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EX-32.2 - EX-32.2 - InPoint Commercial Real Estate Income, Inc.ck0001690012-ex322_7.htm
EX-32.1 - EX-32.1 - InPoint Commercial Real Estate Income, Inc.ck0001690012-ex321_12.htm
EX-31.2 - EX-31.2 - InPoint Commercial Real Estate Income, Inc.ck0001690012-ex312_9.htm
EX-31.1 - EX-31.1 - InPoint Commercial Real Estate Income, Inc.ck0001690012-ex311_6.htm
EX-21.1 - EX-21.1 - InPoint Commercial Real Estate Income, Inc.ck0001690012-ex211_485.htm
EX-4.2 - EX-4.2 - InPoint Commercial Real Estate Income, Inc.ck0001690012-ex42_486.htm

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

 ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

 

OR

 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 000-55782

 

INPOINT COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE INCOME, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Maryland

32-0506267

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

2901 Butterfield Road

Oak Brook, Illinois

60523

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

 

(800) 826-8228

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

None

 

 

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    

Yes  ☐    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  

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 the filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes     No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted  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 such files).    Yes     No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

Smaller Reporting Company

Emerging Growth Company

 

 

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes     No 

There is no established market for the registrant’s shares of common stock. As of March 15, 2021, the Registrant had 11,642,173 shares of common stock outstanding, consisting of: 10,151,787 shares of Class P common stock, 657,457 shares of Class A common stock, 398,971 shares of Class T common stock, 50,624 shares of Class D common stock, 383,334 shares of Class I common stock and no shares of Class S common stock.

 

 

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

PART I

 

 

Item 1.

Business

3

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

7

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

40

Item 2.

Properties

40

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

40

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

40

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

Item 5.

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

41

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

45

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

46

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

66

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

67

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

67

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

67

Item 9B.

Other Information

67

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

68

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

73

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

74

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

75

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

78

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

80

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

80

 

 

 


 

PART I

Item 1. Business.

General Development of the Business

InPoint Commercial Real Estate Income, Inc. (the “Company”, “we,” “our” or “us”) was incorporated in Maryland on September 13, 2016 to originate, acquire and manage a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate (“CRE”) investments primarily comprised of (i) CRE debt, including floating rate first mortgage loans, subordinate mortgage and mezzanine loans, and participations in such loans and (ii) floating rate CRE securities, such as commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”), and senior unsecured debt of publicly traded real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). We may also invest in select equity investments in single-tenant, net leased properties. Substantially all of our business is conducted through InPoint REIT Operating Partnership, LP (the “Operating Partnership”), a Delaware limited partnership. We are the sole general partner and directly or indirectly hold all of the limited partner interests in the Operating Partnership. We have elected to be taxed as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We are not a mutual fund and do not intend to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”).

We are externally managed by Inland InPoint Advisor, LLC (the “Advisor”), a Delaware limited liability company formed in August 2016 that is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Inland Real Estate Investment Corporation, a member of The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc. (“Inland”). The Advisor is responsible for coordinating the management of the day-to-day operations and originating, acquiring and managing our CRE investment portfolio, subject to the supervision of our board of directors (the “Board”). The Advisor performs its duties and responsibilities as our fiduciary pursuant to an amended and restated advisory agreement dated April 29, 2019 among the Company, the Advisor and the Operating Partnership (the “Advisory Agreement”), which supersedes and replaces the advisory agreement dated October 25, 2016 (the “Prior Advisory Agreement”).

The Advisor has delegated certain of its duties to SPCRE InPoint Advisors, LLC (the “Sub-Advisor”), a Delaware limited liability company formed in September 2016 that is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sound Point CRE Management, LP (“Sound Point CRE”), pursuant to an amended and restated sub-advisory agreement between the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor dated April 29, 2019, which supersedes and replaces the sub-advisory agreement dated October 25, 2016. Sound Point CRE is a subsidiary of Sound Point Capital Management, LP (“Sound Point”). Among other duties, the Sub-Advisor has the authority to identify, negotiate, acquire and originate our investments and provide portfolio management, disposition, property management and leasing services to the Company. Notwithstanding such delegation to the Sub-Advisor, the Advisor retains ultimate responsibility for the performance of all the matters entrusted to it under the Advisory Agreement, including those duties which the Advisor has not delegated to the Sub-Advisor such as (i) valuation of our assets and calculation of our net asset value (“NAV”); (ii) management of our day-to-day operations; (iii) preparation of stockholder reports and communications and arrangement of our annual stockholder meetings; and (iv) advising the Company regarding its initial qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes and monitoring its ongoing compliance with the REIT qualification requirements thereafter.

On October 25, 2016, we commenced a private offering (the “Private Offering”) of up to $500.0 million in shares of Class P common stock (“Class P Shares”). Inland Securities Corporation, an affiliate of the Advisor (the “Dealer Manager”), was the dealer manager for the Private Offering. On June 28, 2019, we terminated the Private Offering. We continued to accept Private Offering subscription proceeds through July 16, 2019 from subscription agreements executed no later than June 28, 2019. We issued 10,258,094 Class P Shares in the Private Offering, resulting in gross proceeds of $276.7 million.

On March 22, 2019, we filed a Registration Statement on Form S-11 (File No. 333-230465) (the “Registration Statement”) to register up to $2.35 billion in shares of common stock in our initial public offering (the “IPO”). On April 29, 2019, the Company filed articles of amendment with the State Department of Assessments and Taxation of the State of Maryland (the “SDAT”) (i) to modify the number of shares of capital stock the Company has authority to issue under its charter from 500,000,000 to 3,050,000,000, consisting of 3,000,000,000 Class P common shares and 50,000,000 shares of preferred stock, and (ii) to modify the aggregate par value of all authorized shares of stock from $0.5 million to $3.05 million.

On April 29, 2019, we also filed articles supplementary with SDAT to reclassify and designate: (i) 500,000,000 authorized but unissued Class P common shares as Class A common shares; (ii) 500,000,000 authorized but unissued Class P common shares as Class D common shares; (iii) 500,000,000 authorized but unissued Class P common shares as Class I common shares; (iv) 500,000,000 authorized but unissued Class P common shares as Class S common shares; and (v) 500,000,000 authorized but unissued Class P common shares as Class T common shares.

On May 3, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) declared effective the Registration Statement and we commenced the IPO. Prior to July 17, 2019 (the “NAV Pricing Date”), the purchase price for each class of our common stock in our primary offering was $25.00 per share, plus applicable upfront selling commissions and dealer manager fees. Following the NAV Pricing Date, the purchase price per share for each class of common stock in the IPO varies and generally equals our prior month’s

3


NAV per share, as determined monthly, plus applicable upfront selling commissions and dealer manager fees. The Dealer Manager serves as our exclusive dealer manager for the IPO on a best efforts basis. As of March 15, 2021, we had received and accepted investors’ subscriptions for and issued 657,457 Class A shares, 398,971 Class T shares, 50,624 Class D shares and 380,744 Class I shares in the IPO, resulting in gross proceeds of $38.5 million, including proceeds from the distribution investment plan. As of March 15, 2021, $2.31 billion of common stock remained available to be sold in the IPO.

We provide the following programs to facilitate additional investment in our shares and to provide limited liquidity for stockholders.

Distribution Reinvestment Plan

We have adopted a distribution reinvestment plan (the “DRP”), effective May 3, 2019, whereby Class A, Class T, Class S, Class D and Class I stockholders have the option to have their cash distributions reinvested in additional shares of our common stock. Any cash distributions attributable to the class or classes of shares owned by participants in the DRP will be immediately reinvested in the same class of our shares of common stock on behalf of the participants on the business day such distribution would have been paid to such stockholder.

The per share purchase price for shares purchased pursuant to the DRP is equal to the most recently published transaction price at the time the distribution is payable. Stockholders will not pay upfront selling commissions when purchasing shares pursuant to the DRP. The stockholder servicing fees with respect to shares of our Class T shares, Class S shares and Class D shares are calculated based on our NAV for those shares and may reduce the NAV or, alternatively, the distributions payable with respect to shares of each such class, including shares issued in respect of distributions on such shares under the DRP.

On March 24, 2020, our Board suspended (i) the sale of shares in the IPO, (ii) the operation of the share repurchase plan (the “SRP”), (iii) the payment of distributions to our stockholders, and (iv) the operation of the DRP, effective as of April 6, 2020. In determining to suspend the IPO, the SRP, the payment of distributions and the DRP, our Board considered various factors, including the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the inability to accurately calculate our NAV per share due to uncertainty, volatility and lack of liquidity in the market, our need for liquidity due to financing challenges related to additional collateral required by the banks that regularly finance our assets and these uncertain and rapidly changing economic conditions.

As a result of these factors, we did not calculate our NAV for the months of March through May 2020. We resumed calculation of our NAV beginning as of June 30, 2020 following the Advisor’s determination that volatility in the market for our investments had declined and the U.S. economic outlook had improved. In August 2020, we resumed paying distributions monthly to stockholders of record for all classes of our common stock. On October 1, 2020, the SEC declared effective our post-effective amendment to the Registration Statement thereby permitting us to resume offers and sales of shares of common stock in the IPO, including through the DRP. 

We reserve the right to amend, suspend or terminate our DRP without the consent of our stockholders, provided that notice is sent to participants at least ten business days prior to the effective date. Participants may terminate their participation in the DRP with five business days’ prior written notice to us.

Share Repurchase Plan

We have adopted a share repurchase plan, effective May 3, 2019, whereby on a monthly basis, stockholders who have held their shares of common stock for at least one year may request that we repurchase all or any portion of their shares. Due to the illiquid nature of investments in real estate, we may not have sufficient liquid resources to fund repurchase requests. Because there is no public market for our shares, stockholders may have difficulty selling their shares if we choose to repurchase only some, or even none, of the shares that have been requested to be repurchased in any particular month, in our discretion, or if our Board modifies, suspends or terminates the share repurchase plan.

In addition, we have established limitations on the amount of funds we may use for repurchases during any calendar month and quarter. We may repurchase fewer shares than have been requested in any particular month to be repurchased under our share repurchase plan, or none at all, in our discretion at any time. In addition, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares will be limited to no more than 2% of our aggregate NAV per month and no more than 5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter.

As noted above, our Board suspended the SRP on March 24, 2020. On March 1, 2021, our SRP was reinstated for our stockholders requesting repurchase of shares as a result of the death or qualified disability of the holder. Permitted repurchase requests must be submitted on or after March 1, 2021. The first settlement of permitted repurchase requests will be on March 31, 2021, the last business day of the month.

On July 1, 2021, our SRP will be reinstated for all stockholders. Repurchase requests must be submitted on or after July 1, 2021. The first settlement of permitted repurchase requests will be on July 30, 2021, the last business day of the month. In accordance with the

4


terms of the SRP that allow us to repurchase fewer shares than the maximum amount permitted under the SRP, for the months of July, August and September 2021, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares (including Class P Shares) will be limited to no more than 1% of our aggregate NAV per month as of the last day of the previous calendar month and no more than 2.5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter as of the last day of the previous calendar month. Beginning on October 1, 2021, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares will be limited as set forth in the SRP (no more than 2% of our aggregate NAV per month as of the last day of the previous calendar month and no more than 5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter as of the last day of the previous calendar month). Notwithstanding the foregoing, we may repurchase fewer shares than these limits in any month, or none. Further, our Board may modify, suspend or terminate our SRP if it deems such action to be in our best interest and the best interest of our stockholders.

Investment Portfolio

Our objective is to originate, acquire and manage an investment portfolio of CRE debt and CRE securities that is diversified based on the type and location of the underlying collateral securing the CRE debt and CRE securities. We intend that the real estate underlying our CRE debt and CRE securities investments, as well as CRE equity investments we may make, will be located within the United States and diversified by property type, geographic location, owner/operator and tenant. As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, our investment portfolio consisted of $441.8 million and $504.7 million, respectively, in commercial mortgage loans held for investment and $0 and $157.9 million in CMBS, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, in addition to the debt investments we own in our investment portfolio, we also owned one 362-room hotel located in Chicago, Illinois, commonly known as the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel (the “Renaissance O’Hare”) through a ground lease interest that we acquired via deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure on August 20, 2020, from the borrower under one of our first mortgage loans.

Competition

Our net income depends, in large part, on our ability to originate loans and acquire assets at favorable spreads over our borrowing costs. In acquiring our investments, we compete with other REITs, specialty finance companies, mortgage bankers, insurance companies, mutual funds, institutional investors, investment banking firms, financial institutions, governmental bodies and other entities. Many of our 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 allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and establish more relationships than we can. Market conditions may attract more competitors, which may increase the competition for sources of financing. An increase in the competition for sources of financing could adversely affect the availability and cost of financing.

We rely on the Sub-Advisor’s professionals and their industry expertise, which we believe provides us with a competitive advantage. These professionals help us assess investment risks and determine appropriate pricing for our mortgage loans and potential investments. Their industry relationships enable us to compete more effectively for attractive investment opportunities. Despite certain competitive advantages, we may not be able to achieve our business goals or expectations due to the competitive risks that we face. We operate in a highly competitive market for investment opportunities and competition may limit our ability to acquire desirable investments in our target assets and could also affect the pricing of these investments.

Many investment opportunities that are suitable for us may also be suitable for one or more investment funds, REITs, vehicles, accounts, products or other similar arrangements sponsored, advised and/or managed by the Sub-Advisor or its affiliates (“Other Sound Point Accounts”). If both we and an Other Sound Pont Account are interested in making an investment, the Sub-Advisor or its affiliates will determine which program is ultimately awarded the right to pursue the investment in accordance with the Sub-Advisor’s investment allocation guidelines. The Sub-Advisor is responsible for facilitating the investment allocation process and could face conflicts of interest in doing so. The Sub-Advisor is required to provide information to our Board to enable our Board, including the independent directors, to determine whether the investment allocation procedures summarized below are being fairly applied to us.

Our Sub-Advisor and its affiliates have adopted investment allocation guidelines to address conflicts of interest arising from the allocation of investment opportunities among us and Other Sound Point Accounts. The Sub-Advisor will screen the suitability of each investment opportunity for each account based on the following criteria (the “Screening Criteria”): liquidity position (i.e., sufficiency of available cash to make and support the investment or need to raise cash); strategic investment objectives; appropriateness of investment based on current portfolio composition, including loan-type, loan-size, asset-type and geographic or borrower diversity; time horizon; tax sensitivity; and any applicable legal or regulatory restrictions, or governing document applicable covenants or asset tests/restrictions.

Since bespoke whole commercial real estate loan investments are not divisible and cannot be allocated pro rata as a general matter, the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates will allocate investment opportunities on a pre-determined rotational order and maintain a record of such rotations. Any new account will be added to the bottom of the rotational queue. If, upon giving due consideration to the Screening Criteria, the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates reasonably determine in their discretion that an investment opportunity is suitable and appropriate for only one account, the investment opportunity will be allocated to such account without regard to or any resulting effect

5


upon the then-current rotational order. If, however, upon giving due consideration to the Screening Criteria, the Sub-Advisor and its affiliates reasonably determine that an investment opportunity is suitable and appropriate for two or more accounts, the investment opportunity will be allocated to the account that has not executed a written non-binding expression of interest (subject to Sub-Advisor and affiliates’ underwriting and due diligence) in providing commercial real estate debt financing related to a separate investment opportunity previously allocated to it for the longest period of time. In such instance, the account receiving allocation of such investment opportunity will thereupon be moved to the bottom of the rotational queue.

Human Capital

We do not have any employees. All of our executive officers are officers of the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor or one or more of their affiliates and are compensated by those entities for their services rendered to us. We neither separately compensate our executive officers for their service as officers, nor do we reimburse either the Advisor or the Sub-Advisor for any compensation paid to individuals who also serve as our executive officers.

Tax Status

We believe we have operated, and we intend to continue to operate, in a manner that has allowed us, and will allow us to continue, to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with the taxable year ended December 31, 2017. Accordingly, we generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes on our taxable income to the extent that we annually distribute all of our net taxable income, determined without regard to the dividends paid deduction and excluding net capital gains, to our stockholders and maintain our qualification as a REIT.

Our Corporate Information

Our principal executive offices are located at 2901 Butterfield Rd., Oak Brook, Illinois 60523, our telephone number is (800) 826-8228 and our website is www.inland-investments.com/inpoint. From time to time, we may use our website as a distribution channel for material company information. Our website is not incorporated by reference in or otherwise a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. We will provide without charge a copy of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including financial statements and schedules, upon written request delivered to our principal executive offices. We electronically file our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and all amendments to those reports with the SEC. The SEC maintains an Internet site at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers that file electronically.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

Summary of Risk Factors

Risks Related to an Investment in Our Company

 

There is no public trading market for shares of our common stock; therefore, our stockholders’ ability to dispose of their shares will likely be limited to repurchase by us through our SRP.

 

We may choose to repurchase fewer shares than have been requested to be repurchased, in our discretion at any time, and the amount of shares we may repurchase is subject to caps.

 

Our Board may modify, suspend or terminate our SRP if it deems such action to be in our best interest and the best interest of our stockholders.

 

If stockholders do sell their shares to us, they may receive less than the price they paid.

 

The amount and source of distributions we may pay to our stockholders is uncertain, and we may be unable to generate sufficient cash flows from our operations to pay distributions to our stockholders at any time in the future.

 

We have paid and may continue to pay distributions from sources other than our earnings and cash flow from operations, including, without limitation, the sale of assets, borrowings or offering proceeds, and we have no limits on the amounts we may pay from such sources.

 

Our offering price per share and the price at which we make repurchases of our shares generally will equal the NAV per share of the applicable class as of the last calendar day of the prior month, plus, in the case of our offering price, applicable upfront selling commissions and dealer manager fees. The NAV per share as of the date on which investors make their subscription request or repurchase request may be significantly different than the offering price they pay or the repurchase price they receive.

 

Valuations and appraisals of our properties and real estate-related assets are estimates of fair value and may not necessarily correspond to realizable value.

 

If we are unable to raise substantial funds, we will be limited in the number and type of investments we make and the value of investments in us will fluctuate with the performance of the specific assets we acquire.

 

NAV calculations are not governed by governmental or independent securities, financial or accounting rules or standards.

 

Because we are dependent upon the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and their affiliates to conduct our operations and we are also dependent upon the Dealer Manager and its affiliates to raise capital, any adverse changes in the financial health of these entities or our relationship with them could hinder our operating performance and the return on our stockholders’ investment.

Risks Related to Our Investments

 

The continuing spread of COVID-19 has had a significant adverse effect on certain of our investments and may adversely affect our investments and operations in the future.

 

The CRE debt we originate and invest in and mortgage loans underlying the CRE securities we invest in are subject to risks of delinquency, taking title to collateral, loss and bankruptcy of the borrower under the loan. If the borrower defaults, it may result in losses to us.

 

We acquired a hotel from one of our borrowers and may acquire additional hotels. For so long as we own hotels or invest in loans secured by hotels and securities collateralized by hotels, we will be exposed to the unique risks of the hospitality sector, including seasonality, volatility and the severe reduction in occupancy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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

 

We may not be effective in originating, acquiring and managing our investments.

 

Delays in liquidating defaulted CRE debt investments could reduce our investment returns.

 

We may be subject to risks associated with future advance or capital expenditure obligations, such as declining real estate values and operating performance.

 

We may be unable to restructure our investments in a manner that we believe maximizes value, particularly if we are one of multiple creditors in a large capital structure.

 

CRE debt restructurings may reduce our net interest income or require provisions for loan losses.

 

Our CRE debt and securities investments may be adversely affected by changes in credit spreads.

7


 

 

Provision for loan losses is difficult to estimate, particularly in a challenging economic environment.

 

The subordinate CRE debt we originate and acquire may be subject to risks relating to the structure and terms of the related transactions, as well as subordination in bankruptcy, and there may not be sufficient funds or assets remaining to satisfy our investments, which may result in losses to us.

 

We may make investments in assets with lower credit quality, which will increase our risk of losses.

 

Investments in non-performing real estate assets involve greater risks than investments in stabilized, performing assets and make our future performance more difficult to predict.

 

Floating-rate CRE debt, which is often associated with transitional assets, may entail greater risks of default to us than fixed-rate CRE debt.

 

Insurance may not cover all potential losses on CRE investments, which may impair the value of our assets.

 

If we overestimate the value or income-producing ability or incorrectly price the risks of our investments, we may experience losses.

 

Environmental compliance costs and liabilities associated with our properties or our real estate-related investments may materially impair the value of our investments and expose us to liability.

 

We invest in CRE securities, including CMBS, CRE, collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and other subordinate securities, which entail certain heightened risks.

 

The terms of our CRE debt investments are based on our projections of market demand, as well as on market factors, and our return on our investment may be lower than expected if any of our projections are inaccurate.

 

The expected discontinuation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) may adversely affect interest expense related to our loans and investments or otherwise adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows and the market value of our investments.

Risks Related to Our Financing Strategy

 

We use leverage to originate and acquire our investments, which may adversely affect our return on our investments and may reduce cash available for distribution.

 

Our performance can be negatively affected by fluctuations in interest rates and shifts in the yield curve may cause losses.

 

Hedging against interest rate and currency exposure may adversely affect our earnings, limit our gains or result in losses, which could adversely affect cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

 

We use short-term borrowings to finance our investments and may need to use such borrowings for extended periods of time to the extent we are unable to access long-term financing. This may expose us to increased risks associated with decreases in the fair value of the underlying collateral, which could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

The repurchase agreements, secured loans and other financing arrangements that we use to finance our investments may require us to provide additional collateral and may restrict us from leveraging our assets as fully as desired.

 

Our UPREIT structure may result in potential conflicts of interest with limited partners in the Operating Partnership whose interests may not be aligned with those of our stockholders.

Risks Related to Conflicts of Interest

 

The Sub-Advisor may face a conflict of interest with respect to the allocation of investment opportunities and competition for tenants between us and other real estate programs affiliated with Sound Point.

 

The Advisor faces a conflict of interest because the management fee and performance fee are based on the value of our investment portfolio as determined in connection with our determination of NAV, which is calculated by the Advisor.

 

Our executive officers, our affiliated directors and the key real estate professionals acting on behalf of the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor face conflicts of interest related to their positions or interests in affiliates of Inland and Sound Point, which could hinder our ability to implement our business strategy and to generate returns to our stockholders.

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Risks Related to Regulatory Matters

 

We are subject to substantial regulation, numerous contractual obligations and extensive internal policies and failure to comply with these matters could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Items

 

If we do not maintain our qualification as a REIT, we will be subject to tax as a regular corporation and could face a substantial tax liability.

 

The failure of a mezzanine loan to qualify as a real estate asset could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT

 

Modification of the terms of our CRE debt investments and mortgage loans underlying our CMBS in conjunction with reductions in the value of the real property securing such loans could cause us to fail to continue to qualify as a REIT.

 

Compliance with REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities, which may hinder or delay our ability to meet our investment objectives and reduce overall returns to stockholders.

 

Our charter does not permit any person or group to own more than 9.8% of our outstanding common stock or of our outstanding capital stock of all classes or series, and attempts to acquire our common stock or our capital stock of all other classes or series in excess of these 9.8% limits would not be effective without an exemption from these limits by our Board.

 

Our ownership of and relationship with any taxable REIT subsidiary that we may form or acquire is subject to limitations, and a failure to comply with the limits would jeopardize our REIT qualification and may result in the application of a 100% excise tax.

 

Foreclosures may impact our ability to qualify as a REIT and minimize tax liabilities.

 


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Risks Related to an Investment in Our Company

We have a limited operating history and there is no assurance that we will be able to successfully achieve our investment objectives.

We have a limited operating history and may not be able to achieve our investment objectives. We cannot assure stockholders that the past experiences of affiliates of the Advisor or the Sub-Advisor will be sufficient to allow us to successfully achieve our investment objectives. As a result, an investment in our shares of common stock may entail more risk than the shares of common stock of a REIT with a substantial operating history.

There is no public trading market for shares of our common stock; therefore, our stockholders’ ability to dispose of their shares will likely be limited to repurchase by us through our SRP. We may choose to repurchase fewer shares than have been requested to be repurchased, in our discretion at any time, and the amount of shares we may repurchase is subject to caps. Further, our Board may modify, suspend or terminate our SRP if it deems such action to be in our best interest and the best interest of our stockholders. If stockholders do sell their shares to us, they may receive less than the price they paid.

There is no current public trading market for shares of our common stock, and we do not expect that such a market will ever develop. Therefore, repurchase of shares by us pursuant to our SRP will likely be the only way for our stockholders to dispose of their shares, and there can be no assurance that our SRP will be available at any given time, as our Board may determine to suspend the plan based on economic conditions or for any other reason it deems appropriate. Our Board suspended our SRP on March 24, 2020 and subsequently reinstated the SRP effective March 1, 2021 for stockholders requesting repurchase of shares as a result of the death or disability of the holder and for all other stockholders effective July 1, 2021, subject to certain aggregate repurchase limits. For the months of July, August and September 2021, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares (including Class P Shares) will be limited to no more than 1% of our aggregate NAV per month as of the last day of the previous calendar month and no more than 2.5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter as of the last day of the previous calendar month. Beginning on October 1, 2021, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares will be limited as set forth in the SRP (2% of our aggregate NAV per month as of the last day of the previous calendar month and no more than 5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter as of the last day of the previous calendar month). When our SRP is in effect, our stockholders who have held their shares for at least one year have the opportunity to request that we repurchase their shares on a monthly basis. We repurchase shares from requesting stockholders who have held their shares for at least one year on a monthly basis at a price equal to our most recently determined NAV per share for the applicable class of share on the date the repurchase request is processed, and not based on the price at which the stockholder initially purchased his or her shares. As a result, our stockholders may receive less than the price they paid for their shares when they sell them to us pursuant to our repurchase program.

 

Due to the illiquid nature of investment in real estate, we may not have sufficient liquid resources to fund repurchase requests. When the SRP is in effect, we may choose to repurchase all, some or none of the shares that have been requested to be repurchased at the end of any particular month, in our discretion, subject to any limitations in our SRP. Further, our Board may modify, suspend or terminate our SRP if it deems such action to be in our best interest and the best interest of our stockholders. If the full amount of all shares of our common stock requested to be repurchased in any given month are not repurchased, funds will be allocated pro rata based on the total number of shares of common stock being repurchased without regard to class and subject to the volume limitation.

Economic events that may cause our stockholders to request that we repurchase their shares may materially adversely affect our cash flow and our results of operations and financial condition.

Economic events affecting the U.S. economy, such as the general negative performance of the real estate sector, could cause our stockholders to seek to sell their shares to us pursuant to our SRP at a time when such events are adversely affecting the performance of our assets. Our SRP was suspended and may be suspended again in the future.  Even if we decide to satisfy all repurchase requests within the limits of our SRP, our cash flow could be materially adversely affected. In addition, if we determine to sell assets to satisfy repurchase requests, we may not be able to realize the return on such assets that we may have been able to achieve had we sold at a more favorable time, and our results of operations and financial condition, including, without limitation, breadth of our portfolio by property type and location, could be materially adversely affected.

The Advisor and the Sub-Advisor manage our portfolio pursuant to very broad investment guidelines and generally are not required to seek the approval of our Board for each investment, financing or asset allocation decision made by it, which may result in our making riskier investments and which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

Our Board approved very broad investment guidelines that delegate to the Advisor the authority to execute originations, acquisitions and dispositions of CRE debt, CRE securities and real estate properties on our behalf, in each case so long as such investments are consistent with the investment guidelines and our charter. Pursuant to the Sub-Advisory Agreement, the Advisor delegated this authority to the Sub-Advisor, under the supervision of the Advisor. There can be no assurance that the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor will be successful in applying any strategy or discretionary approach to our investment activities. Our Board reviews our investment guidelines on an annual basis (or more often as it deems appropriate) and reviews our investment portfolio periodically. The prior

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approval of our Board or a committee of independent directors will be required only as set forth in our charter (including for transactions with affiliates of the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor) or for the acquisition or disposition of assets that are not in accordance with our investment guidelines. In addition, in conducting periodic reviews, our directors rely primarily on information provided to them by the Advisor. Furthermore, transactions entered into on our behalf by the Advisor may be costly, difficult or impossible to unwind when they are subsequently reviewed by our Board.

The amount and source of distributions we may pay to our stockholders is uncertain, and we may be unable to generate sufficient cash flows from our operations to pay distributions to our stockholders at any time in the future.

We have not established a minimum distribution payment level, and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders may be adversely affected by a number of factors, including the risk factors described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Because we have a limited operating history and have not identified all of the assets we may acquire with the proceeds of the IPO, we may not generate sufficient income to pay distributions to our stockholders. Our Board will make determinations regarding distributions based upon, among other factors, our financial performance, debt service obligations, debt covenants and capital expenditure requirements. Among the factors that could impair our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders are:

 

the limited size of our portfolio in the early stages of our development;

 

our inability to invest the proceeds from sales of our shares on a timely basis in income-producing CRE loans, CRE securities and select CRE equity investments;

 

our inability to realize attractive risk-adjusted returns on our investments;

 

unanticipated expenses or reduced revenues that reduce our cash flow or non-cash earnings;

 

defaults in our investment portfolio or decreases in the value of our investments, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and

 

the fact that anticipated operating expense levels may not prove accurate, as actual results may vary from estimates.

As a result, we may not be able to pay distributions to our stockholders at any time in the future, and the level of any distributions we do make to our stockholders may not increase or even be maintained over time, any of which could materially and adversely affect the value of our stockholders’ investments. Though we paid distributions to our stockholders on a monthly basis from December 5, 2016 to March 24, 2020, our Board suspended distributions from March 24, 2020 to July 30, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and may do so again in the future.

We have paid and may continue to pay distributions from sources other than our earnings and cash flow from operations, including, without limitation, the sale of assets, borrowings or offering proceeds, and we have no limits on the amounts we may pay from such sources.

We may not generate sufficient earnings and cash flow from operations to fully fund distributions to stockholders. Therefore, we may choose to use cash flows from financing activities, which include borrowings (including borrowings secured by our assets), net proceeds of the IPO, or other sources to fund distributions to our stockholders. We may be required to continue to fund our regular distributions from a combination of some of these sources if our investments fail to perform as anticipated, if expenses are greater than expected and due to numerous other factors. We have not established a limit on the amount of our distributions that may be paid from any of these sources. We have funded distributions, in part, using offering proceeds and, in the future, we may again pay distributions from sources other than earnings and cash flow from operations. For example, during the year ended December 31, 2019, 38.3% of our total distributions were paid from offering proceeds.

Using certain of these sources may result in a liability to us, which would require a future repayment. The use of these sources for distributions and the ultimate repayment of any liabilities incurred could adversely impact our ability to pay distributions in future periods, decrease our NAV, decrease the amount of cash we have available for operations and new investments and adversely impact the value of our stockholders’ investment.

Purchases in our public offering and repurchases of shares of our common stock are not made based on the current NAV per share of our common stock.

Our offering price per share and the price at which we make repurchases of our shares generally will equal the NAV per share of the applicable class as of the last calendar day of the prior month, plus, in the case of our offering price, applicable upfront selling commissions and dealer manager fees. The NAV per share, if calculated as of the date on which an investor in the offering makes a subscription request or a stockholder makes a repurchase request, may be significantly different than the transaction price they pay or the repurchase price they receive. Certain of our investments or liabilities may be subject to high levels of volatility from time to time and could change in value significantly between the end of the prior month as of which our NAV is determined and the date that they acquire or we repurchase shares, but the prior month’s NAV per share will generally continue to be used as the transaction price per

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share and repurchase price per share. In exceptional circumstances, we may in our sole discretion offer and repurchase shares at a different price that we believe is more appropriate than the prior month’s NAV per share, including by updating a previously disclosed transaction price, or suspend our offering and/or our share repurchase plan in cases where we believe there has been a material change (positive or negative) to our NAV per share since the end of the prior month and we believe suspension is appropriate. In such exceptional cases, the transaction price and the repurchase price will not equal our NAV per share as of the end of the prior month but still may not equal our NAV per share at the time of an investor’s purchase or our repurchase.

Valuations and appraisals of our properties and real estate-related assets are estimates of fair value and may not necessarily correspond to realizable value.

The Advisor determines the fair value of our investments as of the last day of each month. Within the parameters of our valuation guidelines, the valuation methodologies used to value our assets involves subjective judgments. The fair values of commercial loans are determined by analyzing interest rate spreads on loans based on various factors including capitalization rates, occupancy rates, sponsorship, geographic concentration, collateral type, market conditions and actions of other lenders and may not be accurate. Valuation methodologies also involve assumptions and opinions about future events, which may or may not turn out to be correct. Valuations and appraisals of our investments are only estimates of fair value. Ultimate realization of the value of an asset depends to a great extent on economic and other conditions beyond our control and the control of the Advisor. Further, valuations do not necessarily represent the price at which an asset would sell, since market prices of assets can only be determined by negotiation between a willing buyer and seller. Therefore, the valuations of our investments may not correspond to the timely realizable value upon a sale of those assets. There will be no retroactive adjustment in the valuation of such assets, the price of our shares of common stock, the price we paid to repurchase shares of our common stock or NAV-based fees we paid to the Advisor and the Dealer Manager to the extent such valuations prove to not accurately reflect the true estimate of value and are not a precise measure of realizable value. Because the price at which shares may be repurchased by us pursuant to our SRP is based on our estimated NAV per share, stockholders may receive less than realizable value for their investment.

Our NAV per share may suddenly change if the estimated values of our illiquid assets materially change from prior estimates or the actual operating results for a particular month differ from what we originally estimated for that month.

We calculate a monthly NAV. While we obtain annual independent valuations of our properties and monthly independent valuations of our CRE securities, a substantial portion of our assets consist of CRE debt that is valued by the Advisor, with the assistance of the Sub-Advisor, using factors that are periodically validated by an independent third party. Changes in market conditions may significantly impact the estimated valuation of our assets and there may be a sudden change in our NAV per share for each class of our common stock. In addition, actual operating results for a given month may differ from what we originally budgeted for that month, which may cause a sudden increase or decrease in the NAV per share amounts. After the end of the last business day of each month, we adjust the income and expenses we estimated for that month to reflect the income and expenses actually earned and incurred. We will not retroactively adjust the monthly NAV per share of each class for each day of the previous month. Therefore, because the actual results from operations may be better or worse than what we previously budgeted for a particular month, the adjustment to reflect actual operating results may cause the NAV per share for each class of our common stock to increase or decrease, and such increase or decrease will occur on the day the adjustment is made.

It may be difficult to reflect, fully and accurately, material events that may impact our monthly NAV.

The Advisor’s determination of our monthly NAV per share for each class of our common stock is based in part on estimates of the values of our illiquid assets in accordance with valuation guidelines approved by our Board. As a result, our most recently published NAV per share may not fully reflect any or all changes in value that may have occurred since the most recent valuation. We suspended the calculation of our NAV from March 24, 2020 to July 20, 2020 as a result of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we may do so again in the future. The Advisor reviews our CRE debt and CRE securities investments for the occurrence of any asset-specific or market-driven event it believes may cause a material valuation change in the asset valuation, but it may be difficult to reflect fully and accurately rapidly changing market conditions or material events that may impact the value of our illiquid assets or liabilities between valuations, or to obtain quickly complete information regarding any such events. As a result, the NAV per share may not reflect a material event until such time as sufficient information is available and analyzed, and the financial impact is fully evaluated, such that our NAV may be appropriately adjusted in accordance with our valuation guidelines. Depending on the circumstances, the resulting potential disparity in our NAV may negatively affect stockholders who have their shares repurchased, or stockholders who buy new shares, or our existing stockholders.

If we are unable to raise substantial funds, we will be limited in the number and type of investments we make and the value of investments in us will fluctuate with the performance of the specific assets we acquire.

Our IPO is being made on a “best efforts” basis, meaning that the Dealer Manager and broker-dealers participating in the distribution of shares in our IPO (“participating broker-dealers”) are only required to use their best efforts to sell our shares and have no firm commitment or obligation to purchase any shares of our common stock in our IPO. As a result, the amount of proceeds we raise in our

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IPO may be substantially less than the amount we would need to create a diversified portfolio of investments. If we are unable to raise substantial funds, we will make fewer investments resulting in less diversification in terms of the type, number and size of investments that we make. Moreover, the potential impact of any single asset’s performance on the overall performance of our portfolio increases. Further, we have certain fixed operating expenses, including certain expenses as a public reporting company, regardless of whether we are able to raise substantial funds in our IPO. Our inability to raise substantial funds would increase our fixed operating expenses as a percentage of gross income, reducing our net income and limiting our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders. Certain participating broker-dealers suspended the sale of public, non-listed REITs, including our shares, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although most of those suspensions occurred during the period when our IPO was suspended by our Board, there is no assurance that our participating broker-dealers’ sales efforts will return to pre-suspension levels or resume at all, which increases the risk that we are unable to raise substantial funds in our IPO.

If we raise substantial offering proceeds in a short period of time, we may not be able to invest all of our offering proceeds promptly, which may cause our distributions and investment returns to be lower than they otherwise would be.

The more shares we sell in our IPO, the greater our challenge is to invest all of our net offering proceeds. If we raise substantial offering proceeds in a short period of time, there may be delays in investing our net proceeds promptly and on attractive terms. Pending investment, the net proceeds of our IPO may be invested in permitted temporary investments, which include short-term U.S. government securities, bank certificates of deposit and other short-term liquid investments. The rate of return on these investments, which affects the amount of cash available to pay distributions, has fluctuated in recent years and most likely will be less than the return obtainable from the type of investments we seek to originate or acquire. Therefore, delays we encounter in the selection, due diligence and origination or acquisition of investments would likely limit our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders and lower our overall returns.

NAV calculations are not governed by governmental or independent securities, financial or accounting rules or standards.

The method for calculating our NAV, including the components that will be used in calculating our NAV, is not prescribed by rules of the SEC or any other regulatory agency. Further, there are no accounting rules or standards that prescribe which components should be used in calculating NAV, and our NAV will not be audited by our independent registered public accounting firm. We calculate and publish our monthly NAV solely for purposes of establishing the price at which we sell and repurchase shares of our common stock, and stockholders should not view our NAV as a measure of our historical or future financial condition or performance. The components and methodology that is used in calculating our NAV may differ from those used by other companies now or in the future.

In addition, our NAV calculations, to the extent that they incorporate valuations of our assets and liabilities, are not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). These valuations, which are based on market values that assume a willing buyer and seller, may differ from liquidation values that could be realized in the event that we were forced to sell assets.

Compliance with the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest by participating broker-dealers may negatively impact our ability to raise capital in our IPO, which would harm our ability to achieve our investment objectives.

Commencing June 30, 2020, broker-dealers must comply with Regulation Best Interest, which, among other requirements, establishes a new standard of conduct for broker-dealers and natural persons who are associated persons of a broker-dealer when making a recommendation of any securities transaction or investment strategy involving securities to a retail customer.  The impact of Regulation Best Interest on participating broker-dealers cannot be determined at this time, and it may negatively impact whether participating broker-dealers and their associated persons recommend our continuous public offering to certain retail customers.  If Regulation Best Interest reduces our ability to raise capital in our IPO, it would harm our ability to create a diversified portfolio of investments and ability to achieve our investment objectives.

The Sub-Advisor may not be successful, or there may be delays, in locating suitable investments, which could limit our ability to pay distributions and lower the overall return on our stockholders’ investment.

We rely upon the Sub-Advisor to identify suitable investments. The investment professionals of the Sub-Advisor must determine which investment opportunities to recommend to us and to existing and future investment vehicles which are affiliated with Sound Point CRE, the parent of the Sub-Advisor. The Sub-Advisor may not be successful in locating suitable investments on financially attractive terms, and we may not achieve our investment objectives. If we, through the Sub-Advisor, are unable to find suitable investments promptly, we may hold the proceeds from the IPO in an interest-bearing account or invest the proceeds in short-term assets. We expect that the income we earn on these temporary investments will not be substantial. Further, we may use the principal amount of these investments, and any returns generated on these investments, to pay fees and expenses in connection with the IPO and distributions. Therefore, delays in investing proceeds we raise from the IPO could impact our ability to generate cash flow for distributions or to achieve our investment objectives.

The Sub-Advisor may acquire assets where the returns are substantially below expectations or which result in net losses. In the event we are unable to timely locate suitable investments, we may be unable or limited in our ability to pay distributions and we may not be

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able to meet our investment objectives. The Sub-Advisor’s investment professionals face competing demands upon their time, including in instances when we have capital ready for investment and consequently we may face delays in execution. Delays we encounter in the selection and origination or acquisition of investments would likely limit our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders and lower our stockholders’ overall returns.

Our ability to achieve our investment objectives and to pay distributions depends in substantial part upon the performance of the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and third-party servicers.

Our ability to achieve our investment objectives and to pay distributions depends in substantial part upon the performance of the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor in the origination and acquisition of our investments, including the determination of any financing arrangements, as well as the performance of the third-party servicers of our CRE debt investments. Stockholders must rely entirely on the management abilities of the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor and the oversight of our Board, along with those of our third-party servicers.

Because we are dependent upon the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and their affiliates to conduct our operations and we are also dependent upon the Dealer Manager and its affiliates to raise capital, any adverse changes in the financial health of these entities or our relationship with them could hinder our operating performance and the return on our stockholders’ investment.

We are dependent on the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and their affiliates to manage our operations and our portfolio, and we are also dependent upon the Dealer Manager and its affiliates to raise capital. The Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and their affiliates depend upon the direct and indirect fees and other compensation or reimbursement of costs that they receive from us and other companies affiliated with Inland and Sound Point, respectively, and in connection with the management of our business and assets to conduct their operations. The Dealer Manager also depends upon financial support that it receives from its parent company in connection with performing services for us. Any adverse changes in the financial condition of the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, the Dealer Manager or their respective parent entities and control persons could hinder their ability to successfully support our business and growth, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

The loss of or the inability to retain or hire key investment professionals at the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor or their respective affiliates could delay or hinder implementation of our investment strategies, which could limit our ability to pay distributions and decrease the value of our stockholders’ investment.

Our success depends to a significant degree upon the contributions of key personnel at the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and their respective affiliates, each of whom would be difficult to replace. We cannot assure stockholders that such personnel will continue to be associated with them in the future. If any of these persons were to cease their association with us, the Advisor or the Sub-Advisor, our operating results could suffer. We do not intend to maintain key person life insurance on any person. We believe that our future success depends, in large part, upon the Advisor’s, the Sub-Advisor’s and their respective affiliates’ ability to hire and retain highly-skilled managerial, operational and marketing professionals. Competition for such professionals is intense, and they may be unsuccessful in attracting and retaining such skilled individuals. If they lose or are unable to obtain the services of highly-skilled professionals, our ability to implement our investment strategies could be delayed or hindered and the value of our common stock may decline.

The Advisor's and the Sub-Advisor’s platform may not be as scalable as we anticipate and we could face difficulties growing our business without significant new investment in personnel and infrastructure.

If our business grows substantially, the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor may need to make significant new investments in personnel and infrastructure to support that growth. In addition, service providers to whom the Advisor or Sub-Advisor may delegate certain functions may also be strained by our growth. The Sub-Advisor may be unable to make significant investments on a timely basis or at reasonable costs and its failure in this regard could disrupt our business and operations. Further, during periods of economic retraction, Inland, Sound Point, the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor may be incented to reduce their personnel and costs, which could have an adverse effect on us.

Failure by us, the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor or our service providers, tenants or borrowers to implement effective information and cyber security policies, procedures and capabilities could disrupt our business and harm our results of operations.

We, the Advisor, Sub-Advisor and our service providers, tenants and borrowers are dependent on the effectiveness of our respective information and cyber security policies, procedures and capabilities to protect our computer and telecommunications systems and the data that resides on or is transmitted through them. An externally caused information security incident, such as a hacker attack, virus or worm, or an internally caused issue, such as failure to control access to sensitive systems, could materially interrupt business operations or cause disclosure or modification of sensitive or confidential information and could result in material financial loss, loss of competitive position, regulatory actions, breach of contracts, reputational harm or legal liability.

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We may change our investment strategy without our stockholders’ consent and make riskier investments.

We may change our investment strategy at any time without the consent of our stockholders, which could result in our making investments that are different from and possibly riskier than the investments described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. A change in our investment strategy may increase our exposure to interest rate and commercial real estate market fluctuations.

Risks Related to Our Investments

The continuing spread of COVID-19 has had a significant adverse effect on certain of our investments and may adversely affect our investments and operations in the future.

Since its discovery in December 2019, COVID-19 has spread from China to most other countries, including the United States. The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, the Health and Human Services Secretary declared a public health emergency in the United States and the President of the United States declared a national emergency. Considerable uncertainty still surrounds the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential effects, and the extent of and effectiveness of any responses taken on a national and local level. The severity and length of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. and world economies is uncertain and could result in a more severe world-wide economic downturn that may lead to corporate bankruptcies in the most affected industries and may result in increased unemployment. We are not limited to investing in any particular commercial real estate sector, and the effects of the pandemic may have material short-term and long-term negative effects on our borrowers and the real estate securities we may own and the performance and value of the commercial properties securing or underlying the value of our investments.    

As a result of our investments being secured entirely by properties located in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted and may further adversely impact our investments and operating results to the extent that its continued spread within the United States reduces occupancy, increases the cost of operation or results in limited hours or necessitates the closure of such properties. In addition, quarantines, states of emergencies and other measures taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus may negatively impact the ability of such properties to continue to obtain necessary goods and services or provide adequate staffing, which may also adversely affect our investments and operating results. In particular, with respect to our investments in or secured by hospitality properties, a variety of factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic have, and are expected to continue to, cause a decline in business and leisure travel, including but not limited to (i) restrictions in travel, including those imposed by governmental entities and employers, (ii) the postponement or cancellation of industry conventions and conferences, music and arts festivals, sporting events and other large public gatherings, (iii) the closure or limited reopening of amusement parks, museums and other tourist attractions, (iv) the closure of colleges and universities, and (v) negative public perceptions of travel and public gatherings in light of the perceived risks associated with the coronavirus. The borrower under our loan secured by the Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Suites Hotel (the “Renaissance O’Hare”) defaulted during May 2020, and we have taken ownership of the hotel through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, and we expect to incur operating losses through the first half of 2021 and perhaps beyond, depending on the future effects of the pandemic and the effectiveness of vaccinations and treatments. In addition, with respect to our investments secured by retail properties, individual stores and shopping malls have been, and may continue to be, closed for an extended period of time or only open certain hours of the day. Adaptations made by companies in response to “stay-at-home” orders and future limitations on in-person work environments could lead to a sustained shift away from collective in-person work environments and adversely affect the overall demand for office space over the long term and negatively affect our borrowers whose loans are secured by office properties.  

Our borrowers or the borrowers of loans that underlie any real estate securities we may invest in may be unable to timely execute their business plans, may have to temporarily close their businesses or limit their operations or may experience other negative business consequences and request interest deferrals or forbearance or other modifications of their loans due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have already modified one loan secured by a hospitality property, one loan secured by a retail property and two loans secured by office properties to assist the borrowers in dealing with the effects of the pandemic, and the economic effects of the pandemic may result in more modifications and potentially defaults or foreclosures on assets underlying our loans, which could adversely affect the credit profile of our assets and our results of operations and financial condition.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved certain therapies and vaccines for emergency use and distribution to certain groups of individuals as of the date of this report, the initial rollout of vaccine distribution has encountered significant delays, and there remain uncertainties as to the amount of vaccine available for distribution, the logistics of implementing a national vaccine program, and the overall efficacy of the vaccines once widely administered, especially as new strains of COVID-19 have been discovered, and the level of resistance these new strains have to the existing vaccines, if any, remains unknown. Until such therapies and vaccines are widely available and effective, the pandemic and public and private responses to the pandemic may lead to deterioration of economic conditions, an economic downturn or a recession at a global scale, which could materially affect our or our borrowers’ performance, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic results in a more severe world-wide economic downturn, there will likely be widespread corporate bankruptcies and a continued increase in unemployment, which could negatively impact our investments and operations, as

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well as our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders. The extent to which the coronavirus further impacts our investments and operations will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted with confidence, including the duration of the pandemic, new information that may emerge concerning the severity of the coronavirus and the actions taken to contain the coronavirus or treat its impact, and the availability of effective therapies or vaccines, among others. The negative impacts to our business as a result of the pandemic could exacerbate other risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.  

Our CRE debt and securities investments are subject to the risks typically associated with CRE.

Our CRE debt and securities investments are subject to the risks typically associated with CRE, including:

 

local, state, national or international economic conditions, including market disruptions caused by regional concerns, political upheaval, virus outbreaks and pandemics (including the COVID-19 pandemic), the sovereign debt crises and other factors;

 

real estate conditions, such as an oversupply of or a reduction in demand for real estate space in an area;

 

lack of liquidity inherent in the nature of the asset;

 

tenant/operator mix and the success of the tenant/operator business;

 

the ability and willingness of tenants/operators/managers to maintain the financial strength and liquidity to satisfy their obligations to us and to third parties;

 

reliance on tenants/operators/managers to operate their business in a sufficient manner and in compliance with their contractual arrangements with us;

 

ability and cost to replace a tenant/operator/manager upon default;

 

property management decisions;

 

property location and conditions;

 

property operating costs, including insurance premiums, real estate taxes and maintenance costs;

 

the perceptions of the quality, convenience, attractiveness and safety of the properties;

 

branding, marketing and operational strategies;

 

competition from comparable properties;

 

the occupancy rate of, and the rental rates charged at, the properties;

 

the ability to collect on a timely basis all rent;

 

the effects of any bankruptcies or insolvencies;

 

the expense of leasing, renovation or construction;

 

changes in interest rates and in the availability, cost and terms of mortgage financing;

 

unknown liens being placed on the properties;

 

bad acts of third parties;

 

the ability to refinance mortgage notes payable related to the real estate on favorable terms, if at all;

 

changes in governmental rules, regulations and fiscal policies;

 

tax implications;

 

changes in laws, including laws that increase operating expenses or limit rents that may be charged;

 

the impact of present or future environmental legislation and compliance with environmental laws, including costs of remediation and liabilities associated with environmental conditions affecting properties;

 

cost of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act;

 

adverse changes in governmental rules and fiscal policies;

 

social unrest and civil disturbances;

 

acts of nature, including earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural disasters;

 

terrorism;

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the potential for uninsured or underinsured property losses;

 

adverse changes in state and local laws, including zoning laws; and

 

other factors which are beyond our control.

The value of each property underlying our CRE debt and CRE securities investments is affected significantly by its ability to generate cash flow and net income, which in turn depends on the amount of rental or other income that can be generated net of expenses required to be incurred with respect to the property. Many expenses associated with properties (such as operating expenses and capital expenses) cannot be reduced when there is a reduction in income from the properties.

These factors may have a material adverse effect on the value and the return that we can realize from our assets, as well as the ability of our borrowers to pay their loans and the ability of the borrowers on the underlying loans securing our securities to pay their loans.

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

Many of our investments may be susceptible to economic slowdowns, recessions or depressions, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could lead to financial losses and a decrease in revenues, earnings and assets. An economic slowdown, or recession or depression, in addition to other economic and non-economic factors such as an excess supply of properties, could have a material negative impact on the values of our investments. Borrowers may be less likely to achieve their business plans and be able to pay principal and interest on our CRE debt investments if the economy weakens and property values decline. Further, declining real estate values significantly increase the likelihood that we will incur losses on our investments in the event of a default because the value of our collateral may be insufficient to cover our cost. In addition, declining real estate values will reduce the value of any of our investments. A strained labor market, along with overall financial uncertainty, could result in lower occupancy rates and lower lease rates across many property types and may create obstacles for us to achieve our business plans. We may also be less able to pay principal and interest on our borrowings, which could cause us to lose title to properties securing our borrowings. Any sustained period of increased payment delinquencies, taking title to collateral or losses could adversely affect both our CRE investments as well as our ability to finance our portfolio, which would significantly harm our revenues, results of operations, financial condition, business prospects and our ability to pay distributions to stockholders.

We are subject to significant competition, and we may not be able to compete successfully for investments.

We are subject to significant competition for attractive investment opportunities from other real estate investors, some of which have greater financial resources than we do, including publicly traded REITs, public, non-listed REITs, insurance companies, commercial and investment banking firms, private institutional funds, hedge funds, private equity funds and other investors. Our management has observed increased competition in recent years, and we expect such trend to continue. We may not be able to compete successfully for investments. In addition, the number of entities and the amount of funds competing for suitable investments may increase. If we pay higher prices for investments or originate loans on less advantageous terms to us, our returns may be lower and the value of our assets may not increase or may decrease significantly below the amount we paid for such assets. As we reinvest capital, we may not realize risk adjusted returns that are as attractive as those we have realized in the past. If such events occur, we may experience lower returns on our investments.

We may not be effective in originating, acquiring and managing our investments.

Our origination and acquisition capabilities depend on the Sub-Advisor’s ability to leverage its relationships in the market and deploy capital to borrowers and tenants that hold properties meeting our underwriting standards. Managing these investments requires significant resources, adherence to internal policies and attention to detail. Managing investments may also require significant judgment and, despite our expectations, the Sub-Advisor may make decisions that result in losses. If we are unable to successfully originate investments on favorable terms, or at all, or if we are ineffective in managing those investments, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

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The CRE debt we originate and invest in and mortgage loans underlying the CRE securities we invest in are subject to risks of delinquency, taking title to collateral, loss and bankruptcy of the borrower under the loan. If the borrower defaults, it may result in losses to us.

Our CRE debt investments are secured by commercial real estate and are subject to risks of delinquency, loss, taking title to collateral and bankruptcy of the borrower. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by commercial real estate is typically dependent primarily upon the successful operation of such property rather than upon the existence of independent income or assets of the borrower. If the net operating income of the property is reduced or is not increased, depending on the borrower's business plan, the borrower's ability to repay the loan may be impaired. If a borrower defaults or declares bankruptcy and the underlying asset value is less than the loan amount, we will suffer a loss. In this manner, real estate values could impact the value of our CRE debt and securities investments. Therefore, our CRE debt and securities are subject to the risks typically associated with real estate.

Additionally, we may suffer losses for a number of reasons, including the following, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial performance:

 

If the value of real property or other assets securing our CRE debt investments deteriorates. The majority of our CRE debt investments are fully or substantially nonrecourse. In the event of a default by a borrower on a nonrecourse loan, we will only have recourse to the real estate-related assets (including escrowed funds and reserves, if any) collateralizing the debt. There can be no assurance that the value of the assets securing our CRE debt investments will not deteriorate over time due to factors beyond our control. Further, we may not know whether the value of these properties has declined below levels existing on the dates of origination. If the value of the properties drops, our risk will increase because of the lower value of the collateral and reduction in borrower equity associated with the related CRE debt. If a borrower defaults on our CRE debt and the mortgaged real estate or other borrower assets collateralizing our CRE debt are insufficient to satisfy the loan, we may suffer a loss of principal or interest.

 

If a borrower or guarantor defaults on recourse obligations under a CRE debt investment. We sometimes will obtain personal or corporate guarantees from borrowers or their affiliates. These guarantees are often triggered only upon the occurrence of certain trigger, or “bad boy,” events. In cases where guarantees are not fully or partially secured, we will typically rely on financial covenants from borrowers and guarantors which are designed to require the borrower or guarantor to maintain certain levels of creditworthiness. If challenging economic and market conditions emerge, many borrowers and guarantors may face financial difficulties and be unable to comply with their financial covenants. Where we do not have recourse to specific collateral pledged to satisfy such guarantees or recourse loans, we will only have recourse as an unsecured creditor to the general assets of the borrower or guarantor, some or all of which may be pledged to satisfy other lenders. There can be no assurance that a borrower or guarantor will comply with its financial covenants or that sufficient assets will be available to pay amounts owed to us under our CRE debt and related guarantees.

 

Our due diligence may not reveal all of a borrower's liabilities and may not reveal other weaknesses in its business. Before making a loan to a borrower, we assess the strength and skills of an entity's management and other factors that we believe are material to the performance of the investment. This underwriting process is particularly important and subjective with respect to newly-organized entities because there may be little or no information publicly available about the entities. In making the assessment and otherwise conducting customary due diligence, we rely on the resources available to us and, in some cases, an investigation by third parties. There can be no assurance that our due diligence processes will uncover all relevant facts or that any investment will be successful. Furthermore, historic performance evaluated in connection with our underwriting process may not be indicative of future performance.

We acquired a hotel from one of our borrowers and may acquire additional hotels. For so long as we own hotels or invest in loans secured by hotels and securities collateralized by hotels, we will be exposed to the unique risks of the hospitality sector, including seasonality, volatility and the severe reduction in occupancy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We own the Renaissance O’Hare, which we acquired through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure transaction, and we may foreclose upon or otherwise own other hospitality properties in the future. The hospitality market is seasonal, highly competitive and influenced by factors such as general and local economic conditions, location, room rates, quality, service levels, reputation and reservation systems, among many other factors. The hospitality market generally experiences seasonal slowdown in the third quarter and, to a lesser extent, in the fourth quarter of each year. As a result of such seasonality, there will likely be quarterly fluctuations in results of operations of any hospitality properties that we own. There are many competitors in this market, and these competitors may have substantially greater marketing and financial resources than those available to us. This competition, along with other factors, such as over-building in the hospitality market, may increase the number of rooms available and may decrease the average occupancy and room rates of our hospitality properties. The demand for rooms at any hospitality properties that we may acquire will change much more rapidly than the demand for space at other properties that we acquire. In addition, any such properties we may own may be adversely affected by factors outside our control, such as extreme weather conditions or natural disasters, terrorist attacks or alerts, outbreaks of contagious diseases, airline strikes, economic factors and other considerations affecting travel. For example, the hospitality market has been and continues to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic has had a material adverse effect on the

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performance of the Renaissance O’Hare, which is likely to continue until the effects of the pandemic on travel and in-person gatherings subside. Any of the aforementioned factors could have a material adverse effect on the performance of our hotels, our results of operations, our ability to pay distributions to stockholders and our NAV.

The following factors should be considered in the context of hotels given that the COVID-19 pandemic has been significantly adversely affecting the ability of hotel managers to successfully operate hotels and has had, and the continued and prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to continue to have, a significant adverse effect on the financial condition, results of operations and cash flows of hotels due to, among other factors:

 

a variety of factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused, and are expected to continue to cause, a sharp decline in group, business and leisure travel, including but not limited to (i) restrictions on travel mandated by governmental entities or voluntarily imposed by employers, (ii) the postponement or cancellation of conventions and conferences, music and arts festivals, sporting events and other large public gatherings, (iii) the closure of amusement parks, museums and other tourist attractions, (iv) the closure of colleges and universities, and (v) negative public perceptions of travel and public gatherings in light of the perceived risks associated with COVID-19;

 

travelers are, and may continue to be, wary to travel where, or because, they may view the risk of contagion as increased and contagion or virus-related deaths linked or alleged to be linked to travel to our properties, whether accurate or not, may injure our reputation;

 

travelers may be dissuaded from traveling due to possible enhanced COVID-19-related screening measures which are being implemented across multiple markets;

 

travelers may be dissuaded from traveling due to the concern that additional travel restrictions implemented between their departure and return may affect their ability to return to their homes;

 

commercial airline service has at various times been reduced or suspended to many areas in the United States, and if airline service does not increase or return to normal pre-pandemic levels, it could negatively affect our hotel revenues, particularly at hotels that are located near major airports and convention centers outside the central business district, such as the Renaissance O’Hare, which depend heavily on the volume of air travel and meetings and other events, particularly those of businesses, for their revenues;

 

the reduced economic activity could also result in an economic recession, and increased unemployment, which could negatively impact future ability or desire to travel lodging demand and, therefore, our revenues, even after the temporary restrictions are lifted;

 

a decrease in the ancillary revenue from amenities at our properties;

 

the potential negative impact on the health of hotel personnel, particularly if a significant number of them are impacted, could result in a deterioration in our ability to ensure business continuity during and after this disruption; and

 

we or our hotel managers may be subject to increased risks related to employee matters, including increased employment litigation and claims for severance or other benefits tied to termination or furloughs as a result of reduced operations prompted by the effects of the pandemic.

We own a ground lease interest in, as opposed to fee title to, the Renaissance O’Hare. This ground lease runs through March 2098. If we are unable or otherwise fail to comply with the terms of the ground lease, for example, because the hotel and our other investments fail to generate enough cash to allow us to make our rent payments, we may lose our interest in the hotel or suffer other adverse outcomes under the lease.

Delays in liquidating defaulted CRE debt investments could reduce our investment returns.

The occurrence of a default on a CRE debt investment could result in our taking title to collateral. The borrower under one of our CRE loans, secured by the Renaissance O’Hare, defaulted during May 2020, and we have taken ownership of the hotel through a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. When there is a default on a CRE debt investment, we may not be able to take title to and sell the collateral securing the loan quickly. Taking title to collateral can be an expensive and lengthy process that could have a negative effect on the return on our investment. Borrowers often resist when lenders, such as us, seek to take title to collateral by asserting numerous claims, counterclaims and defenses, including but not limited to lender liability claims, in an effort to prolong the foreclosure action. In some states, taking title to collateral can take several years or more to resolve. At any time during a foreclosure proceeding, for instance, the borrower may file for bankruptcy, which would have the effect of staying the foreclosure action and further delaying the foreclosure process. The resulting time delay could reduce the value of our investment in the defaulted loans. Furthermore, an action to take title to collateral securing a loan is regulated by state statutes and regulations and is subject to the delays and expenses associated with lawsuits if the borrower raises defenses, counterclaims or files for bankruptcy. In the event of default by a borrower, these restrictions, among other things, may impede our ability to take title to and sell the collateral securing the loan or to obtain proceeds sufficient to

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repay all amounts due to us on the loan. In addition, we may be forced to operate any collateral for which we take title for a substantial period of time, which could be a distraction for our management team and may require us to pay significant costs associated with such collateral. We may not recover any of our investment even if we take title to collateral.

We may be subject to risks associated with future advance or capital expenditure obligations, such as declining real estate values and operating performance.

Our CRE debt investments may require us to advance future funds. We may also need to fund capital expenditures and other significant expenses for our real estate property investments. Future funding obligations subject us to significant risks, such as a decline in value of the property, cost overruns and the borrower and tenant may be unable to generate enough cash flow and execute its business plan, or sell or refinance the property, in order to repay its obligations to us. We could determine that we need to fund more money than we originally anticipated in order to maximize the value of our investment even though there is no assurance additional funding would be the best course of action. Further, future funding obligations may require us to maintain higher liquidity than we might otherwise maintain and this could reduce the overall return on our investments. We could also find ourselves in a position with insufficient liquidity to fund future obligations.

We may be unable to restructure our investments in a manner that we believe maximizes value, particularly if we are one of multiple creditors in a large capital structure.

In order to maximize value, we may be more likely to extend and work out an investment rather than pursue other remedies such as taking title to collateral. However, in situations where there are multiple creditors in large capital structures, it can be particularly difficult to assess the most likely course of action that a lender group or the borrower may take and it may also be difficult to achieve consensus among the lender group as to major decisions. Consequently, there could be a wide range of potential principal recovery outcomes, the timing of which can be unpredictable, based on the strategy pursued by a lender group or other applicable parties. These multiple creditor situations tend to be associated with larger loans. If we are one of a group of lenders, we may not independently control the decision making. Consequently, we may be unable to restructure an investment in a manner that we believe would maximize value.

CRE debt restructurings may reduce our net interest income or require provisions for loan losses.

Weak economic conditions in the future may cause our borrowers to be at increased risk of default and we or a third party may need to restructure loans if our borrowers are unable to meet their obligations to us and we believe restructuring is the best way to maximize value. In order to preserve long-term value, we may determine to lower the interest rate on loans in connection with a restructuring, which will have an adverse impact on our net interest income. We may also determine to extend the maturity and make other concessions with the goal of increasing overall value, however, there is no assurance that the results of our restructurings will be favorable to us. Restructuring an investment may ultimately result in us receiving less than had we not restructured the investment. We may lose some or all of our investment even if we restructure in an effort to increase value. Further, concessions we may make to troubled borrowers could result in the loans being deemed impaired, which may require additional provisions for loan loss.

Our CRE debt and securities investments may be adversely affected by changes in credit spreads.

Our CRE debt we originate or acquire and securities investments we invest in are subject to changes in credit spreads. When credit spreads widen, the economic value of our investments decrease even if such investment is performing in accordance with its terms and the underlying collateral has not changed.

Provision for loan losses is difficult to estimate, particularly in a challenging economic environment.

In a challenging economic environment, we may experience an increase in provisions for loan losses and asset impairment charges, as borrowers may be unable to remain current in payments on loans and declining property values weaken our collateral. Our determination of provision for loan losses requires us to make certain estimates and judgments, which may be difficult to determine, particularly in a challenging economic environment. Our estimates and judgments are based on a number of factors, including projected cash flow from the collateral securing our CRE debt, structure, including the availability of reserves and recourse guarantees, likelihood of repayment in full at the maturity of a loan, potential for refinancing and expected market discount rates for varying property types, all of which remain uncertain and are subjective. Our estimates and judgments may not be correct, particularly during challenging economic environments, and therefore our results of operations and financial condition could be severely impacted.

The subordinate CRE debt we originate and acquire may be subject to risks relating to the structure and terms of the related transactions, as well as subordination in bankruptcy, and there may not be sufficient funds or assets remaining to satisfy our investments, which may result in losses to us.

We originate, structure and acquire subordinate CRE debt investments secured primarily by commercial properties, which may include subordinate mortgage loans, mezzanine loans and participations in such loans and preferred equity interests in borrowers who own such properties. We have not placed any limits on the percentage of our portfolio that may be comprised of these types of

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investments, which may involve a higher degree of risk than the type of assets that we expect will constitute the majority of our debt investments, namely first mortgage loans secured by real property. These investments may be subordinate to other debt on commercial property and will be secured by subordinate rights to the commercial property or by equity interests in the borrower. In addition, real properties with subordinate debt may have higher loan-to-value ratios than conventional debt, resulting in less equity in the real property and increasing the risk of loss of principal and interest. If a borrower defaults or declares bankruptcy, after senior obligations are met, there may not be sufficient funds or assets remaining to satisfy our subordinate interests. Because each transaction is privately negotiated, subordinate investments can vary in their structural characteristics and lender rights. Our rights to control the default or bankruptcy process following a default will vary from transaction to transaction. The subordinate investments that we originate and invest in may not give us the right to demand taking title to collateral as a subordinate real estate debt holder. Furthermore, the presence of intercreditor agreements may limit our ability to amend our loan documents, assign our loans, accept prepayments, exercise our remedies and control decisions made in bankruptcy proceedings relating to borrowers. Similarly, a majority of the participating lenders may be able to take actions to which we object, but by which we will be bound. Even if we have control, we may be unable to prevent a default or bankruptcy and we could suffer substantial losses. Certain transactions that we originate and invest in could be particularly difficult, time consuming and costly to work out because of their complicated structure and the diverging interests of all the various classes of debt in the capital structure of a given asset.

We may make investments in assets with lower credit quality, which will increase our risk of losses.

We may invest in unrated or non-investment grade CRE securities, enter into leases with unrated tenants or participate in subordinate, unrated or distressed mortgage loans. Because the ability of obligors of properties and mortgages, including mortgage loans underlying CMBS, to make rent or principal and interest payments may be impaired during an economic downturn, prices of lower credit quality investments and CRE securities may decline more quickly and severely than other higher credit quality investments. As a result, these lower credit quality investments may have a higher risk of default and loss than investment grade rated assets. The existing credit support in the securitization structure may be insufficient to protect us against loss of our principal on these investments. Any loss we incur may be significant and may reduce distributions to our stockholders and may adversely affect the value of our common stock.

Investments in non-performing real estate assets involve greater risks than investments in stabilized, performing assets and make our future performance more difficult to predict.

We may make investments in non-performing real estate assets, in which the operating cash flow generated from the underlying property is insufficient to support current debt service payments. Traditional performance metrics of real estate assets are generally not as reliable for non-performing real estate assets as they are for performing real estate assets. Nonperforming properties, for instance, do not have stabilized occupancy rates and may require significant capital for repositioning. Similarly, non-performing loans do not have a consistent stream of cash flow to support normalized debt service. In addition, for non-performing loans, often there is greater uncertainty as to the amount or timeliness of principal repayment. Borrowers will typically try to create value in a non-performing real estate investment including by development, redevelopment or lease-up of a property. However, none of these strategies may be effective and the subject properties may never generate sufficient cash flow to support debt service payments. If this occurs, we may negotiate a reduced payoff, restructure the terms of the loan or enforce rights as lender and take title to collateral securing the loan with respect to CRE debt investments. It is challenging to evaluate non-performing investments, which increases the risks associated with such investments. We may suffer significant losses with respect to these investments which would negatively impact our operating performance and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

Floating-rate CRE debt, which is often associated with transitional assets, may entail greater risks of default to us than fixed-rate CRE debt.

Floating-rate loans are often, but not always, associated with transitional properties as opposed to those with highly stabilized cash flow. Floating-rate CRE debt may have higher delinquency rates than fixed-rate loans. Borrowers with floating-rate loans may be exposed to increased monthly payments if the related interest rate adjusts upward from the initial fixed rate in effect during the initial period of the loan to the rate calculated in accordance with the applicable index and margin. Increases in a borrower's monthly payment, as a result of an increase in prevailing market interest rates may make it more difficult for the borrowers with floating-rate loans to repay the loan and could increase the risk of default of their obligations under the loan.

Insurance may not cover all potential losses on CRE investments, which may impair the value of our assets.

We generally require that each of the borrowers under our CRE debt investments obtain comprehensive insurance covering the collateral, including liability, fire and extended coverage. We also generally obtain insurance directly on any property we acquire. However, there are certain types of losses, generally of a catastrophic nature, such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes that may be uninsurable or not economically insurable. We may not obtain, or require borrowers to obtain, certain types of insurance if it is deemed commercially unreasonable. Inflation, changes in building codes and ordinances, environmental considerations and other factors also might make it infeasible to use insurance proceeds to replace a property if it is damaged or destroyed. Further, it is possible that our borrowers could breach their obligations to us and not maintain sufficient insurance coverage. Should an uninsured

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loss or a loss in excess of the limits of our insurance occur, we could lose our capital investment and/or anticipated profits and cash flow from one or more real estate properties, which in turn could cause the value of the shares of our common stock and distributions to our stockholders to be reduced.

We may obtain only limited warranties when we purchase a property, which will increase the risk that we may lose some or all of our invested capital in the property or rental income from the property which, in turn, could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results from operations and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

The seller of a property often sells such property in an “as is” condition on a “where is” basis and “with all faults,” without any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular use or purpose. In addition, the related real estate purchase and sale agreements may contain only limited warranties, representations and indemnifications that will only survive for a limited period after the closing. Despite our efforts, we, the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor may fail to uncover all material risks during our diligence process. The purchase of properties with limited warranties increases the risk that we may lose some or all of our invested capital in the property, as well as the loss of rental income from that property if an issue should arise that decreases the value of that property and is not covered by the limited warranties. If any of these results occur, it may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

We depend on borrowers and tenants for a substantial portion of our revenue and, accordingly, our revenue and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders is dependent upon the success and economic viability of such borrowers and tenants.

The success of our origination or acquisition of investments significantly depends on the financial stability of the borrowers and tenants underlying such investments. The inability of a single major borrower or tenant, or a number of smaller borrowers or tenants, to meet their payment obligations could result in reduced revenue or losses.

If we overestimate the value or income-producing ability or incorrectly price the risks of our investments, we may experience losses.

Analysis of the value or income-producing ability of a commercial property is highly subjective and may be subject to error. We value our potential investments based on yields and risks, taking into account estimated future losses on the CRE loans and the properties included in a securitization's pools or select CRE equity investments and the estimated impact of these losses on expected future cash flow and returns. In the event that we underestimate the risks relative to the price we pay for a particular investment, we may experience losses with respect to such investment.

Lease defaults, terminations or landlord-tenant disputes may reduce our income from our single-tenant net leased investments.

The creditworthiness of tenants in our real estate investments could become negatively impacted as a result of challenging economic conditions or otherwise, which could result in their inability to meet the terms of their leases. Lease defaults or terminations by one or more tenants may reduce our revenues unless a default is cured or a suitable replacement tenant is found promptly. In addition, disputes may arise between the landlord and tenant that result in the tenant withholding rent payments, possibly for an extended period. These disputes may lead to litigation or other legal procedures to secure payment of the rent withheld or to evict the tenant. Upon a lease default, we may have limited remedies, be unable to accelerate lease payments and have limited or no recourse against a guarantor. Tenants as well as guarantors may have limited or no ability to satisfy any judgments we may obtain. We may also have duties to mitigate our losses and we may not be successful in that regard. Any of these situations may result in extended periods during which there is a significant decline in revenues or no revenues generated by a property. If this occurred, it could adversely affect our results of operations.

We may have difficulty selling or re-leasing our single-tenant net leased properties, and this lack of liquidity may limit our ability to quickly change our portfolio in response to changes in economic or other conditions.

Real estate investments generally have less liquidity compared to other financial assets, and this lack of liquidity may limit our ability to quickly change our portfolio in response to changes in economic or other conditions. The leases we may enter into or acquire may be for properties that are specially suited to the particular needs of our tenant. With these properties, if the current lease is terminated or not renewed, we may be required to renovate the property or to make rent concessions in order to lease the property to another tenant. In addition, if we are forced to sell the property, we may have difficulty selling it to a party other than the tenant due to the special purpose for which the property may have been designed. These and other limitations may affect our ability to sell properties without adversely affecting returns to our stockholders.

Our ability to fully control the management of our single-tenant, net leased properties may be limited.

The tenants or managers of single-tenant, net leased properties are responsible for maintenance and other day-to-day management of the properties. If a property is not adequately maintained in accordance with the terms of the applicable lease, we may incur expenses for deferred maintenance expenditures or other liabilities once the property becomes free of the lease. While our leases will generally provide for recourse against the tenant in these instances, a bankrupt or financially-troubled tenant may be more likely to defer maintenance and it may be more difficult to enforce remedies against such a tenant. In addition, to the extent tenants are unable to

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successfully conduct their operations, their ability to pay rent may be adversely affected. Although we endeavor to monitor, on an ongoing basis, compliance by tenants with their lease obligations and other factors that could affect the financial performance of our properties, such monitoring may not always ascertain or forestall deterioration either in the condition of a property or the financial circumstances of a tenant.

Environmental compliance costs and liabilities associated with our properties or our real estate-related investments may materially impair the value of our investments and expose us to liability.

Under various federal, state and local environmental laws, ordinances and regulations, a current or previous owner of real property, such as us and our tenants, may be liable in certain circumstances for the costs of investigation, removal or remediation of, or related releases of, certain hazardous or toxic substances, including materials containing asbestos, at, under or disposed of in connection with such property, as well as certain other potential costs relating to hazardous or toxic substances, including government fines and damages for injuries to persons and adjacent property. In addition, some environmental laws create a lien on the contaminated site in favor of the government for damages and the costs it incurs in connection with the contamination. These laws often impose liability without regard to whether the owner knew of, or was responsible for, the presence or disposal of such substances and liability may be imposed on the owner in connection with the activities of a tenant at the property. The presence of contamination or the failure to remediate contamination may adversely affect our or our tenants’ ability to sell or lease real estate, or to borrow using the real estate as collateral, which, in turn, could reduce our revenues. We, or our tenants, as owner of a site, including if we take ownership through foreclosure, may be liable under common law or otherwise to third parties for damages and injuries resulting from environmental contamination emanating from the site. The cost of any required investigation, remediation, removal, fines or personal or property damages and our or our tenants’ liability could significantly exceed the value of the property without any limits. The scope of the indemnification our tenants have agreed to provide us may be limited. For instance, some of our agreements with our tenants may not require them to indemnify us for environmental liabilities arising before the tenant took possession of the premises. Further, we cannot assure stockholders that any such tenant would be able to fulfill its indemnification obligations. If we were deemed liable for any such environmental liabilities and were unable to seek recovery against our tenant, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. Furthermore, we may invest in real estate, or mortgage loans secured by real estate, with environmental problems that materially impair the value of the real estate. Even as a lender, if we take title to collateral with environmental problems or if other circumstances arise, we could be subject to environmental liability. There are substantial risks associated with such an investment. We will be subject to additional risks if we make investments internationally.

We may originate or acquire properties located outside of the United States or loans that are made to borrowers or secured by properties located outside of the United States with the approval of our Board. These international investments present unique risks to our business.

Our Board may approve an investment in a property outside of the United States or in a CRE debt or CRE securities investment secured by a property located outside of the United States. Any international investments we make may be affected by factors peculiar to the laws of the jurisdiction in which the borrower or the property is located and these laws may expose us to risks that are different from or in addition to those commonly found in the United States. We may not be as familiar with the potential risks to our investments outside of the United States and we may incur losses as a result.

Any international investments we make could be subject to the following risks:

 

governmental laws, rules and policies, including laws relating to the foreign ownership of real property or mortgages and laws relating to the ability of foreign persons or corporations to remove profits earned from activities within the country to the person's or corporation's country of origin;

 

translation and transaction risks relating to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;

 

adverse market conditions caused by inflation or other changes in national or local political and economic conditions;

 

challenges of complying with a wide variety of foreign laws, including corporate governance, operations, taxes and litigation;

 

changes in relative interest rates;

 

changes in the availability, cost and terms of borrowings resulting from varying national economic policies;

 

changes in real estate and other tax rates, the tax treatment of transaction structures and other changes in operating expenses in a particular country where we have an investment;

 

our REIT tax status not being respected under foreign laws, in which case any income or gains from foreign sources would likely be subject to foreign taxes, withholding taxes, transfer taxes and value added taxes;

 

lack of uniform accounting standards (including availability of information in accordance with GAAP);

 

changes in land use and zoning laws;

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more stringent environmental laws or changes in such laws;

 

changes in the social stability or other political, economic or diplomatic developments in or affecting a country where we have an investment;

 

changes in applicable laws and regulations in the United States that affect foreign operations; and

 

legal and logistical barriers to enforcing our contractual rights in other countries, including insolvency regimes, landlord/tenant rights and ability to take possession of the collateral.

Certain of these risks may be greater in emerging markets and less developed countries. Each of these risks might adversely affect our performance and impair our ability to pay distributions to stockholders required to maintain our REIT qualification. In addition, there is less publicly available information about foreign companies and a lack of uniform financial accounting standards and practices (including the availability of information in accordance with GAAP) which could impair our ability to analyze transactions and receive timely and accurate financial information from tenants or borrowers necessary to meet our reporting obligations to financial institutions or governmental or regulatory agencies.

We invest in CRE securities, including CMBS, CRE, CLOs and other subordinate securities, which entail certain heightened risks.

We invest in a variety of CRE securities, including CMBS, CRE CLOs and other subordinate securities, which may be subject to the first risk of loss if any losses are realized on the underlying mortgage loans. CMBS and CRE CLOs entitle the holders thereof to receive payments that depend primarily on the cash flow from a specified pool of commercial or multifamily mortgage loans. Consequently, CMBS, CRE CLOs and other CRE securities will be adversely affected by payment defaults, delinquencies and losses on the underlying mortgage loans, which increase during times of economic stress and uncertainty. For example, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market value of our CMBS investments declined, and we began selling the CMBS portfolio in April 2020 and sold all of our CMBS positions in 2020 for $121.2 million recognizing a loss of $35.0 million on those sales. Furthermore, if the rental and leasing markets deteriorate, including by decreasing occupancy rates and decreasing market rental rates, it could reduce cash flow from the mortgage loan pools underlying our CMBS and CRE CLO investments. The market for CRE securities is dependent upon liquidity for refinancing and may be negatively impacted by a slowdown in new issuance.

Additionally, CRE securities such as CMBS and CRE CLOs may be subject to particular risks, including lack of standardized terms and payment of all or substantially all of the principal only at maturity rather than regular amortization of principal. The value of CRE securities may change due to shifts in the market’s perception of issuers and regulatory or tax changes adversely affecting the CRE debt market as a whole. Additional risks may be presented by the type and use of a particular commercial property, as well as the general risks relating to the net operating income from and value of any commercial property. The exercise of remedies and successful realization of liquidation proceeds relating to CRE securities may be highly dependent upon the performance of the servicer or special servicer. Expenses of enforcing the underlying mortgage loan (including litigation expenses) and expenses of protecting the properties securing the loan may be substantial. Consequently, in the event of a default or loss on one or more loans contained in a securitization, we may not recover a portion or all of our investment. Ratings for CRE securities can also adversely affect their value.

The terms of our CRE debt investments are based on our projections of market demand, as well as on market factors, and our return on our investment may be lower than expected if any of our projections are inaccurate.

The terms of our CRE debt investments are based on our projections of market demand, occupancy levels, rental income, the costs of any development, redevelopment or renovation of a property, borrower expertise and other factors. In addition, as the real estate market strengthens with the improvement of the U.S. economy, we will face increased competition, which may make loan origination terms less favorable to us. If any of our projections are inaccurate or we ascribe a higher value to assets and their value subsequently drops or fails to rise because of market factors, returns on our investment may be lower than expected and could experience losses.

The expected discontinuation of the LIBOR may adversely affect interest expense related to our loans and investments or otherwise adversely affect our results of operations, cash flows and the market value of our investments.

LIBOR is the subject of recent national, international and regulatory guidance and proposals for reform. In a speech on July 27, 2017, the Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority of the U.K. (the “FCA”), announced the FCA’s intention to cease sustaining LIBOR after 2021. The FCA has statutory powers to require panel banks to contribute to LIBOR where necessary. The FCA has decided not to ask, or to require, that panel banks continue to submit contributions to LIBOR beyond the end of 2021. The FCA has indicated that it expects that the current panel banks will voluntarily sustain LIBOR until the end of 2021. LIBOR may not survive thereafter in its current form, or at all. The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, has identified the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities, as its preferred alternative rate for LIBOR. At this time, it is not possible to predict how markets will respond to SOFR or other alternative reference rates as the transition away from LIBOR proceeds in coming years.

There is currently no definitive information regarding the future utilization of LIBOR or of any particular replacement rate. In addition, any LIBOR benchmark may perform differently during any phase-out period than in the past. As such, the potential effect of any such event on our cost of capital and net investment income cannot yet be determined and any changes to benchmark interest rates

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could increase our financing costs, which could impact our results of operations, cash flows and the market value of our investments. In addition, we may need to renegotiate certain of our loan agreements with lenders and borrowers that extend past 2021, which could require us to incur significant expense and may subject us to disputes or litigation over the appropriateness or comparability to the relevant benchmark of the replacement reference rates.

Risks Related to Our Financing Strategy

We may not be able to access financing sources on attractive terms, if at all, which could adversely affect our ability to execute our investment strategy.

We require outside capital to fund and grow our business. Our business may be adversely affected by disruptions in the debt and equity capital markets and institutional lending market, including the lack of access to capital or prohibitively high costs of obtaining or replacing capital. If economic conditions worsen, we could suffer a severe downturn and liquidity crisis. We cannot assure stockholders that financing will be available on acceptable terms, if at all, or that we will be able to satisfy the conditions precedent required to use our credit facilities, which could reduce the number, or alter the type, of investments that we would make otherwise. This may reduce our income. To the extent that financing proves to be unavailable when needed, we may be compelled to modify our investment strategy to optimize the performance of our portfolio. If we cannot obtain sufficient debt and equity capital on acceptable terms, our ability to grow our business, operate and pay distributions to stockholders could be severely impacted.

We use leverage to originate and acquire our investments, which may adversely affect our return on our investments and may reduce cash available for distribution.

We leverage our portfolio generally through the use of securitization financing transactions and credit facilities. The type and percentage of financing varies depending on our ability to obtain credit and the lender's estimate of the stability of the portfolio's cash flow. High leverage can, particularly during difficult economic times, increase our risk of loss and harm our liquidity. Moreover, we may have to incur more recourse borrowings, including recourse borrowings that are subject to mark-to-market risk, in order to obtain financing for our business.

Our performance can be negatively affected by fluctuations in interest rates and shifts in the yield curve may cause losses.

The financial performance of our fixed-rate investments is influenced by changes in interest rates, in particular, as such changes may affect our CRE securities, floating-rate borrowings and CRE debt to the extent such debt does not float as a result of floors or otherwise. 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 borrowings and hedges. Changes in the level of interest rates also can affect, among other things, our ability to acquire CRE securities, acquire or originate CRE debt at attractive prices and enter into hedging transactions. Also, if market interest rates increase, the interest rate on any variable rate borrowings will increase and will create higher debt service requirements, which would adversely affect our cash flow and could adversely impact our results of operations. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors, including governmental monetary and tax policies, domestic and international economic and political conditions and other factors beyond our control.

Interest rate changes may also impact our net book value as our CRE securities and hedge derivatives are recorded at fair value each month. 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 CRE securities and therefore their value. For instance, 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 CRE securities portfolio and our financial position and operations as a change in interest rates generally.

Hedging against interest rate and currency exposure may adversely affect our earnings, limit our gains or result in losses, which could adversely affect cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

From time to time, we may use derivative financial instruments to hedge exposures to changes in interest rates and currency exchange rates. Derivative instruments may include interest rate swap contracts, interest rate cap or floor contracts, futures or forward contracts, options or repurchase agreements. Our actual hedging decisions will be determined in light of the facts and circumstances existing at the time of the hedge and may differ from our currently anticipated hedging strategy. There is no assurance that our hedging strategy will achieve our objectives, and we may be subject to costs, such as transaction fees or breakage costs, if we terminate these arrangements. Any hedging activity we engage in may adversely affect our earnings, which could adversely affect cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

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Hedging instruments often are not traded on regulated exchanges, guaranteed by an exchange or its clearing house or regulated by any U.S. or foreign governmental authorities and involve risks and costs.

The cost of using hedging instruments increases as the period covered by the instrument lengthens and during periods of rising and volatile interest rates. We may increase our hedging activity and thus increase our hedging costs during periods when interest rates are volatile or rising and hedging costs have increased. In addition, hedging instruments involve risk since they often are not traded on regulated exchanges, guaranteed by an exchange or its clearing house, or regulated by any U.S. or foreign governmental authorities. Consequently, there are no regulatory or statutory requirements with respect to record keeping, financial responsibility or segregation of customer funds and positions. Furthermore, the enforceability of agreements underlying derivative transactions may depend on compliance with applicable statutory, commodity and other regulatory requirements and, depending on the identity of the counterparty, applicable international requirements. The business failure of a hedging counterparty with whom we enter into a hedging transaction will most likely result in a default. Default by a party with whom we enter into a hedging transaction may result in the loss of unrealized profits and force us to cover our resale commitments, if any, at the then current market price. It may not always be possible to dispose of or close out a hedging position without the consent of the hedging counterparty and we may not be able to enter into an offsetting contract in order to cover our risk. We cannot assure stockholders that a liquid secondary market will exist for hedging instruments purchased or sold, and we may be required to maintain a position until exercise or expiration, which could result in losses.

We use short-term borrowings to finance our investments and may need to use such borrowings for extended periods of time to the extent we are unable to access long-term financing. This may expose us to increased risks associated with decreases in the fair value of the underlying collateral, which could have an adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

While we seek nonrecourse, non-mark-to-market, long-term financing through securitization financing transactions or other structures, such financing may be unavailable to us on favorable terms or at all. Consequently, we may be dependent on short-term financing arrangements that are not matched in duration to our financial assets. Short-term borrowing through repurchase arrangements, credit facilities and other types of borrowings may put our assets and financial condition at risk. Furthermore, the cost of borrowings may increase substantially if lenders view us as having increased credit risk during periods of market distress. Any such short-term financing may also be recourse to us, which will increase the risk of our investments.

In addition, the value of assets underlying any such short-term financing may be marked-to-market periodically by the lender, including on a daily basis. To the extent these financing arrangements contain mark-to-market provisions, if the market value of the investments pledged by us declines due to credit quality deterioration, we may be required by our lenders to provide additional collateral or pay down a portion of our borrowings. In a weakening economic environment, we would generally expect credit quality and the value of the investment that serves as collateral for our financing arrangements to decline, and in such a scenario, it is likely that the terms of our financing arrangements would require partial repayment from us, which could be substantial. For example, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the purchasers of our CMBS under our master repurchase agreements required us to post additional assets as margin to secure our repurchase obligations. In April 2020, we sold six CMBS positions with values negatively impacted in the wake of the pandemic with a total par value of $63.3 million and realized losses on those sales of approximately $19.3 million.

Lenders may require us to enter into restrictive covenants relating to our operations, which could limit our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

When providing financing, a lender may impose restrictions on us that affect our distribution and operating policies and our ability to incur additional borrowings. Financing arrangements that we may enter into may contain covenants that limit our ability to further incur borrowings and restrict distributions to our stockholders or that prohibit us from discontinuing insurance coverage or replacing the Advisor or Sub-Advisor. These or other limitations would decrease our operating flexibility and our ability to achieve our operating objectives, including making distributions to stockholders.

We have broad authority to use leverage and high levels of leverage could hinder our ability to pay distributions and decrease the value of our stockholders’ investment.

Our charter does not limit us from utilizing financing until our borrowings exceed 300% of our net assets, which is generally expected to approximate 75% of the aggregate cost of our investments, before deducting loan loss reserves, other non-cash reserves and depreciation. Further, we can incur financings in excess of this limitation with the approval of a majority of our independent directors. High leverage levels would cause us to incur higher interest charges and higher debt service payments and the agreements governing our borrowings may also include restrictive covenants. These factors could limit the amount of cash we have available to distribute to stockholders and could result in a decline in the value of our stockholders’ investment.

If a counterparty to our repurchase transactions defaults on its obligation to resell the underlying security back to us at the end of the transaction term, if the value of the underlying security has declined as of the end of that term, or if we default on our obligations under the repurchase agreement, we may incur a loss on our repurchase transactions.

When we engage in repurchase transactions, we generally sell securities to lenders (repurchase agreement counterparties) and receive cash from these lenders. The lenders are obligated to resell the same or similar securities back to us at the end of the term of the

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transaction. Because the cash we receive from the lender when we initially sell the securities to the lender is less than the value of those securities (this difference is the haircut), if the lender defaults on its obligation to resell the same securities back to us we may incur a loss on the transaction equal to the amount of the haircut (assuming there was no change in the value of the securities). We may incur a loss on a repurchase transaction if the value of the underlying securities has declined as of the end of the transaction term, as we would have to repurchase the securities for their initial value but would receive securities worth less than that amount. Further, if we default on one of our obligations under a repurchase transaction, the lender can terminate the transaction and cease entering into any other repurchase transactions with us. Any losses we incur on our repurchase transactions could adversely affect our earnings and thus our cash available for distribution to our stockholders.

The repurchase agreements, secured loans and other financing arrangements that we use to finance our investments may require us to provide additional collateral and may restrict us from leveraging our assets as fully as desired.

The amount of financing we receive, or may in the future receive, under our repurchase agreements, secured loans and other financing arrangements, is directly related to the lenders’ valuation of the assets that secure the outstanding borrowings. Lenders under our repurchase agreements and secured loans typically have the absolute right to reevaluate the market value of the assets that secure outstanding borrowings at any time. If a lender determines in its sole discretion that the value of the assets has decreased, it has the right to initiate a margin call or increase collateral requirements. A margin call or increased collateral requirements would require us to transfer additional assets to such lender without any advance of funds from the lender for such transfer or to repay a portion of the outstanding borrowings. Any such margin call or increased collateral requirements could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, business, liquidity and ability to pay distributions to our stockholders, and could cause the value of our capital stock to decline. We may be forced to sell assets at significantly depressed prices to meet such margin calls and to maintain adequate liquidity, which could cause us to incur losses. For example, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the purchasers of our CMBS under our master repurchase agreements required us to post additional assets as margin to secure our repurchase obligations, and in April 2020, we sold six CMBS positions with values negatively impacted in the wake of the pandemic with a total par value of $63.3 million and realized losses on those sales of approximately $19.3 million. Moreover, to the extent we are forced to sell assets at such time, given market conditions, we may be selling at the same time as others facing similar pressures, which could exacerbate a difficult market environment and which could result in our incurring significantly greater losses on our sale of such assets. In an extreme case of market duress, a market may not even be present for certain of our assets at any price. Such a situation would likely result in a rapid deterioration of our financial condition and possibly necessitate a filing for bankruptcy protection.

Further, financial institutions providing the repurchase facilities may require us to maintain a certain amount of cash uninvested or to set aside non-levered assets sufficient to maintain a specified liquidity position which would allow us to satisfy our collateral obligations. As a result, we may not be able to leverage our assets as fully as desired, which could reduce our return on equity. If we are unable to meet these collateral obligations, our financial condition could deteriorate rapidly.

A failure to comply with covenants in our repurchase agreements, secured loans and other financing arrangements would have a material adverse effect on us, and any future financings may require us to provide additional collateral or pay down debt.

We are subject to various covenants contained in our existing financing arrangements and may become subject to additional covenants in connection with future financings. Our master repurchase agreements require us to maintain compliance with various financial covenants, including a minimum tangible net worth, specified financial ratios, such as total debt to total assets and financial information delivery obligations. These covenants may limit our flexibility to pursue certain investments or incur additional debt. If we fail to meet or satisfy any of these covenants, we would be in default under these agreements, and our lenders could elect to declare outstanding amounts due and payable, terminate their commitments, require the posting of additional collateral or enforce their interests against existing collateral. Further, this could also make it difficult for us to satisfy the distribution requirements necessary to maintain our status as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Risks Related to Our Operations

If the Advisor’s and the Sub-Advisor’s portfolio management systems are ineffective, we may be exposed to material unanticipated losses.

The Advisor and the Sub-Advisor will periodically refine their portfolio management techniques, strategies and assessment methods. However, the Advisor’s and the Sub-Advisor’s portfolio management techniques and strategies may not fully mitigate the risk exposure of our operations in all economic or market environments, or against all types of risk, including risks that we might fail to identify or anticipate. Any failures in the Advisor’s and the Sub-Advisor’s portfolio management techniques and strategies to accurately quantify such risk exposure could limit our ability to manage risks in our operations or to seek adequate risk adjusted returns and could result in losses.

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Our distribution policy is subject to change.

We cannot guarantee the amount of distributions paid, if any. Our Board will determine an appropriate common stock distribution based upon numerous factors, including our targeted distribution rate, REIT qualification requirements, the amount of cash flow generated from operations, availability of existing cash balances, borrowing capacity under existing credit agreements, access to cash in the capital markets and other financing sources, our view of our ability to realize gains in the future through appreciation in the value of our assets, general economic conditions and economic conditions that more specifically impact our business or prospects. Future distribution levels are subject to adjustment based upon any one or more of the risk factors set forth herein, as well as other factors that our Board may, from time-to-time, deem relevant to consider when determining an appropriate common stock distribution. The amount of distributions we may pay in the future is not certain.

On March 24, 2020, our Board suspended the payment of distributions to our stockholders after considering various factors, including the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and the inability to accurately calculate our NAV. On July 30, 2020, our Board began authorizing monthly distributions again consistent with its practice prior to the pandemic, but our Board may determine to formally suspend or otherwise not authorize monthly or any distributions in the future.

Our ability to pay distributions is limited by the requirements of Maryland law.

Our ability to pay distributions on our common stock is limited by the laws of Maryland. Under applicable Maryland law, a Maryland corporation may not make a distribution if, after giving effect to the distribution, the corporation would not be able to pay its liabilities as the liabilities become due in the usual course of business, or generally if the corporation's total assets would be less than the sum of its total liabilities plus, unless the corporation’s charter permits otherwise, the amount that would be needed if the corporation were dissolved at the time of the distribution, to satisfy the preferential rights upon dissolution of the stockholders whose preferential rights are superior to those receiving the distribution. Accordingly, we may not make a distribution on our common stock if, after giving effect to the distribution, we would not be able to pay our liabilities as they become due in the usual course of business or generally if our total assets would be less than the sum of our total liabilities plus, unless our charter permits otherwise, the amount that would be needed to satisfy the preferential rights upon dissolution of the holders of shares of any class or series of preferred stock then outstanding, if any, with preferences senior to those of our common stock.

Stockholders have limited control over changes in our policies and operations, which increases the uncertainty and risks they face as a stockholder.

Our Board determines our major policies, including our policies regarding growth, REIT qualification and distributions. Our Board may amend or revise these and other policies without a vote of our stockholders. We may change our investment policies without stockholder notice or consent, which could result in investments that are different than, or in different proportion than, those described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Under the Maryland General Corporation Law (“MGCL”) and our charter, stockholders have a right to vote only on limited matters. Our Board’s broad discretion in setting policies and stockholders' inability to exert control over those policies increases the uncertainty and risks stockholders face. Under the MGCL and our charter, stockholders have a right to vote only on:

 

the election or removal of directors;

 

amendment of our charter, except that our Board may amend our charter without stockholder approval to (i) increase or decrease the aggregate number of our shares of stock or the number of shares of stock of any class or series that we have the authority to issue; (ii) effect certain reverse stock splits; and (iii) change our name or the name or other designation or the par value of any class or series of our stock and the aggregate par value of our stock;

 

our liquidation or dissolution;

 

certain reorganizations of our company, as provided in our charter;

 

certain mergers, consolidations, conversions or sales or other dispositions of all or substantially all our assets, as provided in our charter; and

 

statutory share exchanges.

Pursuant to the MGCL, all matters other than the election or removal of a director must be declared advisable by our Board prior to a binding stockholder vote. Our Board’s broad discretion in setting policies and stockholders’ inability to exert control over those policies increases the uncertainty and risks they face.

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We are not required to comply with certain reporting requirements, including those relating to auditor’s attestation reports on the effectiveness of our system of internal control over financial reporting, accounting standards and disclosure about our executive compensation, that apply to certain other public companies.

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the “JOBS Act”) contains provisions that, among other things, relax certain reporting requirements for emerging growth companies, including certain requirements relating to accounting standards and compensation disclosure. We are classified as an emerging growth company. For as long as we are an emerging growth company, which may be up to five full fiscal years, unlike other public companies, we are not required to (1) provide an auditor’s attestation report on the effectiveness of our system of internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, (2) comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards applicable to public companies until such standards are also applicable to private companies under Section 102(b)(1) of the JOBS Act, (3) comply with any new requirements adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) requiring mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report in which the auditor would be required to provide additional information about the audit and the financial statements of the issuer, (4) comply with any new audit rules adopted by the PCAOB after April 5, 2012 unless the SEC determines otherwise, (5) provide certain disclosure regarding executive compensation required of larger public companies or (6) hold stockholder advisory votes on executive compensation.

Once we are no longer an emerging growth company, so long as our shares of common stock are not traded on a securities exchange, we will be deemed to be a “non-accelerated filer” under the Exchange Act, and as a non-accelerated filer, we will be exempt from compliance with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. In addition, so long as we are externally managed by the Advisor and we do not directly compensate our executive officers, or reimburse the Advisor or its affiliates for salaries, bonuses, benefits and severance payments for persons who also serve as one of our executive officers or as an executive officer of the Advisor, we do not have any executive compensation, making the exemptions listed in (5) and (6) above generally inapplicable.

We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we choose to rely on any of the exemptions discussed above.

As noted above, under the JOBS Act, emerging growth companies can delay adopting new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public and private companies until such time as those standards apply to private companies. We have elected to opt out of this transition period, and will therefore comply with new or revised accounting standards on the applicable dates on which the adoption of these standards is required for non-emerging growth companies. This election is irrevocable.

Our UPREIT structure may result in potential conflicts of interest with limited partners in the Operating Partnership whose interests may not be aligned with those of our stockholders.

Our directors and officers have duties to our corporation and our stockholders under the MGCL and our charter in connection with their management of the corporation. At the same time, we, as general partner, will have fiduciary duties under Delaware law to the Operating Partnership and to the limited partners in connection with the management of the Operating Partnership. Our duties as general partner of the Operating Partnership and its partners may come into conflict with the duties of our directors and officers to our corporation and our stockholders. Under Delaware law, a general partner of a Delaware limited partnership owes its limited partners the duties of good faith and fair dealing. Other duties, including fiduciary duties, may be modified or eliminated in the partnership’s partnership agreement. The partnership agreement of the Operating Partnership (the “Partnership Agreement”) provides that, for so long as we own a controlling interest in the Operating Partnership, any conflict that cannot be resolved in a manner not adverse to either our stockholders or the limited partners will be resolved in favor of our stockholders.

Additionally, the Partnership Agreement expressly limits our liability by providing that we will not be liable or accountable to the Operating Partnership for losses sustained, liabilities incurred or benefits not derived if we acted in good faith. In addition, the Operating Partnership is required to indemnify us and our officers, directors, employees, agents and designees to the extent permitted by applicable law from and against any and all claims arising from operations of the Operating Partnership, unless it is established that: (1) the act or omission was material to the matter giving rise to the proceeding and either was committed in bad faith or was the result of active and deliberate dishonesty; (2) the indemnified party received an improper personal benefit in money, property or services; or (3) in the case of a criminal proceeding, the indemnified person had reasonable cause to believe that the act or omission was unlawful.

The provisions of Delaware law that allow the fiduciary duties of a general partner to be modified by a Partnership Agreement have not been tested in a court of law, and we have not obtained an opinion of counsel covering the provisions set forth in the Partnership Agreement that purport to waive or restrict our fiduciary duties.

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Our charter permits our Board to issue stock with terms that may subordinate the rights of our common stockholders or discourage a third party from acquiring us in a manner that could result in a premium price to stockholders.

Our Board may classify or reclassify any unissued common stock or preferred stock into other classes or series of stock and establish the preferences, conversion or other rights, voting powers, restrictions, and limitations as to dividends or other distributions, qualifications and terms and conditions of redemption of any such stock. Thus, our Board could authorize the issuance of preferred stock with priority as to distributions and amounts payable upon liquidation over the rights of the holders of our common stock. Such preferred stock could also have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control of us, including an extraordinary transaction (such as a merger, tender offer or sale of all or substantially all of our assets) that might provide a premium price to holders of our common stock. Our Board may determine to issue different classes of stock that have different fees and commissions from those being paid with respect to the shares being sold in the IPO. Additionally, our Board may amend our charter from time to time to increase or decrease the aggregate number of authorized shares of stock or the number of authorized shares of any class or series of stock without stockholder approval.

Payment of fees to the Advisor and its affiliates reduces cash available for investment and distribution and increases the risk that stockholders will not be able to recover the amount of their investment in our shares.

The Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and their affiliates perform services for us in connection with the selection, acquisition, origination, management and administration of our investments. We pay the Advisor substantial fees for these services, which reduces the cash available for investment or distribution to stockholders. We may increase the compensation we pay to the Advisor subject to approval by our Board and other limitations in our charter, which would further reduce the amount of cash available for investment or distribution to stockholders. Our Advisor has agreed to waive 50% of its management fee for the month of January 2021 and for future months until it notifies our Board that the waiver is terminated, which will increase the amount of cash that would otherwise be available to us, but the Advisor may revoke this waiver in its discretion at any time and without any advance notice.

Fees payable to the Advisor and its affiliates increase the risk that the amount available for distribution to our stockholders upon a liquidation of our portfolio would be less than the purchase price of the shares in the IPO. These substantial fees and other payments also increase the risk that stockholders will not be able to resell their shares at a profit, even if our shares are listed on a national securities exchange.

Our rights and the rights of our stockholders to recover claims against our independent directors are limited, which could reduce their and our recovery against them if they negligently cause us to incur losses.

Maryland law provides that a director has no liability in that capacity if he or she performs his or her duties in good faith, in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in our best interests and with the care that an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances. Our charter generally provides that: (i) no director shall be liable to us or our stockholders for monetary damages (provided that such director satisfies certain applicable criteria); (ii) we will generally indemnify non-independent directors for losses unless they are negligent or engage in misconduct; and (iii) we will generally indemnify independent directors for losses unless they are grossly negligent or engage in willful misconduct. As a result, our stockholders and we may have more limited rights against our directors than might otherwise exist under common law, which could reduce their and our recovery from these persons if they act in a negligent manner. In addition, we may be obligated to fund the defense costs incurred by our independent directors (as well as by our other directors, officers, employees (if we ever have employees) and agents) in some cases, which would decrease the cash otherwise available for distribution to our stockholders.

Risks Related to Conflicts of Interest

The Sub-Advisor may face a conflict of interest with respect to the allocation of investment opportunities and competition for tenants between us and other real estate programs affiliated with Sound Point.

The Sub-Advisor’s officers and key real estate professionals will identify potential investments which are consistent with our investment guidelines for our possible origination and acquisition. The Sub-Advisor or its affiliates will advise other investment programs affiliated with Sound Point that invest in real estate-related assets in which we may be interested and, therefore, the Sub-Advisor could face conflicts of interest in determining which programs will have the opportunity to acquire and participate in such investments as they become available. As a result, other investment programs advised by the Sub-Advisor or its affiliates may compete with us with respect to certain investments that we may want to acquire.

The Advisor faces a conflict of interest because the management fee and performance fee are based on the value of our investment portfolio as determined in connection with our determination of NAV, which is calculated by the Advisor.

The Advisor is paid a management fee and a performance fee for its services that are based on the value of our investment portfolio as determined in connection with our determination of NAV, which is calculated by the Advisor in accordance with our valuation guidelines. The calculation of our NAV includes certain subjective judgments with respect to estimating, for example, our accrued

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expenses, net portfolio income and liabilities, and therefore, our NAV may not correspond to realizable value upon a sale of those assets. The Advisor may benefit by us retaining ownership of our assets at times when our stockholders may be better served by the sale or disposition of our assets in order to avoid a reduction in our NAV. If our NAV is calculated in a way that is not reflective of our actual net asset value, then the then-current transaction price of shares of our common stock on a given date may not accurately reflect the value of our portfolio, and our stockholders’ shares may be worth less than the then-current transaction price.

Our executive officers, our affiliated directors and the key real estate professionals acting on behalf of the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor face conflicts of interest related to their positions or interests in affiliates of Inland and Sound Point, which could hinder our ability to implement our business strategy and to generate returns to our stockholders.

Our executive officers, our affiliated directors and the key real estate professionals acting on behalf of the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor are also executive officers, directors, managers or key professionals of Inland or Sound Point. Some of these persons also serve as managers and investment advisers to other funds and institutional investors. As a result, they owe fiduciary duties to each of these entities and their investors, which fiduciary duties may from time to time conflict with the fiduciary duties that they owe to us and our stockholders, and could face conflicts of interest in allocating their time among us and such other funds, investors and activities. Their loyalties to these other entities and investors could result in action or inaction that is detrimental to our business, which could harm the implementation of our investment strategy, and could cause these individuals to allocate less of their time to us than we may require, which may adversely impact our operations and financial results.

Risks Related to Regulatory Matters

We are subject to substantial regulation, numerous contractual obligations and extensive internal policies and failure to comply with these matters could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We and our subsidiaries are subject to substantial regulation, numerous contractual obligations and extensive internal policies. Given our organizational structure and activities, we are subject to regulation by the SEC, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”), the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”), and other federal, state and local governmental bodies and agencies and state blue sky laws. These regulations are extensive, complex and require substantial financial resources and management time and attention. If we fail to comply with any of the regulations that apply to our business, we could be subjected to extensive investigations as well as substantial costs and penalties and our business and operations could be materially adversely affected. Our lack of compliance with applicable law could result in among other penalties, our ineligibility to contract with and receive revenue from the federal government or other governmental authorities and agencies. We also expect to have numerous contractual obligations that we must adhere to on a continuous basis to operate our business, the default of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition. Our internal policies may not be effective in all regards and, further, if we fail to comply with our internal policies, we could be subjected to additional risk and liability.

Stockholders’ investment return may be reduced if we are required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act.

We intend to conduct our operations so that none of we, the Operating Partnership or the subsidiaries of the Operating Partnership is required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the Investment Company 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 Investment Company 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. 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 exception from the definition of investment company set forth in Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act.

With respect to Section 3(a)(1)(A), we do not intend to engage primarily or hold ourself out as being engaged primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Rather, we will be primarily engaged in the non-investment company businesses of the Operating Partnership and its wholly-owned or majority-owned subsidiaries, each of which will rely on an exception from registration under the Investment Company Act. With respect to Section 3(a)(1)(C), we expect that most of the entities through which we own assets will be wholly-owned subsidiaries that are not themselves investment companies and are not relying on the exceptions from the definition of investment company under Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act and, thus, we do not expect to own a significant amount of “investment securities”.

Through the Operating Partnership and its subsidiaries, we plan to originate, acquire, invest in and manage instruments that could be deemed to be securities for purposes of the Investment Company Act, including, but not limited to, first mortgage loans, subordinate mortgage and mezzanine loans, and participations in such loans, as well as CMBS, CRE CLOs and senior unsecured debt of publicly traded REITs. We may also invest in select equity investments in single-tenant, net leased properties. Accordingly, it is possible that

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more than 40% of the total assets of the Operating Partnership or its subsidiaries will be deemed to be investment securities for Investment Company Act purposes. However, in reliance on Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act, we do not intend to register the Operating Partnership or any of its subsidiaries as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. Entities that meet the standards set forth in Section 3(c)(5)(C) are excepted from the definition of an investment company. Section 3(c)(5)(C) is available for entities “primarily engaged in the business of purchasing or otherwise acquiring mortgages and other liens on and interests in real estate.”  This exception generally requires that at least 55% of each such subsidiary’s portfolio must be comprised of qualifying assets and at least another 25% of each of their portfolios must be comprised of real estate-related assets under the Investment Company Act (and no more than 20% comprised of non-qualifying or non-real estate-related assets). Qualifying assets for this purpose include mortgage loans and other assets, such as certain subordinated mezzanine loans and participations and other interests in real estate, as interpreted by the SEC staff in various no-action letters. As a result of the foregoing restrictions, we will be limited in our ability to make certain investments.

Existing SEC no-action positions were issued in accordance with factual situations that may be substantially different from the factual situations we may face, and a number of these no-action positions were issued more than 10 years ago. Certain mortgage loans and participations in mortgage loans may not constitute qualifying real estate investments for purposes of Section 3(c)(5)(C) of the Investment Company Act. No assurance can be given that the SEC will concur with our classification of the assets of the Operating Partnership or its subsidiaries. Future revisions to the Investment Company Act or further guidance from the SEC staff may cause us to lose our ability to rely on Section 3(c)(5)(C) or force us to re-evaluate our portfolio and our investment strategy. Such changes may prevent us from operating our business successfully.

The Advisor will continually review our investment activity to attempt to ensure that we will not be regulated as an investment company.

We believe that none of we, the Operating Partnership or the subsidiaries of the Operating Partnership will be required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act. However, if we were obligated to register as an investment company, we would have to comply with a variety of substantive requirements under the Investment Company Act that impose, among other things:

 

limitations on capital structure;

 

restrictions on specified investments;

 

restrictions or prohibitions on retaining earnings;

 

restrictions on leverage or senior securities;

 

restrictions on unsecured borrowings;

 

requirements that our income be derived from certain types of assets;

 

prohibitions on transactions with affiliates; and

 

compliance with reporting, record keeping, voting, proxy disclosure and other rules and regulations that would significantly increase our operating expenses.

If we were required to register 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.

Registration with the SEC as an investment company would be costly, would subject our company to a host of complex regulations, and would divert the attention of management from the conduct of our business. In addition, the purchase of real estate that does not fit our investment guidelines and the purchase or sale of investment securities or other assets to preserve our status as a company not required to register as an investment company could materially adversely affect our NAV, the amount of funds available for investment and our ability to pay distributions to our stockholders.

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Risks Related to our REIT Status and Certain Other Tax Items

 

If we do not maintain our qualification as a REIT, we will be subject to tax as a regular corporation and could face a substantial tax liability.

We have operated and expect to continue to operate so as to maintain our qualification as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“the Code”). However, qualification as a REIT involves the application of highly technical and complex Code provisions for which only a limited number of judicial or administrative interpretations exist. Notwithstanding the availability of cure provisions in the Code, various compliance requirements could be failed and could jeopardize our REIT status. Furthermore, new tax legislation, administrative guidance or court decisions, in each instance potentially with retroactive effect, could make it more difficult or impossible for us to maintain our qualification as a REIT. If we fail to maintain our qualification as a REIT in any tax year, then:

 

we would be taxed as a regular domestic corporation, which under current laws, among other things, means being unable to deduct dividends paid to stockholders in computing taxable income and being subject to federal income tax on our taxable income at regular corporate income tax rates;

 

any resulting tax liability could be substantial and could have a material adverse effect on our NAV;

 

our cash available for distribution to stockholders would be reduced by the amount of taxes we would be required to pay for each of the years during which we did not qualify as a REIT and for which we had taxable income; and

 

we generally would not be eligible to re-elect to be taxed as a REIT for the subsequent four full taxable years.

Legislative, regulatory or administrative changes could adversely affect us or our stockholders.

In recent years, numerous legislative, judicial and administrative changes have been made in the provisions of U.S. federal income tax laws applicable to investments similar to an investment in shares of our common stock. The 2017 tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act resulted in fundamental changes to the Code, with many of the changes applicable to individuals applying only through December 31, 2025. The IRS has issued significant guidance under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but guidance on additional issues, finalization of proposed guidance and technical corrections legislation may adversely affect us or our stockholders. On March 27, 2020, federal legislation intended to ameliorate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), was signed into law. The CARES Act made technical corrections to, or modified on a temporary basis, certain of the provisions of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, and it is possible that additional such legislation may be enacted in the future. In addition, further changes to the tax laws, unrelated to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, are possible. In particular, the federal income taxation of REITs may be modified, possibly with retroactive effect, by legislative, administrative or judicial action at any time.

Although REITs generally receive certain tax advantages compared to entities taxed as regular corporations, it is possible that future legislation would result in a REIT having fewer tax advantages, and it could become more advantageous for a company that invests in real-estate-related debt to be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a corporation. As a result, our charter authorizes our Board to revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election, without the approval of our stockholders, if it determines that changes to U.S. federal income tax laws and regulations or other considerations mean it is no longer in our best interests to qualify as a REIT.

We cannot provide assurance that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act or any future changes will not adversely affect the taxation of us or our stockholders. Any such changes could have an adverse effect on an investment in our common stock or on the market value or the resale potential of our assets. Stockholders are urged to consult with their tax advisor with respect to the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the CARES Act, and other legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on their investment.

The failure of a mezzanine loan to qualify as a real estate asset could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.

We may originate or acquire mezzanine loans, for which the IRS has provided a safe harbor, but not rules of substantive law, addressing whether such loans will be treated as real estate assets. Pursuant to the safe harbor, if a mezzanine loan meets certain requirements, it will be treated by the IRS as a real estate asset for purposes of the REIT asset tests, and interest derived from the mezzanine loan will be treated as qualifying mortgage interest for purposes of the REIT 75% gross income test. Our mezzanine loans may not meet all of the requirements of this safe harbor. In the event we own a mezzanine loan that does not meet the safe harbor, the IRS could challenge such loan’s treatment as a real estate asset for purposes of the REIT asset and gross income tests and, if such a challenge were sustained, we could fail to qualify as a REIT.

The receipt of certain fee income in connection with loans we make or hold may not be qualifying income for purposes of the REIT gross income tests and could adversely affect our ability to qualify as a REIT.

We may be entitled to receive various fees in connection with the loans we make or hold. Certain commitment fees are qualifying income for purposes of the REIT gross income tests, as are fees that are properly treated as interest or original issue discount for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Fees that represent compensation for services we perform are not qualifying income. If nonqualifying fee income, together with any other nonqualifying gross income, exceeds 5% of our gross income, we will fail to qualify as a REIT. While we monitor our satisfaction of the gross income tests and the terms of all loans we make or acquire, the IRS may not agree with all of our fee characterizations.

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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 have entered 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 we are treated for REIT asset and gross income test purposes as the owner of the assets that are the subject of such sale and repurchase agreements notwithstanding that such agreements may 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 do not own the assets during the term of the related sale and repurchase agreement, in which case we could fail to qualify as a REIT.

To maintain our REIT status, we may have to borrow funds on a short-term basis during unfavorable market conditions.

To qualify as a REIT, we generally must distribute annually to our stockholders dividends equal to at least 90% of our net taxable income, determined without regard to the dividends-paid deduction and excluding net capital gains. We will be subject to regular corporate income taxes on any undistributed REIT taxable income each year. Additionally, we will be subject to a 4% nondeductible excise tax on any amount by which distributions paid by us in any calendar year are less than the sum of 85% of our ordinary income, 95% of our capital gain net income and 100% of our undistributed income from previous years. Payments we make to our stockholders under our SRP generally will not be taken into account for purposes of these distribution requirements. If we do not have sufficient cash to pay distributions necessary to preserve our REIT status for any year or to avoid taxation, we may be forced to borrow funds or sell assets even if the market conditions at that time are not favorable for these borrowings or sales. These options could increase our costs or reduce our equity.

Compliance with REIT requirements may cause us to forego otherwise attractive opportunities, which may hinder or delay our ability to meet our investment objectives and reduce overall returns to stockholders.

To qualify as a REIT, we are required at all times to satisfy tests relating to, among other things, the sources of our income, the nature and diversification of our assets, the ownership of our stock and the amounts we distribute to our stockholders. Compliance with the REIT requirements may impair our ability to operate solely on the basis of maximizing profits. For example, we may be required to pay distributions to stockholders at disadvantageous times or when we do not have funds readily available for distribution.

Compliance with REIT requirements may force us to liquidate or restructure otherwise attractive investments.

To qualify as a REIT, at the end of each calendar quarter, at least 75% of the value of our assets must consist of cash, cash items, government securities and qualified real estate assets. The remainder of our investments in securities (other than securities that are qualified assets under the 75% asset test, securities of a taxable REIT subsidiary of ours or equity securities issued by an entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes) generally cannot include more than 10% of the voting securities of any one issuer or more than 10% of the value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer. The 10% value asset test does not apply to “straight debt” securities. Debt will be treated as “straight debt” for these purposes if the debt is a written unconditional promise to pay on demand or on a specified date a certain sum of money, the debt is not convertible, directly or indirectly, into stock, and the interest rate and the interest payment dates of the debt are not contingent on the profits, the borrower’s discretion, or similar factors. Additionally, no more than 5% of the value of our assets (other than securities that are qualified assets under the 75% asset test, securities of a taxable REIT subsidiary of ours or equity securities issued by an entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes) can consist of the securities of any one issuer, no more than 20% of the value of our assets may be represented by securities of one or more taxable REIT subsidiaries and no more than 25% of the value of our assets may consist of “nonqualified publicly offered REIT debt investments.”  If we fail to comply with these requirements at the end of any calendar quarter, we must dispose of a portion of our assets within 30 days after the end of such calendar quarter or qualify for certain statutory relief provisions in order to avoid losing our REIT qualification and suffering adverse tax consequences. In order to satisfy these requirements and maintain our qualification as a REIT, we may be forced to liquidate assets from our portfolio or not make otherwise attractive investments. These actions could have the effect of reducing our income and amounts available for distribution to our stockholders.

The tax on prohibited transactions will limit our ability to engage in transactions, including certain methods of securitizing mortgage loans, which would be treated as sales for federal income tax purposes.

A REIT’s net income from prohibited transactions is subject to a 100% tax. In general, prohibited transactions are sales or other dispositions of property, other than foreclosure property, but including mortgage loans, held primarily for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business. We might be subject to this tax if we were to dispose of, or securitize, loans in a manner that was treated as a sale of the loans for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Therefore, in order to avoid the prohibited transactions tax, we may choose not to engage in certain sales of loans at the REIT level and may limit the structures we utilize for any securitization transactions, even though the sales or such structures might otherwise be beneficial to us.

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Stockholders may face adverse tax rules if we generate excess inclusion income.

If we acquire REMIC residual interests or equity interests in taxable mortgage pools (in a manner consistent with our REIT qualification) and generate “excess inclusion income,” a portion of our dividends received by a tax-exempt stockholder will be treated as unrelated business taxable income. Excess inclusion income would also be subject to adverse U.S. federal income tax rules in the case of U.S. taxable stockholders and non-U.S. stockholders. We intend to structure our transactions in a manner we believe would avoid generating excess inclusion income.

Modification of the terms of our CRE debt investments and mortgage loans underlying our CMBS in conjunction with reductions in the value of the real property securing such loans could cause us to fail to continue to qualify as a REIT.

Our CRE debt and securities investments may be materially affected by a weak real estate market and economy in general. As a result, many of the terms of our CRE debt and the mortgage loans underlying our CRE securities may be modified to avoid taking title to a property. Under Treasury Regulations, if the terms of a loan are modified in a manner constituting a “significant modification,” such modification triggers a deemed exchange of the original loan for the modified loan. In general, if a loan is secured by real property and other property, and the highest principal amount of the loan outstanding during a taxable year exceeds the fair market value of the real property securing the loan determined as of the date we agreed to acquire the loan or the date we significantly modified the loan, a portion of the interest income from such loan will not be qualifying income for purposes of the 75% gross income test although it may nevertheless be qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test. A portion of the loan may also be a non-qualifying asset for purposes of the 75% asset test. The non-qualifying portion of such a loan would be subject to, among other requirements, the requirement that a REIT not hold securities representing more than 10% of the total value of the outstanding securities of any one issuer.

IRS Revenue Procedure 2014-51 provides a safe harbor pursuant to which we will not be required to redetermine the fair market value of the real property securing a loan for purposes of the gross income and asset tests discussed above in connection with a loan modification that is: (i) occasioned by a borrower default; or (ii) made at a time when we reasonably believe that the modification to the loan will substantially reduce a significant risk of default on the original loan. No assurance can be provided that all of our loan modifications will qualify for the safe harbor in Revenue Procedure 2014-51. To the extent we significantly modify loans in a manner that does not qualify for that safe harbor, we will be required to redetermine the value of the real property securing the loan at the time it was significantly modified. In determining the value of the real property securing such a loan, we generally will not obtain third-party appraisals, but rather will rely on internal valuations. No assurance can be provided that the IRS will not successfully challenge our internal valuations. If the terms of our debt investments and mortgage loans underlying our CMBS are “significantly modified” in a manner that does not qualify for the safe harbor in Revenue Procedure 2014-51 and the fair market value of the real property securing such loans has decreased significantly, we could fail the 75% gross income test, the 75% asset test, the 5% asset test and/or the 10% value asset test. Unless we qualified for relief under certain Code cure provisions, such failures could cause us to fail to continue to qualify as a REIT.

Our acquisition of debt or securities investments may cause us to recognize income for federal income tax purposes even though no cash payments have been received on the investments.

We may acquire debt or securities investments in the secondary market for less than their face amount. The amount of such discount will generally be treated as a “market discount” for federal income tax purposes. If these debt or securities investments provide for “payment-in-kind” interest, we may recognize “original issue discount,” or OID, for federal income tax purposes. Moreover, we may acquire distressed debt investments that are subsequently modified by agreement with the borrower. If the amendments to the outstanding debt constitute “significant modifications” under the applicable Treasury Regulations, the modified debt may be considered to have been reissued to us in a debt-for-debt exchange with the borrower. In that event, if the debt is considered to be “publicly traded” for federal income tax purposes, the modified debt in our hands may be considered to have been issued with OID to the extent the fair market value of the modified debt is less than the principal amount of the outstanding debt. In the event the debt is not considered to be “publicly traded” for federal income tax purposes, we may be required to recognize taxable income to the extent that the principal amount of the modified debt exceeds our cost of purchasing it. Also, certain loans that we originate and later modify and certain previously modified debt we acquire in the secondary market may be considered to have been issued with the OID at the time it was modified.

In general, we will be required to accrue OID on a debt instrument as taxable income in accordance with applicable federal income tax rules even though no cash payments may be received on such debt instrument on a current basis.

In the event a borrower with respect to a particular debt instrument encounters financial difficulty rendering it unable to pay stated interest as due, we may nonetheless be required to continue to recognize the unpaid interest as taxable income. Similarly, we may be required to accrue interest income with respect to subordinate mortgage-backed securities at the stated rate regardless of when their corresponding cash payments are received.

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In order to meet the REIT distribution requirements, it might be necessary for us to arrange for short-term or possibly long-term borrowings, or to pay distributions in the form of our shares or other taxable in-kind distributions of property. We may need to borrow funds at times when the market conditions are unfavorable. Such borrowings could increase our costs and reduce the value of a stockholders’ investment. In the event in-kind distributions are made, a stockholder’s tax liabilities associated with an investment in our common stock for a given year may exceed the amount of cash we distribute to stockholders during such year.

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

The REIT provisions of the Code may limit our ability to hedge our operations effectively. Our aggregate gross income from non-qualifying hedges, fees and certain other non-qualifying sources cannot exceed 5% of our annual gross income. As a result, we might have to limit our use of advantageous hedging techniques or implement those hedges through a taxable REIT subsidiary (“TRS”). Any hedging income earned by a TRS would be subject to federal, state and local income tax at regular corporate rates. This could increase the cost of our hedging activities or expose us to greater risks associated with interest rate or other changes than we would otherwise incur.

Our charter does not permit any person or group to own more than 9.8% of our outstanding common stock or of our outstanding capital stock of all classes or series, and attempts to acquire our common stock or our capital stock of all other classes or series in excess of these 9.8% limits would not be effective without an exemption from these limits by our Board.

For us to qualify as a REIT under the Code, not more than 50% of the value of our outstanding stock may be owned, directly or indirectly, by five or fewer individuals (including certain entities treated as individuals for this purpose) during the last half of a taxable year. For the purpose of assisting our qualification as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes, our charter prohibits beneficial or constructive ownership by any person or group of more than 9.8%, in value or number of shares, whichever is more restrictive, of the outstanding shares of our outstanding common stock, or 9.8% in value of our outstanding capital stock of all classes or series, which we refer to as the “Ownership Limits.” The constructive ownership rules under the Code and our charter are complex and may cause shares of the outstanding common stock owned by a group of related persons to be deemed to be constructively owned by one person. As a result, the acquisition of less than 9.8% of our outstanding common stock or our capital stock by a person could cause another person to be treated as owning in excess of 9.8% of our outstanding common stock or our capital stock, respectively, and thus violate the Ownership Limits. There can be no assurance that our Board, as permitted in the charter, will not decrease these Ownership Limits in the future. Any attempt to own or transfer shares of our common stock or capital stock in excess of the Ownership Limits without the consent of our Board will result either in the shares in excess of the limit being transferred by operation of our charter to a charitable trust or in the transfer being void.

 

The Ownership Limits may have the effect of precluding a change in control of us by a third party, even if such change in control would be in the best interests of our stockholders or would result in receipt of a premium to the price of our common stock (and even if such change in control would not reasonably jeopardize our REIT status). The exemptions to the Ownership Limits granted to date may limit our Board’s power to increase the Ownership Limits or grant further exemptions in the future.

Non-U.S. stockholders may be required to file U.S. federal income tax returns and pay U.S. federal income tax upon their receipt of certain distributions from us or upon their disposition of shares of our common stock.

In addition to any potential withholding tax on ordinary dividends, a non-U.S. stockholder, other than a “qualified shareholder” or a “qualified foreign pension fund,” as each is defined in Section 897 of the Code, that recognizes gain upon a disposition of a “United States real property interest” (“USRPI”) or that receives a distribution from a REIT that is attributable to gains from such a disposition, is generally subject to U.S. federal income tax under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980, as amended (“FIRPTA”), on such gain. FIRPTA gains must be reported on U.S. federal income tax returns and are taxable at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. We will be a “United States real property holding corporation” (“USRPHC”) if the value of our USRPIs is equal to or greater than 50% of the value of our USRPIs, interests in non-U.S. real property and other trade or business assets at any time during the relevant testing period. We do not expect to be a USRPHC but cannot give assurances that we will not become a USRPHC. Even if we were a USRPHC, such tax does not apply, however, to the disposition of stock in a REIT that is “domestically controlled.” Generally, a REIT is domestically controlled if less than 50% of its stock, by value, has been owned directly or indirectly by non-U.S. persons during a continuous five-year period ending on the date of disposition or, if shorter, during the entire period of the REIT’s existence. We cannot assure stockholders that we will qualify as a domestically controlled REIT. If we were to fail to so qualify, amounts received by a non-U.S. stockholder on certain dispositions of shares of our common stock (including a repurchase) would be subject to tax under FIRPTA, unless (i) our shares of common stock were regularly traded on an established securities market and (ii) the non-U.S. stockholder did not, at any time during a specified testing period, hold more than 10% of our common stock. Furthermore, even if we are not a USRPHC or are domestically controlled, distributions, including repurchases, by us that are attributable to gains from dispositions of USRPIs will be subject to tax under FIRPTA and special withholding rules unless the conditions in clauses (i) and (ii) of the immediately preceding sentence are satisfied, subject to certain exceptions. Our shares are not regularly traded on an established securities market and we do not expect that they will be in the future.

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Investments outside of the United States may subject us to additional taxes and could present additional complications to our ability to satisfy the REIT qualification requirements.

Non-U.S. investments may subject us to various non-U.S. tax liabilities, including withholding taxes. In addition, operating in functional currencies other than the U.S. dollar and in environments in which real estate transactions are typically structured differently than they are in the United States or are subject to different legal rules may present complications to our ability to structure non-U.S. investments in a manner that enables us to satisfy the REIT qualification requirements. Even if we maintain our status as a REIT, entities through which we hold investments in assets located outside the United States may be subject to income taxation by jurisdictions in which such assets are located or in which our subsidiaries that hold interests in such assets are located. Any such taxes could adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flows or financial condition, and our cash available for distribution to our stockholders will be reduced by any such non-U.S. income taxes.

Restrictions on the deduction of all of our interest expense could prevent us from satisfying the REIT distribution requirement and avoiding the incurrence of income or excise taxes.

Rules enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may limit our ability (and the ability of entities that are not treated as disregarded entities for U.S. federal income tax purposes and in which we hold an interest) to deduct interest expense. Under amended Section 163(j) of the Code, the deduction for business interest expense may be limited to the amount of the taxpayer’s business interest income plus 30% of the taxpayer’s “adjusted taxable income” unless the taxpayer’s gross receipts do not exceed $25 million per year during the applicable testing period or the taxpayer qualifies to elect and elects to be treated as an “electing real property trade or business.” The CARES Act increases the 30% limitation to 50% for taxable years beginning in 2019 or 2020 and permits an entity to elect to use its 2019 adjusted taxable income to calculate the applicable limitation for its 2020 taxable year.  Unless a partner elects otherwise, 50% of its share of a partnership’s “excess business interest” for its 2019 taxable year will be treated as paid by the partner in its 2020 taxable year and will not be subject to any limitation.  A taxpayer’s adjusted taxable income will start with its taxable income and add back items of non-business income and expense, business interest income and business interest expense, net operating losses, any deductions for “qualified business income,” and, in taxable years beginning before January 1, 2022, any deductions for depreciation, amortization or depletion. A taxpayer that is exempt from the interest expense limitations as an electing real property trade or business is ineligible for certain expensing benefits and is subject to less favorable depreciation rules for real property. The new rules for business interest expense will apply to us and at the level of each entity in which or through which we invest that is not a disregarded entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes. To the extent that our interest expense is not deductible, our taxable income will be increased, as will our REIT distribution requirement and the amounts we need to distribute to avoid incurring income and excise taxes.

We may incur tax liabilities that would reduce our cash available for distribution to stockholders.

Even if we qualify and maintain our status as a REIT, we may become subject to U.S. federal income taxes and related state and local taxes. For example, net income from the sale of properties that are “dealer” properties sold by a REIT generally will be subject to a 100% prohibited transactions tax. We may not make sufficient distributions to avoid excise taxes applicable to REITs. Similarly, if we were to fail a gross income test (and did not lose our REIT status because such failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect), we would be subject to tax on the income that does not meet the gross income test requirements. We also may decide to retain net capital gain we earn from the sale or other disposition of our investments and pay income tax directly on such income. In that event, our stockholders would be treated as if they earned that income and paid the tax on it directly. However, stockholders that are tax-exempt, such as charities or qualified pension plans, would have no benefit from their deemed payment of such tax liability unless they file U.S. federal income tax returns and thereon seek a refund of such tax. We also may be subject to state and local taxes on our income or property, including franchise, payroll, mortgage recording and transfer taxes, either directly or at the level of the other companies through which we indirectly own our assets, such as our taxable REIT subsidiaries, which are subject to applicable corporate income taxes. Any taxes we pay directly or indirectly will reduce our cash available for distribution to stockholders.

 

Our Board is authorized to revoke our REIT election without stockholder approval, which may cause adverse consequences to our stockholders.

Our charter authorizes our Board to revoke or otherwise terminate our REIT election, without the approval of our stockholders, if it determines that changes to U.S. federal income tax laws and regulations or other considerations mean it is no longer in our best interests to qualify as a REIT. Our Board has fiduciary duties to us and our stockholders and could only cause such changes in our tax treatment if it determines in good faith that such changes are in our best interests and in the best interests of our stockholders. In this event, we would become subject to U.S. federal income tax on our taxable income and we would no longer be required to distribute most of our net income to our stockholders, which may cause a reduction in the total return to our stockholders.

If certain sale-leaseback transactions are not characterized by the IRS as “true leases,” we may be subject to adverse tax consequences.

We may purchase investments in properties and lease them back to the sellers of these properties. If the IRS does not characterize these leases as “true leases,” we could fail to maintain our REIT status.

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Liquidation of assets may jeopardize our REIT qualification.

To continue to qualify as a REIT, we must comply with requirements regarding our assets and our sources of income. If we are compelled to liquidate our investments to satisfy our 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% prohibited transaction tax on any resulting gain if we sell assets that are treated as dealer property or inventory.

Our ownership of and relationship with any TRS that we may form or acquire is subject to limitations, and a failure to comply with the limits would jeopardize our REIT qualification and may result in the application of a 100% excise tax.

We own 100% of the stock of a TRS, and we may own more in the future. A TRS may earn income that would not be qualifying income if earned directly by the parent REIT. Both the subsidiary and the REIT must jointly elect to treat the subsidiary as a TRS. Overall, no more than 20% of the value of a REIT’s assets may consist of stock or securities of one or more TRSs at the end of any calendar quarter. A TRS will pay federal, state and local income tax at regular corporate rates on any income that it earns. In addition, the TRS rules impose a 100% excise tax on certain transactions between a TRS and its parent REIT that are not conducted on an arm’s length basis. There can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the TRS limitations or to avoid application of the 100% excise tax discussed above.

Our domestic TRSs would pay U.S. federal and any applicable state and local income tax on their taxable income, and their after-tax net income would be available for distribution to us but would not be required to be distributed to us. If we were to organize a TRS as a non-U.S. corporation (or non-U.S. entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes), we may generate income inclusions relating to the earnings of the non-U.S. TRS that are treated as qualifying income for purposes of the 95% gross income test but not the 75% gross income test.

Generally, ordinary dividends payable by REITs do not qualify for reduced U.S. federal income tax rates applicable to qualified dividend income.

Currently, the maximum tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income payable to certain non-corporate U.S. stockholders is 20%. Dividends payable by REITs, however, generally are not eligible for the reduced rate. REIT dividends that are not designated as “qualified dividend income” or capital gain dividends are taxable as ordinary income. The more favorable rates applicable to qualified dividend income could cause certain non-corporate investors to perceive investments in REITs to be relatively less attractive than investments in the stocks of non-REIT corporations that pay dividends. However, for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2026, non-corporate U.S. taxpayers may be entitled to claim a deduction in determining their taxable income of up to 20% of qualified REIT dividends (dividends other than capital gain dividends and dividends attributable to certain qualified dividend income received by us), subject to certain limitations. Investors are urged to consult with their tax advisor regarding the effect of this change on their effective tax rate with respect to REIT dividends.

If our Operating Partnership failed to qualify as a partnership or is not disregarded for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would cease to qualify as a REIT.

If the IRS were to successfully challenge the status of our Operating Partnership as a partnership or disregarded entity for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it would be taxable as a corporation. In the event that this occurs, it would reduce the amount of distributions that our Operating Partnership could make to us. This would also result in our failing to qualify as a REIT and becoming subject to a corporate-level tax on our income, which would substantially reduce our cash available to pay distributions and the yield on our stockholder’s investment.

There may be tax consequences to any modifications to our borrowings, our hedging transactions and other contracts to replace references to LIBOR.

The publication of LIBOR rates may be discontinued by 2022. We are parties to loan agreements with LIBOR-based interest rates and derivatives with LIBOR-based terms used for hedging and may hold or acquire MBS and other assets with LIBOR-based terms. We may have to renegotiate such LIBOR-based instruments to replace references to LIBOR. Under current law, certain modifications of terms of LIBOR-based instruments may have tax consequences, including deemed taxable exchanges of the pre-modification instrument for the modified instrument. Proposed Treasury Regulations and Revenue Procedure 2020-44 would treat certain modifications that would be taxable events under current law as non-taxable events. The proposed Treasury Regulations also would permit REMICs to make certain modifications without losing REMIC qualification. The guidance does not discuss REIT-specific issues of modifications to LIBOR-based instruments. It is not clear when the proposed Treasury Regulations will be finalized or what, if any, changes will be made to the proposed Treasury Regulations in final Treasury Regulations. We will attempt to migrate to a post-LIBOR environment without jeopardizing our REIT qualification or suffering other adverse tax consequences but can give no assurances that we will succeed.

38


We may choose to pay dividends in a combination of cash and our own common stock, in which case stockholders may be required to pay income taxes in excess of the cash dividends they receive.

 

We may choose to pay dividends in a combination of cash and our own common stock. Under IRS Revenue Procedure 2017-45, as a publicly offered REIT, we may give stockholders a choice, subject to various limits and requirements, of receiving a dividend in cash or in our common stock.  As long as at least 20% of the total dividend is available in cash and certain other requirements are satisfied, the IRS will treat the stock distribution as a dividend (to the extent applicable rules treat such distribution as being made out of our earnings and profits).  As a result, U.S. stockholders may be required to pay income taxes with respect to such dividends in excess of the cash dividends they receive. In the case of non-U.S. stockholders, we generally will be required to withhold tax with respect to the entire dividend, which withholding tax may exceed the amount of cash such non-U.S. stockholder would otherwise receive.

Foreclosures may impact our ability to qualify as a REIT and minimize tax liabilities.

When we foreclose, or consider foreclosing, on properties securing defaulted loans that we hold, we consider the impact that taking ownership of such properties has on our ability to continue to qualify to be taxed as a REIT and any tax liabilities attributable thereto if we continue to qualify as a REIT. In certain cases, operation of real property will not generate qualifying rents from real property for purposes of the REIT gross income tests, e.g., income from operation of a hotel. In certain circumstances, we will be able to make an election with the IRS to treat property we take possession of in a foreclosure as “foreclosure property.” If, and for so long as, such property qualifies as “foreclosure property,” income therefrom is treated as qualifying income for purposes of both REIT gross income tests and gain from the sale of such property will not be subject to the 100% prohibited transaction tax for dealer sales, regardless of our how short our holding period in such property is when we sell such property or other dealer sales considerations. On the other hand, net income with respect to a property for which we have made a foreclosure property election that would not otherwise be qualifying income for purposes of the gross income tests will be subject to corporate income tax. In certain circumstances, the IRS might argue that a particular property did not qualify for a foreclosure property election or that its status as foreclosure property terminated while we believed it continued to qualify, possibly causing us to fail one or both gross income tests or causing any gain from sale of such property to be subject to the prohibited transaction tax.

Retirement Plan Risks

If the fiduciary of an employee benefit plan subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”), fails to meet the fiduciary and other standards under ERISA, the Code or common law as a result of an investment in our stock, the fiduciary could be subject to criminal and civil penalties.

There are special considerations that apply to investing in our shares on behalf of a trust, pension, profit sharing or 401(k) plans, health or welfare plans, individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, or Keogh plans. If stockholders are investing the assets of any of the entities identified in the prior sentence in our common stock, they should satisfy themselves that:

 

the investment is consistent with their fiduciary obligations under applicable law, including common law, ERISA and the Code;

 

the investment is made in accordance with the documents and instruments governing the trust, plan or IRA, including a plan’s investment policy;

 

the investment satisfies the prudence and diversification requirements of Sections 404(a)(1)(B) and 404(a)(1)(C) of ERISA and other applicable provisions of ERISA and the Code;

 

the investment will not impair the liquidity of the trust, plan or IRA;

 

the investment will not produce “unrelated business taxable income” for the plan or IRA;

 

our stockholders will be able to value the assets of the plan annually in accordance with ERISA requirements and applicable provisions of the plan or IRA; and

 

the investment will not constitute a prohibited transaction under Section 406 of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code  

Failure to satisfy the fiduciary standards of conduct and other applicable requirements of ERISA, the Code, or other applicable statutory or common law may result in the imposition of civil (and criminal, if the violation was willful) penalties, and can subject the fiduciary to equitable remedies. In addition, if an investment in our shares constitutes a prohibited transaction under ERISA or the Code, the fiduciary that authorized or directed the investment may be subject to the imposition of excise taxes with respect to the amount invested.

39


General Risk Factors

Challenging economic and financial market conditions could significantly reduce the amount of income we earn on our CRE investments and further reduce the value of our investments.

Challenging economic and financial market conditions may cause us to experience an increase in the number of CRE investments that result in losses, including delinquencies, non-performing assets and taking title to collateral and a decrease in the value of the property or other collateral which secures our investments, all of which could adversely affect our results of operations. We may incur substantial losses and need to establish significant provision for losses or impairment. Our revenue from investments could diminish significantly.

Volatility, disruption or uncertainty in the financial markets may impair our ability to raise capital, obtain new financing or refinance existing obligations and fund real estate activities.

Market disruption, volatility or uncertainty could materially adversely impact our ability to raise capital, obtain new financing or refinance our existing obligations as they mature and fund real estate activities. In addition, market disruption, volatility or uncertainty may also expose us to increased litigation and stockholder activism. These conditions could materially disrupt our business, operations and ability to pay distributions to stockholders. Market volatility could also lead to significant uncertainty in the valuation of our investments, which may result in a substantial decrease in the value of our investments. As a result, we may not be able to recover the carrying amount of such investments and the associated goodwill, if any, which may require us to recognize impairment charges in earnings.

The CRE industry has been and may continue to be adversely affected by economic conditions in the United States and global financial markets generally.

Our business and operations are currently dependent on the CRE industry generally, which in turn is dependent upon broad economic conditions in the United States, Europe, China and elsewhere. Recently, concerns over global economic conditions, virus outbreaks, energy and commodity prices, geopolitical issues, deflation, Federal Reserve short-term rate decisions, foreign exchange rates, the availability and cost of credit, the Chinese economy and the relationship between the Chinese and U.S. governments have contributed to increased economic uncertainty. These factors could cause extreme volatility in security prices. Global economic and political headwinds, along with global market instability and the risk of maturing debt that may have difficulties being refinanced, may continue to cause periodic volatility in the CRE market for some time. Adverse conditions in the CRE industry could harm our business and financial condition by, among other factors, the tightening of the credit markets, decline in the value of our assets and continuing credit and liquidity concerns and otherwise negatively impacting our operations.

We may not be able to pay distributions in the future.

Our ability to generate income and to pay distributions may be adversely affected by the risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any subsequent periodic reports. All distributions are made at the discretion of our Board, subject to applicable law, and depend on our earnings, our financial condition, maintenance of our REIT qualification and such other factors as our Board may deem relevant from time-to-time. We may not be able to pay distributions in the future.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None

Item 2. Properties.

Our principal executive office is located at 2901 Butterfield Rd., Oak Brook, Illinois 60523. As part of the Advisory Agreement, the Advisor is responsible for providing office space and office services required in rendering services to us. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we own a ground lease interest in one hotel property acquired via deed-in-lieu of foreclosure during August 2020. See Item 15, Note 3 – “Commercial Mortgage Loans Held for Investment” and Note 13 – “Real Estate Owned” for further discussion.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

In the ordinary course of business, we may become subject to litigation, claims and regulatory matters. We have no knowledge of material legal or regulatory proceedings pending or known to be contemplated against us at this time.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not Applicable.

40


PART II

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

Market Information

There is currently no established public trading market for our common stock, and we do not expect a public trading market to develop. We do not intend to list our common stock for trading on an exchange or other trading market, and we intend to be a perpetual-life entity with no requirement to pursue a liquidity event by any date certain or at all.

Stockholders

As of March 15, 2021, there were 2,855 holders of Class P, 251 holders of Class A, 128 holders of Class T, 15 holders of Class D, 131 holders of Class I and no holders of Class S common stock.

Distributions

Our Board declared cash distributions payable to our Class P stockholders of record on each calendar day from January 1, 2017 through July 31, 2019, in an amount per share equal to 1/365th of $1.92. Distributions declared on or after August 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020 on Class P Shares were based on monthly record dates, payable in arrears the following month equal to a monthly amount of 1/12th of $1.92 per share. Distributions on Class A, Class T, Class D and Class I shares were based on monthly record dates, payable in arrears the following month equal to a monthly amount of 1/12th of $1.62 per share from August 1, 2019 through February 29, 2020. 

On March 24, 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Board suspended, among other things, the payment of distributions to our stockholders and the operation of our DRP, effective as of April 6, 2020. In making these decisions, our Board considered the difficulty of confidently determining an NAV as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the extent of the economic effects of the pandemic, as well as the financing challenges related to additional collateral required by the banks that regularly finance our assets. We believed that the responsible course of action in the face of the economic slowdown and uncertainty was to conserve liquidity and prioritize the payment of operating and other essential expenses until the extent of the economic effects of the pandemic could be better understood and analyzed.

41


After considering, among other things, the reduced volatility in the market for our investments and some improvement in the U.S. economic outlook, on July 30, 2020, our Board authorized a distribution on our common stock that was paid to stockholders of record as of July 31, 2020. The gross distribution was 1/12th of $0.8576 per share for all classes of shares, and the net distribution was reduced for certain share classes for applicable class-specific expenses. We declared a distribution to stockholders of record as of August 31, 2020 in the gross amount of 1/12th of $0.88 per share for all classes of shares. For stockholders of record as of September 30, 2020, October 31, 2020, November 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, we declared a distribution in the gross amount of 1/12th of $0.90 per share for all classes of shares. For stockholders of record as of January 31, 2021, February 28, 2021 and March 31, 2021, we declared distributions of 1/12th of $0.95 per share, 1/12th of $1.00 per share and 1/12th of $1.05 per share, respectively. The amount of distributions we may pay in the future is not certain. The table below shows distributions paid during the periods presented ($ in thousands).

 

Year ended December 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Stock

 

 

 

Class P

 

 

Class A

 

 

Class T

 

 

Class S

 

 

Class D

 

 

Class I

 

Aggregate gross distributions declared per

   share

 

$

0.7648

 

 

$

0.7148

 

 

$

0.7148

 

 

$

 

 

$

0.7148

 

 

$

0.7148

 

Stockholder servicing fee per share

 

N/A

 

 

N/A

 

 

 

0.1270

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.0373

 

 

N/A

 

Net distributions declared per share

 

$

0.7648

 

 

$

0.7148

 

 

$

0.5878

 

 

$

 

 

$

0.6775

 

 

$

0.7148

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year ended December 31, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Stock

 

 

 

Class P

 

 

Class A

 

 

Class T

 

 

Class S

 

 

Class D

 

 

Class I

 

Aggregate gross distributions declared per

   share

 

$

1.9200

 

 

$

0.5400

 

 

$

0.6750

 

 

$

 

 

$

0.5400

 

 

$

0.6750

 

Stockholder servicing fee per share

 

N/A

 

 

N/A

 

 

 

0.0890

 

 

 

 

 

 

0.0209

 

 

N/A

 

Net distributions declared per share

 

$

1.9200

 

 

$

0.5400

 

 

$

0.5860

 

 

$

 

 

$

0.5191

 

 

$

0.6750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year ended December 31, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Stock

 

 

 

Class P

 

 

Class A

 

 

Class T

 

 

Class S

 

 

Class D

 

 

Class I

 

Aggregate gross distributions declared per

   share

 

$

1.9200

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

Stockholder servicing fee per share

 

N/A

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net distributions declared per share

 

$

1.9200

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

 

$

 

Distribution Reinvestment Plan

We have adopted a DRP, effective May 3, 2019, whereby holders of Class A, Class T, Class S, Class D and Class I shares will have their cash distributions automatically reinvested in additional shares of our common stock unless they elect to receive their distributions in cash or if the stockholder’s state or participating dealer does not allow automatic enrollment. Investors that are not automatically enrolled in our DRP will automatically receive their distributions in cash unless they elect to have their cash distributions reinvested in additional shares of our common stock. Any cash distributions attributable to the class or classes of shares owned by participants in the DRP will be immediately reinvested in our shares on behalf of the participants on the business day such distribution would have been paid to such stockholder.

The per share purchase price for shares purchased pursuant to the DRP will be equal to the most recently published transaction price at the time the distribution is payable. Stockholders will not pay upfront selling commissions when purchasing shares pursuant to the DRP. The stockholder servicing fees with respect to shares of our Class T shares, Class S shares and Class D shares are calculated based on our NAV for those shares and may reduce the NAV or, alternatively, the distributions payable with respect to shares of each such class, including shares issued in respect of distributions on such shares under the DRP. Shares acquired under the DRP will entitle the participant to the same rights and be treated in the same manner as shares of that class purchased in this offering.

On March 24, 2020, our Board suspended, among other things, the operation of the DRP, effective as of April 6, 2020. In determining to suspend the DRP, our Board considered various factors, including the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the inability to accurately calculate our NAV per share due to uncertainty, volatility and lack of liquidity in the market, our need for liquidity due to financing challenges related to additional collateral required by the banks that regularly finance our assets and these uncertain and rapidly changing economic conditions. On October 1, 2020, the SEC declared effective our post-effective amendment to our registration statement on Form S-11 thereby permitting us to resume offers and sales of shares of common stock in our IPO, including through the DRP.

42


Participants may terminate their participation in the DRP with five business days’ prior written notice to us.

Equity Compensation Plan

Our restricted share plan offers our independent directors an opportunity to participate in our growth through awards in the form of, or based on, our common stock. The restricted share plan authorizes the granting of restricted stock, restricted or deferred stock units, dividend equivalents, and cash-based awards to independent directors for participation in the plan.

Under the independent director restricted share plan and subject to such plan’s conditions and restrictions, each of our independent directors will automatically receive $10,000 in restricted Class I shares on the date of each annual stockholders’ meeting or, if no annual meeting, in December of each year. Such restricted shares will generally vest over a three-year period following the grant date in increments of 33 13% per annum; provided, however, that restricted stock will become fully vested on the earlier occurrence of: (i) the termination of the independent director’s service as a director due to his or her death or disability; or (ii) a liquidity event. These restricted shares are issued pursuant to an exemption from registration under Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act.

On December 1, 2020, the Company granted each of its three independent directors 464 restricted Class I shares for a total of 1,393 Class I shares with a grant date fair value of $21.54 per share and a total value of $30,000. The restricted Class I shares will vest in equal one-third increments on December 1, 2021, 2022 and 2023. On December 2, 2019, the Company granted each of its three independent directors 399 restricted Class I shares for a total of 1,197 Class I shares with grant date fair value of $25.07 per share and a total value of $30,000. The restricted Class I shares will vest in equal one-third increments on December 2, 2020, 2021 and 2022. On January 7, 2019, the Company granted each of its three independent directors 400 restricted Class P Shares for a total of 1,200 Class P Shares with a grant date fair value of $25.00 per share and a total value of $30. The restricted Class P Shares will vest in equal one-third increments on January 7, 2020, 2021 and 2022. On March 1, 2018, the Company granted 400 restricted Class P Shares to each of its three independent directors for a total of 1,200 Class P Shares at a grant date fair value of $25.00 per share for a total value of $30. These restricted Class P Shares vest in equal one-third increments on March 1, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

As of December 31, 2020, we have granted 4,990 restricted shares of which 1,599 have vested and none were forfeited. During the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, compensation expense associated with the restricted shares issued to the independent directors was $30,833, $20,833 and $8,333, respectively.

Securities Authorized for Issuance under Equity Compensation Plans

For information regarding the securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plan, see Item 12, “Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Recent Sales of Unregistered Equity Securities

On October 25, 2016, we commenced the Private Offering of up to $500.0 million in our Class P Shares. The Class P Shares were offered and sold pursuant to an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act, in accordance with Rule 506(b) of Regulation D, and in compliance with any applicable state securities laws. On June 28, 2019, we terminated the Private Offering. We continued to accept Private Offering subscription proceeds through July 16, 2019 from subscription agreements executed no later than June 28, 2019. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we received and accepted investors’ subscriptions for and issued 4,315,524 Class P Shares in the Private Offering resulting in gross offering proceeds of $116.3 million. As of July 16, 2019, we issued 10,258,094 Class P Shares resulting in gross offering proceeds of $276.7 million. Inland Securities Corporation served as our dealer manager for the Private Offering.

Except as set forth above, we have not sold any securities that were not registered under the Securities Act during the period covered by this report.

On May 3, 2019, our Registration Statement on Form S-11 (File No. 333-230465), covering the IPO of up to $2.35 billion in shares of Class A, Class T, Class S, Class D and Class I common stock, was declared effective under the Securities Act. Inland Securities Corporation serves as our dealer manager for the IPO.

On March 24, 2020, our Board suspended (i) the sale of shares in the IPO, (ii) the operation of the SRP, (iii) the payment of distributions to our stockholders, and (iv) the operation of the DRP, effective as of April 6, 2020. In determining to suspend the IPO, the SRP, the payment of distributions and the DRP, our Board considered various factors, including the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the inability to accurately calculate our NAV per share due to uncertainty, volatility and lack of liquidity in the market, our need for liquidity due to financing challenges related to additional collateral required by the banks that regularly finance our assets and these uncertain and rapidly changing economic conditions.

43


As a result of these factors, we did not calculate our NAV for the months of March through May 2020. We resumed calculation of our NAV beginning of as June 30, 2020 following the Advisor’s determination that volatility in the market for our investments had declined and the U.S. economic outlook had improved. In August 2020, we resumed paying distributions monthly to stockholders of record for all classes of our common stock. On October 1, 2020, the SEC declared effective our post-effective amendment to the Registration Statement thereby permitting us to resume offers and sales of shares of common stock in the IPO, including through the DRP. 

The offering price for each class of our common stock is determined monthly and is made available on our website and in prospectus supplement filings. As of December 31, 2020, we received net offering proceeds of $36.4 million from the IPO. The following table summarizes certain information about the IPO proceeds ($ in thousands except for per share data):

 

 

 

Class A

Shares

 

 

Class T

Shares

 

 

Class S

Shares

 

 

Class D

Shares

 

 

Class I

Shares

 

 

Total

 

Primary shares sold

 

 

655,835

 

 

 

398,233

 

 

 

 

 

 

50,393

 

 

 

379,365

 

 

 

1,483,826

 

Gross proceeds from primary offering

 

$

17,308

 

 

$

10,206

 

 

$

 

 

$

1,237

 

 

$

9,418

 

 

$

38,169

 

Reinvestments of distributions

 

 

122

 

 

 

54

 

 

 

 

 

 

25

 

 

 

81

 

 

 

282

 

Total gross proceeds

 

 

17,430

 

 

 

10,260

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,262

 

 

 

9,499

 

 

 

38,451

 

Selling commissions and dealer

   manager fees

 

 

1,004

 

 

 

284

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,288

 

Stockholder servicing fees

 

 

 

 

 

615

 

 

 

 

 

 

108

 

 

 

 

 

 

723

 

Total expenses

 

 

1,004

 

 

 

899

 

 

 

 

 

 

108

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,011

 

Net offering proceeds(1)

 

$

16,426

 

 

$

9,361

 

 

$

 

 

$

1,154

 

 

$

9,499

 

 

$

36,440

 

 

(1)

Excludes fund-level offering costs of $3,685. We primarily used the net offering proceeds from the IPO to originate CRE loans and purchase real estate securities on a levered basis, subject to our investment guidelines and to the extent consistent with maintaining our REIT qualification, and other general corporate purposes.

Share Repurchase Plan

We have adopted a SRP, effective May 3, 2019, whereby on a monthly basis, stockholders who have held our shares of common stock for at least one year may request that we repurchase all or any portion of their shares. Due to the illiquid nature of investments in real estate, we may not have sufficient liquid resources to fund repurchase requests. Because there is no public market for our shares, stockholders may have difficulty selling their shares if we choose to repurchase only some, or even none, of the shares that have been requested to be repurchased in any particular month, in our discretion, or if our Board modifies, suspends or terminates the SRP.

In addition, we have established limitations on the amount of funds we may use for repurchases during any calendar month and quarter. We may repurchase fewer shares than have been requested in any particular month to be repurchased under our SRP, or none at all, in our discretion at any time. In addition, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares will be limited to no more than 2% of our aggregate NAV per month and no more than 5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter.

In the event that we determine to repurchase some but not all of the shares submitted for repurchase during any month, shares submitted for repurchase during such month will be repurchased on a pro rata basis in the following order of priority: (i) first, shares repurchased in connection with a death or disability, until all such shares have been repurchased; (ii) next, shares being repurchased from stockholder accounts with a small aggregate value of less than $500, until all such shares have been repurchased; and (iii) finally, all other shares submitted for repurchase. All unsatisfied repurchase requests must be resubmitted after the start of the next month or quarter, or upon the recommencement of the SRP, as applicable.

If the transaction price for the applicable month is not made available by the eighth business day prior to the last business day of the month (or is changed after such date), then no repurchase requests will be accepted for such month and stockholders who wish to have their shares repurchased the following month must resubmit their repurchase requests.

Should repurchase requests, in our judgment, place an undue burden on our liquidity, adversely affect our operations or risk having an adverse impact on us as a whole, or should we otherwise determine that investing our liquid assets in real properties or other illiquid investments rather than repurchasing our shares is in the best interests of us as a whole, we may choose to repurchase fewer shares in any particular month than have been requested to be repurchased, or none at all. Further, our Board may modify, suspend or terminate our SRP if it deems such action to be in our best interest and the best interest of our stockholders. 

On March 24, 2020, our Board suspended our SRP. In determining to suspend the SRP, our Board considered various factors, including the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, the inability to accurately calculate our NAV per share due to uncertainty, volatility and lack of liquidity in the market, our need for liquidity due to financing challenges related to additional

44


collateral required by the banks that regularly finance our assets and uncertain and rapidly changing economic conditions. As a result of these factors, we did not calculate our NAV for the months of March through May 2020. We resumed calculation of our NAV beginning as of June 30, 2020 following the Advisor’s determination that volatility in the market for our investments had declined and the U.S. economic outlook had improved.

On March 1, 2021, our SRP was reinstated for our stockholders requesting repurchase of shares as a result of the death or qualified disability of the holder. Permitted repurchase requests must be submitted on or after March 1, 2021. The first settlement of permitted repurchase requests will be on March 31, 2021, the last business day of the month.

On July 1, 2021, our SRP will be reinstated for all stockholders. Repurchase requests must be submitted on or after July 1, 2021. The first settlement of permitted repurchase requests will be on July 30, 2021, the last business day of the month. In accordance with the terms of the SRP that allow us to repurchase fewer shares than the maximum amount permitted under the SRP, for the months of July, August and September 2021, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares (including Class P Shares) will be limited to no more than 1% of our aggregate NAV per month as of the last day of the previous calendar month and no more than 2.5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter as of the last day of the previous calendar month. Beginning on October 1, 2021, the total amount of aggregate repurchases of shares will be limited as set forth in the SRP (no more than 2% of our aggregate NAV per month as of the last day of the previous calendar month and no more than 5% of our aggregate NAV per calendar quarter as of the last day of the previous calendar month). Notwithstanding the foregoing, we may repurchase fewer shares than these limits in any month, or none. Further, our Board may modify, suspend or terminate our SRP if it deems such action to be in our best interest and the best interest of our stockholders.

During the year ended December 31, 2020, prior to the suspension of the SRP, we repurchased shares of our common stock in the following amounts, which represented all of the share repurchase requests received for the same period:

 

Period

 

Total Number of

Shares Repurchased

 

 

Average

Price Paid

per Share

 

 

Total Number of

Shares

Purchased as

Part of Publicly

Announced Plans

or Programs

 

 

Maximum Number

of Shares that May

Yet Be Purchased

Under the Plans or

Programs(1)

 

January 1 — January 31, 2020

 

 

8,348

 

 

$

24.99

 

 

 

8,348

 

 

 

 

February 1 — February 29, 2020

 

 

22,170

 

 

$

25.00

 

 

 

22,170

 

 

 

 

March 1 — March 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 1 — April 30, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 1 — May 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 1 — June 30, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 1 — July 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 1 — August 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September 1 — September 30, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1 — October 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 1 — November 30, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 1 — December 31, 2020

 

 

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30,518

 

 

$

25.00

 

 

 

30,518

 

 

 

 

____________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1) Repurchases are limited as described above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

Not applicable to us as a smaller reporting company.

 

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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Certain statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Words such as “may,” “could,” “should,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “variables,” “potential,” “continue,” “expand,” “maintain,” “create,” “strategies,” “likely,” “will,” “would” and variations of these terms and similar expressions, or the negative of these terms or similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but reflect the intent, belief or current expectations of our management based on their knowledge and understanding of the business and industry, the economy and other future conditions. These statements are not guarantees of future performance, and we caution stockholders not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in the forward-looking statements due to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors, including but not limited to the factors described below:

Market disruptions caused by the economic effects of, or uncertainties surrounding the future effects of, the COVID-19 pandemic have adversely impacted aspects of our operating results and operating condition and may continue to do so, and these effects may become more severe, e.g., if COVID-19 vaccinations are not as effective as expected or for some other reason COVID-19 cases increase nationally or in markets that affect the value of our investments;

If we cannot generate sufficient cash flow from operations to fully fund distributions, some or all of our distributions may be paid from other sources, including from the proceeds from sales of our common stock, which will reduce the amount of cash we ultimately have to invest in assets;

There is no current public trading market for our common stock, and we do not expect that such a market will ever develop. Therefore, repurchase of shares by us will likely be the only way for stockholders to dispose of their shares, and our SRP was suspended and may be suspended again in the future;

Even if our stockholders are able to sell their shares pursuant to our SRP, or otherwise, they may not be able to recover the amount of their investment in our shares;

Under our charter, we may borrow to 300% of our net assets, equivalent to 75% of the costs of our assets and may exceed this limitation with the approval of a majority of our independent directors;

Our Advisor and Sub-Advisor may face conflicts of interest in allocating personnel and resources among us and their affiliates;

None of our agreements with our Advisor, our Sub-Advisor or any affiliates of our Advisor or Sub-Advisor were negotiated at arm’s-length;

If we fail to continue to qualify as a REIT, our operations and distributions to stockholders will be adversely affected; and

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant and adverse effect on the economy and our investments, particularly the Renaissance O’Hare, and its future impacts are uncertain and hard to measure but may cause a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

Forward-looking statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K reflect our management’s view only as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and may ultimately prove to be incorrect or false. We undertake no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of unanticipated events or changes to future operating results except as required by applicable law. We intend for these forward-looking statements to be covered by the applicable safe harbor provisions created by Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act.

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying notes to our consolidated financial statements, which are included in Part IV, Item 15 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. All dollar amounts are stated in thousands, except share data.

Overview

We are a Maryland corporation formed on September 13, 2016 to originate, acquire and manage an investment portfolio of CRE investments primarily comprised of (i) CRE debt, including floating-rate first mortgage loans, subordinate mortgage and mezzanine loans, and participations in such loans and (ii) floating-rate CRE securities such as CMBS and senior unsecured debt of publicly traded REITs. We may also invest in select equity investments in single-tenant, net leased properties. Substantially all of our business is conducted through our Operating Partnership, of which we are the sole general partner. We are externally managed by our Advisor, an indirect subsidiary of Inland Real Estate Investment Corporation. Our Advisor has engaged the Sub-Advisor, a subsidiary of Sound Point CRE Management, LP, to perform certain services on behalf of the Advisor for us.

46


We have operated in a manner that allows us to qualify as a REIT for U.S. federal income tax purposes commencing with the taxable year ended December 31, 2017. Among other requirements, REITs are required to distribute to stockholders at least 90% of their annual REIT taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction and excluding net capital gain).

For a discussion of the history of the Company and its Private Offering and IPO, please see Part IV, Item 15, “Note 1 – Organization and Business Operations” in the notes to our consolidated financial statements below.

Factors Impacting Our Operating Results

Our operating results can be affected by a number of factors and primarily depend on the timing and amount of capital raised, the composition of our investment portfolio, the amount of leverage applied to our investment portfolio and our net interest income. Several macroeconomic factors impact the interest rate environment and our target assets, none of which can be predicted with any certainty.

Market Conditions

The economic conditions that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our investments during the year ended December 31, 2020. Prior to the pandemic, we held approximately $156.6 million in CMBS of which a significant portion consisted of interests in hotel property loans. The value of the CMBS declined as travel, in-person gatherings and shopping were restricted due to the pandemic. We began selling the CMBS portfolio in April 2020 and, as the effects of the pandemic continued, we eventually made the decision to exit the CMBS market and sold all our CMBS recognizing $35.0 million in losses.

Our CRE loan portfolio has performed well through the pandemic with every loan, other than the loan secured by the Renaissance O’Hare, making all of their scheduled debt service payments during 2020 in accordance with their respective terms, which included modifications to one hospitality loan, one retail loan and two office loans. In August, we took possession of the Renaissance O’Hare through a deed-in-lieu transaction and recognized a $4.7 million loss. With hotel occupancy rates continuing to lag normal levels due to reduced travel and government restrictions, in December 2020 we further reduced the valuation of the hotel for our NAV by a total of $7.6 million and reserved $2.25 million due to expected short-term losses projected until the hotel returns to its normal operating levels. See Non-GAAP Financial Measures – Net Asset Value below. Our review of the property determined the value was not permanently impaired, and we did not reduce the value in our financial statements.

 

Our CRE loan portfolio strategy has been to focus on smaller markets and properties owned by experienced and well-capitalized sponsors. Even during the severe market disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, our strategy as to CRE loans has proven to be effective. We believe the current market conditions create a favorable investment environment for CRE loans and will improve further as the economy recovers from the pandemic. Our target investments provide the opportunity to participate in a CRE market where values have shown positive trends and we believe income growth is expected to continue.

We believe the CRE debt sector continues to represent a large market opportunity. According to Trepp – Federal Reserve Flow of Funds Data, there are approximately $2.1 trillion in U.S. CRE mortgage loans that are expected to mature during the period 2021 through 2025. We believe the large volume of maturing CRE loans over the next five years and the resulting need for borrowers to refinance assets will provide a significant opportunity to originate CRE debt. In addition, this volume of refinancings does not include the need to finance the purchases of CRE properties, which will provide additional finance opportunities.

 

There continues to be strong competition for CRE lending from banks and non-banking lenders. We believe the many years of industry experience of the portfolio managers of our Sub-advisor who have resulted in long-standing financing relationships will provide us access to attractive loan opportunities to compete in this market.

Portfolio

We began operations in October 2016, and our objective is to originate, acquire and manage an investment portfolio mainly of CRE debt that is primarily floating rate and diversified based on the type and location of collateral securing the underlying CRE debt. We anticipate our investment portfolio will be less diversified and have higher concentrations in asset class, collateral type and geographic location until our capital raise reaches levels that will allow for greater diversification.

The charts below summarize our debt investments portfolio as a percentage of par value by type of rate, our total investment portfolio by investment type, and our loan portfolio by collateral type and geographical region as of December 31, 2020 and 2019.

47


Floating Vs. Fixed Rate Debt Investments:

 

December 31, 2020

December 31, 2019

 

 

 

All Investments by Type:

 

December 31, 2020

December 31, 2019

 

 


48


Loans by Property Type:

 

December 31, 2020

December 31, 2019

 

 

 

Loans by Region:

 

December 31, 2020

 

December 31, 2019

 

 

 

 

 


49


An investment’s region is defined according to the below map based on the location of underlying property.

 

 

During the year ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we raised combined gross proceeds from the Private Offering and IPO (collectively, the “Offerings”), including proceeds from the DRP, of $24,513 and $130,201, respectively. The changes in our portfolio as of December 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019 were primarily due to real estate securities sold during the period. Due to the small number of investments in our portfolio, changes in the portfolio composition may be significant. We anticipate that these changes will become less significant as our portfolio increases in size.

Commercial Mortgage Loans Held for Investment

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2020

 

 

Year Ended December 31, 2019

 

Principal balance of first mortgage loans

$

425,196

 

 

$

489,902

 

Number of first mortgage loans

 

26