
3.3

Real Estate Owned
N/A

 
50,574

 
0.4
%
 
50,574

 
N/A

Consumer Loans(B)
2,094,904

 
N/A

 
N/A

 

 
3.1

Total / Weighted Average
$
417,883,436

 
$
12,665,056

 
100.0
%
 
$
12,884,846

 
5.0

Reconciliation to GAAP total assets:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash and restricted cash
 
 
 
 
 
 
344,638

 
 
Derivative assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
2,689

 
 
Trade receivable
 
 
 
 
 
 
1,538,481

 
 
Deferred tax asset, net
 
 
 
 
 
 
185,311

 
 
Other assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
236,757

 
 
GAAP total assets
 
 
 
 
 
 
$
15,192,722

 
 
 
(A)
Weighted average life is based on the timing of our expected principal reduction on the asset.
(B)
The outstanding face amount of Excess MSRs, servicer advances, and consumer loans is based on 100% of the face amount of the underlying residential mortgage loans, currently outstanding advances, and consumer loans respectively.
(C)
Amortized cost basis is net of impairment.

Over time, we expect to opportunistically adjust our portfolio composition in response to market conditions.

Investment Guidelines

Our board of directors has adopted a broad set of investment guidelines to be used by our Manager to evaluate specific investments. Our general investment guidelines prohibit any investment that would cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT, and any investment that would cause us to be regulated as an investment company. These investment guidelines may be changed by our board of directors without the approval of our stockholders. If our board changes any of our investment guidelines, we will disclose such changes in our next required periodic report.

Financing Strategy

Our objective is to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our stockholders, which at times incorporates the use of leverage. To date, we have generally funded the acquisition of Excess MSRs on an unlevered basis; however, we may at times lever our Excess MSRs. The amount of leverage we deploy for a particular investment depends upon an assessment of a variety of factors, which may include the anticipated liquidity and price volatility of our assets; the gap between the duration of assets and liabilities, including hedges; the availability and cost of financing the assets; our opinion of the creditworthiness of financing counterparties; the health of the U.S. economy and the residential mortgage and housing markets; our outlook on interest rates; the credit quality of the loans underlying our investments; and our outlook for asset spreads relative to financing costs. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Debt Obligations” for further details about our debt obligations.


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Hedging Strategy

Subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT and exclusion from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”), we may, from time to time, utilize derivative financial instruments to hedge the interest rate risk associated with our borrowings. Under the U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to REITs, we generally will be able to enter into certain transactions to hedge indebtedness that we may incur, or plan to incur, to acquire or carry real estate assets, although our total gross income from interest rate hedges that do not meet this requirement and other non-qualifying sources generally must not exceed 5% of our gross income.

Subject to maintaining our qualification as a REIT and exclusion from registration under the 1940 Act, we may also engage in a variety of interest rate management techniques that seek on the one hand to mitigate the influence of interest rate changes on the values of some of our assets and on the other hand help us achieve our risk management objectives. The U.S. federal income tax rules applicable to REITs may require us to implement certain of these techniques through a domestic taxable REIT subsidiary (“TRS”) that is fully subject to U.S. federal corporate income taxation. Our interest rate management techniques may include:
 
interest rate swap agreements, interest rate cap agreements, exchange-traded derivatives and swaptions;
puts and calls on securities or indices of securities;
U.S. Treasury securities and options on U.S. Treasury securities;
TBAs; and
other similar transactions.

Subject to maintaining our REIT qualification, we may utilize hedging instruments, including interest rate swap agreements, interest rate cap agreements, interest rate floor or collar agreements or other financial instruments that we deem appropriate. Specifically, we may attempt to reduce interest rate risks and to minimize exposure to interest rate fluctuations through the use of match funded financing structures, when appropriate, whereby we may seek (1) to match the maturities of our debt obligations with the maturities of our assets and (2) to match the interest rates on our assets with like-kind debt (i.e., we may finance floating rate assets with floating rate debt and fixed-rate assets with fixed-rate debt), directly or through the use of interest rate swap agreements, interest rate cap agreements, or other financial instruments, or through a combination of these strategies. We expect these instruments will allow us to minimize, but not eliminate, the risk that we have to refinance our liabilities before the maturities of our assets and to reduce the impact of changing interest rates on our earnings and liquidity.

The Management Agreement

We entered into a Management Agreement with our Manager, an affiliate of Fortress, which was subsequently amended and restated on August 1, 2013, on August 5, 2014 and on May 7, 2015, pursuant to which our Manager provides for a management team and other professionals who are responsible for implementing our business strategy, subject to the supervision of our board of directors.  Our Manager is responsible for, among other things, (i) setting investment criteria in accordance with broad investment guidelines adopted by our board of directors, (ii) sourcing, analyzing and executing acquisitions, (iii) providing financial and accounting management services and (iv) performing other duties as specified in the Management Agreement.

We pay our Manager an annual management fee equal to 1.5% of our gross equity. Gross equity is generally the equity that was transferred to us by Newcastle on the distribution date, plus total net proceeds from stock offerings, plus certain capital contributions to subsidiaries, less capital distributions and repurchases of common stock.

Our Manager is entitled to receive annual incentive compensation in an amount equal to the product of (A) 25% of the dollar amount by which (1)(a) the funds from operations before the incentive compensation, excluding funds from operations from investments in the Consumer Loan Companies and any unrealized gains or losses from mark-to-market valuation changes on investments and debt (and any deferred tax impact thereof), per share of common stock, plus (b) earnings (or losses) from the Consumer Loan Companies computed on a level-yield basis (such that the loans are treated as if they qualified as loans acquired with a discount for credit quality as set forth in ASC No. 310-30, as such codification was in effect on June 30, 2013) as if the Consumer Loan Companies had been acquired at their GAAP basis on the distribution date, plus earnings (or losses) from equity method investees invested in Excess MSRs as if such equity method investees had not made a fair value election, plus gains (or losses) from debt restructuring and gains (or losses) from sales of property, and plus non-routine items, minus amortization of non-routine items, in each case per share of common stock, exceed (2) an amount equal to (a) the weighted average of the book value per share of the equity that was transferred to us by Newcastle on the distribution date and the prices per share of our common stock in any offerings by us (adjusted for prior capital dividends or capital distributions) multiplied by (b) a simple interest rate of 10% per annum, multiplied by (B) the weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding.


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“Funds from operations” means net income (computed in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”)), excluding gains (losses) from debt restructuring and gains (or losses) from sales of property, plus depreciation on real estate assets, and after adjustments for unconsolidated partnerships and joint ventures. Funds from operations is computed on an unconsolidated basis. The computation of funds from operations may be adjusted at the direction of our independent directors based on changes in, or certain applications of, GAAP. Funds from operations is determined from the date of our separation from Newcastle and without regard to Newcastle’s prior performance. Funds from operations does not represent and should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, net income, or as a substitute for, or superior to, cash flows from operating activities, each as determined in accordance with U.S. GAAP, and our calculation of this measure may not be comparable to similarly entitled measures reported by other companies.

The initial term of our Management Agreement expired on May 15, 2014, and the Management Agreement was and will be renewed automatically each year for an additional one-year period unless (i) a majority consisting of at least two-thirds of our independent directors or a simple majority of the holders of outstanding shares of our common stock, agree that there has been unsatisfactory performance that is materially detrimental to us or (ii) a simple majority of our independent directors agree that the management fee payable to our Manager is unfair; provided, that we shall not have the right to terminate our Management Agreement under clause (ii) foregoing if the Manager agrees to continue to provide the services under the Management Agreement at a fee that our independent directors have determined to be fair.

If we elect not to renew our Management Agreement at the expiration of any such one-year extension term as set forth above, our Manager will be provided with 60 days’ prior notice of any such termination. In the event of such termination, we would be required to pay the termination fee. The termination fee is a fee equal to the sum of (1) the amount of the management fee during the 12 months immediately preceding the date of termination, and (2) the “Incentive Compensation Fair Value Amount.” The Incentive Compensation Fair Value Amount is an amount equal to the incentive compensation that would be paid to the Manager if our assets were sold for cash at their then current fair market value (as determined by an appraisal, taking into account, among other things, the expected future value of the underlying investments).

Fortress, through its affiliates, and principals of Fortress held 2.4 million shares of our common stock, and Fortress, through its affiliates, held options relating to an additional 10.9 million shares of our common stock, representing approximately 5.5% of our common stock on a fully diluted basis, as of December 31, 2015.

Policies with Respect to Certain Other Activities

Subject to the approval of our board of directors, we have the authority to offer our common stock or other equity or debt securities in exchange for property and to repurchase or otherwise reacquire our shares or any other securities and may engage in such activities in the future.

We also may make loans to, or provide guarantees of certain obligations of, our subsidiaries.

Subject to the percentage ownership and gross income and asset tests necessary for REIT qualification, we may invest in securities of other REITs, other entities engaged in real estate activities or securities of other issuers, including for the purpose of exercising control over such entities.

We may engage in the purchase and sale of investments.

Our officers and directors may change any of these policies and our investment guidelines without a vote of our stockholders.
In the event that we determine to raise additional equity capital, our board of directors has the authority, without stockholder approval (subject to certain NYSE requirements), to issue additional common stock or preferred stock in any manner and on such terms and for such consideration it deems appropriate, including in exchange for property.

Decisions regarding the form and other characteristics of the financing for our investments are made by our Manager subject to the general investment guidelines adopted by our board of directors.

Conflicts of Interest

Although we have established certain policies and procedures designed to mitigate conflicts of interest, there can be no assurance that these policies and procedures will be effective in doing so. It is possible that actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest could give rise to investor dissatisfaction, litigation or regulatory enforcement actions.


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One or more of our officers and directors have responsibilities and commitments to entities other than us, including, but not limited to, Newcastle, Nationstar (the servicer for a significant portion of our loans, and the loans underlying our Excess MSRs, servicer advances, and Non-Agency RMBS), and OneMain (the servicer for the consumer loans in which we have invested). For example, we have some of the same directors and officers as Newcastle, Nationstar and OneMain Holdings, Inc. (formerly known as Springleaf Holdings, Inc.) (together with its subsidiaries, including SpringCastle Acquisition LLC, “OneMain”). In addition, we do not have a policy that expressly prohibits our directors, officers, securityholders or affiliates from engaging for their own account in business activities of the types conducted by us. Moreover, our certificate of incorporation provides that if Newcastle or Fortress or any of their officers, directors or employees acquire knowledge of a potential transaction that could be a corporate opportunity, they have no duty, to the fullest extent permitted by law, to offer such corporate opportunity to us, our stockholders or our affiliates. In the event that any of our directors and officers who is also a director, officer or employee of Newcastle or Fortress acquires knowledge of a corporate opportunity or is offered a corporate opportunity, provided that this knowledge was not acquired solely in such person’s capacity as a director or officer of New Residential and such person acts in good faith, then to the fullest extent permitted by law such person is deemed to have fully satisfied such person’s fiduciary duties owed to us and is not liable to us if Newcastle or Fortress, or their affiliates, pursues or acquires the corporate opportunity or if such person did not present the corporate opportunity to us. However, subject to the terms of our certificate of incorporation, our code of business conduct and ethics prohibits the directors, officers and employees of our Manager from engaging in any transaction that involves an actual conflict of interest with us. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Manager—There are conflicts of interest in our relationship with our Manager.”

Our key agreements, including our Management Agreement, were negotiated among related parties, and their respective terms, including fees and other amounts payable, may not be as favorable to us as terms negotiated with unaffiliated parties. Our independent directors may not vigorously enforce the provisions of our Management Agreement against our Manager. For example, our independent directors may refrain from terminating our Manager because doing so could result in the loss of key personnel. The structure of the Manager’s compensation arrangement may have unintended consequences for us. We have agreed to pay our Manager a management fee that is not tied to our performance and incentive compensation that is based entirely on our performance. The management fee may not sufficiently incentivize our Manager to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for us, while the performance-based incentive compensation component may cause our Manager to place undue emphasis on the maximization of earnings, including through the use of leverage, at the expense of other objectives, such as preservation of capital, to achieve higher incentive distributions. Investments with higher yield potential are generally riskier or more speculative than investments with lower yield potential. This could result in increased risk to the value of our portfolio of assets and a stockholder’s investment in us.

We may compete with entities affiliated with our Manager or Fortress, including Newcastle, for certain target assets. From time to time, affiliates of Fortress may focus on investments in assets with a similar profile as our target assets that we may seek to acquire. These affiliates may have meaningful purchasing capacity, which may change over time depending upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, available equity capital and debt financing, market conditions and cash on hand. As of December 31, 2015, Fortress had two funds primarily focused on investing in Excess MSRs with approximately $0.7 billion in capital commitments in aggregate. We have co-invested with these funds in Excess MSRs and may do so with similar Fortress funds in the future. Fortress funds generally have a fee structure similar to ours, but the fees actually paid will vary depending on the size, terms and performance of each fund.

Our Manager may determine, in its discretion, to make a particular investment through an investment vehicle other than us. Investment allocation decisions will reflect a variety of factors, such as a particular vehicle’s availability of capital (including financing), investment objectives and concentration limits, legal, regulatory, tax and other similar considerations, the source of the investment opportunity and other factors that the Manager, in its discretion, deems appropriate. Our Manager does not have an obligation to offer us the opportunity to participate in any particular investment, even if it meets our investment objectives.

Operational and Regulatory Structure

REIT Qualification

We have elected and intend to qualify to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Our qualification as a REIT will depend upon our ability to meet, on a continuing basis, various complex requirements under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (the “Internal Revenue Code”), relating to, among other things, the sources of our gross income, the composition and values of our assets, our distribution levels to our stockholders and the concentration of ownership of our capital stock. We believe that, commencing with our initial taxable year ended December 31, 2013, we have been organized in conformity with the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, and that our manner of operation will enable us to meet the requirements for qualification and taxation as a REIT.


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1940 Act Exclusion

We intend to continue to conduct our operations so that neither we nor any of our subsidiaries are required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act. Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act defines an investment company as any issuer that is or holds itself out as being engaged primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act defines an investment company as any issuer that is engaged or proposes to engage in the business of investing, reinvesting, owning, holding or trading in securities and owns or proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of the issuer’s total assets (exclusive of U.S. Government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis (the “40% test”). Excluded from the term “investment securities,” among other things, are U.S. Government securities and securities issued by majority owned subsidiaries that are not themselves investment companies and are not relying on the exclusion from the definition of investment company for private funds set forth in Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act.

We are organized as a holding company that conducts its businesses primarily through wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries. We intend to continue to conduct our operations so that we do not come within the definition of an investment company because less than 40% of the value of our adjusted total assets on an unconsolidated basis will consist of “investment securities” in compliance with the 40% test under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act. The value of securities issued by any wholly owned or majority owned subsidiaries that we may form in the future that are excluded from the definition of “investment company” based on Section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, together with any other investment securities we may own, may not exceed the 40% test under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act. For purposes of the foregoing, we currently treat our interests in our SLS-serviced servicer advances and our subsidiaries that hold consumer loans as investment securities because these subsidiaries presently rely on the exclusion provided by Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act. We will monitor our holdings to ensure continuing and ongoing compliance with the 40% test under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act. In addition, we believe we will not be considered an investment company under Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act because we will not engage primarily or hold ourselves out as being engaged primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Rather, through our wholly owned subsidiaries, we will be primarily engaged in the non-investment company businesses of these subsidiaries.

If the value of securities issued by our subsidiaries that are excluded from the definition of “investment company” by Section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, together with any other investment securities we own, exceeds the 40% test under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act (e.g., the value of our interests in the taxable REIT subsidiaries that hold servicer advances increases significantly in proportion to the value of our other assets), or if one or more of such subsidiaries fail to maintain an exclusion or exception from the 1940 Act, we could, among other things, be required either (a) to substantially change the manner in which we conduct our operations to avoid being required to register as an investment company or (b) to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act, either of which could have an adverse effect on us and the market price of our securities. As discussed above, for purposes of the foregoing, we currently treat our SLS-serviced servicer advances and our subsidiaries that hold consumer loans as investment securities because these subsidiaries presently rely on the exclusion provided by Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act. If we were required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act, we could, among other things, be required either to (a) change the manner in which we conduct our operations to avoid being required to register as an investment company, (b) effect sales of our assets in a manner that, or at a time when, we would not otherwise choose to do so, or (c) register as an investment company, any of which could negatively affect the value of our common stock, the sustainability of our business model, and our ability to make distributions.

For purposes of the foregoing, we treat our interests in certain of our wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries, which constitutes more than 60% of the value of our adjusted total assets on an unconsolidated basis, as non-investment securities because such subsidiaries qualify for exclusion from the definition of an investment company under the 1940 Act pursuant to Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act (the “Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion”). The Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion is available for entities “primarily engaged” in the business of “purchasing or otherwise acquiring mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate.” The Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion generally requires that at least 55% of these subsidiaries’ assets comprise qualifying real estate assets and at least 80% of each of their portfolios must comprise qualifying real estate assets and real estate-related assets under the 1940 Act. Maintenance of our exclusion under the 1940 Act generally limits the amount of our Section 3(c)(5)(C) subsidiaries’ investments in non-real estate assets to no more than 20% of our total assets.

In satisfying the 55% requirement under the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion, based on guidance from the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and its staff, we treat Agency RMBS issued with respect to an underlying pool of mortgage loans in which we hold all of the certificates issued by the pool as qualifying real estate assets. The SEC and its staff have not published guidance with respect to the treatment of whole pool Non-Agency RMBS for purposes of the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion. Accordingly, based on our own judgment and analysis of the guidance from the SEC and its staff identifying Agency whole pool certificates as qualifying real estate assets under Section 3(c)(5)(C), we treat whole pool Non-Agency RMBS issued with respect to an underlying pool of mortgage loans in which our subsidiary relying on Section 3(c)(5)(C) holds all of the certificates issued by the pool as qualifying real estate assets. We also treat whole mortgage loans that each of our subsidiaries relying on Section 3(c)(5)(C) may

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acquire directly as qualifying real estate assets provided that 100% of the loan is secured by real estate when such subsidiary acquires the loan and the subsidiary has the unilateral right to foreclose on the mortgage.

Based on our own judgment and analysis of the guidance from the SEC and its staff with respect to analogous assets, we treat Excess MSRs as real estate-related assets for purposes of satisfying the 80% test under the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion. We treat investments in Agency partial pool RMBS and Non-Agency partial pool RMBS as real estate-related assets for purposes of satisfying the 80% test under the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion.

We expect each of our subsidiaries relying on Section 3(c)(5)(C) to rely on guidance published by the SEC staff or on our analyses of guidance published with respect to other types of assets to determine which assets are qualifying real estate assets and real estate-related assets. The SEC may in the future take a view different than or contrary to our analysis with respect to the types of assets we have determined to be qualifying real estate assets or real estate-related assets. To the extent that the SEC staff publishes new or different guidance with respect to these matters, or disagrees with our analysis, we may be required to adjust our strategy accordingly. In addition, we may be limited in our ability to make certain investments and these limitations could result in the subsidiary holding assets we might wish to sell or selling assets we might wish to hold.

In August 2011, the SEC issued a concept release soliciting public comments on a wide range of issues relating to companies, which are typically REITs, engaged in the business of acquiring mortgages and mortgage-related instruments and that rely on Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act, including the nature of the assets that qualify for purposes of the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion and whether such REITs should be regulated in a manner similar to investment companies. Therefore, there can be no assurance that the laws and regulations governing the 1940 Act status of REITs, or guidance from the SEC or its staff regarding the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion, will not change in a manner that adversely affects our operations. If we or our subsidiaries fail to maintain an exclusion or exception from the 1940 Act, we could, among other things, be required either to (a) change the manner in which we conduct our operations to avoid being required to register as an investment company, (b) effect sales of our assets in a manner that, or at a time when, we would not otherwise choose to do so, or (c) register as an investment company, any of which could negatively affect the value of our common stock, the sustainability of our business model, and our ability to make distributions.

Although we monitor our portfolio periodically and prior to each investment origination or acquisition, there can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion from the definition of an investment company under the 1940 Act for these subsidiaries.

To the extent that the SEC staff provides more specific guidance regarding any of the matters bearing upon the exclusions or exceptions we and our subsidiaries rely on from the 1940 Act, we may be required to adjust our strategy accordingly. Any additional guidance from the SEC staff could provide additional flexibility to us, or it could further inhibit our ability to pursue the strategies we have chosen.

Qualification for an exclusion from registration under the 1940 Act will limit our ability to make certain investments. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Maintenance of our 1940 Act exclusion imposes limits on our operations.”

Competition

Our success depends, in large part, on our ability to acquire target assets on terms consistent with our business and economic model. In acquiring these assets, we expect to compete with banks, REITs, independent mortgage loan servicers, private equity firms, hedge funds and other large financial services companies. Many of our anticipated competitors are significantly larger than we are, have access to greater capital and other resources and may have other advantages over us. In addition, some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could lead them to offer higher prices for assets that we might be interested in acquiring and cause us to lose bids for those assets. In addition, other potential purchasers of our target assets may be more attractive to sellers of such assets if the sellers believe that these potential purchasers could obtain any necessary third party approvals and consents more easily than us.

In the face of this competition, we expect to take advantage of the experience of members of our management team and their industry expertise which may provide us with a competitive advantage and help us assess potential risks and determine appropriate pricing for certain potential acquisitions of our target assets. In addition, we expect that these relationships will enable us to compete more effectively for attractive acquisition opportunities. However, we may not be able to achieve our business goals or expectations due to the competitive risks that we face.


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Employees

We are managed by our Manager pursuant to the Management Agreement between our Manager and us. All of our officers are employees of our Manager or an affiliate of our Manager. We do not have any employees.

Legal Proceedings

For a discussion of our legal proceedings, see Part I, Item 3, “Legal Proceedings” in this report.

Corporate Governance and Internet Address; Where Readers Can Find Additional Information

We emphasize the importance of professional business conduct and ethics through our corporate governance initiatives. Our board of directors consists of a majority of independent directors; the Audit, Nominating and Corporate Governance, and Compensation committees of our board of directors are composed exclusively of independent directors. We have adopted corporate governance guidelines, and our Manager has adopted a code of business conduct and ethics, which delineate our standards for our officers and directors, and employees of our Manager.

New Residential files annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information required by the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the ‘‘Exchange Act’’), with the SEC. Readers may read and copy any document that New Residential files at the SEC’s Public Reference Room located at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549, U.S.A. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the Public Reference Room. Our SEC filings are also available to the public from the SEC’s internet site at http://www.sec.gov. Copies of these reports, proxy statements and other information can also be inspected at the offices of the New York Stock Exchange, Inc., 20 Broad Street, New York, New York 10005, U.S.A.

Our internet site is http://www.newresi.com. We make available free of charge through our internet site our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and Forms 3, 4 and 5 filed on behalf of directors and executive officers and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Also posted on our website in the ‘‘Investor Relations—Corporate Governance” section are charters for the company’s Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee as well as our Corporate Governance Guidelines and our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics governing our directors, officers and employees. Information on, or accessible through, our website is not a part of, and is not incorporated into, this report.

Item 1A. Risk Factors

Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully read and consider the following risk factors and all other information contained in this report. If any of the following risks, as well as additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial, occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. The risk factors summarized below are categorized as follows: (i) Risks Related to Our Business, (ii) Risks Related to Our Manager, (iii) Risks Related to the Financial Markets, (iv) Risks Related to Our Taxation as a REIT, (v) Risks Related to Our Common Stock and (vi) Risks Related to the HLSS Acquisition. However, these categories do overlap and should not be considered exclusive.

Risks Related to Our Business

We may not be able to successfully operate our business strategy or generate sufficient revenue to make or sustain distributions to our stockholders. Any financial information included in this report for periods prior to our spin-off in May 2013 may not be indicative of the results we would have achieved as a separate stand-alone company and are not a reliable indicator of our future performance or results.

We cannot assure you that we will be able to successfully operate our business or implement our operating policies and strategies. There can be no assurance that we will be able to generate sufficient returns to pay our operating expenses and make satisfactory distributions to our stockholders, or any distributions at all. Our results of operations and our ability to make or sustain distributions to our stockholders depend on several factors, including the availability of opportunities to acquire attractive assets, the level and volatility of interest rates, the availability of adequate short- and long-term financing, conditions in the real estate market, the financial markets and economic conditions.

Any financial information included in this report for periods prior to our spin-off in May 2013 has been derived from Newcastle’s historical financial statements for the periods prior to the spin-off. Therefore, any financial information in this report for the periods

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prior to the spin-off does not necessarily reflect what our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows would have been had we been a separate, stand-alone public company prior to our separation from Newcastle. This is primarily a result of the following factors:
 
Any financial information in this report for the periods prior to the spin-off does not reflect all of the expenses we incur as a public company;
The working capital requirements and capital for general corporate purposes for our assets were satisfied prior to the spin-off as part of Newcastle’s corporate-wide cash management policies. Following the spin-off, Newcastle does not provide us with funds to finance our working capital or other cash requirements, so we are required to satisfy our liquidity needs by obtaining financing from banks, through public offerings or private placements of debt or equity securities, strategic relationships or other arrangements; and
Our cost structure, management, financing and business operations following the spin-off are significantly different as a result of operating as an independent public company. These changes result in increased costs, including, but not limited to, fees paid to our Manager, legal, accounting, compliance and other costs associated with being a public company with equity securities traded on the NYSE.

The value of our investments in Excess MSRs and servicer advances is based on various assumptions that could prove to be incorrect and could have a negative impact on our financial results.

When we invest in Excess MSRs and servicer advances, we base the price we pay and the rate of amortization of those assets on, among other things, our projection of the cash flows from the related pool of mortgage loans. We record Excess MSRs and servicer advances on our balance sheet at fair value, and we measure their fair value on a recurring basis. Our projections of the cash flow from Excess MSRs and servicer advances, and the determination of the fair value of Excess MSRs and servicer advances, are based on assumptions about various factors, including, but not limited to:
 
rates of prepayment and repayment of the underlying mortgage loans;
interest rates;
rates of delinquencies and defaults; and
recapture rates (in the case of Excess MSRs only) and the amount and timing of servicer advances and recoveries (in the case of servicer advances only).

Our assumptions could differ materially from actual results. The use of different estimates or assumptions in connection with the valuation of these assets could produce materially different fair values for such assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position, results of operations and cash flows. The ultimate realization of the value of our Excess MSRs and servicer advances may be materially different than the fair values of such assets as reflected in our consolidated statement of financial position as of any particular date.

When mortgage loans underlying our Excess MSRs are prepaid as a result of a refinancing or otherwise, the related cash flows payable to us cease (unless the loans are recaptured by the related servicer upon a refinancing). Borrowers under residential mortgage loans are generally permitted to prepay their loans at any time without penalty. Our expectation of prepayment speeds is a significant assumption underlying our cash flow projections. Prepayment speed is the measurement of how quickly borrowers pay down the UPB of their loans or how quickly loans are otherwise brought current, modified, liquidated or charged off. If the fair value of our Excess MSRs decreases, we would be required to record a non-cash charge, which would have a negative impact on our financial results. Furthermore, a significant increase in prepayment speeds could materially reduce the ultimate cash flows we receive from Excess MSRs, and we could ultimately receive substantially less than what we paid for such assets. Consequently, the price we pay to acquire Excess MSRs may prove to be too high.

The values of Excess MSRs and our servicer advances are highly sensitive to changes in interest rates. Historically, the value of MSRs, which underpin the value of our Excess MSRs and servicer advances, has increased when interest rates rise and decreased when interest rates decline due to the effect of changes in interest rates on prepayment speeds. However, prepayment speeds could increase in spite of the current interest rate environment, as a result of a general economic recovery or other factors, which would reduce the value of our interests in MSRs.

Moreover, delinquency rates have a significant impact on the value of Excess MSRs. When delinquent loans are resolved through foreclosure (or repurchased by the GSEs), the UPB of such loans cease to be a part of the aggregate UPB of the serviced loan pool when the related properties are foreclosed on and liquidated and the related cash flows payable to us, as the holder of the Excess MSR or basic fee, cease. An increase in delinquencies will generally result in lower revenue because typically we will only collect on our Excess MSRs from GSEs or mortgage owners for performing loans. An increase in delinquencies with respect to the loans underlying our servicer advances could also result in a higher advance balance and the need to obtain additional financing, which

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we may not be able to do on favorable terms or at all. In addition, delinquencies on the loans underlying our servicer advances give rise to accrued but unpaid servicing fees, or “deferred servicing fees,” which we have agreed to purchase in connection with our purchase of servicer advances, and deferred servicing fees generally cannot be financed on terms as favorable as the terms available to other types of servicer advances. If delinquencies are significantly greater than expected, the estimated fair value of the Excess MSRs and servicer advances could be diminished. As a result, we could suffer a loss, which would have a negative impact on our financial results.

We are party to “recapture agreements” whereby we receive a new Excess MSR with respect to a loan that was originated by the servicer and used to repay a loan underlying an Excess MSR that we previously acquired from that same servicer. In lieu of receiving an Excess MSR with respect to the loan used to repay a prior loan, the servicer may supply a similar Excess MSR. We believe that recapture agreements will mitigate the impact on our returns in the event of a rise in voluntary prepayment rates. There are no assurances, however, that servicers will enter into recapture agreements with us in connection with any future investment in Excess MSRs.

If the servicer does not meet anticipated recapture targets, the servicing cash flow on a given pool could be significantly lower than projected, which could have a material adverse effect on the value of our Excess MSRs and consequently on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Our recapture target for our current recapture agreements is stated in the table in Note 12 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein. In our investment in servicer advances, we are not entitled to the cash flows from recaptured loans.

Servicer advances may not be recoverable or may take longer to recover than we expect, which could cause us to fail to achieve our targeted return on our investment in servicer advances.

We have agreed (in the case of Nationstar, together with certain third-party investors) to purchase from certain of our servicers all servicer advances related to certain loan pools, as a result of which we are entitled to amounts representing repayment for such advances. During any period in which a borrower is not making payments, a servicer is generally required under the applicable servicing agreement to advance its own funds to cover the principal and interest remittances due to investors in the loans, pay property taxes and insurance premiums to third parties, and to make payments for legal expenses and other protective advances. The servicer also advances funds to maintain, repair and market real estate properties on behalf of investors in the loans.

Repayment for servicer advances and payment of deferred servicing fees are generally made from late payments and other collections and recoveries on the related mortgage loan (including liquidation, insurance and condemnation proceeds) or, if the related servicing agreement provided for a “general collections backstop”, from collections on other mortgage loans to which such servicing agreement relates. The rate and timing of payments on the servicer advances and the deferred servicing fees, are unpredictable for several reasons, including the following:
 
payments on the servicer advances and the deferred servicing fees depend on the source of repayment, and whether and when the related servicer receives such payment (certain servicer advances are reimbursable only out of late payments and other collections and recoveries on the related mortgage loan, while others are also reimbursable out of principal and interest collections with respect to all mortgage loans serviced under the related servicing agreement, and as a consequence, the timing of such reimbursement is highly uncertain);
the length of time necessary to obtain liquidation proceeds may be affected by conditions in the real estate market or the financial markets generally, the availability of financing for the acquisition of the real estate and other factors, including, but not limited to, government intervention;
the length of time necessary to effect a foreclosure may be affected by variations in the laws of the particular jurisdiction in which the related mortgaged property is located, including whether or not foreclosure requires judicial action;
the requirements for judicial actions for foreclosure (which can result in substantial delays in reimbursement of servicer advances and payment of deferred servicing fees), which vary from time to time as a result of changes in applicable state law; and
the ability of the related servicer to sell delinquent mortgage loans to third parties prior to liquidation, resulting in the early reimbursement of outstanding unreimbursed servicer advances in respect of such mortgage loans.

As home values change, the servicer may have to reconsider certain of the assumptions underlying its decisions to make advances. In certain situations, its contractual obligations may require the servicer to make certain advances for which it may not be reimbursed. In addition, when a mortgage loan defaults or becomes delinquent, the repayment of the advance may be delayed until the mortgage loan is repaid or refinanced, or a liquidation occurs. To the extent that one of our servicers fails to recover the servicer advances in which we have invested, or takes longer than we expect to recover such advances, the value of our investment could be adversely affected and we could fail to achieve our expected return and suffer losses.


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Servicing agreements related to residential mortgage securitization transactions generally require a residential mortgage servicer to make servicer advances in respect of serviced mortgage loans unless the servicer determines in good faith that the servicer advance would not be ultimately recoverable from the proceeds of the related mortgage loan, mortgaged property or mortgagor. In many cases, if the servicer determines that a servicer advance previously made would not be recoverable from these sources, the servicer is entitled to withdraw funds from the related custodial account in respect of payments on the related pool of serviced mortgages to reimburse the related servicer advance. This is what is often referred to as a “general collections backstop.” The timing of when a servicer may utilize a general collections backstop can vary (some contracts require actual liquidation of the related loan first, while others do not), and contracts vary in terms of the types of servicer advances for which reimbursement from a general collections backstop is available. Accordingly, a servicer may not ultimately be reimbursed if both (i) the payments from related loan, property or mortgagor payments are insufficient for reimbursement, and (ii) a general collections backstop is not available or is insufficient. Also, if a servicer improperly makes a servicer advance, it would not be entitled to reimbursement. Historically, according to information made available to us, Nationstar and Ocwen Financial Corporation (together with its subsidiaries, “Ocwen”) have each recovered more than 99% of the advances that they have made. While we do not expect recovery rates to vary materially during the term of our investments, there can be no assurance regarding future recovery rates related to our portfolio.

We rely heavily on mortgage servicers to achieve our investment objective and have no direct ability to influence their performance.

The value of our investments in Excess MSRs, servicer advances, Non-Agency RMBS and residential mortgage loans is dependent on the satisfactory performance of servicing obligations by the related mortgage servicer. The duties and obligations of mortgage servicers are defined through contractual agreements, generally referred to as Servicing Guides in the case of GSEs, or Pooling and Servicing Agreements in the case of private-label securities (collectively, the “Servicing Guidelines”). Our investment in Excess MSRs is subject to all of the terms and conditions of the applicable Servicing Guidelines. Servicing Guidelines generally provide for the possibility of termination of the contractual rights of the servicer in the absolute discretion of the owner of the mortgages being serviced (or a majority of the bondholders of a residential mortgage backed securitization). Under the GSE Servicing Guidelines, the servicer may be terminated by the applicable GSE for any reason, “with” or “without” cause, for all or any portion of the loans being serviced for such GSE. In the event mortgage owners (or bondholders) terminate the servicer, the related Excess MSRs and basic fees would under most circumstances lose all value on a going forward basis. If the servicer is terminated as servicer for any Agency pools, the related Excess MSRs will be extinguished and our investment in such Excess MSRs will likely lose all of its value. Any recovery in such circumstances will be highly conditioned and will require, among other things, a new servicer willing to pay for the right to service the applicable mortgage loans while assuming responsibility for the origination and prior servicing of the mortgage loans. In addition, any payment received from a successor servicer will be applied first to pay the GSE for all of its claims and costs, including claims and costs against the servicer that do not relate to the mortgage loans for which we own the Excess MSRs. A termination could also result in an event of default under our financings for servicer advances. It is expected that any termination of a servicer by mortgage owners (or bondholders) would take effect across all mortgages of such mortgage owners (or bondholders) and would not be limited to a particular vintage or other subset of mortgages. Therefore, it is expected that all investments with a given servicer would lose all their value in the event mortgage owners (or bondholders) terminate such servicer. Nationstar and Ocwen are the servicers of most of the loans underlying our investments in Excess MSRs and servicer advances, and Nationstar and Ocwen are the servicer or master servicer of the vast majority of the loans underlying our Non-Agency RMBS to date. See “—We have significant counterparty concentration risk in Nationstar, Ocwen and OneMain, and are subject to other counterparty concentration and default risks.” As a result, we could be materially and adversely affected if Nationstar, Ocwen or any other servicer of the loans underlying our investments is unable to adequately carry out its duties as a result of:
 
its failure to comply with applicable laws and regulation;
a downgrade in its servicer rating;
its failure to maintain sufficient liquidity or access to sources of liquidity;
its failure to perform its loss mitigation obligations;
its failure to perform adequately in its external audits;
a failure in or poor performance of its operational systems or infrastructure;
regulatory or legal scrutiny regarding any aspect of a servicer’s operations, including, but not limited to, servicing practices and foreclosure processes lengthening foreclosure timelines;
a GSE’s or a whole-loan owner’s transfer of servicing to another party; or
any other reason.

Nationstar is subject to numerous legal proceedings, federal, state or local governmental examinations, investigations or enforcement actions in the ordinary course of business, which could adversely affect its reputation and its liquidity, financial position and results of operations. For example, on March 5, 2014, Nationstar received a letter from Benjamin Lawsky,

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Superintendent of the New York Department of Financial Services (“NY DFS”), in connection with Nationstar’s recent growth, certain operational issues, and certain alleged recent complaints from certain New York consumers. Other servicers, including Ocwen, have experienced heightened regulatory scrutiny, and Nationstar could be adversely affected by the market’s perception that Nationstar could experience similar regulatory issues. See “—Ocwen has been and is subject to certain federal and state regulatory matters” for more information on heightened regulatory scrutiny of Ocwen.

Loss mitigation techniques are intended to reduce the probability that borrowers will default on their loans and to minimize losses when defaults occur, and they may include the modification of mortgage loan rates, principal balances and maturities. If any of our servicers or subservicers fails to adequately perform its loss mitigation obligations, we could be required to purchase servicer advances in excess of those that we might otherwise have had to purchase, and the time period for collecting servicer advances may extend. Any increase in servicer advances or material increase in the time to resolution of a defaulted loan could result in increased capital requirements and financing costs for us and our co-investors and could adversely affect our liquidity and net income. In the event that one of our servicers from which we are obligated to purchase servicer advances is required by the applicable Servicing Guidelines to make advances in excess of amounts that we or, in the case of Nationstar, the co-investors, are willing or able to fund, such servicer may not be able to fund these advance requests, which could result in a termination event under the applicable Servicing Guidelines, an event of default under our advance facilities and a breach of our purchase agreement with such servicer. As a result, we could experience a partial or total loss of the value of our investment in servicer advances.

MSRs and servicer advances are subject to numerous federal, state and local laws and regulations and may be subject to various judicial and administrative decisions. If the servicer actually or allegedly failed to comply with applicable laws, rules or regulations, it could be terminated as the servicer, and could lead to civil and criminal liability, loss of licensing, damage to our reputation and litigation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. In addition, servicer advances that are improperly made may not be eligible for financing under our facilities and may not be reimbursable by the related securitization trust or other owner of the mortgage loan, which could cause us to suffer losses.

Favorable ratings from third-party rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”), Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) and Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) are important to the conduct of a mortgage servicer’s loan servicing business, and a downgrade in a mortgage servicer’s ratings could have an adverse effect on the value of our Excess MSRs and servicer advances, and result in an event of default under our financing for advances. Downgrades in a mortgage servicer’s servicer ratings could adversely affect their and our ability to finance servicer advances and maintain their status as an approved servicer by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Downgrades in servicer ratings could also lead to the early termination of existing advance facilities and affect the terms and availability of match funded advance facilities that a mortgage servicer or we may seek in the future. A mortgage servicer’s failure to maintain favorable or specified ratings may cause their termination as a servicer and may impair their ability to consummate future servicing transactions, which could result in an event of default under our financing for servicer advances and have an adverse effect on the value of our investments since we will rely heavily on mortgage servicers to achieve our investment objective and have no direct ability to influence their performance.

In addition, a bankruptcy by any mortgage servicer that services the mortgage loans underlying our Excess MSRs and servicer advances could materially and adversely affect us. See “—A bankruptcy of any of our mortgage servicers could materially and adversely affect us.”

For additional information about the ways in which we may be affected by mortgage servicers, see “—The value of our Excess MSRs, servicer advances and RMBS may be adversely affected by deficiencies in servicing and foreclosure practices, as well as related delays in the foreclosure process.”

Ocwen has been and is subject to certain federal and state regulatory matters.

Ocwen has publicly announced that, on December 19, 2013, Ocwen reached an agreement, which was approved by consent judgment by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on February 26, 2014, involving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, various state attorneys general and other agencies that regulate the mortgage servicing industry. According to Ocwen’s disclosure, the key elements of the settlement are as follows:

A commitment by Ocwen to service loans in accordance with specified servicing guidelines and to be subject to oversight by an independent national monitor for three years;
A payment of $127.3 million to a consumer relief fund to be disbursed by an independent administrator to eligible borrowers. In May 2014, Ocwen satisfied this obligation with regard to the consumer relief fund, $60.4 million of which is the responsibility of former owners of certain servicing portfolios acquired by Ocwen, pursuant to indemnification and loss sharing provisions in the applicable agreements; and

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A commitment by Ocwen to continue its principal forgiveness modification programs to delinquent and underwater borrowers, including underwater borrowers at imminent risk of default, in an aggregate amount of at least $2.0 billion over three years from the date of the consent order.  Ocwen will only receive credit towards its $2.0 billion commitment for principal reductions that satisfy various criteria set forth in the settlement.  If Ocwen fails to fulfill its $2.0 billion commitment before the deadline, Ocwen will be required to pay a cash penalty in an amount equal to the unmet commitment amount, unless the parties to the settlement negotiate an extension or other modification of the terms of the commitment.
 
On December 22, 2014, Ocwen announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with the NY DFS related to investigations into Ocwen’s mortgage servicing practices in New York. According to Ocwen’s disclosure, the key elements of the settlement are as follows:

Payment of $100 million to the NY DFS to be used by the State of New York for housing, foreclosure relief and community redevelopment programs;
Payment of $50 million as restitution to certain New York borrowers;
Installation of a NY DFS Operations Monitor to monitor and assess the adequacy and effectiveness of Ocwen’s operations for a period of two years, which may be extended another twelve months at the option of the NY DFS;
Requirements that Ocwen will not share any common officers or employees with any related party and will not share risk, internal audit or vendor oversight functions with any related party;
Requirements that certain Ocwen employees, officers and directors be recused from negotiating or voting to approve certain transactions with a related party;
Resignation of Ocwen’s Chairman of the Board from the Board of Directors of Ocwen and at related companies, including HLSS; and
Restrictions on Ocwen’s ability to acquire new MSRs.

On January 23, 2015, Ocwen announced that it had reached a settlement with the California Department of Business Oversight (the “CA DBO”) in relation to an administrative action dated October 3, 2014 in California. According to Ocwen’s disclosure, the key elements of the settlement are as follows:

Payment of $2.5 million;
Engagement of an independent auditor to assess Ocwen’s compliance with laws and regulations impacting California’ borrowers for a period of at least two years; and
Prevention of Ocwen from acquiring additional MSRs for loans secured in the State of California until the CA DBO is satisfied that Ocwen can satisfactorily respond to the requests for information and documentation made in the course of a regulatory exam.

Regulatory action against Ocwen could increase our financing costs or operating expenses, reduce our revenues or otherwise materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity. Ocwen may be subject to additional federal and state regulatory matters in the future that could materially and adversely affect the value of our investments because we rely heavily on Ocwen to achieve our investment objectives and have no direct ability to influence its performance.

We have significant counterparty concentration risk in Nationstar, Ocwen and OneMain, and are subject to other counterparty concentration and default risks.

We are not restricted from dealing with any particular counterparty or from concentrating any or all of our transactions with a few counterparties. Any loss suffered by us as a result of a counterparty defaulting, refusing to conduct business with us or imposing more onerous terms on us would also negatively affect our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.

A majority of our co-investments in Excess MSRs and servicer advances related to loans serviced by Nationstar or Ocwen. If Nationstar or Ocwen is terminated as the servicer of some or all of these portfolios, or in the event that it files for bankruptcy, our expected returns on these investments would be severely impacted. In addition, a large portion of the loans underlying our Non-Agency RMBS are serviced by Nationstar or Ocwen. We closely monitor Nationstar’s and Ocwen’s mortgage servicing performance and overall operating performance, financial condition and liquidity, as well as its compliance with regulations and Servicing Guidelines. We have various information, access and inspection rights in our agreements with Nationstar and Ocwen that enable us to monitor their financial and operating performance and credit quality, which we periodically evaluate and discuss with Nationstar’s management. However, we have no direct ability to influence our servicers’ performance, and our diligence cannot prevent, and may not even help us anticipate, the termination of any such servicers’ servicing agreement.


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Furthermore, Nationstar and Ocwen are subject to numerous legal proceedings, federal, state or local governmental examinations, investigations or enforcement actions, which could adversely affect its reputation and its liquidity, financial position and results of operations.

None of our servicers have an obligation to offer us any future co-investment opportunity on the same terms as prior transactions, or at all, and we may not be able to find suitable counterparties from which to acquire Excess MSRs and servicer advances, which could impact our business strategy. See “—We will rely heavily on mortgage servicers to achieve our investment objective and have no direct ability to influence their performance.”

Repayment of the outstanding amount of servicer advances (including payment with respect to deferred servicing fees) may be subject to delay, reduction or set-off in the event that any applicable servicer or subservicer breaches any of its obligations under the related servicing agreements, including, without limitation, any failure of such servicer to perform its servicing and advancing functions in accordance with the terms of such servicing agreements. If any applicable servicer is terminated or resigns as servicer and the applicable successor servicer does not purchase all outstanding servicer advances at the time of transfer, collection of the servicer advances will be dependent on the performance of such successor servicer and, if applicable, reliance on such successor servicer’s compliance with the “first-in, first-out” or “FIFO” provisions of the Servicing Guidelines. In addition, such successor servicers may not agree to purchase the outstanding advances on the same terms as our current purchase arrangements and may require, as a condition of their purchase, modification to such FIFO provisions, which could further delay our repayment and have adversely affect the returns from our investment.

We are subject to substantial other operational risks associated to Nationstar, Ocwen or any other applicable servicer or subservicer in connection with the financing of servicer advances. In our current financing facilities for servicer advances, the failure of our servicer or subservicer to satisfy various covenants and tests can result in an amortization event and/or an event of default. We have no direct ability to control our servicer or subservicer’s compliance with those covenants and tests. Failure of our servicer or subservicer to satisfy any such covenants or tests could result in a partial or total loss on our investment.

In addition, Ocwen is a party to substantially all financing agreements with subsidiaries of HLSS acquired by us in the HLSS Acquisition (including the servicer advance facilities). Our ability to obtain financing for the assets of those acquired subsidiaries is dependent on Ocwen’s agreement to be a party to its financing agreements. If Ocwen does not agree to be a party to these financing agreements for any reason, we may not be able to obtain financing on favorable terms or at all. Breaches and other events with respect to Ocwen (including, without limitation, failure of Ocwen to satisfy certain financial tests) could cause certain or all of the financing, in respect of assets acquired from HLSS to become due and payable prior to maturity. Our ability to obtain financing on such assets is dependent on Ocwen’s ability to satisfy various tests under such financing arrangements. We will be dependent on Ocwen as the servicer of the mortgage loans with respect to which we are entitled to the basic fee component, and Ocwen’s servicing practices may impact the value of certain of our assets. We may be adversely impacted:

By regulatory actions taken against Ocwen;
By a default by Ocwen under its debt agreements;
By further downgrades in Ocwen’s servicer rating;
If Ocwen fails to ensure its servicer advances comply with the terms of its Purchase and Sale Agreements (“PSAs”);
If Ocwen were terminated as servicer under certain PSAs;
If Ocwen becomes subject to a bankruptcy proceeding; or
If Ocwen fails to meet its obligations or is deemed to be in default under the indenture governing notes issued under any servicer advance facility with respect to which Ocwen is the servicer.

In addition, the consumer loans in which we have invested are serviced by OneMain. If OneMain is terminated as the servicer of some or all of these portfolios, or in the event that it files for bankruptcy, our expected returns on these investments could be severely impacted.

Moreover, we are party to repurchase agreements with a limited number of counterparties. If any of our counterparties elected not to roll our repurchase agreements, we may not be able to find a replacement counterparty, which would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

Our risk-management processes may not accurately anticipate the impact of market stress or counterparty financial condition, and as a result, we may not take sufficient action to reduce our risks effectively. Although we will monitor our credit exposures, default risk may arise from events or circumstances that are difficult to detect, foresee or evaluate. In addition, concerns about, or a default by, one large participant could lead to significant liquidity problems for other participants, which may in turn expose us to significant losses.


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In the event of a counterparty default, particularly a default by a major investment bank, we could incur material losses rapidly, and the resulting market impact of a major counterparty default could seriously harm our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition. In the event that one of our counterparties becomes insolvent or files for bankruptcy, our ability to eventually recover any losses suffered as a result of that counterparty’s default may be limited by the liquidity of the counterparty or the applicable legal regime governing the bankruptcy proceeding.

Counterparty risks have increased in complexity and magnitude as a result of the insolvency of a number of major financial institutions (such as Lehman Brothers) in recent years and the consequent decrease in the number of potential counterparties. In addition, counterparties have generally tightened their underwriting standards and increased their margin requirements for financing, which could negatively impact us in several ways, including by decreasing the number of counterparties willing to provide financing to us, decreasing the overall amount of leverage available to us, and increasing the costs of borrowing.

A bankruptcy of any of our mortgage servicers could materially and adversely affect us.

If Nationstar, Ocwen or any of our other mortgage servicers becomes subject to a bankruptcy proceeding, we could be materially and adversely affected, and you could suffer losses, as discussed below.

A sale of Excess MSRs, servicer advances or other asset, including loans, could be re-characterized as a pledge of such assets in a bankruptcy proceeding.

We believe that a mortgage servicer’s transfer to us of Excess MSRs, servicer advances and any other asset transferred pursuant to a related purchase agreement, including loans, constitutes a sale of such assets, in which case such assets would not be part of such servicer’s bankruptcy estate. The servicer (as debtor-in-possession in the bankruptcy proceeding), a bankruptcy trustee appointed in such servicer’s bankruptcy proceeding, or any other party in interest, however, might assert in a bankruptcy proceeding that Excess MSRs, servicer advances or any other assets transferred to us pursuant to the related purchase agreement were not sold to us but were instead pledged to us as security for such servicer’s obligation to repay amounts paid by us to the servicer pursuant to the related purchase agreement. If such assertion were successful, all or part of the Excess MSRs, servicer advances or any other asset transferred to us pursuant to the related purchase agreement would constitute property of the bankruptcy estate of such servicer, and our rights against the servicer would be those of a secured creditor with a lien on such assets. Under such circumstances, cash proceeds generated from our collateral would constitute “cash collateral” under the provisions of the U.S. bankruptcy laws. Under U.S. bankruptcy laws, the servicer could not use our cash collateral without either (a) our consent or (b) approval by the bankruptcy court, subject to providing us with “adequate protection” under the U.S. bankruptcy laws. In addition, under such circumstances, an issue could arise as to whether certain of these assets generated after the commencement of the bankruptcy proceeding would constitute after-acquired property excluded from our lien pursuant to the U.S. bankruptcy laws.

If such a recharacterization occurs, the validity or priority of our security interest in the Excess MSRs, servicer advances or other assets could be challenged in a bankruptcy proceeding of such servicer.

If the purchases pursuant to the related purchase agreement are recharacterized as secured financings as set forth above, we nevertheless created and perfected security interests with respect to the Excess MSRs, servicer advances and other assets that we may have purchased from such servicer by including a pledge of collateral in the related purchase agreement and filing financing statements in appropriate jurisdictions. Nonetheless, our security interests may be challenged and ruled unenforceable, ineffective or subordinated by a bankruptcy court. If this were to occur, then the servicer’s obligations to us with respect to purchased Excess MSRs, servicer advances and other assets would be deemed unsecured obligations, payable from unencumbered assets to be shared among all of such servicer’s unsecured creditors. In addition, even if the security interests are found to be valid and enforceable, if a bankruptcy court determines that the value of the collateral is less than such servicer’s underlying obligations to us, the difference between such value and the total amount of such obligations will be deemed an unsecured “deficiency” claim and the same result will occur with respect to such unsecured claim. In addition, even if the security interest is found to be valid and enforceable, such servicer would have the right to use the proceeds of our collateral subject to either (a) our consent or (b) approval by the bankruptcy court, subject to providing us with “adequate protection” under U.S. bankruptcy laws. Such servicer also would have the ability to confirm a chapter 11 plan over our objections if the plan complied with the “cramdown” requirements under U.S. bankruptcy laws.

Payments made by a servicer to us could be voided by a court under federal or state preference laws.

If one of our mortgage servicers were to file, or to become the subject of, a bankruptcy proceeding under the United States Bankruptcy Code or similar state insolvency laws, and our security interest is declared unenforceable, ineffective or subordinated, payments previously made by a servicer to us pursuant to the related purchase agreement may be recoverable on behalf of the

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bankruptcy estate as preferential transfers. A payment could constitute a preferential transfer if a court were to find that the payment was a transfer of an interest of property of such servicer that:

Was made to or for the benefit of a creditor;
Was for or on account of an antecedent debt owed by such servicer before that transfer was made;
Was made while such servicer was insolvent (a company is presumed to have been insolvent on and during the 90 days preceding the date the company’s bankruptcy petition was filed);
Was made on or within 90 days (or if we are determined to be a statutory insider, on or within one year) before such servicer’s bankruptcy filing;
Permitted us to receive more than we would have received in a chapter 7 liquidation case of such servicer under U.S. bankruptcy laws; and
Was a payment as to which none of the statutory defenses to a preference action apply.

If the court were to determine that any payments were avoidable as preferential transfers, we would be required to return such payments to such servicer’s bankruptcy estate and would have an unsecured claim against such servicer with respect to such returned amounts.

Payments made to us by such servicer, or obligations incurred by it, could be voided by a court under federal or state fraudulent conveyance laws.

The mortgage servicer (as debtor-in-possession in the bankruptcy proceeding), a bankruptcy trustee appointed in such servicer’s bankruptcy proceeding, or another party in interest could also claim that such servicer’s transfer to us of Excess MSRs, servicer advances or other assets or such servicer’s agreement to incur obligations to us under the related purchase agreement was a fraudulent conveyance. Under U.S. bankruptcy laws and similar state insolvency laws, transfers made or obligations incurred could be voided if such servicer, at the time it made such transfers or incurred such obligations: (a) received less than reasonably equivalent value or fair consideration for such transfer or incurrence and (b) either (i) was insolvent at the time of, or was rendered insolvent by reason of, such transfer or incurrence; (ii) was engaged in, or was about to engage in, a business or transaction for which the assets remaining with such servicer were an unreasonably small capital; or (iii) intended to incur, or believed that it would incur, debts beyond its ability to pay such debts as they mature. If any transfer or incurrence is determined to be a fraudulent conveyance, Ocwen or Nationstar, as the case may be, (as debtor-in-possession in the bankruptcy proceeding) or a bankruptcy trustee on such servicer’s behalf would be entitled to recover such transfer or to avoid the obligation previously incurred.

Any purchase agreement pursuant to which we purchase Excess MSRs, servicer advances or other assets, including loans, could be rejected in a bankruptcy proceeding of one of our mortgage servicers.
 
The mortgage servicer (as debtor-in-possession in the bankruptcy proceeding) or a bankruptcy trustee appointed in such servicer’s bankruptcy proceeding could seek to reject the related purchase agreement and thereby terminate such servicer’s obligation to service the Excess MSRs, servicer advances and any other asset transferred pursuant to such purchase agreement, and terminate our right to acquire additional assets under such purchase agreement and our right to require such servicer to use commercially reasonable efforts to transfer servicing. If the bankruptcy court approved the rejection, we would have a claim against such servicer for any damages from the rejection.

A bankruptcy court could stay a transfer of servicing to another servicer.

Our ability to require a mortgage servicer to use commercially reasonable efforts to transfer servicing rights to a new servicer would be subject to the automatic stay in such servicer’s bankruptcy proceeding. To enforce this right, we would have to seek relief from the bankruptcy court to lift such stay, and there is no assurance that the bankruptcy court would grant this relief.

The Subservicing Agreement could be rejected in a bankruptcy proceeding. 

If one of our mortgage servicers were to file, or to become the subject of, a bankruptcy proceeding under the United States Bankruptcy Code or similar state insolvency laws, such servicer (as debtor-in-possession in the bankruptcy proceeding) or the bankruptcy trustee could reject its subservicing agreement with us and terminate such servicer’s obligation to service the Excess MSRs, servicer advances or loans in which we have an investment. Any claim we have for damages arising from the rejection of a subservicing agreement would be treated as a general unsecured claim for purposes of distributions from such servicer’s bankruptcy estate.


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Our mortgage servicers could discontinue servicing.

If one of our mortgage servicers were to file or to become the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding under the United States Bankruptcy Code, such servicer could be terminated as servicer (with bankruptcy court approval) or could discontinue servicing, in which case there is no assurance that we would be able to continue receiving payments and transfers in respect of the Excess MSRs, servicer advances and other assets purchased under the related purchase agreement. Even if we were able to obtain the servicing rights, because we do not and in the future may not have the employees, servicing platforms, or technical resources necessary to service mortgage loans, we would need to engage an alternate subservicer (which may not be readily available on acceptable terms or at all) or negotiate a new subservicing agreement with such servicer, which presumably would be on less favorable terms to us. Any engagement of an alternate subservicer by us would require the approval of the related RMBS trustees.

The automatic stay under the United States Bankruptcy Code may prevent the ongoing receipt of servicing fees or other amounts due.

Even if we are successful in arguing that we own the Excess MSRs, servicer advances and other assets, including loans, purchased under the related purchase agreement, we may need to seek relief in the bankruptcy court to obtain turnover and payment of amounts relating to such assets, and there may be difficulty in recovering payments in respect of such assets that may have been commingled with other funds of such servicer.

A bankruptcy of any of our servicers defaults our advance financing facilities and negatively impacts our ability to continue to purchase servicer advances.

If any of our servicers were to file or to become the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding, it will result in an event of default under certain of our advance financing facilities that would terminate the revolving period of such facilities. In this scenario, our advance financing facilities would not have the ability to continue funding the purchase of servicer advances under the related purchase agreement. Notwithstanding this inability to fund, such servicer may try to force us to continue making such purchases. If it is determined that we are in breach of our obligation to purchase servicer advances, any claims that we may have against such servicer may be subject to offset against claims such servicer may have against us by reason of this breach.

GSE initiatives and other actions may adversely affect returns from investments in Excess MSRs.

On January 17, 2011, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) announced that it had instructed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to study possible alternatives to the current residential mortgage servicing and compensation system used for single-family mortgage loans. It is unclear what the GSEs, including Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, may propose as alternatives to current servicing compensation practices, or when any such alternatives may become effective. Although we do not expect MSRs that have already been created to be subject to any changes implemented by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, it is possible that, because of the significant role of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the secondary mortgage market, any changes they implement could become prevalent in the mortgage servicing industry generally. Other industry stakeholders or regulators may also implement or require changes in response to the perception that the current mortgage servicing practices and compensation do not appropriately serve broader housing policy objectives. These proposals are still evolving. To the extent the GSEs implement reforms that materially affect the market for conforming loans, there may be secondary effects on the subprime and Alt-A markets. These reforms may have a material adverse effect on the economics or performance of any Excess MSRs that we may acquire in the future.

Changes to the minimum servicing amount for GSE loans could occur at any time and could impact us in significantly negative ways that we are unable to predict or protect against.

Currently, when a loan is sold into the secondary market for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loans, the servicer is generally required to retain a minimum servicing amount (“MSA”) of 25 basis points of the UPB for fixed rate mortgages. As has been widely publicized, in September 2011, the FHFA announced that a Joint Initiative on Mortgage Servicing Compensation was seeking public comment on two alternative mortgage servicing compensation structures detailed in a discussion paper. Changes to the MSA structure could significantly impact our business in negative ways that we cannot predict or protect against. For example, the elimination of a MSA could radically change the mortgage servicing industry and could severely limit the supply of Excess MSRs available for sale. In addition, a removal of, or reduction in, the MSA could significantly reduce the recapture rate on the affected loan portfolio, which would negatively affect the investment return on our Excess MSRs. We cannot predict whether any changes to current MSA rules will occur or what impact any changes will have on our business, results of operations, liquidity or financial condition.


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Our investments in Excess MSRs and servicer advances may involve complex or novel structures.

Investments in Excess MSRs and servicer advances are new types of transactions and may involve complex or novel structures. Accordingly, the risks associated with the transactions and structures are not fully known to buyers and sellers. In the case of Excess MSRs on Agency pools, GSEs may require that we submit to costly or burdensome conditions as a prerequisite to their consent to an investment in Excess MSRs on Agency pools. GSE conditions may diminish or eliminate the investment potential of Excess MSRs on Agency pools by making such investments too expensive for us or by severely limiting the potential returns available from Excess MSRs on Agency pools.

It is possible that a GSE’s views on whether any such acquisition structure is appropriate or acceptable may not be known to us when we make an investment and may change from time to time for any reason or for no reason, even with respect to a completed investment. A GSE’s evolving posture toward an acquisition or disposition structure through which we invest in or dispose of Excess MSRs on Agency pools may cause such GSE to impose new conditions on our existing investments in Excess MSRs on Agency pools, including the owner’s ability to hold such Excess MSRs on Agency pools directly or indirectly through a grantor trust or other means. Such new conditions may be costly or burdensome and may diminish or eliminate the investment potential of the Excess MSRs on Agency pools that are already owned by us. Moreover, obtaining such consent may require us or our co-investment counterparties to agree to material structural or economic changes, as well as agree to indemnification or other terms that expose us to risks to which we have not previously been exposed and that could negatively affect our returns from our investments.

We do not have legal ownership of our acquired mortgage servicing rights.

We do not have legal ownership of the MSRs related to the transactions contemplated by the purchase agreements pursuant to which we acquire advances, and are subject to increased risks as a result of the servicer continuing to own the mortgage servicing rights. The validity or priority of our interest in the underlying mortgage servicing could be challenged in a bankruptcy proceeding of the servicer, and the related purchase agreement could be rejected in such proceeding. Any of the foregoing events might have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.

Many of our investments may be illiquid, and this lack of liquidity could significantly impede our ability to vary our portfolio in response to changes in economic and other conditions or to realize the value at which such investments are carried if we are required to dispose of them.

Many of our investments are illiquid. Illiquidity may result from the absence of an established market for the investments, as well as legal or contractual restrictions on their resale, refinancing or other disposition. Dispositions of investments may be subject to contractual and other limitations on transfer or other restrictions that would interfere with subsequent sales of such investments or adversely affect the terms that could be obtained upon any disposition thereof.

Excess MSRs and servicer advances are highly illiquid and may be subject to numerous restrictions on transfers, including without limitation the receipt of third-party consents. For example, the Servicing Guidelines of a mortgage owner may require that holders of Excess MSRs obtain the mortgage owner’s prior approval of any change of direct ownership of such Excess MSRs. Such approval may be withheld for any reason or no reason in the discretion of the mortgage owner. Moreover, we have not received and do not expect to receive any assurances from any GSEs that their conditions for the sale by us of any Excess MSRs will not change. Therefore, the potential costs, issues or restrictions associated with receiving such GSEs’ consent for any such dispositions by us cannot be determined with any certainty. Additionally, investments in Excess MSRs and servicer advances are new types of transaction, and the risks associated with the transactions and structures are not fully known to buyers or sellers. As a result of the foregoing, we may be unable to locate a buyer at the time we wish to sell Excess MSRs or servicer advances. There is some risk that we will be required to dispose of Excess MSRs or servicer advances either through an in-kind distribution or other liquidation vehicle, which will, in either case, provide little or no economic benefit to us, or a sale to a co-investor in the Excess MSRs or servicer advances, which may be an affiliate. Accordingly, we cannot provide any assurance that we will obtain any return or any benefit of any kind from any disposition of Excess MSRs or servicer advances. We may not benefit from the full term of the assets and for the aforementioned reasons may not receive any benefits from the disposition, if any, of such assets.

In addition, some of our real estate related securities may not be registered under the relevant securities laws, resulting in a prohibition against their transfer, sale, pledge or other disposition except in a transaction that is exempt from the registration requirements of, or is otherwise in accordance with, those laws. There are also no established trading markets for a majority of our intended investments. Moreover, certain of our investments, including our investments in consumer loans, servicer advances and certain investments in Excess MSRs, are made indirectly through a vehicle that owns the underlying assets. Our ability to sell our interest may be contractually limited or prohibited. As a result, our ability to vary our portfolio in response to changes in economic and other conditions may be limited.

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Our real estate related securities have historically been valued based primarily on third-party quotations, which are subject to significant variability based on the liquidity and price transparency created by market trading activity. A disruption in these trading markets could reduce the trading for many real estate related securities, resulting in less transparent prices for those securities, which would make selling such assets more difficult. Moreover, a decline in market demand for the types of assets that we hold would make it more difficult to sell our assets. If we are required to liquidate all or a portion of our illiquid investments quickly, we may realize significantly less than the amount at which we have previously valued these investments.

Market conditions could negatively impact our business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.

The market in which we operate is affected by a number of factors that are largely beyond our control but can nonetheless have a potentially significant, negative impact on us. These factors include, among other things:
 
interest rates and credit spreads;
the availability of credit, including the price, terms and conditions under which it can be obtained;
the quality, pricing and availability of suitable investments and credit losses with respect to our investments;
the ability to obtain accurate market-based valuations;
the ability of securities dealers to make markets in relevant securities and loans;
loan values relative to the value of the underlying real estate assets;
default rates on the loans underlying our investments and the amount of the related losses;
prepayment speeds, delinquency rates and legislative/regulatory changes with respect to our investments in Excess MSRs, servicer advances, RMBS, and loans, and the timing and amount of servicer advances;
the actual and perceived state of the real estate markets, market for dividend-paying stocks and public capital markets generally;
unemployment rates; and
the attractiveness of other types of investments relative to investments in real estate or REITs generally.

Changes in these factors are difficult to predict, and a change in one factor can affect other factors. For example, at various points in time, increased default rates in the subprime mortgage market played a role in causing credit spreads to widen, reducing availability of credit on favorable terms, reducing liquidity and price transparency of real estate related assets, resulting in difficulty in obtaining accurate mark-to-market valuations, and causing a negative perception of the state of the real estate markets and of REITs generally. While market conditions have generally improved since 2008, they could deteriorate as a result of a variety of factors beyond our control with adverse effects to our financial condition.

The geographic distribution of the loans underlying, and collateral securing, certain of our investments subjects us to geographic real estate market risks, which could adversely affect the performance of our investments, our results of operations and financial condition.

The geographic distribution of the loans underlying, and collateral securing, our investments, including our Excess MSRs, servicer advances, Non-Agency RMBS and loans, exposes us to risks associated with the real estate and commercial lending industry in general within the states and regions in which we hold significant investments. These risks include, without limitation: possible declines in the value of real estate; risks related to general and local economic conditions; possible lack of availability of mortgage funds; overbuilding; extended vacancies of properties; increases in competition, property taxes and operating expenses; changes in zoning laws; increased energy costs; unemployment; costs resulting from the clean-up of, and liability to third parties for damages resulting from, environmental problems; casualty or condemnation losses; uninsured damages from floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters; and changes in interest rates.

As of December 31, 2015, 24.4% of the total UPB of the residential mortgage loans underlying our Excess MSRs was secured by properties located in California, which are particularly susceptible to natural disasters such as fires, earthquakes and mudslides, and 8.7% was secured by properties located in Florida. As of December 31, 2015, 35.3% of the collateral securing our Non-Agency RMBS was located in the Western U.S., 24.4% was located in the Southeastern U.S., 18.8% was located in the Northeastern U.S., 10.8% was located in the Midwestern U.S. and 10.0% was located in the Southwestern U.S. We were unable to obtain geographical information for 0.7% of the collateral. As a result of this concentration, we may be more susceptible to adverse developments in those markets than if we owned a more geographically diverse portfolio. To the extent any of the foregoing risks arise in states and regions where we hold significant investments, the performance of our investments, our results of operations, cash flows and financial condition could suffer a material adverse effect.


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Many of the RMBS in which we invest are collateralized by subprime mortgage loans, which are subject to increased risks.

Many of the RMBS in which we invest are backed by collateral pools of subprime residential mortgage loans. “Subprime” mortgage loans refer to mortgage loans that have been originated using underwriting standards that are less restrictive than the underwriting requirements used as standards for other first and junior lien mortgage loan purchase programs, such as the programs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These lower standards include mortgage loans made to borrowers having imperfect or impaired credit histories (including outstanding judgments or prior bankruptcies), mortgage loans where the amount of the loan at origination is 80% or more of the value of the mortgage property, mortgage loans made to borrowers with low credit scores, mortgage loans made to borrowers who have other debt that represents a large portion of their income and mortgage loans made to borrowers whose income is not required to be disclosed or verified. Due to economic conditions, including increased interest rates and lower home prices, as well as aggressive lending practices, subprime mortgage loans have in recent periods experienced increased rates of delinquency, foreclosure, bankruptcy and loss, and they are likely to continue to experience delinquency, foreclosure, bankruptcy and loss rates that are higher, and that may be substantially higher, than those experienced by mortgage loans underwritten in a more traditional manner. Thus, because of the higher delinquency rates and losses associated with subprime mortgage loans, the performance of RMBS backed by subprime mortgage loans could be correspondingly adversely affected, which could adversely impact our results of operations, liquidity, financial condition and business.

The value of our Excess MSRs, servicer advances and RMBS may be adversely affected by deficiencies in servicing and foreclosure practices, as well as related delays in the foreclosure process.

Allegations of deficiencies in servicing and foreclosure practices among several large sellers and servicers of residential mortgage loans that surfaced in 2010 raised various concerns relating to such practices, including the improper execution of the documents used in foreclosure proceedings (so-called “robo signing”), inadequate documentation of transfers and registrations of mortgages and assignments of loans, improper modifications of loans, violations of representations and warranties at the date of securitization and failure to enforce put-backs.

As a result of alleged deficiencies in foreclosure practices, a number of servicers temporarily suspended foreclosure proceedings beginning in the second half of 2010 while they evaluated their foreclosure practices. In late 2010, a group of state attorneys general and state bank and mortgage regulators representing nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with the U.S. Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, began an investigation into foreclosure practices of banks and servicers. The investigations and lawsuits by several state attorneys general led to a settlement agreement in early February 2012 with five of the nation’s largest banks, pursuant to which the banks agreed to pay more than $25 billion to settle claims relating to improper foreclosure practices. The settlement does not prohibit the states, the federal government, individuals or investors from pursuing additional actions against the banks and servicers in the future.

Under the terms of the agreement governing our investment in servicer advances, we (in certain cases, together with third-party co-investors) are required to purchase from Nationstar, Ocwen and our other servicers, advances on certain loan pools. While a mortgage loan is in foreclosure, servicers are generally required to continue to advance delinquent principal and interest and to also make advances for delinquent taxes and insurance and foreclosure costs and the upkeep of vacant property in foreclosure to the extent it determines that such amounts are recoverable. Servicer advances are generally recovered when the delinquency is resolved.

Foreclosure moratoria or other actions that lengthen the foreclosure process increase the amount of servicer advances our servicers are required to make and we are required to purchase, lengthen the time it takes for us to be repaid for such advances and increase the costs incurred during the foreclosure process. In addition, our advance financing facilities contain provisions that modify the advance rates for, and limit the eligibility of, servicer advances to be financed based on the length of time that servicer advances are outstanding, and, as a result, an increase in foreclosure timelines could further increase the amount of servicer advances that we need to fund with our own capital. Such increases in foreclosure timelines could increase our need for capital to fund servicer advances (which do not bear interest), which would increase our interest expense, reduce the value of our investment and potentially reduce the cash that we have available to pay our operating expenses or to pay dividends.

Even in states where servicers have not suspended foreclosure proceedings or have lifted (or will soon lift) any such delayed foreclosures, servicers, including Nationstar, Ocwen and our other servicers, have faced, and may continue to face, increased delays and costs in the foreclosure process. For example, the current legislative and regulatory climate could lead borrowers to contest foreclosures that they would not otherwise have contested under ordinary circumstances, and servicers may incur increased litigation costs if the validity of a foreclosure action is challenged by a borrower. In general, regulatory developments with respect to foreclosure practices could result in increases in the amount of servicer advances and the length of time to recover servicer advances, fines or increases in operating expenses, and decreases in the advance rate and availability of financing for servicer advances. This would lead to increased borrowings, reduced cash and higher interest expense which could negatively impact our

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liquidity and profitability. Although the terms of our investment in servicer advances contain adjustment mechanisms that would reduce the amount of performance fees payable to the related servicer if servicer advances exceed pre-determined amounts, those fee reductions may not be sufficient to cover the expenses resulting from longer foreclosure timelines.

The integrity of the servicing and foreclosure processes are critical to the value of the mortgage loan portfolios underlying our Excess MSRs, servicer advances and RMBS, and our financial results could be adversely affected by deficiencies in the conduct of those processes. For example, delays in the foreclosure process that have resulted from investigations into improper servicing practices may adversely affect the values of, and result in losses on, these investments. Foreclosure delays may also increase the administrative expenses of the securitization trusts for the RMBS, thereby reducing the amount of funds available for distribution to investors.

In addition, the subordinate classes of securities issued by the securitization trusts may continue to receive interest payments while the defaulted loans remain in the trusts, rather than absorbing the default losses. This may reduce the amount of credit support available for the senior classes of RMBS that we own, thus possibly adversely affecting these securities. Additionally, a substantial portion of the $25 billion settlement is a “credit” to the banks and servicers for principal write-downs or reductions they may make to certain mortgages underlying RMBS. There remains uncertainty as to how these principal reductions will work and what effect they will have on the value of related RMBS. As a result, there can be no assurance that any such principal reductions will not adversely affect the value of our Excess MSRs, servicer advances and RMBS.

While we believe that the sellers and servicers would be in violation of their servicing contracts to the extent that they have improperly serviced mortgage loans or improperly executed documents in foreclosure or bankruptcy proceedings, or do not comply with the terms of servicing contracts when deciding whether to apply principal reductions, it may be difficult, expensive, time consuming and, ultimately, uneconomic for us to enforce our contractual rights. While we cannot predict exactly how the servicing and foreclosure matters or the resulting litigation or settlement agreements will affect our business, there can be no assurance that these matters will not have an adverse impact on our results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.

A failure by any or all of the members of Buyer to make capital contributions for amounts required to fund servicer advances could result in an event of default under our advance facilities and a complete loss of our investment.

Buyer has agreed to purchase all future arising servicer advances from Nationstar under certain residential mortgage servicing agreements.  Buyer relies, in part, on its members to make committed capital contributions in order to pay the purchase price for future servicing advances.  A failure by any or all of the members to make such capital contributions for amounts required to fund servicer advances could result in an event of default under our advance facilities and a complete loss of our investment.

The loans underlying the securities we invest in and the loans we directly invest in are subject to delinquency, foreclosure and loss, which could result in losses to us.

Mortgage backed securities are securities backed by mortgage loans. The ability of borrowers to repay these mortgage loans is dependent upon the income or assets of these borrowers. If a borrower has insufficient income or assets to repay these loans, it will default on its loan. Our investments in RMBS will be adversely affected by defaults under the loans underlying such securities. To the extent losses are realized on the loans underlying the securities in which we invest, we may not recover the amount invested in, or, in extreme cases, any of our investment in such securities.

Residential mortgage loans, manufactured housing loans and subprime mortgage loans are secured by single-family residential property and are also subject to risks of delinquency and foreclosure, and risks of loss. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by a residential property is dependent upon the income or assets of the borrower. A number of factors may impair borrowers’ abilities to repay their loans, including, among other things, changes in the borrower’s employment status, changes in national, regional or local economic conditions, changes in interest rates or the availability of credit on favorable terms, changes in regional or local real estate values, changes in regional or local rental rates and changes in real estate taxes.

In the event of default under a loan held directly by us, we will bear a risk of loss of principal to the extent of any deficiency between the value of the collateral and the outstanding principal and accrued but unpaid interest of the loan, which could adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.


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Our investments in real estate related securities are subject to changes in credit spreads as well as available market liquidity, which could adversely affect our ability to realize gains on the sale of such investments.

Real estate related securities are subject to changes in credit spreads. Credit spreads measure the yield demanded on securities by the market based on their credit relative to a specific benchmark.

Fixed rate securities are valued based on a market credit spread over the rate payable on fixed rate U.S. Treasuries of like maturity. Floating rate securities are valued based on a market credit spread over LIBOR and are affected similarly by changes in LIBOR spreads. As of December 31, 2015, 53.3% of our Non-Agency RMBS Portfolio consisted of floating rate securities and 46.7% consisted of fixed rate securities, and 21.4% of our Agency RMBS portfolio consisted of floating rate securities and 78.6% consisted of fixed rate securities, based on the amortized cost basis of all securities (including the amortized cost basis of interest-only and residual classes). Excessive supply of these securities combined with reduced demand will generally cause the market to require a higher yield on these securities, resulting in the use of a higher, or “wider,” spread over the benchmark rate to value such securities. Under such conditions, the value of our real estate related securities portfolios would tend to decline. Conversely, if the spread used to value such securities were to decrease, or “tighten,” the value of our real estate related securities portfolio would tend to increase. Such changes in the market value of our real estate securities portfolios may affect our net equity, net income or cash flow directly through their impact on unrealized gains or losses on available-for-sale securities, and therefore our ability to realize gains on such securities, or indirectly through their impact on our ability to borrow and access capital. Widening credit spreads could cause the net unrealized gains on our securities and derivatives, recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income or retained earnings, and therefore our book value per share, to decrease and result in net losses.

Prepayment rates on the mortgage loans underlying our real estate related securities may adversely affect our profitability.

In general, the mortgage loans backing our real estate related securities may be prepaid at any time without penalty. Prepayments on our real estate related securities result when homeowners/mortgagors satisfy (i.e., pay off) the mortgage upon selling or refinancing their mortgaged property. When we acquire a particular security, we anticipate that the underlying mortgage loans will prepay at a projected rate which, together with expected coupon income, provides us with an expected yield on such securities. If we purchase assets at a premium to par value, and borrowers prepay their mortgage loans faster than expected, the corresponding prepayments on the real estate related security may reduce the expected yield on such securities because we will have to amortize the related premium on an accelerated basis. Conversely, if we purchase assets at a discount to par value, when borrowers prepay their mortgage loans slower than expected, the decrease in corresponding prepayments on the real estate related security may reduce the expected yield on such securities because we will not be able to accrete the related discount as quickly as originally anticipated.

Prepayment rates on loans are influenced by changes in mortgage and market interest rates and a variety of economic, geographic and other factors, all of which are beyond our control. Consequently, such prepayment rates cannot be predicted with certainty and no strategy can completely insulate us from prepayment or other such risks. In periods of declining interest rates, prepayment rates on mortgage loans generally increase. If general interest rates decline at the same time, the proceeds of such prepayments received during such periods are likely to be reinvested by us in assets yielding less than the yields on the assets that were prepaid. In addition, the market value of our real estate related securities may, because of the risk of prepayment, benefit less than other fixed-income securities from declining interest rates.

With respect to Agency RMBS, we may purchase securities that have a higher or lower coupon rate than the prevailing market interest rates. In exchange for a higher coupon rate, we would then pay a premium over par value to acquire these securities. In accordance with GAAP, we would amortize the premiums on our Agency RMBS over the life of the related securities. If the mortgage loans securing these securities prepay at a more rapid rate than anticipated, we would have to amortize our premiums on an accelerated basis which may adversely affect our profitability. As compensation for a lower coupon rate, we would then pay a discount to par value to acquire these securities. In accordance with GAAP, we would accrete any discounts on our Agency RMBS over the life of the related securities. If the mortgage loans securing these securities prepay at a slower rate than anticipated, we would have to accrete our discounts on an extended basis which may adversely affect our profitability. Defaults on the mortgage loans underlying Agency RMBS typically have the same effect as prepayments because of the underlying Agency guarantee.

Prepayments, which are the primary feature of mortgage backed securities that distinguish them from other types of bonds, are difficult to predict and can vary significantly over time. As the holder of the security, on a monthly basis, we receive a payment equal to a portion of our investment principal in a particular security as the underlying mortgages are prepaid. In general, on the date each month that principal prepayments are announced (i.e., factor day), the value of our real estate related security pledged as collateral under our repurchase agreements is reduced by the amount of the prepaid principal and, as a result, our lenders will typically initiate a margin call requiring the pledge of additional collateral or cash, in an amount equal to such prepaid principal, in order to re-establish the required ratio of borrowing to collateral value under such repurchase agreements. Accordingly, with

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respect to our Agency RMBS, the announcement on factor day of principal prepayments is in advance of our receipt of the related scheduled payment, thereby creating a short-term receivable for us in the amount of any such principal prepayments. However, under our repurchase agreements, we may receive a margin call relating to the related reduction in value of our Agency RMBS and, prior to receipt of this short-term receivable, be required to post additional collateral or cash in the amount of the principal prepayment on or about factor day, which would reduce our liquidity during the period in which the short-term receivable is outstanding. As a result, in order to meet any such margin calls, we could be forced to sell assets in order to maintain liquidity. Forced sales under adverse market conditions may result in lower sales prices than ordinary market sales made in the normal course of business. If our real estate related securities were liquidated at prices below our amortized cost (i.e., the cost basis) of such assets, we would incur losses, which could adversely affect our earnings. In addition, in order to continue to earn a return on this prepaid principal, we must reinvest it in additional real estate related securities or other assets; however, if interest rates decline, we may earn a lower return on our new investments as compared to the real estate related securities that prepay.

Prepayments may have a negative impact on our financial results, the effects of which depend on, among other things, the timing and amount of the prepayment delay on our Agency RMBS, the amount of unamortized premium or discount on our real estate related securities, the rate at which prepayments are made on our Non-Agency RMBS, the reinvestment lag and the availability of suitable reinvestment opportunities.

Our investments in RMBS may be subject to significant impairment charges, which would adversely affect our results of operations.

We will be required to periodically evaluate our investments for impairment indicators. The value of an investment is impaired when our analysis indicates that, with respect to a security, it is probable that the value of the security is other than temporarily impaired. The judgment regarding the existence of impairment indicators is based on a variety of factors depending upon the nature of the investment and the manner in which the income related to such investment was calculated for purposes of our financial statements. If we determine that an impairment has occurred, we are required to make an adjustment to the net carrying value of the investment, which would adversely affect our results of operations in the applicable period and thereby adversely affect our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders.

The lenders under our repurchase agreements may elect not to extend financing to us, which could quickly and seriously impair our liquidity.

We finance a meaningful portion of our investments in RMBS with repurchase agreements, which are short-term financing arrangements. Under the terms of these agreements, we will sell a security to the lending counterparty for a specified price and concurrently agree to repurchase the same security from our counterparty at a later date for a higher specified price. During the term of the repurchase agreement—which can be as short as 30 days—the counterparty will make funds available to us and hold the security as collateral. Our counterparties can also require us to post additional margin as collateral at any time during the term of the agreement. When the term of a repurchase agreement ends, we will be required to repurchase the security for the specified repurchase price, with the difference between the sale and repurchase prices serving as the equivalent of paying interest to the counterparty in return for extending financing to us. If we want to continue to finance the security with a repurchase agreement, we ask the counterparty to extend—or “roll”—the repurchase agreement for another term.

Our counterparties are not required to roll our repurchase agreements upon the expiration of their stated terms, which subjects us to a number of risks. Counterparties electing to roll our repurchase agreements may charge higher spread and impose more onerous terms upon us, including the requirement that we post additional margin as collateral. More significantly, if a repurchase agreement counterparty elects not to extend our financing, we would be required to pay the counterparty the full repurchase price on the maturity date and find an alternate source of financing. Alternate sources of financing may be more expensive, contain more onerous terms or simply may not be available. If we were unable to pay the repurchase price for any security financed with a repurchase agreement, the counterparty has the right to sell the underlying security being held as collateral and require us to compensate it for any shortfall between the value of our obligation to the counterparty and the amount for which the collateral was sold (which may be a significantly discounted price). As of December 31, 2015, we had outstanding repurchase agreements with an aggregate face amount of approximately $1.3 billion to finance Non-Agency RMBS and approximately $1.7 billion to finance Agency RMBS and related trade receivables. Moreover, our repurchase agreement obligations are currently with a limited number of counterparties. If any of our counterparties elected not to roll our repurchase agreements, we may not be able to find a replacement counterparty in a timely manner. Finally, some of our repurchase agreements contain covenants and our failure to comply with such covenants could result in a loss of our investment.


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The financing sources under our servicer advance financing facilities may elect not to extend financing to us or may have or take positions adverse to us, which could quickly and seriously impair our liquidity.

We finance a meaningful portion of our investments in servicer advances with structured financing arrangements. These arrangements are commonly of a short-term nature. These arrangements are generally accomplished by having the purchaser of such servicer advances, which is a subsidiary of the Company, transfer our right to repayment for certain servicer advances we have acquired from one of our mortgage servicers to one of our wholly owned bankruptcy remote subsidiaries (a “Depositor”). We are generally required to continue to transfer to the related Depositor all of our rights to repayment for any particular pool of servicer advances as they arise (and are transferred from one of our mortgage servicers) until the related financing arrangement is paid in full and is terminated. The related Depositor then transfers such rights to an “Issuer.” The Issuer then issues limited recourse notes to the financing sources backed by such rights to repayment.

The outstanding balance of servicer advances securing these arrangements is not likely to be repaid on or before the maturity date of such financing arrangements. Accordingly, we rely heavily on our financing sources to extend or refinance the terms of such financing arrangements. Our financing sources are not required to extend the arrangements upon the expiration of their stated terms, which subjects us to a number of risks. Financing sources electing to extend may charge higher interest rates and impose more onerous terms upon us, including without limitation, lowering the amount of financing that can be extended against any particular pool of servicer advances.

If a financing source is unable or unwilling to extend financing, including, but not limited to, due to legal or regulatory matters applicable to us or our mortgage servicers, the related Issuer will be required to repay the outstanding balance of the financing on the related maturity date. Additionally, there may be substantial increases in the interest rates under a financing arrangement if the related notes are not repaid, extended or refinanced prior to the expected repayment dated, which may be before the related maturity date. If an Issuer is unable to pay the outstanding balance of the notes, the financing sources generally have the right to foreclose on the servicer advances pledged as collateral.

As of December 31, 2015, certain of the notes issued under our structured servicer advance financing arrangements accrued interest at a floating rate of interest. Servicer advances are non-interest bearing assets. Accordingly, if there is an increase in prevailing interest rates and/or our financing sources increase the interest rate “margins” or “spreads.” the amount of financing that we could obtain against any particular pool of servicer advances may decrease substantially and/or we may be required to obtain interest rate hedging arrangements. There is no assurance that we will be able to obtain any such interest rate hedging arrangements.

Alternate sources of financing may be more expensive, contain more onerous terms or simply may not be available. Moreover, our structured servicer advance financing arrangements are currently with a limited number of counterparties. If any of our sources are unable to or elected not to extend or refinance such arrangements, we may not be able to find a replacement counterparty in a timely manner.

Many of our servicer advance financing arrangements are provided by financial institutions with whom we have substantial relationships. Some of our servicer advance financing arrangements entail the issuance of term notes to capital markets investors with whom we have little or no relationships or the identities of which we may not be aware and, therefore, we have no ability to control or monitor the identity of the holders of such term notes. Holders of such term notes may have or may take positions - for example, “short” positions in our stock or the stock of our servicers - that could be benefited by adverse events with respect to us or our servicers. If any holders of term notes allege or assert noncompliance by us or the related servicer under our advance financing arrangements in order to realize such benefits, we or our servicers, or our ability to maintain advance financing on favorable terms, could be materially and adversely affected.

We may not be able to finance our investments on attractive terms or at all, and financing for Excess MSRs or servicer advances may be particularly difficult to obtain.

The ability to finance investments with securitizations or other long-term non-recourse financing not subject to margin requirements has been more challenging since 2007 as a result of market conditions. These conditions may result in having to use less efficient forms of financing for any new investments, which will likely require a larger portion of our cash flows to be put toward making the initial investment and thereby reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders and funds available for operations and investments, and which will also likely require us to assume higher levels of risk when financing our investments. In addition, there is no established market for financing of investments in Excess MSRs, and it is possible that one will not develop for a variety of reasons, such as the challenges with perfecting security interests in the underlying collateral.

Certain of our advance facilities may mature in the short term, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to renew these facilities on favorable terms or at all. Moreover, an increase in delinquencies with respect to the loans underlying our servicer

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advances could result in the need for additional financing, which may not be available to us on favorable terms or at all. If we are not able to obtain adequate financing to purchase servicer advances from our servicers in accordance with the applicable agreement, any such servicer could default on its obligation to fund such advances, which could result in its termination as servicer under the applicable pooling and servicing agreements and a partial or total loss of our investment in servicer advances and Excess MSRs.

The non-recourse long-term financing structures we use expose us to risks, which could result in losses to us.

We use securitization and other non-recourse long-term financing for our investments to the extent available and appropriate. In such structures, our lenders typically would have only a claim against the assets included in the securitizations rather than a general claim against us as an entity. Prior to any such financing, we would seek to finance our investments with relatively short-term facilities until a sufficient portfolio is accumulated. As a result, we would be subject to the risk that we would not be able to acquire, during the period that any short-term facilities are available, sufficient eligible assets or securities to maximize the efficiency of a securitization. We also bear the risk that we would not be able to obtain new short-term facilities or would not be able to renew any short-term facilities after they expire should we need more time to seek and acquire sufficient eligible assets or securities for a securitization. In addition, conditions in the capital markets may make the issuance of any such securitization less attractive to us even when we do have sufficient eligible assets or securities. While we would intend to retain the unrated equity component of securitizations and, therefore, still have exposure to any investments included in such securitizations, our inability to enter into such securitizations may increase our overall exposure to risks associated with direct ownership of such investments, including the risk of default. Our inability to refinance any short-term facilities would also increase our risk because borrowings thereunder would likely be recourse to us as an entity. If we are unable to obtain and renew short-term facilities or to consummate securitizations to finance our investments on a long-term basis, we may be required to seek other forms of potentially less attractive financing or to liquidate assets at an inopportune time or price.

The final Basel FRTB Ruling, which raised capital charges for bank holders of ABS, CMBS and Non-Agency MBS beginning in 2019, could adversely impact available trading liquidity.

In January 2006, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision released a finalized framework for calculating minimum capital requirements for market risk, which will take effect in January 2019. In the final proposal, capital requirements would overall be meaningfully higher than current requirements, but are less punitive than the previous December 2014 proposal. However, each country’s specific regulator may codify the rules differently. Under the framework, capital charges on a bond are calculated based on three components: default, market and residual risk. Implementation of the final proposal could impose meaningfully higher capital charges on dealers compared with current requirements, and could reduce liquidity in the securitized products market.

Risks associated with our investment in the consumer loan sector could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.

Our portfolio includes an investment in the consumer loan sector. Although many of the risks applicable to consumer loans are also applicable to residential real estate loans, and thus the type of risks that we have experience managing, there are nevertheless substantial risks and uncertainties associated with engaging in a new category of investment. There may be factors that affect the consumer loan sector with which we are not as familiar compared to the residential mortgage loan sector. Moreover, our underwriting assumptions for these investments may prove to be materially incorrect. It is also possible that the addition of consumer loans to our investment portfolio could divert our Manager’s time away from our other investments. Furthermore, external factors, such as compliance with regulations, may also impact our ability to succeed in the consumer loan investment sector. Failure to successfully manage these risks could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.

The consumer loans underlying our investments are subject to delinquency and loss, which could have a negative impact on our financial results.

The ability of borrowers to repay the consumer loans underlying our investments may be adversely affected by numerous personal factors, including unemployment, divorce, major medical expenses or personal bankruptcy. General factors, including an economic downturn, high energy costs or acts of God or terrorism, may also affect the financial stability of borrowers and impair their ability or willingness to repay the consumer loans in our investment portfolio. In the event of any default under a loan in the consumer loan portfolio in which we have invested, we will bear a risk of loss of principal to the extent of any deficiency between the value of the collateral securing the loan, if any, and the principal and accrued interest of the loan. In addition, our investments in consumer loans may entail greater risk than our investments in residential real estate loans, particularly in the case of consumer loans that are unsecured or secured by assets that depreciate rapidly. In such cases, repossessed collateral for a defaulted consumer loan may not provide an adequate source of repayment for the outstanding loan and the remaining deficiency often does not warrant further substantial collection efforts against the borrower. Further, repossessing personal property securing a consumer loan can present additional challenges, including locating the collateral and taking possession of it. In addition, borrowers under consumer loans

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may have lower credit scores. There can be no guarantee that we will not suffer unexpected losses on our investments as a result of the factors set out above, which could have a negative impact on our financial results.

The servicer of the loans underlying our consumer loan investment may not be able to accurately track the default status of senior lien loans in instances where our consumer loan investments are secured by second or third liens on real estate.

A portion of our investment in consumer loans is secured by second and third liens on real estate. When we hold the second or third lien another creditor or creditors, as applicable, holds the first and/or second, as applicable, lien on the real estate that is the subject of the security. In these situations our second or third lien is subordinate in right of payment to the first and/or second, as applicable, holder’s right to receive payment. Moreover, as the servicer of the loans underlying our consumer loan portfolio is not able to track the default status of a senior lien loan in instances where we do not hold the related first mortgage, the value of the second or third lien loans in our portfolio may be lower than our estimates indicate.

The consumer loan investment sector is subject to various initiatives on the part of advocacy groups and extensive regulation and supervision under federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations, which could have a negative impact on our financial results.

In recent years consumer advocacy groups and some media reports have advocated governmental action to prohibit or place severe restrictions on the types of short-term consumer loans in which we have invested. Such consumer advocacy groups and media reports generally focus on the annual percentage rate to a consumer for this type of loan, which is compared unfavorably to the interest typically charged by banks to consumers with top-tier credit histories.

The fees charged on the consumer loans in the portfolio in which we have invested may be perceived as controversial by those who do not focus on the credit risk and high transaction costs typically associated with this type of investment. If the negative characterization of these types of loans becomes increasingly accepted by consumers, demand for the consumer loan products in which we have invested could significantly decrease. Additionally, if the negative characterization of these types of loans is accepted by legislators and regulators, we could become subject to more restrictive laws and regulations in the area.

In addition, we are, or may become, subject to federal, state and local laws, regulations, or regulatory policies and practices, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) (which, among other things, established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with broad authority to regulate and examine financial institutions), which may, amongst other things, limit the amount of interest or fees allowed to be charged on the consumer loans underlying our investments, or the number of consumer loans that customers may receive or have outstanding. The operation of existing or future laws, ordinances and regulations could interfere with the focus of our investments which could have a negative impact on our financial results.

A significant portion of the residential mortgage loans that we acquire are, or may become, sub-performing loans, non-performing loans or REO assets, which increases our risk of loss.

We acquire distressed residential mortgage loans where the borrower has failed to make timely payments of principal and/or interest. As part of the residential mortgage loan portfolios we purchase, we also may acquire performing loans that are or subsequently become sub-performing or non-performing, meaning the borrowers fail to timely pay some or all of the required payments of principal and/or interest. Under current market conditions, it is likely that some of these loans will have current loan-to-value ratios in excess of 100%, meaning the amount owed on the loan exceeds the value of the underlying real estate.

The borrowers on sub-performing or non-performing loans may be in economic distress and may have become unemployed, bankrupt or otherwise unable or unwilling to make payments when due. Borrowers may also face difficulties with refinancing such loans, including due to reduced availability of refinancing alternatives and insufficient equity in their homes to permit them to refinance. Increases in mortgage interest rates would exacerbate these difficulties. We may need to foreclose on collateral securing such loans, and the foreclosure process can be lengthy and expensive. Furthermore, REO assets (i.e., real estate owned by the lender upon completion of the foreclosure process) are relatively illiquid, and we may not be able to sell such REO assets on terms acceptable to us or at all.

Even though we typically pay less than the amount owed on these loans to acquire them, if actual results differ from our assumptions in determining the price we paid to acquire such loans, we may incur significant losses. Any loss we incur may be significant and could materially and adversely affect us.


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Certain jurisdictions require licenses to purchase, hold, enforce or sell residential mortgage loans and/or MSRs, and we may not be able to obtain and/or maintain such licenses.

Certain jurisdictions require a license to purchase, hold, enforce or sell residential mortgage loans and/or MSRs. We currently do not hold any such licenses. In the event that any licensing requirement is applicable to us, there can be no assurance that we will obtain such licenses or, if obtained, that we will be able to maintain them. Our failure to obtain or maintain such licenses could restrict our ability to invest in loans in these jurisdictions if such licensing requirements are applicable. With respect to mortgage loans, in lieu of obtaining such licenses, we may contribute our acquired residential mortgage loans to one or more wholly owned trusts whose trustee is a national bank, which may be exempt from state licensing requirements. We have formed one or more subsidiaries to apply for certain state licenses. If these subsidiaries obtain the required licenses, any trust holding loans in the applicable jurisdictions may transfer such loans to such subsidiaries, resulting in these loans being held by a state-licensed entity. There can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain the requisite licenses in a timely manner or at all or in all necessary jurisdictions, or that the use of the trusts will reduce the requirement for licensing. In addition, even if we obtain necessary licenses, we may not be able to maintain them. Any of these circumstances could limit our ability to invest in residential mortgage loans or MSRs in the future and have a material adverse effect on us.

Our determination of how much leverage to apply to our investments may adversely affect our return on our investments and may reduce cash available for distribution.

We leverage certain of our assets through a variety of borrowings. Our investment guidelines do not limit the amount of leverage we may incur with respect to any specific asset or pool of assets. The return we are able to earn on our investments and cash available for distribution to our stockholders may be significantly reduced due to changes in market conditions, which may cause the cost of our financing to increase relative to the income that can be derived from our assets.

A significant portion of our investments are not match funded, which may increase the risks associated with these investments.

When available, a match funding strategy mitigates the risk of not being able to refinance an investment on favorable terms or at all. However, our Manager may elect for us to bear a level of refinancing risk on a short-term or longer-term basis, as in the case of investments financed with repurchase agreements, when, based on its analysis, our Manager determines that bearing such risk is advisable or unavoidable (as is the case with our investments in servicer advances and our Agency and Non-Agency RMBS portfolios). In addition, we may be unable, as a result of conditions in the credit markets, to match fund our investments. For example since the 2008 recession, non-recourse term financing not subject to margin requirements has been more difficult to obtain, which impairs our ability to match fund our investments. Moreover, we may not be able to enter into interest rate swaps. A decision not to, or the inability to, match fund certain investments exposes us to additional risks.

Furthermore, we anticipate that, in most cases, for any period during which our floating rate assets are not match funded with respect to maturity (as is the case with most of our RMBS portfolios), the income from such assets may respond more slowly to interest rate fluctuations than the cost of our borrowings. Because of this dynamic, interest income from such investments may rise more slowly than the related interest expense, with a consequent decrease in our net income. Interest rate fluctuations resulting in our interest expense exceeding interest income would result in operating losses for us from these investments.

Accordingly, to the extent our investments are not match funded with respect to maturities and interest rates, we are exposed to the risk that we may not be able to finance or refinance our investments on economically favorable terms, or at all, or may have to liquidate assets at a loss.


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Interest rate fluctuations and shifts in the yield curve may cause losses.

Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors, including governmental monetary and tax policies, domestic and international economic and political considerations and other factors beyond our control. Our primary interest rate exposures relate to our investments in Excess MSRs, servicer advances, RMBS, consumer loans and any floating rate debt obligations that we may incur. Changes in interest rates, including changes in expected interest rates or “yield curves,” affect our business in a number of ways. Changes in the general level of interest rates can affect our net interest income, which is the difference between the interest income earned on our interest-earning assets and the interest expense incurred in connection with our interest-bearing liabilities and hedges. Changes in the level of interest rates also can affect, among other things, our ability to acquire real estate related securities at attractive prices, the value of our real estate related securities and derivatives and our ability to realize gains from the sale of such assets. We may wish to use hedging transactions to protect certain positions from interest rate fluctuations, but we may not be able to do so as a result of market conditions, REIT rules or other reasons. In such event, interest rate fluctuations could adversely affect our financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.

In the event of a significant rising interest rate environment and/or economic downturn, loan and collateral defaults may increase and result in credit losses that would adversely affect our liquidity and operating results.

Our ability to execute our business strategy, particularly the growth of our investment portfolio, depends to a significant degree on our ability to obtain additional capital. Our financing strategy for our real estate related securities and loans is dependent on our ability to place the debt we use to finance our investments at rates that provide a positive net spread. If spreads for such liabilities widen or if demand for such liabilities ceases to exist, then our ability to execute future financings will be severely restricted.

Interest rate changes may also impact our net book value as our real estate related securities are marked to market each quarter. Debt obligations are not marked to market. Generally, as interest rates increase, the value of our fixed rate securities decreases, which will decrease the book value of our equity.

Furthermore, shifts in the U.S. Treasury yield curve reflecting an increase in interest rates would also affect the yield required on our real estate related securities and therefore their value. For example, increasing interest rates would reduce the value of the fixed rate assets we hold at the time because the higher yields required by increased interest rates result in lower market prices on existing fixed rate assets in order to adjust the yield upward to meet the market, and vice versa. This would have similar effects on our real estate related securities portfolio and our financial position and operations to a change in interest rates generally.

Any hedging transactions that we enter into may limit our gains or result in losses.

We may use, when feasible and appropriate, derivatives to hedge a portion of our interest rate exposure, and this approach has certain risks, including the risk that losses on a hedge position will reduce the cash available for distribution to stockholders and that such losses may exceed the amount invested in such instruments. We have adopted a general policy with respect to the use of derivatives, which generally allows us to use derivatives where appropriate, but does not set forth specific policies and procedures or require that we hedge any specific amount of risk. From time to time, we may use derivative instruments, including forwards, futures, swaps and options, in our risk management strategy to limit the effects of changes in interest rates on our operations. A hedge may not be effective in eliminating all of the risks inherent in any particular position. Our profitability may be adversely affected during any period as a result of the use of derivatives.

There are limits to the ability of any hedging strategy to protect us completely against interest rate risks. When rates change, we expect the gain or loss on derivatives to be offset by a related but inverse change in the value of any items that we hedge. We cannot assure you, however, that our use of derivatives will offset the risks related to changes in interest rates. We cannot assure you that our hedging strategy and the derivatives that we use will adequately offset the risk of interest rate volatility or that our hedging transactions will not result in losses. In addition, our hedging strategy may limit our flexibility by causing us to refrain from taking certain actions that would be potentially profitable but would cause adverse consequences under the terms of our hedging arrangements. The REIT provisions of the Internal Revenue Code limit our ability to hedge. In managing our hedge instruments, we consider the effect of the expected hedging income on the REIT qualification tests that limit the amount of gross income that a REIT may receive from hedging. We need to carefully monitor, and may have to limit, our hedging strategy to assure that we do not realize hedging income, or hold hedges having a value, in excess of the amounts that would cause us to fail the REIT gross income and asset tests. See “—Risks Related to Our Taxation as a REIT—Complying with the REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively.”


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Accounting for derivatives under GAAP is extremely complicated. Any failure by us to account for our derivatives properly in accordance with GAAP in our financial statements could adversely affect us. In addition, under applicable accounting standards, we may be required to treat some of our investments as derivatives, which could adversely affect our results of operations.

Maintenance of our 1940 Act exclusion imposes limits on our operations.

We intend to continue to conduct our operations so that neither we nor any of our subsidiaries are required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act. We believe we will not be considered an investment company under Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act because we will not engage primarily, or hold ourselves out as being engaged primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. However, under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act, because we are a holding company that will conduct its businesses primarily through wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries, the securities issued by our subsidiaries that are excluded from the definition of “investment company” under Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, together with any other investment securities we may own, may not have a combined value in excess of 40% of the value of our total assets (exclusive of U.S. Government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis . For purposes of the foregoing, we currently treat our SLS-serviced servicer advances and our subsidiaries that hold consumer loans as investment securities because these subsidiaries presently rely on the exclusion provided by Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act. The 40% test under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act limits the types of businesses in which we may engage through our subsidiaries. In addition, the assets we and our subsidiaries may originate or acquire are limited by the provisions of the 1940 Act and the rules and regulations promulgated under the 1940 Act, which may adversely affect our business.

If the value of securities issued by our subsidiaries that are excluded from the definition of “investment company” by Section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act, together with any other investment securities we own, exceeds the 40% test under Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the 1940 Act (e.g., the value of our interests in the taxable REIT subsidiaries that hold servicer advances increases significantly in proportion to the value of our other assets), or if one or more of such subsidiaries fail to maintain an exclusion or exception from the 1940 Act, we could, among other things, be required either (a) to substantially change the manner in which we conduct our operations to avoid being required to register as an investment company or (b) to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act, either of which could have an adverse effect on us and the market price of our securities. As discussed above, for purposes of the foregoing, we generally treat our interests in our SLS-serviced servicer advances and our subsidiaries that hold consumer loans as investment securities because these subsidiaries presently rely on the exclusion provided by Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act. If we or any of our subsidiaries were required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act, the registered entity would become subject to substantial regulation with respect to capital structure (including the ability to use leverage), management, operations, transactions with affiliated persons (as defined in the 1940 Act), portfolio composition, including restrictions with respect to diversification and industry concentration, compliance with reporting, record keeping, voting, proxy disclosure and other rules and regulations that would significantly change our operations.

Failure to maintain an exclusion would require us to significantly restructure our investment strategy. For example, because affiliate transactions are generally prohibited under the 1940 Act, we would not be able to enter into transactions with any of our affiliates if we are required to register as an investment company, and we might be required to terminate our Management Agreement and any other agreements with affiliates, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to operate our business and pay distributions. If we were required to register us as an investment company but failed to do so, we would be prohibited from engaging in our business, and criminal and civil actions could be brought against us. In addition, our contracts would be unenforceable unless a court required enforcement, and a court could appoint a receiver to take control of us and liquidate our business.

For purposes of the foregoing, we treat our interests in certain of our wholly owned and majority owned subsidiaries, which constitutes more than 60% of the value of our adjusted total assets on an unconsolidated basis, as non-investment securities because such subsidiaries qualify for exclusion from the definition of an investment company under the 1940 Act pursuant to Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act. The Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion is available for entities “primarily engaged” in the business of “purchasing or otherwise acquiring mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate.” The Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion generally requires that at least 55% of these subsidiaries’ assets must comprise qualifying real estate assets and at least 80% of each of their portfolios must comprise qualifying real estate assets and real estate-related assets under the 1940 Act. We expect each of our subsidiaries relying on Section 3(c)(5)(C) to rely on guidance published by the SEC staff or on our analyses of such guidance to determine which assets are qualifying real estate assets and real estate-related assets. However, the SEC’s guidance was issued in accordance with factual situations that may be substantially different from the factual situations each of our subsidiaries may face, and much of the guidance was issued more than 20 years ago. No assurance can be given that the SEC staff will concur with the classification of each of our subsidiaries’ assets. In addition, the SEC staff may, in the future, issue further guidance that may require us to re-classify some of our subsidiaries’ assets for purposes of qualifying for an exclusion from regulation under the 1940 Act. For example, the SEC and its staff have not published guidance with respect to the treatment of whole pool Non-Agency RMBS for purposes of the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion. Accordingly, based on our own judgment and analysis of the guidance from the SEC and its staff identifying Agency whole pool certificates as qualifying real estate assets under Section 3(c)(5)(C), we

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treat whole pool Non-Agency RMBS issued with respect to an underlying pool of mortgage loans in which our subsidiary relying on Section 3(c)(5)(C) holds all of the certificates issued by the pool as qualifying real estate assets. Based on our own judgment and analysis of the guidance from the SEC and its staff with respect to analogous assets, we treat Excess MSRs as real estate-related assets for purposes of satisfying the 80% test under the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion. If we are required to re-classify any of our subsidiaries’ assets, including those subsidiaries holding whole pool Non-Agency RMBS and/or Excess MSRs, such subsidiaries may no longer be in compliance with the exclusion from the definition of an “investment company” provided by Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act, and in turn, we may not satisfy the requirements to avoid falling within the definition of an “investment company” provided by Section 3(a)(1)(C). To the extent that the SEC staff publishes new or different guidance or disagrees with our analysis with respect to any assets of our subsidiaries we have determined to be qualifying real estate assets or real estate-related assets, we may be required to adjust our strategy accordingly. In addition, we may be limited in our ability to make certain investments and these limitations could result in a subsidiary holding assets we might wish to sell or selling assets we might wish to hold.

In August 2011, the SEC issued a concept release soliciting public comments on a wide range of issues relating to companies engaged in the business of acquiring mortgages and mortgage-related instruments and that rely on Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the 1940 Act. Therefore, there can be no assurance that the laws and regulations governing the 1940 Act status of REITs, or guidance from the SEC or its staff regarding the Section 3(c)(5)(C) exclusion, will not change in a manner that adversely affects our operations. If we or our subsidiaries fail to maintain an exclusion or exception from the 1940 Act, we could, among other things, be required either to (a) change the manner in which we conduct our operations to avoid being required to register as an investment company, (b) effect sales of our assets in a manner that, or at a time when, we would not otherwise choose to do so, or (c) register as an investment company, any of which could negatively affect the value of our common stock, the sustainability of our business model, and our ability to make distributions. In addition, if we or any of our subsidiaries were required to register as an investment company under the 1940 Act, the registered entity would become subject to substantial regulation with respect to capital structure (including the ability to use leverage), management, operations, transactions with affiliated persons (as defined in the 1940 Act), portfolio composition, including restrictions with respect to diversification and industry concentration, compliance with reporting, record keeping, voting, proxy disclosure and other rules and regulations that would significantly change our operations.

Rapid changes in the values of our assets may make it more difficult for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT or our exclusion from the 1940 Act.

If the market value or income potential of qualifying assets for purposes of our qualification as a REIT or our exclusion from registration as an investment company under the 1940 Act declines as a result of increased interest rates, changes in prepayment rates or other factors, or the market value or income from non-qualifying assets increases, we may need to increase our investments in qualifying assets and/or liquidate our non-qualifying assets to maintain our REIT qualification or our exclusion from registration under the 1940 Act. If the change in market values or income occurs quickly, this may be especially difficult to accomplish. This difficulty may be exacerbated by the illiquid nature of any non-qualifying assets we may own. We may have to make investment decisions that we otherwise would not make absent the intent to maintain our qualification as a REIT and exclusion from registration under the 1940 Act.

We are subject to significant competition, and we may not compete successfully.

We are subject to significant competition in seeking investments. We compete with other companies, including other REITs, insurance companies and other investors, including funds and companies affiliated with our Manager. Some of our competitors have greater resources than we possess or have greater access to capital or various types of financing structures than are available to us, and we may not be able to compete successfully for investments or provide attractive investment returns relative to our competitors. These competitors may be willing to accept lower returns on their investments and, as a result, our profit margins could be adversely affected. Furthermore, competition for investments that are suitable for us may lead to the returns available from such investments decreasing, which may further limit our ability to generate our desired returns. We cannot assure you that other companies will not be formed that compete with us for investments or otherwise pursue investment strategies similar to ours or that we will be able to compete successfully against any such companies.

Furthermore, we currently do not have a mortgage servicing platform. Therefore, we may not be an attractive buyer for those sellers of MSRs that prefer to sell MSRs and their mortgage servicing platform in a single transaction. Since our business model does not currently include acquiring and running servicing platforms, to engage in a bid for such a business we would need to find a servicer to acquire and run the platform or we would need to incur additional costs to shut down the acquired servicing platform. The need to work with a servicer in these situations increases the complexity of such potential acquisitions, and Nationstar, Ocwen and our other servicers may be unwilling or unable to act as servicer or subservicer on any acquisitions of Excess MSRs or servicer advances we want to execute. The complexity of these transactions and the additional costs incurred by us if we were to execute future acquisitions of this type could adversely affect our future operating results.

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The valuations of our assets are subject to uncertainty because most of our assets are not traded in an active market.

There is not anticipated to be an active market for most of the assets in which we will invest. In the absence of market comparisons, we will use other pricing methodologies, including, for example, models based on assumptions regarding expected trends, historical trends following market conditions believed to be comparable to the then current market conditions and other factors believed at the time to be likely to influence the potential resale price of, or the potential cash flows derived from, an investment. Such methodologies may not prove to be accurate and any inability to accurately price assets may result in adverse consequences for us. A valuation is only an estimate of value and is not a precise measure of realizable value. Ultimate realization of the market value of a private asset depends to a great extent on economic and other conditions beyond our control. Further, valuations do not necessarily represent the price at which a private investment would sell since market prices of private investments can only be determined by negotiation between a willing buyer and seller. If we were to liquidate a particular private investment, the realized value may be more than or less than the valuation of such asset as carried on our books.

Changes in accounting rules could occur at any time and could impact us in significantly negative ways that we are unable to predict or protect against.

As has been widely publicized, the SEC, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (the “FASB”) and other regulatory bodies that establish the accounting rules applicable to us have recently proposed or enacted a wide array of changes to accounting rules. Moreover, in the future these regulators may propose additional changes that we do not currently anticipate. Changes to accounting rules that apply to us could significantly impact our business or our reported financial performance in negative ways that we cannot predict or protect against. We cannot predict whether any changes to current accounting rules will occur or what impact any codified changes will have on our business, results of operations, liquidity or financial condition.

A prolonged economic slowdown, a lengthy or severe recession, or declining real estate values could harm our operations.

We believe the risks associated with our business are more severe during periods in which an economic slowdown or recession is accompanied by declining real estate values, as was the case in 2008. Declining real estate values generally reduce the level of new mortgage loan originations, since borrowers often use increases in the value of their existing properties to support the purchase of, or investment in, additional properties. Borrowers may also be less able to pay principal and interest on the loans underlying our securities, Excess MSRs and servicer advances, if the real estate economy weakens. Further, declining real estate values significantly increase the likelihood that we will incur losses on our securities in the event of default because the value of our collateral may be insufficient to cover our basis. Any sustained period of increased payment delinquencies, foreclosures or losses could adversely affect our net interest income from the assets in our portfolio, which would significantly harm our revenues, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity, business prospects and our ability to make distributions to our stockholders.

Compliance with changing regulation of corporate governance and public disclosure has and will continue to result in increased compliance costs and pose challenges for our management team.

Many aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act are subject to rulemaking and will take effect over several years, making it difficult to anticipate the overall financial impact on us and, more generally, the financial services and mortgage industries. Additionally, we cannot predict whether there will be additional proposed laws or reforms that would affect us, whether or when such changes may be adopted, how such changes may be interpreted and enforced or how such changes may affect us. However, the costs of complying with any additional laws or regulations could have a material effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Stockholder or other litigation against HLSS and/or us could result in the payment of damages and/or may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.

Transactions such as the HLSS Acquisition (see Note 1 to our Consolidated Financial Statements) often give rise to lawsuits by stockholders or other third parties. Stockholders may, among other things, assert claims relating to the parties’ mutual agreement to terminate the Agreement and Plan of Merger (the “HLSS Initial Merger Agreement”). Stockholders may also assert claims relating to the fact that HLSS no longer owns any significant assets other than the cash received from us in the HLSS Acquisition and any cash proceeds it received pursuant to its sale of our common stock. The defense or settlement of any lawsuit or claim regarding the HLSS Acquisition may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity. Further, such litigation could be costly and could divert our time and attention from the operation of the business.

On May 22, 2015, a purported stockholder of the Company, Chester County Employees’ Retirement Fund, filed a class action and derivative action in the Delaware Court of Chancery purportedly on behalf of all stockholders and the Company, titled Chester County Employees’ Retirement Fund v. New Residential Investment Corp., et al., C.A. No. 11058-VCMR. On October 30, 2015,

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plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. The lawsuit names the Company, our directors, our Manager, Fortress and Fortress Operating Entity I LP as defendants, and alleges breaches of fiduciary duties by the Company, our directors, our Manager, Fortress and Fortress Operating Entity I LP in connection with the HLSS Acquisition. The lawsuit also seeks declaratory judgment, among other things, as to the applicability of Article Twelfth of the Company’s Certificate of Incorporation and as to the validity of the release of claims of the Company’s stockholders related to the termination of the HLSS Initial Merger Agreement. The Amended Complaint seeks declaratory relief, equitable relief and damages. On December 11, 2015, defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint, and on February 23, 2016, plaintiffs filed a response. The Company intends to vigorously defend against the lawsuit.

We may be unable to successfully integrate the acquired assets and assumed liabilities.

Achieving the anticipated benefits of the HLSS Acquisition is subject to a number of uncertainties, including, without limitation, whether we are able to integrate HLSS’s assets and manage the assumed liabilities efficiently. HLSS depends on Ocwen for significant accounting and operational support, which could exacerbate the difficulties associated with acquiring these assets and impair our ability to produce accurate financial information on a timely basis, as required by the SEC. It is possible that the integration process could take longer than anticipated and could result in additional and unforeseen expenses, the disruption of our ongoing business, processes and systems, or inconsistencies in standards, controls, procedures, practices and policies, any of which could adversely affect our ability to achieve the anticipated benefits of the HLSS Acquisition. There may be increased risk due to integrating the assets into our financial reporting and internal control systems. Difficulties in adding the assets into our business could also result in the loss of contract counterparties or other persons with whom we or HLSS conduct business and potential disputes or litigation with contract counterparties or other persons with whom we or HLSS conduct business. We could also be adversely affected by any issues attributable to either company’s operations that arise or are based on events or actions that occurred prior to the closing of the HLSS Acquisition. The integration process is subject to a number of uncertainties, and no assurance can be given that the anticipated benefits will be realized in their entirety or at all or, if realized, the timing of their realization. Failure to achieve these anticipated benefits could result in increased costs or decreases in the amount of expected revenues and could adversely affect our future business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows.

We are responsible for certain of HLSS’s contingent and other corporate liabilities.

Under the HLSS Acquisition Agreement, we have assumed and are responsible for the payment of HLSS’s contingent and other corporate liabilities of: (i) liabilities for litigation relating to, arising out of or resulting from certain lawsuits in which HLSS is named as the defendant, (ii) HLSS’s tax liabilities, (iii) HLSS’s corporate liabilities, (iv) generally any actions with respect to the HLSS Acquisition brought by any third party and (v) payments under contracts. We currently cannot estimate the amount we may ultimately be responsible for as a result of assuming substantially all of HLSS’s contingent and other corporate liabilities. The amount for which we are ultimately responsible may be material and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity. In addition, certain claims and lawsuits may require significant costs to defend and resolve and may divert management’s attention away from other aspects of operating and managing our business, each of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.
 
In August 2014, HLSS restated its consolidated financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2014, and for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, including the quarterly periods within those years, to correct the valuation and the related effect on amortization of its Notes Receivable-Rights to MSRs that resulted from a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting.

On September 15, 2014, the SEC instituted an investigation into HLSS’s restatement of its consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 and for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 and disclosures concerning related party transactions (the “HLSS Investigation”). HLSS agreed to resolve such matter by consenting to the entry of a Cease and Desist Order, without admitting or denying that HLSS violated Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, and 13a-13 promulgated thereunder, and to a settlement payment of $1.5 million to the SEC. On October 5, 2015, the terms of the settlement were approved and accepted by the SEC. Pursuant to the HLSS Acquisition Agreement, the Company acquired substantially all of the assets of HLSS and assumed substantially all of the liabilities of HLSS, including the obligation for the aforementioned settlement payment. The matter giving rise to the HLSS Investigation and related settlement is unrelated to any activities of the Company.

On March 23, 2015, HLSS received a subpoena from the SEC requesting that it provide information concerning communications between HLSS and certain investment advisors and hedge funds. The SEC also requested documents relating to HLSS’s structure, certain governance documents and any investigations or complaints connected to trading in HLSS’s securities. We are cooperating with the SEC in this matter.


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Two shareholder derivative actions have been filed purportedly on behalf of Ocwen naming as defendants HLSS and certain current and former directors and officers of Ocwen, including former HLSS Chairman William C. Erbey, entitled (i) Sokolowski v. Erbey, et al., No. 9:14-CV-81601 (S.D. Fla.), filed on December 24, 2014 (the “Sokolowski Action”), and (ii) Moncavage v. Faris, et al., No. 2015CA003244 (Fla. Palm Beach Cty. Ct.), filed on March 20, 2015 (collectively, with the Sokolowski Action, the “Ocwen Derivative Actions”). The original complaint in the Sokolowski Action named as defendants certain current and former directors and officers of Ocwen, including former HLSS Chairman William C. Erbey. On February 11, 2015, plaintiff in the Sokolowski Action filed an amended complaint naming additional defendants, including HLSS. On January 8, 2016, two related derivative actions – Hutt v. Erbey, et al., No. 9:15-CV-81709 (S.D. Fla.) and Lowinger v. Erbey, et al., No. 0:15-CV-62628 (S.D. Fla.) – were consolidated with the Sokolowski Action. On February 17, 2016, the court appointed lead counsel and ordered that lead counsel file a consolidated complaint on or before March 8, 2016. The Ocwen Derivative Actions assert a cause of action for aiding and abetting certain alleged breaches of fiduciary duty under Florida law against HLSS and others, and claim that HLSS (i) substantially assisted Ocwen’s alleged wrongful conduct by purchasing Ocwen’s MSRs and (ii) received improper benefits as a result of its business dealings with Ocwen due to Mr. Erbey’s purported control over both HLSS and Ocwen. Additionally, the Sokolowski Action asserts a cause of action for unjust enrichment against HLSS and others. The Ocwen Derivative Actions seek money damages from HLSS in an amount to be proven at trial. We intend to vigorously defend these lawsuits.

Three putative class action lawsuits have been filed against HLSS and certain of its current and former officers and directors in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entitled: (i) Oliveira v. Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., et al., No. 15-CV-652 (S.D.N.Y.), filed on January 29, 2015; (ii) Berglan v. Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., et al., No. 15-CV-947 (S.D.N.Y.), filed on February 9, 2015; and (iii) W. Palm Beach Police Pension Fund v. Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., et al., No. 15-CV-1063 (S.D.N.Y.), filed on February 13, 2015. On April 2, 2015, these lawsuits were consolidated into a single action, which is referred to as the “Securities Action.” On April 28, 2015, lead plaintiffs, lead counsel and liaison counsel were appointed in the Securities Action. On November 9, 2015, lead plaintiffs filed an amended class action complaint. On January 27, 2016, the Securities Action was transferred to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and given the Index No. 16-CV-60165 (S.D. Fla.).

The Securities Action names as defendants HLSS, former HLSS Chairman William C. Erbey, HLSS Director, President and Chief Executive Officer John P. Van Vlack, and HLSS Chief Financial Officer James E. Lauter. The Securities Action asserts causes of action under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 based on certain public disclosures made by HLSS relating to its relationship with Ocwen and HLSS’s risk management and internal controls. More specifically, the consolidated class action complaint alleges that a series of statements in HLSS’s disclosures were materially false and misleading, including statements about (i) Ocwen’s servicing capabilities; (ii) HLSS’s contingencies and legal proceedings; (iii) its risk management and internal controls; and (iv) certain related party transactions. The consolidated class action complaint also appears to allege that HLSS’s financial statements for the years ended 2012 and 2013, and the first quarter ended March 30, 2014, were false and misleading based on HLSS’s August 18, 2014 restatement. Lead plaintiffs in the Securities Action also allege that HLSS misled investors by failing to disclose, among other things, information regarding governmental investigations of Ocwen’s business practices. Lead plaintiffs seek money damages under the Securities Exchange Act in an amount to be proven at trial and reasonable costs, expenses, and fees. We intend to vigorously defend the Securities Action and consistent therewith on February 11, 2015, defendants filed motions to dismiss the Securities Action in its entirety.

On March 11, 2015, plaintiff David Rattner filed a shareholder derivative action purportedly on behalf of HLSS entitled Rattner v. Van Vlack, et al., No. 2015CA002833 (Fla. Palm Beach Cty. Ct.) (the “HLSS Derivative Action”). The lawsuit names as defendants HLSS directors John P. Van Vlack, Robert J. McGinnis, Kerry Kennedy, Richard J. Lochrie, and David B. Reiner (collectively, the “Director Defendants”), New Residential Investment Corp., and Hexagon Merger Sub, Ltd. The HLSS Derivative Action alleges that the Director Defendants breached their fiduciary duties of due care, diligence, loyalty, honesty and good faith and the duty to act in the best interests of HLSS under Cayman law and claims that the Director Defendants approved a proposed merger with New Residential Investment Corp. that (i) provided inadequate consideration to HLSS’s shareholders, (ii) included unfair deal protection devices, and (iii) was the result of an inadequate process due to conflicts of interest. On July 8, 2015, the complaint was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.

Refer to “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Stockholder or other litigation against HLSS and/or us could result in the payment of damages and/or may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition results of operations and liquidity” for a description of the Chester County Employees’ Retirement Fund litigation.

We cannot guarantee that we will not receive further regulatory inquiries or be subject to litigation regarding the subject matter of the subpoenas or matters relating thereto, or that existing inquires, or, should they occur, any future regulatory inquiries or litigation, will not consume internal resources, result in additional legal and consulting costs or negatively impact our stock price.


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We could be materially and adversely affected by events, conditions or actions that might occur at HLSS or Ocwen.

HLSS acquired assets and assumed liabilities could be adversely affected as a result of events or conditions that occurred or existed before the closing of the HLSS Acquisition. Adverse changes in the assets or liabilities we have acquired or assumed, respectively, as part of the HLSS Acquisition, could occur or arise as a result of actions by HLSS or Ocwen, legal or regulatory developments, including the emergence or unfavorable resolution of pre-acquisition loss contingencies, deteriorating general business, market, industry or economic conditions, and other factors both within and beyond the control of HLSS or Ocwen. We are subject to a variety of risks as a result of our dependence on mortgage servicers such as Nationstar and Ocwen, including, without limitation, the potential loss of all of the value of our Excess MSRs in the event that the servicer of the underlying loans is terminated by the mortgage loan owner or RMBS bondholders. A significant decline in the value of HLSS assets or a significant increase in HLSS liabilities we have acquired could adversely affect our future business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. HLSS is subject to a number of other risks and uncertainties, including regulatory investigations and legal proceedings against HLSS, and others with whom HLSS conducted and conducts business. Moreover, any insurance proceeds received with respect to such matters may be inadequate to cover the associated losses. Ocwen disclosed in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2014 that it received a subpoena from the SEC “requesting production of various documents relating to its business dealings from Altisource Portfolio Solutions, S.A., HLSS, Altisource Asset Management Corporation and Altisource Residential Corporation and the interests of its directors and executive officers in these companies.” Ocwen subsequently disclosed in its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2014 that it received an additional subpoena from the SEC related to an amendment to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. Ocwen subsequently disclosed in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 that it received a further subpoena from the SEC requesting certain documents related to Ocwen’s agreement with Southwest Business Corporation and related to former HLSS and Ocwen Chairman William C. Erbey’s approvals for specifically enumerated board actions. Ocwen subsequently settled these investigations with the SEC in January 2016. Ocwen also disclosed that it received a letter from the SEC staff dated February 10, 2015 informing it that the SEC was conducting an investigation relating to mortgage loan servicer use of collection agents and requesting voluntary production of documents and information. Adverse developments at Ocwen, including liquidity issues, ratings downgrades, defaults under debt agreements, servicer rating downgrades, failure to comply with the terms of PSAs, termination under PSAs, Ocwen bankruptcy proceedings and additional regulatory issues and settlements, could have a material adverse effect on us. See “—We rely heavily on mortgage servicers to achieve our investment objective and have no direct ability to influence their performance.”

HLSS failed to timely file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014.

On March 3, 2015, HLSS filed a Form 12b-25 with the SEC, stating that HLSS required additional time to complete its Annual Report in order to complete an assessment of recent events related to HLSS’s business and determine the impact on HLSS’s financial statements and related disclosures. In this filing, HLSS also stated that it expected to file the Annual Report within the fifteen (15) day extension period under Rule 12b-25(b)(ii) of the Exchange Act, or by March 18, 2015. HLSS filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 on April 6, 2015.

On March 18, 2015, HLSS filed a Current Report on Form 8-K with the SEC that disclosed that HLSS would need additional time to complete its Annual Report “to prepare information relating to its ability to operate as a going concern.” Also on March 18, 2015, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC notified HLSS that it was no longer in compliance with NASDAQ Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) for continued listing because of the failure to timely file its Annual Report, and HLSS was given until May 18, 2015 to submit a plan to regain compliance. On April 20, 2015, HLSS filed a Current Report on Form 8-K with the SEC that disclosed that HLSS had received a letter from The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC notifying HLSS that it would be delisted pursuant to Listing Rule 5101. HLSS did not appeal this decision and was delisted on April 29, 2015.

On March 20, 2015, HLSS entered into an amendment to its term loan in order to extend to April 10, 2015 the deadline thereunder for HLSS to furnish its annual financial statements, and to amend certain terms of the cross-default to HLSS’s advance financing facilities. In addition, consent was granted thereunder to permit certain amendments to the Ocwen subservicing agreement.

We cannot guarantee that we will not receive further inquiries or be subject to litigation regarding HLSS’s failure to timely file its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 or that any future inquiries or litigation will not consume internal resources, result in significant legal and consulting costs or negatively impact our stock price.


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Our ability to borrow may be adversely affected by the suspension or delay of the rating of the notes issued under the NRART facility, the HSART facility and the existing “HSART II facility” or other future advance facilities by the credit agency providing the ratings.

All or substantially all of the notes issued under the New Residential Advance Receivables Trust (“NRART”) facility, the HLSS Servicer Advance Receivables Trust (“HSART”) facility and the existing “HSART II facility” are rated by one rating agency and we may sponsor advance facilities in the future that are rated by credit agencies. The related agency may suspend rating notes backed by servicer advances at any time. Rating agency delays may result in our inability to obtain timely ratings on new notes, which could adversely impact the availability of borrowings or the interest rates, advance rates or other financing terms and adversely affect our results of operations and liquidity. Further, if we are unable to secure ratings from other agencies, limited investor demand for unrated notes could result in further adverse changes to our liquidity and profitability.

A downgrade of certain of the notes issued under the NRART facility, the HSART and HSART II facilities or other future advance facilities would cause such notes to become due and payable prior to their expected repayment date/maturity date, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.

Regulatory scrutiny regarding foreclosure processes could lengthen foreclosure timelines, which could increase advances and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.

When a mortgage loan is in foreclosure, the servicer is generally required to continue to advance delinquent principal and interest to the securitization trust and to also make advances for delinquent taxes and insurance and foreclosure costs and the upkeep of vacant property in foreclosure to the extent we determine that such amounts are recoverable. These servicer advances are generally recovered when the delinquency is resolved. Foreclosure moratoria or other actions that lengthen the foreclosure process increase the amount of servicer advances, lengthen the time it takes for reimbursement of such advances and increase the costs incurred during the foreclosure process. In addition, advance financing facilities generally contain provisions that limit the eligibility of servicer advances to be financed based on the length of time that servicer advances are outstanding, and, as a result, an increase in foreclosure timelines could further increase the amount of servicer advances that need to be funded from the related servicer’s own capital. Such increases in foreclosure timelines could increase the need for capital to fund servicer advances, which would increase our interest expense, delay the collection of interest income or servicing fee revenue until the foreclosure has been resolved and, therefore, reduce the cash that we have available to pay our operating expenses or to pay dividends. According to Ocwen’s public disclosure, on April 28, 2014, Ocwen received a letter from the staff of the New York Regional Office of the SEC informing Ocwen that the SEC was conducting an investigation relating to Ocwen and making a request for voluntary production of documents and information relating to the April 22, 2014 surrender of certain options to purchase its common stock by Mr. Erbey, its former Executive Chairman, including the 2007 Equity Incentive Plan and the related option grant and surrender documents. On June 12, 2014, Ocwen received a subpoena from the SEC requesting production of various documents relating to its business dealings with HLSS, Altisource Portfolio Solutions, S.A., Altisource Asset Management Corporation and Altisource Residential Corporation and the interests of its directors and executive officers in these companies. Ocwen has also disclosed that it received an additional subpoena from the SEC related to its amendments to its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2014. Ocwen subsequently disclosed in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014 that it received a further subpoena from the SEC requesting certain documents related to Ocwen’s agreement with Southwest Business Corporation and related to former HLSS and Ocwen Chairman William C. Erbey’s approvals for specifically enumerated board actions, and that it received a letter from the SEC staff dated February 10, 2015 informing it that the SEC was conducting an investigation relating to mortgage loan servicer use of collection agents and requesting voluntary production of documents and information.

Certain of our servicers have triggered termination events or events of default under some PSAs underlying the MSRs with respect to which we are entitled to the basic fee component or Excess MSRs, and the parties to the related securitization transactions could enforce their rights against such servicer as a result.

If a servicer termination event or event of default occurs under a PSA, the servicer may be terminated without any right to compensation for its loss from the trustee for the securitization trust, other than the right to be reimbursed for any outstanding servicer advances as the related loans are brought current, modified, liquidated or charged off. So long as we are in compliance with our obligations under our servicing agreements and purchase agreements, if a servicer is terminated as servicer, we may have the right to receive an indemnification payment from such servicer, even if such termination related to servicer termination events or events of default existing at the time of any transaction with such servicer. If one of our servicers is terminated as servicer under a PSA, we will lose any investment related to such servicer’s MSRs. If such servicer is terminated as servicer with respect to a PSA and we are unable to enforce our contractual rights against such servicer or if such servicer is unable to make any resulting indemnification payments to us, if any such payment is due and payable, it may have a material adverse effect on our financial

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condition, results of operations, ability to make distributions, liquidity and financing arrangements, including our advance financing facilities, and may make it more difficult for us to acquire additional MSRs in the future.

During February and March 2015, Ocwen received two notices of servicer termination affecting four separate PSAs related to MSRs related to the transactions contemplated by the Ocwen Purchase Agreement (see Note 1 to our Consolidated Financial Statements). Ocwen could be subject to further terminations as a result of its failure to maintain required minimum servicer ratings, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financing activities, financial condition and results of operations.

On January 23, 2015, Gibbs & Bruns LLP, on behalf of its clients, issued a press release regarding the notices of nonperformance provided to various trustees in relation to Ocwen’s servicing practices under 119 residential mortgage-backed securities trusts. Of these transactions, 90 relate to agreements for MSRs related to the transactions contemplated by the Ocwen Purchase Agreement. It is possible that Ocwen could be terminated for other servicing agreements related to such MSRs.

On January 29, 2015, Moody’s downgraded Ocwen’s SQ assessment from SQ3+ to SQ3- as a primary servicer of subprime residential loans and as a special servicer of residential mortgage loans. During February 2015, Fitch Ratings downgraded Ocwen’s residential primary servicer rating for subprime products from “RPS3” to “RPS4” and, in February 2016, upgraded such rating to “RPS3-.” During February 2015, Morningstar also downgraded Ocwen’s residential primary servicer rating from “MOR RS2” to “MOR RS3.” On June 18, 2015, S&P downgraded Ocwen’s ratings as a residential mortgage prime, subprime, special, and subordinate-lien servicer from “average” to “below average.” On October 1, 2015, S&P downgraded Ocwen’s master servicer rating to “below average.”

The performance of loans that we acquired in the HLSS Acquisition may be adversely affected by the performance of parties who service or subservice these mortgage loans.

HLSS and its subsidiaries acquired by us in the HLSS Acquisition contracted with third parties for the servicing of the mortgage loans in its early buy-out (“EBO”) portfolio. The performance of this portfolio and our ability to finance this portfolio are subject to risks associated with inadequate or untimely servicing. If our servicers or subservicers commit a material breach of their obligations as a servicer, we may be subject to damages if the breach is not cured within a specified period of time following notice. In addition, we may be required to indemnify an investor or our lenders against losses from any failure of our servicer or subservicer to perform the servicing obligations properly. Poor performance by a servicer or subservicer may result in greater than expected delinquencies and foreclosures and losses on our mortgage loans. A substantial increase in our delinquency or foreclosure rate or the inability to process claims in accordance with Ginnie Mae or FHA guidelines could adversely affect our ability to access the capital and secondary markets for our financing needs.

Servicing issues in the portfolio of loans that was acquired in the HLSS Acquisition could adversely impact our claims against FHA insurance and result in our reliance on servicer indemnifications which could increase losses.

We will rely on HLSS’s servicers (including Ocwen) to service our Ginnie Mae EBO loans in a manner that supports our ability to make claims to the FHA for shortfalls on these loans. If servicing issues result in the curtailment of FHA insurance claims, we will only have recourse against the servicer for any shortfall. If the servicer is unable to make indemnification payments owed to us under this circumstance, we could incur losses.

Our borrowings collateralized by loans require that we make certain representations and warranties that, if determined to be inaccurate, could require us to repurchase loans or cover losses.

Our financing facilities require us to make certain representations and warranties regarding the loans that collateralize the borrowings. Although we perform due diligence on the loans that we acquire, certain representations and warranties that we make in respect of such loans may ultimately be determined to be inaccurate. In the event of a breach of a representation or warranty, we may be required to repurchase affected loans, make indemnification payments to certain indemnified parties or address any claims associated with such breach. Further, we may have limited or no recourse against the seller from whom we purchased the loans. Such recourse may be limited due to a variety of factors, including the absence of a representation or warranty from the seller corresponding to the representation provided by us or the contractual expiration thereof.

Representations and warranties made by us in our loan sale agreements may subject us to liability.

In March 2015, HLSS sold reperforming loans to an unrelated third party and transferred mortgages into a trust in exchange for cash. We may be liable to purchasers under the related sale agreement for any breaches of representations and warranties made by HLSS at the time the applicable loans are sold. Such representations and warranties may include, but are not limited to, issues such as the validity of the lien; the absence of delinquent taxes or other liens; the loans compliance with all local, state and federal

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laws and the delivery of all documents required to perfect title to the lien. If the purchaser is successful in asserting their claim for recourse, it could adversely affect the availability of financing under loan financing facilities or otherwise adversely impact our results of operations and liquidity. From time to time we sell residential mortgage loans pursuant to loan sale agreements. The risks describe in this paragraph relate to any such sale as well.

Our ability to exercise our cleanup call rights may be limited or delayed if a third party contests our ability to exercise our cleanup call rights, if the related securitization trustee refuses to permit the exercise of such rights, or if a related party is subject to bankruptcy proceedings.

Certain servicing contracts permit more than one party to exercise a cleanup call-meaning the right of a party to collapse a securitization trust by purchasing all of the remaining loans held by the securitization trust pursuant to the terms set forth in the applicable servicing agreement. While the servicers from which we acquired our cleanup call rights (or other servicers from which our servicers acquired MSRs) may be named as the party entitled to exercise such rights, certain third parties may also be permitted to exercise such rights. If any such third party exercises a cleanup call, we could lose our ability to exercise our cleanup call right and, as a result, lose the ability to generate positive returns with respect to the related securitization transaction. In addition, another party could impair our ability to exercise our cleanup call rights by contesting our rights (for example, by claiming that they hold the exclusive cleanup call right with respect to the applicable securitization trust). Moreover, because the ability to exercise a cleanup call right is governed by the terms of the applicable servicing agreement, any ambiguous or conflicting language regarding the exercise of such rights in the agreement may make it more difficult and costly to exercise a cleanup call right. Furthermore, certain servicing contracts provide cleanup call rights to a servicer currently subject to bankruptcy proceedings from which our servicers have acquired MSRs. While, notwithstanding the related bankruptcy proceedings, it is possible that we will be able to exercise the related cleanup calls within our desired time frame, our ability to exercise such rights may be significantly delayed or impaired by the applicable securitization trustee or bankruptcy estate or any additional steps required because of the bankruptcy process. Finally, many of our call rights are not currently exercisable and may not become exercisable for a period of years. As a result, our ability to realize the benefits from these rights will depend on a number of factors at the time they become exercisable many of which are outside our control, including interest rates, conditions in the capital markets and conditions in the residential mortgage market.

New Residential’s subsidiary New Residential Mortgage LLC is or may become subject to significant state and federal regulations.

A subsidiary of NRZ, New Residential Mortgage LLC (“NRM”), is currently in the process of obtaining applicable qualifications, licenses and approvals to own agency and non-agency MSRs in the United States and certain other jurisdictions.  As a result of NRM’s current and expected approvals, NRM is or may in the future become subject to extensive and comprehensive regulation under federal, state and local laws in the United States. These laws and regulations may in the future significantly affect the way that NRM does business, and may subject NRM and New Residential to additional costs and regulatory obligations, which could impact our financial results.
 
NRM’s business may become subject to increasing regulatory oversight and scrutiny in the future as it continues seeking and obtaining state and agency approvals to hold MSRs, which may lead to regulatory investigations or enforcement, including both formal and informal inquiries, from various state and federal agencies as part of those agencies' oversight of the mortgage servicing business.  An adverse result in governmental investigations or examinations or private lawsuits, including purported class action lawsuits, may adversely affect NRM’s and our financial results or result in serious reputational harm. In addition, a number of participants in the mortgage servicing industry have been the subject of purported class action lawsuits and regulatory actions by state regulators, and other industry participants have been the subject of actions by state Attorneys General.

Risks Related to Our Manager

We are dependent on our Manager and may not find a suitable replacement if our Manager terminates the Management Agreement.

None of our officers or other senior individuals who perform services for us is an employee of New Residential. Instead, these individuals are employees of our Manager. Accordingly, we are completely reliant on our Manager, which has significant discretion as to the implementation of our operating policies and strategies, to conduct our business. We are subject to the risk that our Manager will terminate the Management Agreement and that we will not be able to find a suitable replacement for our Manager in a timely manner, at a reasonable cost or at all. Furthermore, we are dependent on the services of certain key employees of our Manager whose compensation is partially or entirely dependent upon the amount of incentive or management compensation earned by our Manager and whose continued service is not guaranteed, and the loss of such services could adversely affect our operations.


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There are conflicts of interest in our relationship with our Manager.

Our Management Agreement with our Manager was not negotiated between unaffiliated parties, and its terms, including fees payable, although approved by the independent directors of New Residential as fair, may not be as favorable to us as if they had been negotiated with an unaffiliated third party.

There are conflicts of interest inherent in our relationship with our Manager insofar as our Manager and its affiliates—including investment funds, private investment funds, or businesses managed by our Manager, including Newcastle, Nationstar and OneMain—invest in real estate related securities, consumer loans and Excess MSRs and servicer advances and whose investment objectives overlap with our investment objectives. Certain investments appropriate for us may also be appropriate for one or more of these other investment vehicles. Certain members of our board of directors and employees of our Manager who are our officers also serve as officers and/or directors of these other entities. For example, we have some of the same directors and officers as Newcastle. Although we have the same Manager, we may compete with entities affiliated with our Manager or Fortress, including Newcastle, for certain target assets. From time to time, affiliates of Fortress focus on investments in assets with a similar profile as our target assets that we may seek to acquire. These affiliates may have meaningful purchasing capacity, which may change over time depending upon a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, available equity capital and debt financing, market conditions and cash on hand. Fortress has two funds primarily focused on investing in Excess MSRs with approximately $0.7 billion in capital commitments in aggregate. We have broad investment guidelines, and we have and may co-invest with Fortress funds or portfolio companies of private equity funds managed by our Manager (or an affiliate thereof) in a variety of investments. We also may invest in securities that are senior or junior to securities owned by funds managed by our Manager. Fortress funds generally have a fee structure similar to ours, but the fees actually paid will vary depending on the size, terms and performance of each fund. Fortress had approximately $70.5 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2015.

Our Management Agreement with our Manager generally does not limit or restrict our Manager or its affiliates from engaging in any business or managing other pooled investment vehicles that invest in investments that meet our investment objectives. Our Manager intends to engage in additional real estate related management and real estate and other investment opportunities in the future, which may compete with us for investments or result in a change in our current investment strategy. In addition, our certificate of incorporation provides that if Fortress or an affiliate or any of their officers, directors or employees acquire knowledge of a potential transaction that could be a corporate opportunity, they have no duty, to the fullest extent permitted by law, to offer such corporate opportunity to us, our stockholders or our affiliates. In the event that any of our directors and officers who is also a director, officer or employee of Fortress or its affiliates acquires knowledge of a corporate opportunity or is offered a corporate opportunity, provided that this knowledge was not acquired solely in such person’s capacity as a director or officer of New Residential and such person acts in good faith, then to the fullest extent permitted by law such person is deemed to have fully satisfied such person’s fiduciary duties owed to us and is not liable to us if Fortress or its affiliates pursues or acquires the corporate opportunity or if such person did not present the corporate opportunity to us.

The ability of our Manager and its officers and employees to engage in other business activities, subject to the terms of our Management Agreement with our Manager, may reduce the amount of time our Manager, its officers or other employees spend managing us. In addition, we may engage (subject to our investment guidelines) in material transactions with our Manager or another entity managed by our Manager or one of its affiliates, including Newcastle, Nationstar and OneMain which may include, but are not limited to, certain financing arrangements, purchases of debt, co-investments in Excess MSRs, consumer loans, servicer advances and other assets that present an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest. It is possible that actual, potential or perceived conflicts could give rise to investor dissatisfaction, litigation or regulatory enforcement actions. Appropriately dealing with conflicts of interest is complex and difficult, and our reputation could be damaged if we fail, or appear to fail, to deal appropriately with one or more potential, actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Regulatory scrutiny of, or litigation in connection with, conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, which could materially adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including causing an inability to raise additional funds, a reluctance of counterparties to do business with us, a decrease in the prices of our equity securities and a resulting increased risk of litigation and regulatory enforcement actions.

The management compensation structure that we have agreed to with our Manager, as well as compensation arrangements that we may enter into with our Manager in the future (in connection with new lines of business or other activities), may incentivize our Manager to invest in high risk investments. In addition to its management fee, our Manager is currently entitled to receive incentive compensation. In evaluating investments and other management strategies, the opportunity to earn incentive compensation may lead our Manager to place undue emphasis on the maximization of earnings, including through the use of leverage, at the expense of other criteria, such as preservation of capital, in order to achieve higher incentive compensation. Investments with higher yield potential are generally riskier or more speculative than lower-yielding investments. Moreover, because our Manager receives compensation in the form of options in connection with the completion of our common equity offerings, our Manager may be incentivized to cause us to issue additional common stock, which could be dilutive to existing

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stockholders. In addition, our Manager’s management fee is not tied to our performance and may not sufficiently incentivize our Manager to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for us.

It would be difficult and costly to terminate our Management Agreement with our Manager.

It would be difficult and costly for us to terminate our Management Agreement with our Manager. The Management Agreement may only be terminated annually upon (i) the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of our independent directors, or by a vote of the holders of a simple majority of the outstanding shares of our common stock, that there has been unsatisfactory performance by our Manager that is materially detrimental to us or (ii) a determination by a simple majority of our independent directors that the management fee payable to our Manager is not fair, subject to our Manager’s right to prevent such a termination by accepting a mutually acceptable reduction of fees. Our Manager will be provided 60 days’ prior notice of any termination and will be paid a termination fee equal to the amount of the management fee earned by the Manager during the twelve-month period preceding such termination. In addition, following any termination of the Management Agreement, our Manager may require us to purchase its right to receive incentive compensation at a price determined as if our assets were sold for their fair market value (as determined by an appraisal, taking into account, among other things, the expected future value of the underlying investments) or otherwise we may continue to pay the incentive compensation to our Manager. These provisions may increase the effective cost to us of terminating the Management Agreement, thereby adversely affecting our ability to terminate our Manager without cause.

Our directors have approved broad investment guidelines for our Manager and do not approve each investment decision made by our Manager. In addition, we may change our investment strategy without a stockholder vote, which may result in our making investments that are different, riskier or less profitable than our current investments.

Our Manager is authorized to follow broad investment guidelines. Consequently, our Manager has great latitude in determining the types and categories of assets it may decide are proper investments for us, including the latitude to invest in types and categories of assets that may differ from those in which we currently invest. Our directors will periodically review our investment guidelines and our investment portfolio. However, our board does not review or pre-approve each proposed investment or our related financing arrangements. In addition, in conducting periodic reviews, the directors rely primarily on information provided to them by our Manager. Furthermore, transactions entered into by our Manager may be difficult or impossible to unwind by the time they are reviewed by the directors even if the transactions contravene the terms of the Management Agreement. In addition, we may change our investment strategy, including our target asset classes, without a stockholder vote.

Our investment strategy may evolve in light of existing market conditions and investment opportunities, and this evolution may involve additional risks depending upon the nature of the assets in which we invest and our ability to finance such assets on a short or long-term basis. Investment opportunities that present unattractive risk-return profiles relative to other available investment opportunities under particular market conditions may become relatively attractive under changed market conditions and changes in market conditions may therefore result in changes in the investments we target. Decisions to make investments in new asset categories present risks that may be difficult for us to adequately assess and could therefore reduce our ability to pay dividends on our common stock or have adverse effects on our liquidity, results of operations or financial condition. A change in our investment strategy may also increase our exposure to interest rate, foreign currency, real estate market or credit market fluctuations and expose us to new legal and regulatory risks. In addition, a change in our investment strategy may increase our use of non-match-funded financing, increase the guarantee obligations we agree to incur or increase the number of transactions we enter into with affiliates. Our failure to accurately assess the risks inherent in new asset categories or the financing risks associated with such assets could adversely affect our results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.


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Our Manager will not be liable to us for any acts or omissions performed in accordance with the Management Agreement, including with respect to the performance of our investments.

Pursuant to our Management Agreement, our Manager will not assume any responsibility other than to render the services called for thereunder in good faith and will not be responsible for any action of our board of directors in following or declining to follow its advice or recommendations. Our Manager, its members, managers, officers and employees will not be liable to us or any of our subsidiaries, to our board of directors, or our or any subsidiary’s stockholders or partners for any acts or omissions by our Manager, its members, managers, officers or employees, except by reason of acts constituting bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of our Manager’s duties under our Management Agreement. We shall, to the full extent lawful, reimburse, indemnify and hold our Manager, its members, managers, officers and employees and each other person, if any, controlling our Manager harmless of and from any and all expenses, losses, damages, liabilities, demands, charges and claims of any nature whatsoever (including attorneys’ fees) in respect of or arising from any acts or omissions of an indemnified party made in good faith in the performance of our Manager’s duties under our Management Agreement and not constituting such indemnified party’s bad faith, willful misconduct, gross negligence or reckless disregard of our Manager’s duties under our Management Agreement.

Our Manager’s due diligence of investment opportunities or other transactions may not identify all pertinent risks, which could materially affect our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations.

Our Manager intends to conduct due diligence with respect to each investment opportunity or other transaction it pursues. It is possible, however, that our Manager’s due diligence processes will not uncover all relevant facts, particularly with respect to any assets we acquire from third parties. In these cases, our Manager may be given limited access to information about the investment and will rely on information provided by the target of the investment. In addition, if investment opportunities are scarce, the process for selecting bidders is competitive, or the timeframe in which we are required to complete diligence is short, our ability to conduct a due diligence investigation may be limited, and we would be required to make investment decisions based upon a less thorough diligence process than would otherwise be the case. Accordingly, investments and other transactions that initially appear to be viable may prove not to be over time, due to the limitations of the due diligence process or other factors.

The ownership by our executive officers and directors of shares of common stock, options, or other equity awards of OneMain, Nationstar, and other entities either owned by Fortress funds managed by affiliates of our Manager or managed by our Manager may create, or may create the appearance of, conflicts of interest.

Some of our directors, officers and other employees of our Manager hold positions with OneMain, Nationstar, and other entities either owned by Fortress funds managed by affiliates of our Manager or managed by our Manager and own such entities’ common stock, options to purchase such entities’ common stock or other equity awards. Such ownership may create, or may create the appearance of, conflicts of interest when these directors, officers and other employees are faced with decisions that could have different implications for such entities than they do for us.

Risks Related to the Financial Markets

We do not know what impact the Dodd-Frank Act will have on our business.

On July 21, 2010, the U.S. enacted the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act affects almost every aspect of the U.S. financial services industry, including certain aspects of the markets in which we operate. The Dodd-Frank Act imposes new regulations on us and how we conduct our business. As we describe in more detail below, it affects our business in many ways but it is difficult at this time to know exactly how or what the cumulative impact will be.

First, generally the Dodd-Frank Act strengthens the regulatory oversight of securities and capital markets activities by the SEC and empowers the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to enforce laws and regulations for consumer financial products and services. It requires market participants to undertake additional record-keeping activities and imposes many additional disclosure requirements for public companies.

Moreover, the Dodd-Frank Act contains a risk retention requirement for all asset-backed securities. We issue many asset-backed securities. In October 2014, final rules were promulgated by a consortium of regulators implementing the final credit risk retention requirements of Section 941(b) of the Dodd-Frank Act. Under these “Risk Retention Rules,” sponsors of both public and private securitization transactions or one of their majority owned affiliates are required to retain at least 5% of the credit risk of the assets collateralizing such securitization transactions. These regulations generally prohibit the sponsor or its affiliate from directly or indirectly hedging or otherwise selling or transferring the retained interest for a specified period of time, depending on the type of asset that is securitized. Beginning December 2015, sponsors securitizing residential mortgages must comply with the Risk

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Retention Rules beginning in December 2015, while sponsors securitizing other types of assets will be required to comply with such rules beginning in December 2016. The Risk Retention Rules provide for limited exemptions for certain types of assets, however, these exemptions may be of limited use under our current market practices. In any event, compliance with these new Risk Retention Rules has increased and will likely continue to increase the administrative and operational costs of asset securitization.

Further, the Dodd-Frank Act imposes mandatory clearing and exchange-trading requirements on many derivatives transactions (including formerly unregulated over-the-counter derivatives) in which we may engage. In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act is expected to increase the margin requirements for derivatives transactions that are not subject to mandatory clearing requirements, which may impact our activities. The Dodd-Frank Act also creates new categories of regulated market participants, such as “swap-dealers,” “security-based swap dealers,” “major swap participants” and “major security-based swap participants,” and subjects or may subject these regulated entities to significant new capital, registration, recordkeeping, reporting, disclosure, business conduct and other regulatory requirements that will give rise to new administrative costs.

Also, under the Dodd-Frank Act, financial regulators belonging to the Financial Stability Oversight Council are required to name financial institutions that are deemed to be systemically important to the economy and which may require closer regulatory supervision. Such systemically important financial institutions, or “SIFIs”, may be required to operate with greater safety margins, such as higher levels of capital, and may face further limitations on their activities. The determination of what constitutes a SIFI is evolving, and in time SIFIs may include large investment funds and even asset managers. There can be no assurance that we will not be deemed to be a SIFI and thus subject to further regulation.

Even if certain of the new requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act are not directly applicable to us, they may still increase our costs of entering into transactions with the parties to whom the requirements are directly applicable. For instance, the new exchange-trading and trade reporting requirements may lead to reductions in the liquidity of derivative transactions, causing higher pricing or reduced availability of derivatives, or the reduction of arbitrage opportunities for us, which could adversely affect the performance of certain of our trading strategies. Importantly, many key aspects of the changes imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act will continue to be established by various regulatory bodies and other groups over the next several years. As a result, we do not know how significantly the Dodd-Frank Act will affect us. It is possible that the Dodd-Frank Act could, among other things, increase our costs of operating as a public company, impose restrictions on our ability to securitize assets and reduce our investment returns on securitized assets.

We do not know what impact certain U.S. government programs intended to stabilize the economy and the financial markets will have on our business.

In recent years, the U.S. government has taken a number of steps to attempt to strengthen the financial markets and U.S. economy, including direct government investments in, and guarantees of, troubled financial institutions as well as government-sponsored programs such as the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility program and the Public Private Investment Partnership Program. The U.S. government continues to evaluate or implement an array of other measures and programs intended to help improve U.S. financial and market conditions. While conditions appear to have improved relative to the depths of the global financial crisis, it is not clear whether this improvement is real or will last for a significant period of time. It is not clear what impact the government’s future actions to improve financial and market conditions will have on our business. We may not derive any meaningful benefit from these programs in the future. Moreover, if any of our competitors are able to benefit from one or more of these initiatives, they may gain a significant competitive advantage over us.

The federal conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and related efforts, along with any changes in laws and regulations affecting the relationship between these agencies and the U.S. government, may adversely affect our business.

The payments we receive on the Agency securities in which we invest depend upon a steady stream of payments by borrowers on the underlying mortgages and the fulfillment of guarantees by GSEs. Ginnie Mae is part of a U.S. Government agency and its guarantees are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are GSEs, but their guarantees are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.

In response to the deteriorating financial condition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the credit market disruption beginning in 2007, Congress and the U.S. Treasury undertook a series of actions to stabilize these GSEs and the financial markets, generally. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 was signed into law on July 30, 2008, and established the FHFA, with enhanced regulatory authority over, among other things, the business activities of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the size of their portfolio holdings. On September 7, 2008, FHFA placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into federal conservatorship and, together with the U.S. Treasury, established a program designed to boost investor confidence in Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s debt and Agency securities.

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As the conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the FHFA controls and directs the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and may (1) take over the assets of and operate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with all the powers of the stockholders, the directors and the officers of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and conduct all business of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; (2) collect all obligations and money due to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; (3) perform all functions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which are consistent with the conservator’s appointment; (4) preserve and conserve the assets and property of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and (5) contract for assistance in fulfilling any function, activity, action or duty of the conservator.

Those efforts resulted in significant U.S. Government financial support and increased control of the GSEs.

The U.S. Federal Reserve (the “Fed”) announced in November 2008 a program of large-scale purchases of Agency securities in an attempt to lower longer-term interest rates and contribute to an overall easing of adverse financial conditions. Subject to specified investment guidelines, the portfolios of Agency securities purchased through the programs established by the U.S. Treasury and the Fed may be held to maturity and, based on mortgage market conditions, adjustments may be made to these portfolios. This flexibility may adversely affect the pricing and availability of Agency securities that we seek to acquire during the remaining term of these portfolios.

There can be no assurance that the U.S. Government’s intervention in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be adequate for the longer-term viability of these GSEs. These uncertainties lead to questions about the availability of and trading market for, Agency securities. Accordingly, if these government actions are inadequate and the GSEs defaulted on their guaranteed obligations, suffered losses or ceased to exist, the value of our Agency securities and our business, operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

Additionally, because of the financial problems faced by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that led to their federal conservatorships, many policymakers have been examining the value of a federal mortgage guarantee and the appropriate role for the U.S. government in providing liquidity for mortgage loans. In June 2013, legislation titled “Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2013” was introduced in the U.S. Senate; in July 2013, legislation titled “Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act of 2013” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bills differ in many respects, but both require the wind-down of the GSEs. Other bills have been introduced that change the GSEs’ business charters and eliminate the entities. We cannot predict whether or when the introduced legislation, the amended legislation or any future legislation may be enacted. Such legislation could materially and adversely affect the availability of, and trading market for, Agency securities and could, therefore, materially and adversely affect the value of our Agency securities and our business, operations and financial condition.

Legislation that permits modifications to the terms of outstanding loans may negatively affect our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations.

The U.S. government has enacted legislation that enables government agencies to modify the terms of a significant number of residential and other loans to provide relief to borrowers without the applicable investor’s consent. These modifications allow for outstanding principal to be deferred, interest rates to be reduced, the term of the loan to be extended or other terms to be changed in ways that can permanently eliminate the cash flow (principal and interest) associated with a portion of the loan. These modifications are currently reducing, or in the future may reduce, the value of a number of our current or future investments, including investments in mortgage backed securities and Excess MSRs. As a result, such loan modifications are negatively affecting our business, results of operations, liquidity and financial condition. In addition, certain market participants propose reducing the amount of paperwork required by a borrower to modify a loan, which could increase the likelihood of fraudulent modifications and materially harm the U.S. mortgage market and investors that have exposure to this market. Additional legislation intended to provide relief to borrowers may be enacted and could further harm our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Risks Related to Our Taxation as a REIT

Qualifying as a REIT involves highly technical and complex provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
 
Qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex Internal Revenue Code provisions for which only limited judicial and administrative authorities exist. Even a technical or inadvertent violation could jeopardize our REIT qualification. Our qualification as a REIT will depend on our satisfaction of certain asset, income, organizational, distribution, stockholder ownership and other requirements on a continuing basis. Compliance with these requirements must be carefully monitored on a continuing basis. Monitoring and managing our REIT compliance has become challenging due to the increased size and complexity of the assets in our portfolio, a meaningful portion of which are not qualifying REIT assets. There can be no

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assurance that our Manager’s personnel responsible for doing so will be able to successfully monitor our compliance or maintain our REIT status.

Our failure to qualify as a REIT would result in higher taxes and reduced cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

We intend to operate in a manner intended to qualify us as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Our ability to satisfy the asset tests depends upon our analysis of the fair market values of our assets, some of which are not susceptible to a precise determination, and for which we do not obtain independent appraisals. See “—Risks Related to our Business—The valuations of our assets are subject to uncertainty since most of our assets are not traded in an active market,” and “—Risks Related to Our Business—Rapid changes in the values of our assets may make it more difficult for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT or our exclusion from the 1940 Act.” Our compliance with the REIT income and quarterly asset requirements also depends upon our ability to successfully manage the composition of our income and assets on an ongoing basis. Moreover, the proper classification of one or more of our investments (such as TBAs) may be uncertain in some circumstances, which could affect the application of the REIT qualification requirements. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) will not contend that our investments violate the REIT requirements.

If we were to fail to qualify as a REIT in any taxable year, we would be subject to U.S. federal income tax, including any applicable alternative minimum tax, on our taxable income at regular corporate rates, and distributions to stockholders would not be deductible by us in computing our taxable income. Any such corporate tax liability could be substantial and would reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to our stockholders, which in turn could have an adverse impact on the value of, and trading prices for, our stock. See also “—Our failure to qualify as a REIT would cause our stock to be delisted from the NYSE.”

Unless entitled to relief under certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, we also would be disqualified from taxation as a REIT for the four taxable years following the year during which we initially ceased to qualify as a REIT. The rule against re-electing REIT status following a loss of such status would also apply to us if Newcastle fails to qualify as a REIT for its taxable years ending on or before December 31, 2014, and we are treated as a successor to Newcastle for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Although, Newcastle has (i) represented in the separation and distribution agreement that it entered into with us on April 26, 2013 (the “Separation and Distribution Agreement”) that it has no knowledge of any fact or circumstance that would cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT and (ii) covenanted in the Separation and Distribution Agreement to use its reasonable best efforts to maintain its REIT status for each of Newcastle’s taxable years ending on or before December 31, 2014 (unless Newcastle obtains an opinion from a nationally recognized tax counsel or a private letter ruling from the IRS to the effect that Newcastle’s failure to maintain its REIT status will not cause us to fail to qualify as a REIT under the successor REIT rule referred to above), no assurance can be given that such representation and covenant would prevent us from failing to qualify as a REIT. Although, in the event of a breach, we may be able to seek damages from Newcastle, there can be no assurance that such damages, if any, would appropriately compensate us. In addition, if Newcastle were to fail to qualify as a REIT despite its reasonable best efforts, we would have no claim against Newcastle.

Our failure to qualify as a REIT would cause our stock to be delisted from the NYSE.

The NYSE requires, as a condition to the listing of our shares, that we maintain our REIT status. Consequently, if we fail to maintain our REIT status, our shares would promptly be delisted from the NYSE, which would decrease the trading activity of such shares. This could make it difficult to sell shares and would likely cause the market volume of the shares trading to decline.

If we were delisted as a result of losing our REIT status and desired to relist our shares on the NYSE, we would have to reapply to the NYSE to be listed as a domestic corporation. As the NYSE’s listing standards for REITs are less onerous than its standards for domestic corporations, it would be more difficult for us to become a listed company under these heightened standards. We might not be able to satisfy the NYSE’s listing standards for a domestic corporation. As a result, if we were delisted from the NYSE, we might not be able to relist as a domestic corporation, in which case our shares could not trade on the NYSE.


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The failure of assets subject to repurchase agreements to qualify as real estate assets could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.

We enter into financing arrangements that are structured as sale and repurchase agreements pursuant to which we nominally sell certain of our assets to a counterparty and simultaneously enter into an agreement to repurchase these assets at a later date in exchange for a purchase price. Economically, these agreements are financings that are secured by the assets sold pursuant thereto. We believe that, for purposes of the REIT asset and income tests, we should be treated as the owner of the assets that are the subject of any such sale and repurchase agreement, notwithstanding that those agreements generally transfer record ownership of the assets to the counterparty during the term of the agreement. It is possible, however, that the IRS could assert that we did not own the assets during the term of the sale and repurchase agreement, in which case we might fail to qualify as a REIT.

The failure of our Excess MSRs to qualify as real estate assets or the income from our Excess MSRs to qualify as mortgage interest could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.

We have received from the IRS a private letter ruling substantially to the effect that our Excess MSRs represent interests in mortgages on real property and thus are qualifying “real estate assets” for purposes of the REIT asset test, which generate income that qualifies as interest on obligations secured by mortgages on real property for purposes of the REIT income test. The ruling is based on, among other things, certain assumptions as well as on the accuracy of certain factual representations and statements that we and Newcastle have made to the IRS. If any of the representations or statements that we have made in connection with the private letter ruling, are, or become, inaccurate or incomplete in any material respect with respect to one or more Excess MSR investments, or if we acquire an Excess MSR investment with terms that are not consistent with the terms of the Excess MSR investments described in the private letter ruling, then we will not be able to rely on the private letter ruling. If we are unable to rely on the private letter ruling with respect to an Excess MSR investment, the IRS could assert that such Excess MSR investments do not qualify under the REIT asset and income tests, and if successful, we might fail to qualify as a REIT.

Dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for the reduced tax rates available for some dividends.

Dividends payable to domestic stockholders that are individuals, trusts, and estates are generally taxed at reduced tax rates. Dividends payable by REITs, however, generally are not eligible for the reduced rates. The more favorable rates applicable to regular corporate dividends could cause investors who are individuals, trusts and estates to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends, which could adversely affect the value of the stock of REITs, including our common stock. In addition, the relative attractiveness of real estate in general may be adversely affected by the favorable tax treatment given to non-REIT corporate dividends, which could affect the value of our real estate assets negatively.

REIT distribution requirements could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to execute our business plan.

We generally must distribute annually at least 90% of our REIT taxable income, excluding any net capital gain, in order for corporate income tax not to apply to earnings that we distribute. We intend to make distributions to our stockholders to comply with the REIT requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. However, differences in timing between the recognition of taxable income and the actual receipt of cash could require us to sell assets or borrow funds on a short-term or long-term basis to meet the 90% distribution requirement of the Internal Revenue Code. Certain of our assets, such as our investment in consumer loans, generate substantial mismatches between taxable income and available cash. As a result, the requirement to distribute a substantial portion of our net taxable income could cause us to: (i) sell assets in adverse market conditions; (ii) borrow on unfavorable terms; (iii) distribute amounts that would otherwise be invested in future acquisitions, capital expenditures or repayment of debt; or (iv) make taxable distributions of our capital stock or debt securities in order to comply with REIT requirements. Further, amounts distributed will not be available to fund investment activities. If we fail to obtain debt or equity capital in the future, it could limit our ability to satisfy our liquidity needs, which could adversely affect the value of our common stock.

We may be required to report taxable income for certain investments in excess of the economic income we ultimately realize from them.

Based on IRS guidance concerning the classification of Excess MSRs, we intend to treat our Excess MSRs as ownership interests in the interest payments made on the underlying mortgage loans, akin to an “interest only” strip. Under this treatment, for purposes of determining the amount and timing of taxable income, each Excess MSR is treated as a bond that was issued with original issue discount on the date we acquired such Excess MSR. In general, we will be required to accrue original issue discount based on the constant yield to maturity of each Excess MSR, and to treat such original issue discount as taxable income in accordance with the applicable U.S. federal income tax rules. The constant yield of an Excess MSR will be determined, and we will be taxed, based on a prepayment assumption regarding future payments due on the mortgage loans underlying the Excess MSR. If the mortgage

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loans underlying an Excess MSR prepay at a rate different than that under the prepayment assumption, our recognition of original issue discount will be either increased or decreased depending on the circumstances. Thus, in a particular taxable year, we may be required to accrue an amount of income in respect of an Excess MSR that exceeds the amount of cash collected in respect of that Excess MSR. Furthermore, it is possible that, over the life of the investment in an Excess MSR, the total amount we pay for, and accrue with respect to, the Excess MSR may exceed the total amount we collect on such Excess MSR. No assurance can be given that we will be entitled to a deduction for such excess, meaning that we may be required to recognize “phantom income” over the life of an Excess MSR.

Other debt instruments that we may acquire, including consumer loans, may be issued with, or treated as issued with, original issue discount. Those instruments would be subject to the original issue discount accrual and income computations that are described above with regard to Excess MSRs.

We may acquire debt instruments in the secondary market for less than their face amount. The discount at which such debt instruments are acquired may reflect doubts about their ultimate collectability rather than current market interest rates. The amount of such discount will nevertheless generally be treated as “market discount” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accrued market discount is reported as income when, and to the extent that, any payment of principal of the debt instrument is made. If we collect less on the debt instrument than our purchase price plus the market discount we had previously reported as income, we may not be able to benefit from any offsetting loss deductions.

In addition, we may acquire debt instruments that are subsequently modified by agreement with the borrower. If the amendments to the outstanding instrument are “significant modifications” under the applicable U.S. Treasury regulations, the modified instrument will be considered to have been reissued to us in a debt-for-debt exchange with the borrower. In that event, we may be required to recognize taxable gain to the extent the principal amount of the modified instrument exceeds our adjusted tax basis in the unmodified instrument, even if the value of the instrument or the payment expectations have not changed. Following such a taxable modification, we would hold the modified loan with a cost basis equal to its principal amount for U.S. federal tax purposes.

Finally, in the event that any debt instruments acquired by us are delinquent as to mandatory principal and interest payments, or in the event payments with respect to a particular instrument are not made when due, we may nonetheless be required to continue to recognize the unpaid interest as taxable income as it accrues, despite doubt as to its ultimate collectability. Similarly, we may be required to accrue interest income with respect to debt instruments at the stated rate regardless of whether corresponding cash payments are received or are ultimately collectible. In each case, while we would in general ultimately have an offsetting loss deduction available to us when such interest was determined to be uncollectible, the utility of that deduction could depend on our having taxable income of an appropriate character in that later year or thereafter.

In any event, if our investments generate more taxable income than cash in any given year, we may have difficulty satisfying our annual REIT distribution requirement.

We may be unable to generate sufficient cash from operations to pay our operating expenses and to pay distributions to our stockholders.

As a REIT, we are generally required to distribute at least 90% of our REIT taxable income (determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and not including net capital losses) each year to our stockholders. To qualify for the tax benefits accorded to REITs, we intend to make distributions to our stockholders in amounts such that we distribute all or substantially all of our net taxable income, subject to certain adjustments, although there can be no assurance that our operations will generate sufficient cash to make such distributions. Moreover, our ability to make distributions may be adversely affected by the risk factors described herein. See also “—Risks Related to our Common Stock—We have not established a minimum distribution payment level, and we cannot assure you of our ability to pay distributions in the future.”

The stock ownership limit imposed by the Internal Revenue Code for REITs and our certificate of incorporation may inhibit market activity in our stock and restrict our business combination opportunities.

In order for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code, not more than 50% in value of our outstanding stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (as defined in the Internal Revenue Code to include certain entities) at any time during the last half of each taxable year after our first taxable year. Our certificate of incorporation, with certain exceptions, authorizes our board of directors to take the actions that are necessary and desirable to preserve our qualification as a REIT. Stockholders are generally restricted from owning more than 9.8% by value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of our outstanding shares of common stock, or 9.8% by value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of our outstanding shares of capital stock. Our board may grant an exemption in its sole discretion, subject to such conditions, representations and undertakings as it may determine in its sole discretion. These ownership limits could delay

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or prevent a transaction or a change in our control that might involve a premium price for our common stock or otherwise be in the best interest of our stockholders.

Even if we remain qualified as a REIT, we may face other tax liabilities that reduce our cash flow.

Even if we remain qualified for taxation as a REIT, we may be subject to certain federal, state and local taxes on our income and assets, including taxes on any undistributed income, tax on income from some activities conducted as a result of a foreclosure, and state or local income, property and transfer taxes. Moreover, if a REIT distributes less than 85% of its taxable income to its stockholders during any calendar year (including any distributions declared by the last day of the calendar year but paid in the subsequent year), then it is required to pay an excise tax on 4% of any shortfall between the required 85% and the amount that was actually distributed. Any of these taxes would decrease cash available for distribution to our stockholders. In addition, in order to meet the REIT qualification requirements, or to avert the imposition of a 100% tax that applies to certain gains derived by a REIT from dealer property or inventory, we currently hold some of our assets through TRSs, such as our investment in servicer advances and we may contribute other non-qualifying investments, such as our investment in consumer loans, to a TRS. Such subsidiaries will be subject to corporate level income tax at regular rates and the payment of such taxes would reduce our return on the applicable investment.

Complying with the REIT requirements may negatively impact our investment returns or cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities, liquidate assets or contribute assets to a TRS.

To qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we must continually satisfy tests concerning, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the amounts we distribute to our stockholders and the ownership of our stock. As a result of these tests, we may be required to make distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution, forego otherwise attractive investment opportunities, liquidate assets in adverse market conditions or contribute assets to a TRS that is subject to regular corporate federal income tax. Our ability to acquire and hold Excess MSRs, interests in consumer loans, servicer advances and other investments is subject to the applicable REIT qualification tests, and we may have to hold these interests through TRSs, which would negatively impact our returns from these assets. In general, compliance with the REIT requirements may hinder our ability to make and retain certain attractive investments.

Complying with the REIT requirements may limit our ability to hedge effectively.

The existing REIT provisions of the Internal Revenue Code may substantially limit our ability to hedge our operations because a significant amount of the income from those hedging transactions is likely to be treated as non-qualifying income for purposes of both REIT gross income tests. In addition, we must limit our aggregate income from non-qualified hedging transactions, from our provision of services and from other non-qualifying sources, to less than 5% of our annual gross income (determined without regard to gross income from qualified hedging transactions).

As a result, we may have to limit our use of certain hedging techniques or implement those hedges through TRSs. This could result in greater risks associated with changes in interest rates than we would otherwise want to incur or could increase the cost of our hedging activities. If we fail to comply with these limitations, we could lose our REIT qualification for U.S. federal income tax purposes, unless our failure was due to reasonable cause, and not due to willful neglect, and we meet certain other technical requirements. Even if our failure were due to reasonable cause, we might incur a penalty tax. See also “—Risks Related to Our Business—Any hedging transactions that we enter into may limit our gains or result in losses.”

Distributions to tax-exempt investors may be classified as unrelated business taxable income.

Neither ordinary nor capital gain distributions with respect to our stock nor gain from the sale of stock should generally constitute unrelated business taxable income to a tax-exempt investor. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. In particular:
 
part of the income and gain recognized by certain qualified employee pension trusts with respect to our stock may be treated as unrelated business taxable income if shares of our stock are predominantly held by qualified employee pension trusts, and we are required to rely on a special look-through rule for purposes of meeting one of the REIT ownership tests, and we are not operated in a manner to avoid treatment of such income or gain as unrelated business taxable income;
part of the income and gain recognized by a tax-exempt investor with respect to our stock would constitute unrelated business taxable income if the investor incurs debt in order to acquire the stock; and
to the extent that we are (or a part of us, or a disregarded subsidiary of ours, is) a “taxable mortgage pool,” or if we hold residual interests in a real estate mortgage investment conduit (“REMIC”), a portion of the distributions paid to a tax exempt stockholder that is allocable to excess inclusion income may be treated as unrelated business taxable income.

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The “taxable mortgage pool” rules may increase the taxes that we or our stockholders may incur, and may limit the manner in which we effect future securitizations.

We may enter into securitization or other financing transactions that result in the creation of taxable mortgage pools for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a REIT, so long as we own 100% of the equity interests in a taxable mortgage pool, we would generally not be adversely affected by the characterization of a securitization as a taxable mortgage pool. Certain categories of stockholders, however, such as foreign stockholders eligible for treaty or other benefits, stockholders with net operating losses, and certain tax exempt stockholders that are subject to unrelated business income tax, could be subject to increased taxes on a portion of their dividend income from us that is attributable to the taxable mortgage pool. In addition, to the extent that our stock is owned by tax exempt “disqualified organizations,” such as certain government-related entities and charitable remainder trusts that are not subject to tax on unrelated business income, we could incur a corporate level tax on a portion of our income from the taxable mortgage pool. In that case, we might reduce the amount of our distributions to any disqualified organization whose stock ownership gave rise to the tax. Moreover, we may be precluded from selling equity interests in these securitizations to outside investors, or selling any debt securities issued in connection with these securitizations that might be considered to be equity interests for tax purposes. These limitations may prevent us from using certain techniques to maximize our returns from securitization transactions.

Uncertainty exists with respect to the treatment of TBAs for purposes of the REIT asset and income tests, and the failure of TBAs to be qualifying assets or of income/gains from TBAs to be qualifying income could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.

We purchase and sell Agency RMBS through TBAs and recognize income or gains from the disposition of those TBAs, through dollar roll transactions or otherwise. In a dollar roll transaction, we exchange an existing TBA for another TBA with a different settlement date. There is no direct authority with respect to the qualification of TBAs as real estate assets or U.S. Government securities for purposes of the 75% asset test or the qualification of income or gains from dispositions of TBAs as gains from the sale of real property (including interests in real property and interests in mortgages on real property) or other qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test. For a particular taxable year, we would treat such TBAs as qualifying assets for purposes of the REIT asset tests, and income and gains from such TBAs as qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test, to the extent set forth in an opinion from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP substantially to the effect that (i) for purposes of the REIT asset tests, our ownership of a TBA should be treated as ownership of the underlying Agency RMBS, and (ii) for purposes of the 75% REIT gross income test, any gain recognized by us in connection with the settlement of such TBAs should be treated as gain from the sale or disposition of the underlying Agency RMBS. Opinions of counsel are not binding on the IRS, and no assurance can be given that the IRS would not successfully challenge the conclusions set forth in such opinions. In addition, it must be emphasized that any opinion of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP would be based on various assumptions relating to any TBAs that we enter into and would be conditioned upon fact-based representations and covenants made by our management regarding such TBAs. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert that such assets or income are not qualifying assets or income. If the IRS were to successfully challenge any conclusions of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, we could be subject to a penalty tax or we could fail to qualify as a REIT if a sufficient portion of our assets consists of TBAs or a sufficient portion of our income consists of income or gains from the disposition of TBAs.

The tax on prohibited transactions will limit our ability to engage in transactions that would be treated as prohibited transactions for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Net income that we derive from a “prohibited transaction” is subject to a 100% tax. The term “prohibited transaction” generally includes a sale or other disposition of property (including mortgage loans, but other than foreclosure property, as discussed below) that is held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of our trade or business. We might be subject to this tax if we were to dispose of or securitize loans or Excess MSRs in a manner that was treated as a prohibited transaction for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

We intend to conduct our operations so that no asset that we own (or are treated as owning) will be treated as, or as having been, held-for-sale to customers, and that a sale of any such asset will not be treated as having been in the ordinary course of our business. As a result, we may choose not to engage in certain sales of loans or Excess MSRs at the REIT level, and may limit the structures we utilize for our securitization transactions, even though the sales or structures might otherwise be beneficial to us. In addition, whether property is held “primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of a trade or business” depends on the particular facts and circumstances. No assurance can be given that any property that we sell will not be treated as property held-for-sale to customers, or that we can comply with certain safe-harbor provisions of the Internal Revenue Code that would prevent such treatment. The 100% prohibited transaction tax does not apply to gains from the sale of property that is held through a TRS or other taxable corporation, although such income will be subject to tax in the hands of the corporation at regular corporate rates. We intend to structure our activities to prevent prohibited transaction characterization.

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New legislation or administrative or judicial action, in each instance potentially with retroactive effect, could make it more difficult or impossible for us to qualify as a REIT.

The present U.S. federal income tax treatment of REITs may be modified, possibly with retroactive effect, by legislative, judicial or administrative action at any time, which could affect the U.S. federal income tax treatment of an investment in us. The U.S. federal income tax rules dealing with REITs constantly are under review by persons involved in the legislative process, the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department, which results in statutory changes as well as frequent revisions to regulations and interpretations. Revisions in U.S. federal tax laws and interpretations thereof could affect or cause us to change our investments and commitments and affect the tax considerations of an investment in us.

Liquidation of assets may jeopardize our REIT qualification or create additional tax liability for us.

To qualify as a REIT, we must comply with requirements regarding the composition of our assets and our sources of income. If we are compelled to liquidate our investments to repay obligations to our lenders, we may be unable to comply with these requirements, ultimately jeopardizing our qualification as a REIT, or we may be subject to a 100% tax on any resultant gain if we sell assets that are treated as dealer property or inventory.

Risks Related to our Common Stock

There can be no assurance that the market for our stock will provide you with adequate liquidity.

Our common stock began trading (on a when issued basis) on the NYSE on May 2, 2013. There can be no assurance that an active trading market for our common stock will be sustained in the future, and the market price of our common stock may fluctuate widely, depending upon many factors, some of which may be beyond our control. These factors include, without limitation:
 
a shift in our investor base;
our quarterly or annual earnings, or those of other comparable companies;
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results;
changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;
announcements by us or our competitors of significant investments, acquisitions or dispositions;
the failure of securities analysts to cover our common stock;
changes in earnings estimates by securities analysts or our ability to meet those estimates;
market performance of affiliates and other counterparties with whom we conduct business;
the operating and stock price performance of other comparable companies;
overall market fluctuations; and
general economic conditions.

Stock markets in general have experienced volatility that has often been unrelated to the operating performance of a particular company. These broad market fluctuations may adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.

Sales or issuances of shares of our common stock could adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

Sales of substantial amounts of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that such sales might occur, could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. The issuance of our common stock in connection with property, portfolio or business acquisitions or the exercise of outstanding options or otherwise could also have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock. We have an effective registration statement on file to sell common stock in public offerings.

Failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 could have a material adverse effect on our business and stock price.

As a public company, we are required to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Internal control over financial reporting is complex and may be revised over time to adapt to changes in our business, or changes in applicable accounting rules. We have made investments through joint ventures, such as our investment in consumer loans, and accounting for such investments can increase the complexity of maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting. We cannot assure you that our internal control over financial reporting will be effective in the future or that a material weakness will not be discovered with respect to a prior period for which we had previously believed that internal controls were effective. If we are not able to maintain or document effective internal control over financial reporting, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be able to certify as to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial

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reporting. Matters impacting our internal controls may cause us to be unable to report our financial information on a timely basis, or may cause us to restate previously issued financial information, and thereby subject us to adverse regulatory consequences, including sanctions or investigations by the SEC, or violations of applicable stock exchange listing rules. There could also be a negative reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of investor confidence in us and the reliability of our financial statements. Confidence in the reliability of our financial statements is also likely to suffer if we or our independent registered public accounting firm reports a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. This could materially adversely affect us by, for example, leading to a decline in our share price and impairing our ability to raise capital.

Your percentage ownership in us may be diluted in the future.

Your percentage ownership in us may be diluted in the future because of equity awards that we expect will be granted to our Manager, to the directors, officers and employees of our Manager who perform services for us, and to our directors, officers and employees, as well as other equity instruments such as debt and equity financing. Our board of directors has approved a Nonqualified Stock Option and Incentive Award Plan, as amended (the “Plan”), which provides for the grant of equity-based awards, including restricted stock, options, stock appreciation rights (“SARs”), performance awards, tandem awards and other equity-based and non-equity based awards, in each case to our Manager, to the directors, officers, employees, service providers, consultants and advisor of our Manager who perform services for us, and to our directors, officers, employees, service providers, consultants and advisors. We reserved 15,000,000 shares of our common stock for issuance under the Plan. On the first day of each fiscal year beginning during the ten-year term of the Plan and in and after calendar year 2014, that number will be increased by a number of shares of our common stock equal to 10% of the number of shares of our common stock newly issued by us during the immediately preceding fiscal year (and, in the case of fiscal year 2013, after the effective date of the Plan). For a more detailed description of the Plan, see “—Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.” In connection with any offering of our common stock, we will issue to our Manager options relating to shares of our common stock, representing 10% of the number of shares being offered. Our board of directors may also determine to issue options to the Manager that are not subject to the Plan, provided that the number of shares relating to any options granted to the Manager in connection with capital raising efforts would not exceed 10% of the shares sold in such offering and would be subject to NYSE rules.

We may incur or issue debt or issue equity, which may negatively affect the market price of our common stock.

We may in the future incur or issue debt or issue equity or equity-related securities. In the event of our liquidation, lenders and holders of our debt and holders of our preferred stock (if any) would receive a distribution of our available assets before common stockholders. Any future incurrence or issuance of debt would increase our interest cost and could adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows. We are not required to offer any additional equity securities to existing common stockholders on a preemptive basis. Therefore, additional issuances of common stock, directly or through convertible or exchangeable securities (including limited partnership interests in our operating partnership), warrants or options, will dilute the holdings of our existing common stockholders and such issuances, or the perception of such issuances, may reduce the market price of our common stock. Any preferred stock issued by us would likely have a preference on distribution payments, periodically or upon liquidation, which could eliminate or otherwise limit our ability to make distributions to common stockholders. Because our decision to incur or issue debt or issue equity or equity-related securities in the future will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, we cannot predict or estimate the amount, timing, nature or success of our future capital raising efforts. Thus, common stockholders bear the risk that our future incurrence or issuance of debt or issuance of equity or equity-related securities will adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

We have not established a minimum distribution payment level, and we cannot assure you of our ability to pay distributions in the future.

We intend to make quarterly distributions of our REIT taxable income to holders of our common stock out of assets legally available therefor. We have not established a minimum distribution payment level and our ability to pay distributions may be adversely affected by a number of factors, including the risk factors described in this report. Any distributions will be authorized by our board of directors and declared by us based upon a number of factors, including actual results of operations, liquidity and financial condition, restrictions under Delaware law or applicable financing covenants, our taxable income, the annual distribution requirements under the REIT provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, our operating expenses and other factors our directors deem relevant. We cannot assure you that we will achieve investment results that will allow us to make a specified level of cash distributions or year-to-year increases in cash distributions in the future.

Furthermore, while we are required to make distributions in order to maintain our REIT status (as described above under “—Risks Related to our Taxation as a REIT—We may be unable to generate sufficient revenue from operations to pay our operating expenses and to pay distributions to our stockholders”), we may elect not to maintain our REIT status, in which case we would no longer

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be required to make such distributions. Moreover, even if we do elect to maintain our REIT status, we may elect to comply with the applicable requirements by, after completing various procedural steps, distributing, under certain circumstances, a portion of the required amount in the form of shares of our common stock in lieu of cash. If we elect not to maintain our REIT status or to satisfy any required distributions in shares of common stock in lieu of cash, such action could negatively affect our business, results of operations, liquidity and financial condition as well as the price of our common stock. No assurance can be given that we will pay any dividends on shares of our common stock in the future.

We may in the future choose to pay dividends in our own stock, in which case you could be required to pay income taxes in excess of the cash dividends you receive.

We may in the future distribute taxable dividends that are payable in cash and shares of our common stock at the election of each stockholder. Taxable stockholders receiving such dividends will be required to include the full amount of the dividend as ordinary income to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits for federal income tax purposes. As a result, stockholders may be required to pay income taxes with respect to such dividends in excess of the cash dividends received. If a U.S. stockholder sells the stock that it receives as a dividend in order to pay this tax, the sale proceeds may be less than the amount included in income with respect to the dividend, depending on the market price of our stock at the time of the sale. Furthermore, with respect to certain non-U.S. stockholders, we may be required to withhold U.S. tax with respect to such dividends, including in respect of all or a portion of such dividend that is payable in stock. In addition, if a significant number of our stockholders determine to sell shares of our common stock in order to pay taxes owed on dividends, it may put downward pressure on the trading price of our common stock.

It is unclear whether and to what extent we will be able to pay taxable dividends in cash and stock in later years. Moreover, various aspects of such a taxable cash/stock dividend are uncertain and have not yet been addressed by the IRS. No assurance can be given that the IRS will not impose additional requirements in the future with respect to taxable cash/stock dividends, including on a retroactive basis, or assert that the requirements for such taxable cash/stock dividends have not been met.

An increase in market interest rates may have an adverse effect on the market price of our common stock.

One of the factors that investors may consider in deciding whether to buy or sell shares of our common stock is our distribution rate as a percentage of our share price relative to market interest rates. If the market price of our common stock is based primarily on the earnings and return that we derive from our investments and income with respect to our investments and our related distributions to stockholders, and not from the market value of the investments themselves, then interest rate fluctuations and capital market conditions will likely affect the market price of our common stock. For instance, if market interest rates rise without an increase in our distribution rate, the market price of our common stock could decrease as potential investors may require a higher distribution yield on our common stock or seek other securities paying higher distributions or interest. In addition, rising interest rates would result in increased interest expense on our variable rate debt, thereby adversely affecting cash flow and our ability to service our indebtedness and pay distributions.

Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and of Delaware law may prevent or delay an acquisition of our company, which could decrease the trading price of our common stock.

Our certificate of incorporation, bylaws and Delaware law contain provisions that are intended to deter coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids by making such practices or bids unacceptably expensive to the raider and to encourage prospective acquirers to negotiate with our board of directors rather than to attempt a hostile takeover. These provisions include, among others:
 
a classified board of directors with staggered three-year terms;
provisions regarding the election of directors, classes of directors, the term of office of directors, the filling of director vacancies and the resignation and removal of directors for cause only upon the affirmative vote of at least 80% of the then issued and outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote thereon;
provisions regarding corporate opportunity only upon the affirmative vote of at least 80% of the then issued and outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote thereon;
removal of directors only for cause and only with the affirmative vote of at least 80% of the then issued and outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote in the election of directors;
our board of directors to determine the powers, preferences and rights of our preferred stock and to issue such preferred stock without stockholder approval;
advance notice requirements applicable to stockholders for director nominations and actions to be taken at annual meetings;
a prohibition, in our certificate of incorporation, stating that no holder of shares of our common stock will have cumulative voting rights in the election of directors, which means that the holders of a majority of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock can elect all the directors standing for election; and

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a requirement in our bylaws specifically denying the ability of our stockholders to consent in writing to take any action in lieu of taking such action at a duly called annual or special meeting of our stockholders.

Public stockholders who might desire to participate in these types of transactions may not have an opportunity to do so, even if the transaction is considered favorable to stockholders. These anti-takeover provisions could substantially impede the ability of public stockholders to benefit from a change in control or a change in our management and board of directors and, as a result, may adversely affect the market price of our common stock and your ability to realize any potential change of control premium.

ERISA may restrict investments by plans in our common stock.

A plan fiduciary considering an investment in our common stock should consider, among other things, whether such an investment is consistent with the fiduciary obligations under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”), including whether such investment might constitute or give rise to a prohibited transaction under ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or any substantially similar federal, state or local law and, if so, whether an exemption from such prohibited transaction rules is available.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

Not Applicable.

Item 2. Properties.

None.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

Following the HLSS Acquisition (see Note 1 to our Consolidated Financial Statements), material potential claims, lawsuits, regulatory inquiries or investigations, and other proceedings, of which we are currently aware, are as follows. We have not accrued losses in connection with these legal contingencies because management does not believe there is a probable and reasonably estimable loss. Furthermore, we cannot reasonably estimate the range of potential loss related to these legal contingencies at this time. However, the ultimate outcomes of the proceedings described below may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial position or results of operations.

In addition to the matters described below, from time to time, we are or may be involved in various disputes, litigation and regulatory inquiry and investigation matters that arise in the ordinary course of business.  Given the inherent unpredictability of these types of proceedings, it is possible that future adverse outcomes could have a material adverse effect on our financial results.

Three putative class action lawsuits have been filed against HLSS and certain of its current and former officers and directors in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York entitled: (i) Oliveira v. Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., et al., No. 15-CV-652 (S.D.N.Y.), filed on January 29, 2015; (ii) Berglan v. Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., et al., No. 15-CV-947 (S.D.N.Y.), filed on February 9, 2015; and (iii) W. Palm Beach Police Pension Fund v. Home Loan Servicing Solutions, Ltd., et al., No. 15-CV-1063 (S.D.N.Y.), filed on February 13, 2015. On April 2, 2015, these lawsuits were consolidated into a single action.” On April 28, 2015, lead plaintiffs, lead counsel and liaison counsel were appointed in the Securities Action. On November 9, 2015, lead plaintiffs filed an amended class action complaint. On January 27, 2016, the Securities Action was transferred to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida and given the Index No. 16-CV-60165 (S.D. Fla.).

The Securities Action names as defendants HLSS, former HLSS Chairman William C. Erbey, HLSS Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer John P. Van Vlack, and HLSS Chief Financial Officer James E. Lauter. The Securities Action asserts causes of action under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 based on certain public disclosures made by HLSS relating to its relationship with Ocwen and HLSS’s risk management and internal controls.  More specifically, the consolidated class action complaint alleges that a series of statements in HLSS’s disclosures were materially false and misleading, including statements about (i) Ocwen’s servicing capabilities; (ii) HLSS’s contingencies and legal proceedings; (iii) its risk management and internal controls and (iv) certain related party transactions.  The consolidated class action complaint also appears to allege that HLSS’s financial statements for the years ended 2012 and 2013, and the first quarter ended March 30, 2014, were false and misleading based on HLSS’s August 18, 2014 restatement. Lead plaintiffs in the Securities Action also allege that HLSS misled investors by failing to disclose, among other things, information regarding governmental investigations of Ocwen’s business practices. Lead plaintiffs seek money damages under the Securities Exchange Act in an amount to be proven at trial and reasonable costs, expenses, and fees. We intend to vigorously defend the Securities Action and consistent therewith on February 11, 2015, defendants filed motions to dismiss the Securities Action in its entirety.

Two shareholder derivative actions have been filed purportedly on behalf of Ocwen naming as defendants HLSS and certain current and former directors and officers of Ocwen, including former HLSS Chairman William C. Erbey, entitled (i) Sokolowski v. Erbey, et al., No. 9:14-CV-81601 (S.D. Fla.), filed on December 24, 2014, and (ii) Moncavage v. Faris, et al., No. 2015CA003244 (Fla. Palm Beach Cty. Ct.), filed on March 20, 2015. The original complaint in the Sokolowski Action named as defendants certain current and former directors and officers of Ocwen, including former HLSS Chairman William C. Erbey. On February 11, 2015,

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plaintiff in the Sokolowski Action filed an amended complaint naming additional defendants, including HLSS. On January 8, 2016, two related derivative actions – Hutt v. Erbey, et al., No. 9:15-CV-81709 (S.D. Fla.) and Lowinger v. Erbey, et al., No. 0:15-CV-62628 (S.D. Fla.) – were consolidated with the Sokolowski Action. On February 17, 2016, the court appointed lead counsel and ordered that lead counsel file a consolidated complaint on or before March 8, 2016. The Ocwen Derivative Actions assert a cause of action for aiding and abetting certain alleged breaches of fiduciary duty under Florida law against HLSS and others, and claim that HLSS (i) substantially assisted Ocwen’s alleged wrongful conduct by purchasing Ocwen’s MSRs and (ii) received improper benefits as a result of its business dealings with Ocwen due to Mr. Erbey’s purported control over both HLSS and Ocwen. Additionally, the Sokolowski Action asserts a cause of action for unjust enrichment against HLSS and others. The Ocwen Derivative Actions seek money damages from HLSS in an amount to be proven at trial. We intend to vigorously defend these lawsuits.

On March 11, 2015, plaintiff David Rattner filed a shareholder derivative action purportedly on behalf of HLSS entitled Rattner v. Van Vlack, et al., No. 2015CA002833 (Fla. Palm Beach Cty. Ct.). The lawsuit names as defendants HLSS directors, New Residential Investment Corp., and Hexagon Merger Sub, Ltd. The HLSS Derivative Action alleges that the Director Defendants breached their fiduciary duties of due care, diligence, loyalty, honesty and good faith and the duty to act in the best interests of HLSS under Cayman law and claims that the Director Defendants approved a proposed merger with New Residential Investment Corp. that (i) provided inadequate consideration to HLSS’s shareholders, (ii) included unfair deal protection devices, (iii) and was the result of an inadequate process due to conflicts of interest. On July 8, 2015, the complaint was voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.

On September 15, 2014, the SEC instituted an investigation into HLSS’s restatement of its consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 and for the quarter ended March 31, 2014 and disclosures concerning related party transactions. HLSS agreed to resolve such matter by consenting to the entry of a Cease and Desist Order, without admitting or denying that HLSS violated Sections 13(a), 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Rules 12b-20, 13a-1, and 13a-13 promulgated thereunder, and to a settlement payment of $1.5 million to the SEC. On October 5, 2015, the terms of the settlement were approved and accepted by the SEC.  Pursuant to the HLSS Acquisition Agreement (See Note 1 to our Consolidated Financial Statements), the Company acquired substantially all of the assets of HLSS and assumed substantially all of the liabilities of HLSS, including the obligation for the aforementioned settlement payment. The matter giving rise to the HLSS Investigation and related settlement is unrelated to any activities of the Company.

New Residential is, from time to time, subject to inquiries by government entities. New Residential currently does not believe any of these inquiries would result in a material adverse effect on New Residential’s business.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

None.


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PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

The following graph compares the cumulative total return for our common stock (stock price change plus reinvested dividends) with the comparable return of four indices: NAREIT All REIT, Russell 2000, NAREIT Mortgage REIT, and S&P 500. The graph assumes an investment of $100 in our common stock and in each of the indices on May 16, 2013 and that all dividends were reinvested. The past performance of our common stock is not an indication of future performance.

 
 
Period Ending
Index
 
5/16/2013
 
6/30/2013
 
9/30/2013
 
12/31/2013
 
3/31/2014
 
6/30/2014
 
9/30/2014
 
12/31/2014
 
3/31/2015
 
6/30/2015
 
9/30/2015
 
12/31/2015
New Residential Investment Corp.
 
100.00

 
97.34

 
98.17

 
102.76

 
102.25

 
103.53

 
98.62

 
111.19

 
134.18

 
139.61

 
120.01

 
119.90

NAREIT All REIT
 
 
 
97.72

 
95.39

 
95.68

 
103.89

 
111.12

 
108.20

 
121.66

 
126.59

 
115.28

 
116.16

 
124.44

Russell 2000
 
100.00

 
99.41

 
109.56

 
119.12

 
120.45

 
122.92

 
113.87

 
124.95

 
130.34

 
130.89

 
115.29

 
119.43

NAREIT Mortgage REIT
 
 
 
96.13

 
94.28

 
94.42

 
104.96

 
111.17

 
106.40

 
111.31

 
113.92

 
105.64

 
102.51

 
101.43

S&P 500
 
100.00

 
97.55

 
102.66

 
113.45

 
115.50

 
121.55

 
122.92

 
128.98

 
130.21

 
130.57

 
122.17

 
130.77



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We have one class of common stock, which has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “NRZ” since May 2, 2013 on a “when issued” basis, and has been traded since our spin-off from Newcastle on May 15, 2013. The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the high, low and last sale prices in U.S. dollars on the NYSE for our common stock and the distributions we declared with respect to the periods indicated.
2015
High
 
Low
 
Last Sale
 
Distributions
Declared
First Quarter
$
15.61

 
$
12.10

 
$
15.03

 
$
0.38

Second Quarter
$
17.91

 
$
14.98

 
$
15.24

 
$
0.45

Third Quarter
$
15.95

 
$
12.66

 
$
13.10

 
$
0.46

Fourth Quarter
$
13.34

 
$
10.35

 
$
12.16

 
$
0.46

2014







First Quarter
$
13.72

 
$
12.10

 
$
12.94

 
$
0.35

Second Quarter(A)
$
13.32

 
$
12.06

 
$
12.60

 
$
0.50

Third Quarter
$
12.90

 
$
11.66

 
$
11.66

 
$
0.35

Fourth Quarter
$
13.64

 
$
11.44

 
$
12.77

 
$
0.38


(A)
Includes a quarterly distribution of $0.35 per common share and a special cash distribution of $0.15 per common share.

New Residential completed a one-for-two reverse stock split in October 2014. The impact of this reverse stock split has been retroactively applied to all periods presented herein.

We may declare quarterly distributions on our common stock. No assurance, however, can be given that any future distributions will be made or, if made, as to the amounts or timing of any future distributions as such distributions are subject to our earnings, financial condition, liquidity, capital requirements, REIT requirements and such other factors as our board of directors deems relevant.

On February 18, 2016, the closing sale price for our common stock, as reported on the NYSE, was $10.83. As of February 18, 2016, there were approximately 39 record holders of our common stock. This figure does not reflect the beneficial ownership of shares held in nominee name.

Nonqualified Stock Option and Incentive Award Plan

On May 15, 2013, New Residential’s board of directors adopted the Plan. The Plan is intended to facilitate the use of long-term equity-based awards and incentives for the benefit of the service providers to New Residential and its Manager. All outstanding options granted under the Plan will be subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the agreements evidencing such options and the terms of the Plan. The maximum number of shares available for issuance in the aggregate over the ten-year term of the Plan is 15,000,000 shares. New Residential’s board of directors may also determine to issue options to the Manager that are not subject to the Plan, provided that the number of shares underlying any options granted to the Manager in connection with capital raising efforts would not exceed 10% of the shares sold in such offering and would be subject to New York Stock Exchange rules.

In connection with our separation from Newcastle, each Newcastle option held by our Manager or by the directors, officers, employees, service providers, consultants and advisors of our Manager at the date of the distribution of our common stock to Newcastle’s stockholders was converted into an adjusted Newcastle option as well as a new New Residential option (a “Converted Option”). On May 15, 2013, we issued a total of 10,728,637 Converted Options. The exercise price of each adjusted Newcastle option and Converted Option was set to collectively maintain the intrinsic value of the Newcastle option immediately prior to the distribution and to maintain the ratio of the exercise price of the adjusted Newcastle option and the Converted Option, respectively, to the fair market value of the underlying shares at the time the distribution was made. The terms and conditions applicable to each such Converted Option were substantially similar to the terms and condition otherwise applicable to the Newcastle option as of the date of distribution. The grant of such Converted Options did not reduce the number of shares of our common stock otherwise available for issuance under the Plan. These options are contractually required to be settled in an amount of cash equal to the excess of the fair market value of a share on the date of exercise over the exercise price per share, unless a majority of the independent members of the board of directors (or, with respect to a tandem award, one of our authorized officers) determines to settle the option in shares. If the option is settled in shares, the independent members of the board of directors or an authorized officer, as applicable, will determine whether the exercise price will be payable in cash, by withholding from shares of our common stock otherwise issuable upon exercise of such option or through another method permitted under the plan.

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The following table summarizes the total number of outstanding securities in the incentive plan and the number of securities remaining for future issuance, as well as the weighted average exercise price of all outstanding securities as of December 31, 2015.
Plan Category
Number of
Securities to
be Issued
Upon
Exercise of
Outstanding
Options
 
Weighted
Average
Exercise
Price of
Outstanding
Options
 
Number of Securities Remaining Available for Future Issuance Under the 2013 Equity Compensation Plan
 
Equity Compensation Plans Approved by Security Holders:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nonqualified Stock Option and Incentive Award Plan
9,985,039

 
$
14.99

 
14,925,413

 
Total
9,985,039

(A) 
$
14.99

 
14,925,413

(B) 
Equity Compensation Plans Not Approved by Security Holders:
 
 
 
 
 
 
None
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(A)
The number of securities to be issued upon exercise of outstanding options does not include 2,395,068 Converted Options (with a weighted average exercise price of $14.63), of which 1,206,291 are held by an affiliate of our Manager and 1,188,777 were granted to our Manager and assigned to certain Fortress employees.
(B)
No award shall be granted on or after May 15, 2023 (but awards granted may extend beyond this date). The number of securities remaining available for future issuance is net of an aggregate of 70,587 shares of our common stock and 4,000 options awarded to our directors, other than Mr. Edens, the shares being awarded in lieu of contractual cash compensation. The number of securities remaining available for future issuance is adjusted on the first day of each fiscal year beginning during the ten-year term of the plan and in and after calendar year 2014, by a number of shares of our common stock equal to 10% of the number of shares of our common stock newly issued by us during the immediately preceding fiscal year (and, in the case of fiscal year 2013, after the effective date of the Plan). No adjustment was made on January 1, 2014. On January 1, 2016 and 2015, 8,543,539 and 1,437,500 shares, respectively, were added to the number of securities remaining available for future issuance; these numbers have been included in the table above.


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Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

The selected historical consolidated financial information set forth below as of December 31, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 and for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 and the period from December 8, 2011 (commencement of operations) through December 31, 2011, has been derived from our audited historical Consolidated Financial Statements.

The information below should be read in conjunction with Part II, Item 7, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our Consolidated Financial Statements and notes thereto included in Part II, Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”

Selected Consolidated Financial Information

(in thousands, except share and per share data)
 
Year Ended December 31,
 
December 8
through
December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Statement of Income Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest income
$
645,072

 
$
346,857

 
$
87,567

 
$
33,759

 
$
1,260

Interest expense
274,013

 
140,708

 
15,024

 
704

 

Net Interest Income
371,059

 
206,149

 
72,543

 
33,055

 
1,260

Impairment
24,384

 
11,282

 
5,454

 

 

Net interest income after impairment
346,675

 
194,867

 
67,089

 
33,055

 
1,260

Other Income
42,029

 
375,088

 
241,008

 
17,423

 
367

Operating Expenses
117,823

 
104,899

 
42,474

 
9,231

 
913

Income (Loss) Before Income Taxes
270,881

 
465,056

 
265,623

 
41,247

 
714

Income tax expense
(11,001
)
 
22,957

 

 

 

Net Income (Loss)
$
281,882

 
$
442,099

 
$
265,623

 
$
41,247

 
$
714

Noncontrolling Interests in Income of Consolidated Subsidiaries
$
13,246

 
$
89,222

 
$
(326
)
 
$

 
$

Net Income (Loss) Attributable to Common Stockholders
$
268,636

 
$
352,877

 
$
265,949

 
$
41,247

 
$
714

Net Income per Share of Common Stock, Basic
$
1.34

 
$
2.59

 
$
2.10

 
$
0.33

 
$
0.01

Net Income per Share of Common Stock, Diluted
$
1.32

 
$
2.53

 
$
2.07

 
$
0.33

 
$
0.01

Weighted Average Number of Shares of Common Stock Outstanding, Basic
200,739,809

 
136,472,865

 
126,539,024

 
126,512,823

 
126,512,823

Weighted Average Number of Shares of Common Stock Outstanding, Diluted
202,907,605

 
139,565,709

 
128,684,128

 
126,512,823

 
126,512,823

Dividends Declared per Share of Common Stock
$
1.75

 
$
1.58

 
$
0.99

 
$

 
$



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December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Balance Sheet Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Investments in:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Excess mortgage servicing rights, at fair value
$
1,581,517

 
$
417,733

 
$
324,151

 
$
245,036

 
$
43,971

Excess mortgage servicing rights, equity method investees, at fair value
217,221

 
330,876

 
352,766

 

 

Servicer advances, at fair value
7,426,794

 
3,270,839

 
2,665,551

 

 

Real estate securities, available-for-sale
2,501,881

 
2,463,163

 
1,973,189

 
289,756

 

Residential mortgage loans, held-for-investment
330,178

 
47,838

 
33,539

 

 

Residential mortgage loans, held-for-sale
776,681

 
1,126,439

 

 

 

Real estate owned
50,574

 
61,933

 

 

 

Consumer loans, equity method investees

 

 
215,062

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents
249,936

 
212,985

 
271,994

 

 

Total assets
15,192,722

 
8,089,244

 
5,958,658

 
534,876

 
43,971

Total debt
11,292,622

 
6,057,853

 
4,109,329

 
150,922

 

Total liabilities
12,206,142

 
6,239,319

 
4,445,583

 
156,520

 
4,163

Total New Residential stockholders’ equity
2,795,933

 
1,596,089

 
1,265,850

 
378,356

 
39,808

Noncontrolling interests in equity of consolidated subsidiaries
190,647

 
253,836

 
247,225

 

 

Total equity
2,986,580

 
1,849,925

 
1,513,075

 
378,356

 
39,808

Supplemental Balance Sheet Data
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Common shares outstanding
230,471,202

 
141,434,905

 
126,598,987

 
 
 
 
Book value per share of common stock
$
12.13

 
$
11.28

 
$
10.00

 
 
 
 
Other Data
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Core earnings(A)
$
388,756

 
$
219,261

 
$
129,997

 
$
29,054

 
$
1,132

 
(A)
We have four primary variables that impact our operating performance: (i) the current yield earned on our investments, (ii) the interest expense under the debt incurred to finance our investments, (iii) our operating expenses and taxes and (iv) our realized and unrealized gains or losses, including any impairment and deferred tax, on our investments. “Core earnings” is a non-GAAP measure of our operating performance excluding the fourth variable above and adjusting the earnings from the consu