January 1, 2011

Mortgage ABCs

Sidebar to "No Compromise"

There are two primary forms of mortgage backed securities (MBS). Agency MBS are guaranteed by a government agency or government-sponsored enterprise such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, while non-agency MBS are issued by banks and financial companies not associated with a government agency. These securities have no credit guarantee other than the quality of the loans behind them, and any other structural credit protection provided by the terms of the bond deal they belong to. The richest opportunities in the space are currently in the latter category, as much non-agency paper have lost their ratings and trade at steep discounts. The best way to access the investment is through mutual funds that specialize in the MBS market.

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