MSR Hedging

Why Hedge Mortgage Servicing Rights?

Holding an asset on the balance sheet brings your institution revenue, but revenue comes with risk. A regular part of the mortgage origination business is creating Mortgage Servicing Rights (MSR) as institutions sell their production to one of the GSEs or private investors. Swings in the market can switch a profitable holding – like an MSR – into a loss. By appropriately hedging those servicing rights, your institution can protect itself against market movements outside of your control.

ALM First Financial Advisors’ MSR Hedging Strategy

ALM First offers both risk measurement valuation and hedging solutions to reduce the impact MSRs may have on your institution’s financial statements. Together, we hedge this risk through the use of various financial instruments, including Treasuries (cash and futures), interest-rate derivatives, and MBS.

Benefits of MSR Hedging Service

  • Generate a variety of stress testing and scenario analyses
  • Identify market risks, shock scenarios, and returns
  • Evaluate the outcome of MSR values relative to different hedging instruments.

Why Partner with ALM First Financial Advisors for Your Mortgage Servicing Rights Hedging?

  • Fee-based Compensation: We don’t take commissions, and we have no incentive to push you into specific trades; all actions are for your benefit.
  • Capital Market Access & Expertise: We have a specialized Investment Management Group that interacts with the market all day every day. With over 300 clients across the country, ALM First Financial Advisors manages nearly $65 billion in assets (as of June 30, 2021).
  • Hands-On Approach: Monitoring and measuring the effective duration of the balance sheet and its components is crucial in intelligently managing the institution. We dynamically rebalance the portfolio; rather than a one-time strategy of buying options, we are frequently updating the position and structure of the hedges as rates move.
  • Advanced Resources: Dynamically rebalancing requires the systems, the time, and the experience – all of which ALM First Financial Advisors provides. Success demands continually assessing the market and executing the right trades at the right time. Your job should not be playing the market – and neither is ours. Instead, our strategy exists for the long-term growth and stability of the asset’s income stream.
  • Proven Track Record: The focus of hedging is not providing a mean return, but providing portfolio stability. In the long-run, it could be that the portfolio performs well without any hedging included; the interim movements, though, can result in large income volatility. Management shouldn’t be in the position of explaining why income dropped millions over the course of a quarter.
icon of a chart and coins

What is MSR Hedging?

Put simply, Mortgage Servicing Rights are the fees earned to service a sold mortgage loan. After originating a mortgage, the institution decides whether to hold the loan on the balance sheet or sell the loan to an agency or private investor. Should the institution sell the loan, it can then generate an MSR asset. By doing so, the institution agrees to service the loan while maintaining a portion of the interest payments (typically 25 basis points of the interest component). In addition, mortgage servicers earn the float off of escrowing taxes and insurance collected with borrower mortgage payments. Alongside the explicit earnings, the institution may implicitly earn a stronger relationship with the borrower.

icon of coin in between hands

How does MSR shield the institution from market swings?

While the sold mortgage is no longer on the balance sheet, the MSR asset is. As such – as with any originated asset – there exists risk. Rate movements impacting mortgage payments will dictate the interest income earned from that loan, and the reduction in interest income paid will negatively affect the servicer’s income stream. An MSR Hedge, therefore, protects the balance sheet from the high costs associated with dramatic swings in the market.

icon of a bulb lighting up

How advantageous is MSR?

MSR income typically is not its own line item on the income statement, and the costs are often embedded costs that aren’t easily visible. Movements in MSR earned income can be noticeable, of course, but measuring the exact impact of market changes on MSR income can be difficult, if not impossible, without the proper analytics. Moreover, acting on those analytics can be tricky and costly – the institution must have the time, personnel, and market connections to hedge these assets effectively. A sophisticated and involved partner is a must; ALM First Financial Advisors is here to help.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

“ALM First” is a brand name for a financial services business conducted by ALM First Group, LLC (“ALM First”) through its wholly owned subsidiaries: ALM First Financial Advisors, LLC (“ALM First Financial Advisors”); ALM First Advisors, LLC (“ALM First Advisors”); and ALM First Analytics, LLC (“ALM First Analytics”).  Investment advisory services are offered through ALM First Financial Advisors, an SEC registered investment adviser with a fiduciary duty that requires it to act in the best interests of clients and to place the interests of clients before its own; however, registration as an investment advisor does not imply any level of skill or training.  Moreover, ALM First Financial Advisors, LLC (“ALM First Financial Advisors”), an affiliate of ALM First Group, LLC (“ALM First”), is a separate entity and all investment decisions are made independently by the asset managers at ALM First Financial Advisors. Access to ALM First Financial Advisors is only available to clients pursuant to an Investment Advisory Agreement and acceptance of ALM First Financial Advisors’ Brochure. You are encouraged to read these documents carefully. Balance sheet advisory services are offered through ALM First Advisors.  Financial reporting services, loan introduction services, and other special project services are offered through ALM First Analytics.  Neither ALM First nor any of its subsidiaries provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. This firm is not a CPA Firm.