Prudential Financial, Inc.
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
Derivative Instruments (continued)
either modify or hedge existing interest rate risk. This strategy protects against the risk that cash flow requirements may necessitate liquidation of investments at unfavorable prices resulting from increases in interest rates. This strategy can be a more cost effective way of temporarily reducing the Company’s exposure to a market decline than selling fixed income securities and purchasing a similar portfolio when such a decline is believed to be over.
When the Company anticipates a significant decline in the stock market that will correspondingly affect its diversified portfolio, it may purchase put index options where the basket of securities in the index is appropriate to provide a hedge against a decrease in the value of the Company’s equity portfolio or a portion thereof. This strategy effects an orderly sale of hedged securities. When the Company has large cash flows which it has allocated for investment in equity securities, it may purchase call index options as a temporary hedge against an increase in the price of the securities it intends to purchase. This hedge is intended to permit such investment transactions to be executed with less adverse market impact.
Currency derivatives, including exchange-traded currency futures and options, currency forwards and currency swaps, are used by the Company to reduce market risks from changes in currency exchange rates with respect to investments denominated in foreign currencies that the Company either holds or intends to acquire or sell.
Under exchange-traded currency futures and options, the Company agrees to purchase or sell a specified number of contracts and to post variation margin on a daily basis in an amount equal to the difference in the daily market values of those contracts. The Company enters into exchange-traded currency futures and options with regulated futures commissions merchants who are members of a trading exchange.
Under currency forwards, the Company agrees with other parties upon delivery of a specified amount of an identified currency at a specified future date. Typically, the price is agreed upon at the time of the contract and payment for such a contract is made at the specified future date. In addition to managing the risks noted above, the Company uses currency forwards to mitigate the risk that unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates will reduce U.S. dollar equivalent earnings generated by certain of its non-U.S. businesses, primarily its Japanese insurance operations. The Company executes forward sales of the hedged currency in exchange for U.S. dollars at a specified exchange rate. The maturities of these forwards correspond with the future periods in which the non-U.S. earnings are expected to be generated. When contracts are terminated, in the same period as the expected earnings, the resulting positive or negative cash flow is included in “Commissions and other income” (revenues of $34 million in 2001 and $22 million in 2000). Changes in the fair value of open contracts are included in “Realized investment gains (losses), net.” At December 31, 2001, the fair value of open contracts used for this purpose was $78 million.
Under currency swaps, the Company agrees with other parties to exchange, at specified intervals, the difference between one currency and another at a forward exchange rate and calculated by reference to an agreed principal amount. Generally, the principal amount of each currency is exchanged at the beginning and termination of the currency swap by each party. These transactions are entered into pursuant to master agreements that provide for a single net payment to be made by one counterparty for payments made in the same currency at each due date.
Forward contracts are used by the Company to manage market risks relating to interest rates and commodities and trades in mortgage-backed securities forward contracts. The latter activity was exited in connection with the restructuring of Prudential Securities Group Inc.’s capital markets activities as discussed in Note 4. Typically, the price is agreed upon at the time of the contract and payment for such a contract is made at the specified future date.
The tables below summarize the Company’s outstanding positions by derivative instrument types at December 31, 2001 and 2000. The amounts presented are classified as either trading or other than trading, based on management’s intent at the time of contract inception and throughout the life of the contract. The table includes the estimated fair values of outstanding derivative positions only and does not include the changes in fair values of associated financial and non-financial assets and liabilities, which generally offset derivative gains and losses. The fair value amounts presented also do not reflect the netting of amounts pursuant to right of setoff, qualifying master netting agreements with counterparties or collateral arrangements.