SVB Financial Group
SVB FINANCIAL GROUP (Form: 10-K, Received: 02/26/2016 21:13:17)
Table of Contents

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM 10-K
  
 
  (Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015
OR
¨
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: 000-15637  
 
SVB FINANCIAL GROUP
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Delaware
 
91-1962278
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
3003 Tasman Drive, Santa Clara, California
 
95054-1191
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (408) 654-7400
 Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered  
Common stock, par value $0.001 per share
 
NASDAQ Global Select Market
Junior subordinated debentures issued by SVB Capital II and the guarantee with respect thereto
 
NASDAQ Global Select Market
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:      None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  x  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  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  x  No  ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes  x  No  ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.     x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer   x     Accelerated filer   ¨     Non-accelerated filer   ¨     Smaller reporting company   ¨
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes  ¨  No x
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity securities held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2015 , the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter, based upon the closing price of its common stock on such date, on the NASDAQ Global Select Market was $7,409,425,988 .
At January 31, 2016 , 51,613,882 shares of the registrant’s common stock ($0.001 par value) were outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Parts of Form 10-K
Into Which
Incorporated  
Definitive proxy statement for the Company's 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed within 120 days of the end of the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015
Part III


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
 
 
Page
 
 
 
 
PART I.
Item 1.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1A.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 1B.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 2.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 3.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 4.
 
 
 
 
PART II.
Item 5.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 6.
 
 
 
 
Item 7.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 7A.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 8.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Item 9.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 9A.
 
 
 
 
Item 9B.
 
 
 
 
PART III.
Item 10.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 11.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 12.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 13.
 
 
 
 
 
Item 14.
 
 
 
 
PART IV.
Item 15.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Glossary of Frequently-used Acronyms in this Report

AICPA – American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
AFS — Available-for-Sale
ASC — Accounting Standards Codification
ASU – Accounting Standards Update
DBO – California Department of Business Oversight - Division of Financial Institutions
EHOP – Employee Home Ownership Program of the Company
EPS – Earnings Per Share
ESOP – Employee Stock Ownership Plan of the Company
ESPP – 1999 Employee Stock Purchase Plan of the Company
FASB – Financial Accounting Standards Board
FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
FHLB – Federal Home Loan Bank
FINRA – Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
FRB – Federal Reserve Bank
FTP – Funds Transfer Pricing
GAAP - Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America
HTM — Held-to-Maturity
IASB – International Accounting Standards Board
IFRS – International Financial Reporting Standards
IPO – Initial Public Offering
IRS – Internal Revenue Service
IT – Information Technology
LIBOR – London Interbank Offered Rate
M&A – Merger and Acquisition
OTTI – Other Than Temporary Impairment
SEC – Securities and Exchange Commission
TDR – Troubled Debt Restructuring
UK – United Kingdom
VIE – Variable Interest Entity

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Forward-Looking Statements
This Annual Report on Form 10-K, including in particular “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” under Part II, Item 7 in this report, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In addition, management has in the past and might in the future make forward-looking statements orally to analysts, investors, the media and others. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. Broadly speaking, forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following:

Projections of our net interest income, noninterest income, earnings per share, noninterest expenses (including professional services, compliance, compensation and other costs), cash flows, balance sheet positions, capital expenditures, liquidity and capitalization or other financial items
Descriptions of our strategic initiatives, plans or objectives for future operations, including pending sales or acquisitions
Forecasts of private equity/venture capital funding and investment levels
Forecasts of future interest rates, economic performance, and income from investments
Forecasts of expected levels of provisions for loan losses, loan growth and client funds
Descriptions of assumptions underlying or relating to any of the foregoing

You can identify these and other forward-looking statements by the use of words such as “becoming,” “may,” “will,” “should,” " could, " " would, " “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “seek,” “expect,” “plan,” “intend,” the negative of such words, or comparable terminology. Forward-looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, we have based these expectations on our current beliefs as well as our assumptions, and such expectations may prove to be incorrect. Because forward-looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of our control. Our actual results of operations and financial performance could differ significantly from those expressed in or implied by our management’s forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ from the expectations stated in the forward-looking statements include, among others:
 
Market and economic conditions, including the interest rate environment, and the associated impact on us
The credit profile and credit quality of our loan portfolio and volatility of our levels of nonperforming assets and charge-offs
The adequacy of our allowance for loan losses and the need to make provisions for loan losses for any period
The borrowing needs of our clients
The sufficiency of our capital and liquidity positions
The levels of loans, deposits and client investment fund balances
The performance of our portfolio investments; the general condition of the public and private equity and mergers and acquisitions markets and their impact on our investments, including equity warrant assets, venture capital and private equity funds and direct equity investments
Our overall investment plans and strategies; the realization, timing, valuation and performance of our equity or other investments
The levels of public offerings, mergers and acquisitions and venture capital investment activity of our clients that may impact the borrowing needs of our clients
The occurrence of fraudulent activity, including breaches of our information security or cyber security-related incidents
Business disruptions and interruptions due to natural disasters and other external events
The impact on our reputation and business from our interactions with business partners, counterparties, service providers and other third parties
Expansion of our business internationally
The impact of legal requirements and regulations limiting or restricting our activities or resulting in higher costs, including the Dodd-Frank Act, the Volcker rule and Federal Reserve and other regulatory requirements
The impact of lawsuits and claims
Changes in accounting standards and tax laws
The levels of equity capital available to our client or portfolio companies
The effectiveness of our risk management framework and quantitative models
Our ability to maintain or increase our market share, including through successfully implementing our business strategy and undertaking new business initiatives
Other factors as discussed in “Risk Factors” under Part I, Item 1A in this report
 

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We urge investors to consider all of these factors carefully in evaluating the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. All subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. The forward-looking statements included in this filing are made only as of the date of this filing. We assume no obligation and do not intend to revise or update any forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, except as required by law.


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PART I.
ITEM 1.
BUSINESS
General
SVB Financial Group ("SVB Financial") is a diversified financial services company, as well as a bank holding company and a financial holding company. SVB Financial was incorporated in the state of Delaware in March 1999. Through our various subsidiaries and divisions, we offer a variety of banking and financial products and services to clients across the United States, as well as in key international entrepreneurial markets. For over 30 years, we have been dedicated to helping entrepreneurs succeed, primarily in the technology, life science/healthcare, private equity/venture capital and premium wine industries. We provide our clients of all sizes and stages with a diverse set of products and services to support them throughout their life cycles.
We offer commercial and private banking products and services through our principal subsidiary, Silicon Valley Bank (the Bank ), which is a California state-chartered bank founded in 1983 and a member of the Federal Reserve System. The Bank and its subsidiaries, also offer asset management, private wealth management, brokerage and other investment services. Through SVB Financial's other subsidiaries and divisions, we also offer non-banking products and services, such as funds management and business valuation services. Additionally, we focus on cultivating strong relationships with firms within the private equity and venture capital community worldwide, many of which are also our clients and may invest in our corporate clients.
As of December 31, 2015 , we had, on a consolidated basis, total assets of $44.7 billion , total investment securities of $25.8 billion , total loans, net of unearned income, of $16.7 billion , total deposits of $39.1 billion and total SVB Financial Group (“SVBFG”) stockholders' equity of $3.2 billion .
Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, we operate in key innovation markets in the United States and around the world. Our corporate office is located at 3003 Tasman Drive, Santa Clara, California 95054, and our telephone number is (408) 654-7400.
When we refer to “SVB Financial Group,” “SVBFG,” the “Company,” “we,” “our,” “us” or use similar words, we mean SVB Financial Group and all of its subsidiaries collectively, including the Bank. When we refer to “SVB Financial” or the “Parent” we are referring only to the parent company, SVB Financial Group.
Business Overview
For reporting purposes, SVB Financial Group has three operating segments for which we report financial information in this report: Global Commercial Bank, SVB Private Bank and SVB Capital.
Global Commercial Bank
Our Global Commercial Bank segment is comprised of results primarily from our Commercial Bank, our Private Equity Division, SVB Wine, SVB Analytics and our Debt Fund Investments, each as further described below.
Commercial Bank . Our Commercial Bank products and services are provided by the Bank and its subsidiaries to commercial clients in the technology, life science/healthcare, and private equity/venture capital industries. The Bank provides solutions to the financial needs of commercial clients through credit, global treasury management, foreign exchange, global trade finance, and other services. We broadly serve clients within the U.S., as well as non-U.S. clients in key international innovation markets.
Through our credit products and services, the Bank extends loans and other credit facilities to commercial clients. These loans may be secured by clients' assets or based on clients' cash flows. In some cases, loans may be unsecured. Credit products and services include traditional term loans, equipment loans, asset-based loans, revolving lines of credit, accounts-receivable-based lines of credit, capital call lines of credit and credit cards.
The Bank's global treasury management products and services include a wide range of deposit, receivables, payments, and cash management solutions accessible through our expanding online and mobile banking platforms. Deposit products include business and analysis checking accounts, money market accounts, multi-currency accounts, in-country bank accounts and sweep accounts. In connection with deposit services, the Bank provides receivables services, which include merchant services, remote capture, lockbox, electronic deposit capture, and fraud control services. Payment and cash management products and services include wire transfer and automated clearing house payment services to enable clients to transfer funds quickly, as well as business bill pay, business credit and debit cards, account analysis, and disbursement services.
The Bank's foreign exchange and global trade products and services facilitate clients' global finance and business needs. These products and services include foreign exchange services that allow commercial clients to manage their foreign currency needs and risks through the purchase and sale of currencies, swaps and hedges on the global inter-bank market. The Bank also offers letters of credit, including export, import, and standby letters of credit, to enable clients to ship and receive goods globally.

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The Bank and its subsidiaries offer a variety of investment services and solutions to its clients that enable them to effectively manage their assets. Through its registered investment advisory subsidiary, SVB Asset Management, the Bank offers discretionary investment advisory services based on its clients investment policies, strategies and objectives. Through its broker-dealer subsidiary, SVB Securities, the Bank offers clients access to investments in third party money market mutual funds and fixed-income securities. The Bank also offers investment solutions through our repurchase agreement program.
Private Equity Division. Our Private Equity Division provides banking products and services primarily to our private equity and venture capital clients.
SVB Wine . SVB Wine provides banking products and services to our premium wine industry clients, including vineyard development loans.
SVB Analytics . SVB Analytics provides equity valuation services to companies and private equity/venture capital firms.
Debt Fund Investments . Debt Fund Investments is comprised of our investments in debt funds in which we are a strategic investor: (i) Gold Hill funds, which provide secured debt to private companies of all stages, and (ii) Partners for Growth funds, which provide secured debt primarily to mid-stage and late-stage companies.
SVB Private Bank
SVB Private Bank is the private banking division of the Bank, which provides a range of personal financial solutions for consumers. Our clients are primarily private equity/venture capital professionals and executive leaders of the innovation companies they support. We offer a customized suite of private banking services, including mortgages, home equity lines of credit, restricted stock purchase loans, capital call lines of credit, and other secured and unsecured lending. We also help our private banking clients meet their cash management needs by providing deposit account products and services, including checking, money market, certificates of deposit accounts, online banking, credit cards and other personalized banking services. SVB Private Bank also includes SVB Wealth Advisory, an investment advisory subsidiary of the Bank, which provides private wealth management services to individual clients.
SVB Capital
SVB Capital is the venture capital investment arm of SVB Financial Group, which focuses primarily on funds management. SVB Capital manages over $2.5 billion of funds on behalf of third party limited partner investors, and on a more limited basis, SVB   Financial Group. The SVB Capital family of funds is comprised of direct venture funds that invest in companies and funds of funds that invest in other venture capital funds. SVB Capital generates income for the Company primarily through investment returns (including carried interest) and management fees. See Note 2- Summary of Significant Accounting Policies-Principles of Consolidation and Presentation of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item   8 in this report.
For more information about our three operating segments, including financial information and results of operations, see Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Operating Segment Results under Part II, Item   7 in this report, and Note 22- Segment Reporting of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item   8 in this report.
Revenue Sources
Our total revenue is comprised of our net interest income and noninterest income. Net interest income on a fully taxable equivalent basis and noninterest income for the year ended December 31, 2015 were $1.0 billion and $473 million , respectively.
Net interest income is primarily income generated from interest rate differentials. The difference between the interest rates received on interest-earning assets, such as loans extended to clients and securities held in our fixed income securities portfolio, and the interest rates paid by us on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings, accounts for the major portion of our earnings. Our deposits are largely obtained from commercial clients within our technology, life science/healthcare and private equity/venture capital industry sectors. Deposits are also obtained from the premium wine industry commercial clients and from our Private Bank clients. We do not obtain deposits from conventional retail sources.
Noninterest income is primarily income generated from our fee-based services and gains on our investments and derivative securities. We offer a wide range of fee-based financial services to our clients, including global commercial banking, private banking and other business services. Our ability to integrate and cross-sell our diverse financial services to our clients is a strength of our business model. Additionally, we hold available-for-sale, held-to-maturity, non-marketable and marketable investment securities. Subject to applicable regulatory requirements, we manage and invest in private equity/venture capital funds that invest directly in privately-held companies, as well as funds that invest in other private equity/venture capital funds. Gains on these investments are reported in our consolidated statements of income and include noncontrolling interests. We also recognize gains from warrants to acquire stock in client companies, which we obtain in connection with negotiating credit facilities and

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certain other services. See “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Noninterest Income-Gains on Investment Securities, Net” - and "-Gains on Derivative Instruments, Net" under Part II, Item 7 in this report.
We derive substantially all of our revenue from U.S. clients.   We derived less than 10 percent of our total revenues from foreign clients for each of 2015, 2014 and 2013.
Industry Niches
In each of the industry niches we serve, we provide services to meet the needs of our clients throughout their life cycles, beginning with the emerging, start-up stage.
Technology and Life Science/Healthcare
We serve a variety of clients in the technology and life science/healthcare industries. Our technology clients tend to be in the industries of: hardware (such as semiconductors, communications, data storage, and electronics); software and internet (such as infrastructure software, applications, software services, digital content and advertising technology), and energy and resource innovation ("ERI"). Because of the diverse nature of ERI products and services, for our loan-related reporting purposes, ERI-related loans are reported under our hardware and software, as applicable. Our life science/healthcare clients primarily tend to be in the industries of biotechnology, medical devices, healthcare information technology and healthcare services. A key component of our technology and life science/healthcare business strategy is to develop relationships with clients at an early stage and offer them banking services that will continue to meet their needs as they mature and expand. We serve these clients primarily through three practices:
Our SVB Accelerator practice focuses on serving our emerging or early stage clients. These clients are generally in the start-up or early stages of their life cycles. They are typically privately-held and funded by friends and family, seed or angel investors, or have gone through an initial round of venture capital financing. They are typically engaged in research and development, have little or no revenue and may have only brought a few products or services to market. SVB Accelerator clients tend to have annual revenues below $5 million, with many being pre-revenue companies.
Our SVB Growth practice serves our mid-stage and late-stage clients. These clients are in the intermediate or later stages of their life cycles and are generally privately-held, and many are dependent on venture capital for funding. Some of these clients are in the more advanced stages of their life cycles and may be publicly held or poised to become publicly held. Our SVB Growth clients generally have a solid or more established product or service offering in the market, with more meaningful or considerable revenue. They also may be expanding globally. SVB Growth clients tend to have annual revenues between $5 million and $75 million.
Our SVB Corporate Finance practice serves primarily our large corporate clients, which are more mature and established companies. These clients are generally publicly-held or large privately-held companies, have a more sophisticated product or service offering in the market, with significant revenue. They also may be expanding globally. SVB Corporate Finance clients tend to have annual revenues over $75 million.

Private Equity/Venture Capital
We provide financial services to clients in the private equity/venture capital community. Since our founding, we have cultivated strong relationships within the private equity/venture capital community, particularly with venture capital firms worldwide, many of which are also clients, facilitating deal flow to and from these firms.
Premium Wine
We are one of the leading providers of financial services to premium wine producers across the Western United States, primarily in California's Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Central Coast regions, and the Pacific Northwest. We focus on vineyards and wineries that produce grapes and premium wines.
Competition
The banking and financial services industry is highly competitive, and continues to evolve as a result of changes in regulation, technology, product delivery systems, and the general market and economic climate. Our competitors include other banks, debt funds, specialty and diversified financial services intermediaries and other "Fintech" disruptors that offer lending, leasing, payments, investment, foreign currency exchange, advisory and other financial products and services to our target client base. We compete with alternative lenders, such as “marketplace” lenders, peer-to-peer lenders and other non-traditional lenders that have merged in recent years. We compete with non-financial service providers, particularly payment facilitators/processors or other nonbanking technology providers in the payments industry, which may offer specialized services to our client base. In addition, we compete with hedge funds and private equity funds. The principal competitive factors in our markets include product

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offerings, service, pricing, and transaction size and structure. Given our established market position within the client segments that we serve, our continued efforts to develop products and services, and our ability to integrate and cross-sell our diverse financial services to extend the length of our relationships with our clients, we believe we compete favorably in all our markets in our core business areas.
Employees
As of December 31, 2015 , we employed 2,089 full-time equivalent employees.
Supervision and Regulation
Our bank and bank holding company operations are subject to extensive regulation by federal and state regulatory agencies. This regulation is intended primarily for the stability of the U.S. banking system as well as the protection of depositors and the Deposit Insurance Fund (the “DIF”). This regulation is not intended for the benefit of our security holders. As a bank holding company that has elected financial holding company status, SVB Financial Group is subject to primary inspection, supervision, regulation, and examination by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (the "Federal Reserve") under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “BHC Act”). The Bank, as a California state-chartered bank and a member of the Federal Reserve System, is subject to primary supervision and examination by the Federal Reserve, as well as the California Department of Business Oversight (the "DBO") - Division of Financial Institutions. In addition, and to the extent provided by law, the Bank’s deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the "FDIC") and the DIF. Our consumer banking activities also are subject to regulation and supervision by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”). SVB Financial Group’s other non-bank subsidiaries are subject to regulation by the Federal Reserve and other applicable federal and state regulatory agencies and self-regulatory organizations, including the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). In addition, we are subject to regulation by certain foreign regulatory agencies in international jurisdictions where we may conduct business, including the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong and China. (See “-International Regulation” below.)
The following discussion of statutes and regulations is a summary and does not purport to be complete. This discussion is qualified in its entirety by reference to the statutes and regulations referred to in this discussion. Regulators, Congress, state legislatures and international consultative bodies continue to enact rules, laws and policies to regulate the financial services industry and public companies and to protect consumers and investors, and regulators also have substantial discretion in the interpretation of their authority. The nature of these laws and regulations and the effect of such policies on the Company’s business cannot be predicted and in some cases, may have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and/or results of operations.

Regulation of Parent: SVB Financial
Under the BHC Act, SVB Financial, as a bank holding company, is subject to the Federal Reserve’s regulation and its authority to, among other things:
Require periodic reports and such additional information as the Federal Reserve may require in its discretion;
Require the maintenance of certain levels of capital;
Restrict the ability of bank holding companies to service debt, pay dividends or to receive dividends or other distributions from their subsidiary banks;
Require prior approval for senior executive officer and director changes under certain circumstances;
Require that bank holding companies serve as a source of financial and managerial strength to their banks and commit resources as necessary to support their banks. A bank holding company’s failure to meet its obligations to serve as a source of strength to its subsidiary banks will generally be considered by the Federal Reserve to be an unsafe and unsound banking practice or a violation of Federal Reserve regulations or inconsistent with applicable statutory standards, or all of the foregoing;
Terminate an activity or terminate control of or liquidate or divest certain subsidiaries, affiliates or investments if the Federal Reserve believes the activity or the control of the subsidiary or affiliate constitutes a serious risk to the financial safety, soundness or stability of any bank subsidiary, or if there is a failure to maintain certain capital and management standards;
Regulate provisions of certain bank holding company debt, including the authority to impose interest ceilings and reserve requirements on such debt and require prior approval to purchase or redeem our securities in certain situations; and

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Approve acquisitions and mergers with banks and large financial companies and consider certain competitive, management, financial, financial stability and other factors in granting these approvals. Similar California and other state banking agency approvals may also be required.
Bank holding companies generally are prohibited, except in certain statutorily prescribed instances including exceptions for financial holding companies, from acquiring direct or indirect ownership or control of 5% or more of the outstanding voting shares of any company that is not a bank or bank holding company and from engaging directly or indirectly in activities other than those of banking, managing or controlling banks, or furnishing services to its subsidiaries. However, subject to prior notice or Federal Reserve approval, bank holding companies may engage in, or acquire shares of companies engaged in, activities determined by the Federal Reserve to be so closely related to banking or managing or controlling banks as to be a proper incident thereto. As a financial holding company, SVB Financial generally may engage in these nonbanking activities and certain other broader securities, insurance, merchant banking and other activities that the Federal Reserve has determined to be “financial in nature” or are incidental or complementary to activities that are financial in nature without prior Federal Reserve approval, subject to the requirement imposed by the Dodd‑Frank Act that SVB Financial must obtain prior Federal Reserve approval (subject to certain exceptions) in order to acquire a nonbanking company engaged in financial activities with more than $10 billion in consolidated assets.
Pursuant to the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 (“GLBA”), in order to elect and retain financial holding company status, all depository institution subsidiaries of a bank holding company must be well-capitalized, well-managed, and, except in limited circumstances, in satisfactory compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”). In addition, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, a financial holding company, and no longer just its bank, is required to be well-capitalized and well-managed. Failure to maintain compliance with these requirements or correct any non-compliance within a specified time could lead to divestiture of subsidiary banks, require all activities to conform to those permissible for a bank holding company (as opposed to the greater range of activities permissible for a financial holding company), or subject the financial holding company to other regulatory restrictions.
Because we are a holding company, our rights and the rights of our creditors and security holders to participate in the assets of any of our subsidiaries upon the subsidiary’s liquidation or reorganization will be subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary’s creditors, except to the extent we may ourselves be a creditor with recognized claims against the subsidiary. In addition, there are various statutory and regulatory limitations on the extent to which the Bank can finance or otherwise transfer funds to us or to our non−bank subsidiaries, including certain investment funds to which the Bank serves as an investment adviser, whether in the form of loans or other extensions of credit, including a purchase of assets subject to an agreement to repurchase, securities investments, the borrowing or lending of securities to the extent that the transaction causes the Bank or a subsidiary to have credit exposure to the affiliate, or certain other specified types of transactions, as discussed in further detail below. Furthermore, loans and other extensions of credit by the Bank to us or any of our non−bank subsidiaries are required to be secured by specified amounts of collateral and are required to be on terms and conditions consistent with safe and sound banking practices.
SVB Financial is also treated as a bank holding company under the California Financial Code. As such, SVB Financial and its subsidiaries are subject to periodic examination by and may be required to file reports with the DBO.

Securities Registration and Listing
SVB Financial’s securities are registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), and listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. As such, SVB Financial is subject to the information, proxy solicitation, insider trading, corporate governance, and other requirements and restrictions of the Exchange Act, as well as the Marketplace Rules and other requirements promulgated by the Nasdaq Stock Market, Inc.
As a public company, SVB Financial is also subject to the accounting oversight and corporate governance requirements of the Sarbanes−Oxley Act of 2002, including, among other things, required executive certification of financial presentations, increased requirements for board audit committees and their members, and enhanced requirements relating to disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting.

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law. The Dodd-Frank Act was intended to make significant structural reforms to the financial services industry. The Dodd-Frank Act broadly affects the financial services industry by creating new resolution authorities, requiring ongoing stress testing of capital, mandating higher capital and liquidity requirements, increasing regulation of executive and incentive-based compensation and requiring numerous other provisions aimed at strengthening the sound operation of the financial services sector. Various aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act apply based on the asset size of the financial institution. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act provides for:

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Capital standards applicable to bank holding companies may be no less stringent than those generally applicable to insured depository institutions;
Annual stress tests for financial entities, including SVB Financial and the Bank;
Additional risk management and other enhanced prudential standards for larger bank holding companies with $50 billion or greater in total consolidated assets (See "-Enhanced Prudential Standards" below);
Restrictions on a banking institution’s ability to engage in proprietary trading and to sponsor, invest in or lend to certain funds, including venture capital, hedge and private equity funds;
Repeal of the federal prohibition (Regulation Q) on the payment of interest on demand deposits, including business checking accounts, and establishment of the $250,000 limit for federal deposit insurance;
The establishment of the CFPB with responsibility for promulgating and enforcing regulations designed to protect consumers’ financial interests and prohibit unfair, deceptive and abusive acts and practices by financial institutions;
The CFPB to directly examine those financial institutions with $10 billion or more in assets, such as SVB Financial, for compliance with the regulations promulgated by the CFPB;
Limits, or imposes significant burdens and compliance and other costs on, certain activities traditionally conducted by banking organizations, such as originating and securitizing mortgage loans and other financial assets, arranging and participating in swap and derivative transactions, proprietary trading and investing in private equity and other funds and restrictions on debit charge interchange fees; and
The establishment of new compensation restrictions and standards regarding the time, manner and form of compensation given to key executives and other personnel receiving incentive compensation, including documentation and governance, proxy access by stockholders, deferral and claw-back requirements.

The Dodd-Frank Act also requires the issuance of numerous implementing regulations, some of which have not yet been issued. Some of the final regulations will continue to take effect over several more years, continuing to make it difficult to anticipate the overall impact to us, our customers, or the financial industry in general. Individually and collectively, both proposed and final regulations resulting from the Dodd-Frank Act may materially and adversely affect our businesses, financial conditions and results of operations. Furthermore, the Dodd-Frank Act imposes enhanced prudential standards on bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more. See "-Enhanced Prudential Standards" below. As we approach a total consolidated asset size of $50 billion, we may experience heightened regulatory expectations with respect to our risk management practices and other matters, even though we are not yet formally subject to such enhanced prudential standards.

Enhanced Prudential Standards
Under the Federal Reserve’s regulations implementing the Dodd-Frank Act’s enhanced prudential standards, bank holding companies with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets are subject to more stringent prudential requirements, including requirements for risk-based and leverage capital, liquidity, risk management, resolution planning, supervisory capital stress testing, single counterparty credit exposure limits, and early remediation. Certain requirements, including the single counterparty credit exposure limits and early remediation standards, have not yet been implemented.

Pursuant to the Federal Reserve’s regulations, a bank holding company becomes subject to the more stringent prudential standards at the end of a four-quarter period over the course of which the bank holding company averages total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more. We refer to the conclusion of that four-quarter period as the time at which a bank holding company becomes “subject to enhanced prudential standards.” Once a bank holding company becomes subject to enhanced prudential standards, certain of the standards include a transition period before the bank holding company is required to comply. Below we describe several of the enhanced prudential standards’ requirements and the associated transition periods that apply once a bank holding company becomes subject to the requirements.

Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (“CCAR”). Bank holding companies are required to submit an annual capital plan to the Federal Reserve. Failure to submit a satisfactory plan can result in dividend and other restrictions. A bank holding company must comply with the requirements of the CCAR program on January 1 of the first year after becoming subject to enhanced prudential standards.

Stress Testing . Bank holding companies are required to submit to the Federal Reserve the results of a mid-year and annual company-run stress test and make summaries of such results available to the public (SVB Financial already is subject to the annual company-run stress test requirements by virtue of having more than $10 billion in total consolidated assets). In addition, bank holding companies are subject to an annual supervisory stress test conducted by the Federal Reserve, which publicly discloses summaries of the results of the supervisory stress tests. If a bank holding company becomes subject to the bi-annual company-run and supervisory stress test requirements on or before March 31st of a given year, it must comply with such requirements on January 1st of the following year. However, if a bank holding company becomes subject to the requirements after March 31st of a given year, it must

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comply with the requirements on January 1st of the second year following the year in which it becomes subject to the requirements.

Resolution Planning . Bank holding companies are required to annually submit to the Federal Reserve and the FDIC a plan for rapid and orderly resolution in the event of material financial distress or failure. Separately, under its regulatory authority, the FDIC requires insured depository institutions that have average total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more, based on a four-quarter average, to annually submit to the FDIC a plan that enables the FDIC as receiver to resolve the bank under Sections 11 and 13 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, as amended (the “FDIA”). A subject bank holding company or bank must submit its first resolution plan by the first July 1st after becoming subject to the rule, so long as it becomes subject to the rule at least 270 days before the first July 1st (i.e., approximately by October of that year). If the first July 1st is fewer than 270 days after becoming subject to the rule, the bank holding company or bank, as the case may be, must submit its first resolution plan by the second July 1st after becoming subject to the rule.

Liquidity Coverage Ratio . Pursuant to the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (“LCR”) requirement, bank holding companies are required to maintain high-quality liquid assets in accordance with specific quantitative requirements. A modified, less stringent version of the Federal Reserve’s LCR rule applies to bank holding companies with greater than $50 billion in total consolidated assets, but less than $250 billion in total consolidated assets and $10 billion in foreign exposures (so-called “advanced approaches” banking organizations). The modified LCR rule, which would apply to SVB Financial on our becoming subject to enhanced prudential standards, requires subject bank holding companies to maintain sufficient high-quality liquid assets to meet anticipated cash outflows on the last business day of the applicable calendar month. A bank holding company must comply with the modified LCR rule immediately after becoming subject to it.
    
Risk Management . Bank holding companies must comply with enhanced risk management requirements. These requirements impose standards on the board of director’s risk committee and for a chief risk officer. The enhanced prudential requirements also impose liquidity risk management standards and require subject bank holding companies to conduct regular liquidity stress testing over various time horizons and maintain a buffer of liquid assets based on the results of such stress testing. Bank holding companies are required to comply with such risk management and liquidity risk management requirements on the first day of the fifth quarter after becoming subject to the enhanced prudential standards.

Pillar III Disclosure . Bank holding companies are required to make timely qualitative and quantitative disclosures about their regulatory capital, referred to as “Pillar III disclosures.” Quantitative disclosures must be made quarterly; qualitative disclosures that do not change each quarter may be disclosed annually. Bank holding companies are required to make Pillar III disclosures after reporting $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets in their year-end reports to the Federal Reserve. Because the disclosures are backward looking, a bank holding company makes its first disclosures with respect to data from prior quarters.

Regulation of Silicon Valley Bank
The Bank is a California state-chartered bank, a member and stockholder of the Federal Reserve and a member of the FDIC. The Bank is subject to primary supervision, periodic examination and regulation by the DBO and the Federal Reserve, as the Bank’s primary federal regulator. In general, under the California Financial Code, California banks have all the powers of a California corporation, subject to the general limitation of state bank activities and investments under the FDIA, to those permissible for national banks. Specific federal and state laws and regulations which are applicable to banks regulate, among other things, the scope of their business, their investments, their transactions with affiliates, their foreign operations, their reserves against deposits, the timing of the availability of deposited funds and the nature and amount of and collateral for certain loans. The regulatory structure also gives the bank regulatory agencies extensive discretion in connection with their supervisory and enforcement activities and examination policies, including policies with respect to the classification of assets and the establishment of adequate loan loss reserves for regulatory purposes. If, as a result of an examination, the DBO or the Federal Reserve should determine that the financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity, or other aspects of the Bank’s operations are unsatisfactory or that the Bank or its management is violating or has violated any law or regulation, the DBO and the Federal Reserve, and separately FDIC as insurer of the Bank’s deposits, have prudential authority to:
Require affirmative action to correct any conditions resulting from any violation or practice;
Require prior approval for senior executive officer and director changes;

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Direct an increase in capital and the maintenance of specific minimum capital ratios which may preclude the Bank from being deemed well capitalized for regulatory purposes;
Restrict the Bank’s growth geographically, by products and services, or by mergers and acquisitions;
Enter into informal or formal enforcement orders, including memoranda of understanding, written agreements and consent or cease and desist orders to take corrective action and enjoin unsafe and unsound practices;
Restrict or prohibit the Bank from paying dividends or making other distributions to SVB Financial;
Remove officers and directors and assess civil monetary penalties; and
Take possession of and close and liquidate the Bank.

Pursuant to applicable California and federal law, state chartered commercial banks are permitted to engage in any activity permissible for national banks. Therefore, the Bank may form subsidiaries to engage in the many so-called “closely related to banking” or “nonbanking” activities commonly conducted by national banks in operating subsidiaries, and further, the Bank may conduct certain “financial” activities in a subsidiary that would be impermissible for the Bank itself to the same extent as may a national bank, provided the Bank remains “well-capitalized,” “well-managed” and in satisfactory compliance with the CRA. The Bank continues to be in satisfactory compliance with the CRA.

Regulatory Capital
In July 2013, the Federal Reserve, FDIC and OCC published final rules establishing a new comprehensive capital framework for U.S. banking organizations. The agencies said that they believe that the new rules will result in capital requirements that better reflect banking organizations’ risk profiles. The rules implement the “Basel III” regulatory capital reforms and changes required by the Dodd-Frank Act. “Basel III” refers to the internationally agreed regulatory capital framework released by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (the "Basel Committee"). The new rules became effective for SVB Financial and the Bank in January 2015, with some rules being transitioned into full effectiveness over two to four years. The new capital rules, among other things, (i) require elevated capital levels for the Bank and SVB Financial; (ii) introduce a new capital measure limited to common equity called “Common Equity Tier 1” (“CET1”) and a related regulatory capital ratio of CET 1 to risk-weighted assets; (iii) specify that Tier 1 capital consists of CET1 and “Additional Tier 1 capital” instruments meeting specified requirements; (iv) change the risk-weightings of certain on- and off-balance sheet assets for purposes of risk-based capital ratios; (v) create an additional capital conservation buffer (which will limit dividends and other discretionary bonus payments to certain executive officers if not satisfied) above the required capital ratios; (vi) limit what qualifies as capital for purposes of meeting the various capital requirements; (vii) apply most deductions/adjustments to regulatory capital measures to CET1 and not to the other components of capital, thus potentially requiring higher levels of CET1 in order to meet minimum ratios; and (viii) expand the scope of the deductions from and adjustments to capital as compared to prior regulations.
In addition, the Bank is required to demonstrate its ability to maintain sufficient capital ratios under the scenarios of adverse and severely adverse financial conditions that are part of Federal Reserve's stress testing requirements. Bank holding companies with total consolidated assets between $10 billion and $50 billion and state member banks with total consolidated assets of more than $10 billion, such as SVB Financial and the Bank, are now generally required to conduct annual company-run stress tests, the results of which could require us to take certain actions, including raising additional capital. We are required to submit to the Federal Reserve the results of the annual company-run stress tests and to make summaries of the results of the company-run stress tests available to the public.
Under the new capital rules, CET1 is defined as common stock, plus related surplus, and retained earnings plus limited amounts of minority interest in the form of common stock, less the majority of the regulatory deductions. The new capital rules, like the prior capital rules, specify that total capital consists of Tier 1 capital and Tier 2 capital. Tier 1 capital for SVB Financial and the Bank consists of common stock, plus related surplus and retained earnings. Under the new capital rules, for most banking organizations, the most common form of Additional Tier 1 capital is noncumulative perpetual preferred stock and the most common form of Tier 2 capital is subordinated notes and a portion of the allowance for loan and lease losses (“ALLL”), in each case, subject to the new capital rules’ specific requirements.
The new capital rules require a number of changes to regulatory capital deductions and adjustments, subject to a transition period. These changes include, for example, the requirement that deferred tax assets (“DTAs”) arising from temporary differences that could not be realized through net operating loss carrybacks and significant investments in non-consolidated financial entities be deducted from CET1 to the extent that any one such category exceeds 10% of CET1 or all such items, in the aggregate, exceed 15% of CET1. In addition, under the previous capital rules, certain effects of accumulated other comprehensive income or loss items included in shareholders’ equity were reversed for the purposes of determining regulatory capital ratios. Under the new capital rules, the effects of certain accumulated other comprehensive items are not excluded; however, non-advanced approaches banking organizations, including SVB Financial and the Bank, may make a one-time permanent election to continue to exclude these items. We made this election in April 2015 to reduce the impact of market volatility on SVB Financial’s and the Bank’s

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regulatory capital levels. Implementation of the deductions and other adjustments to CET1 began on January 1, 2015 and will be phased-in over a four-year period (beginning at 40% on January 1, 2015 and a 20% percentage-point increase per year until reaching 100%).
The newly effective capital rules also include changes in the risk-weighting of assets to better reflect perceived credit risk and other risk exposure and require higher tangible common equity components of capital. These include a 150% risk weight (up from 100%) for certain high volatility commercial real estate acquisition, development and construction loans and for non-residential mortgage loans that are 90 days past due or otherwise in nonaccrual status and a 20% (up from 0%) credit conversion factor for the unused portion of a commitment with an original maturity of one year or less that is not unconditionally cancellable (currently set at 0%). Under the new capital rules, the minimum capital ratios beginning January 1, 2015 are as follows:
4.5% CET1 to risk-weighted assets
6.0% Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets
8.0% Total capital to risk-weighted assets
4.0% Tier 1 capital to average consolidated assets as reported on consolidated financial statements (known as the “leverage ratio”)
The new capital rules will require SVB Financial and the Bank to meet a capital conservation buffer requirement in order to avoid constraints on capital distributions, such as dividends and equity repurchases, and certain bonus compensation for executive officers. To meet the requirement when it is fully phased in, the organization must maintain an amount of CET1 capital that exceeds the buffer level of 2.5% above each of the minimum risk-weighted capital ratios. The requirement will be phased in over a four year period, starting January 1, 2016, when the amount of such capital must exceed the buffer level of 0.625%. The buffer level will increase by 0.625 percentage point each year until it reaches 2.5% on January 1, 2019. When the capital conservation buffer requirement is fully phased in, to avoid constraints, a banking organization must maintain the following capital ratios (after any distribution): (i) CET1 to risk-weighted assets more than 7.0%, (ii) Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets more than 8.5%, and (iii) total capital (Tier 1 plus Tier 2) to risk-weighted assets more than 10.5%.
With respect to the Bank, the new capital rules also revise the “prompt corrective action” regulations effective January 1, 2015, by (i) introducing a CET1 ratio requirement at each level (other than critically undercapitalized), with the required CET1 ratio being 6.5% for well-capitalized status; (ii) increasing the minimum Tier 1 capital ratio requirement for each category, with the minimum Tier 1 capital ratio for well-capitalized status being 8% (as compared to the current 6%); and (iii) eliminating the current provision that provides that a bank with a composite supervisory rating of 1 may have a 3% leverage ratio and still be adequately capitalized. The new capital rules do not change the total risk-based capital requirement for any “prompt corrective action” category. See “-Prompt Corrective Action and Other General Enforcement Authority” below.
Although we continue to evaluate the impact that the new capital rules have on SVB Financial and the Bank, we believe that SVB Financial and the Bank meet all capital requirements under the new capital rules on a fully phased-in basis as if such requirements were effective as of December 31, 2015. The estimate is based on management’s current interpretation, expectations, and understanding of the new capital rules. We anticipate that the Bank will continue to exceed the well-capitalized minimum capital requirements, and that SVB Financial will continue to qualify as a financial holding company.

Capital Planning
Banking organizations must have appropriate capital planning processes, with proper oversight from the Board of Directors. Accordingly, pursuant to a separate, general supervisory letter from the Federal Reserve, bank holding companies are expected to conduct and document comprehensive capital adequacy analyses prior to the declaration of any dividends (on common stock, preferred stock, trust preferred securities or other Tier 1 capital instruments), capital redemptions or capital repurchases. Moreover, the federal banking agencies have adopted a joint agency policy statement, stating that the adequacy and effectiveness of a bank’s interest rate risk management process and the level of its interest rate exposures are critical factors in the evaluation of the bank’s capital adequacy. A bank with material weaknesses in its interest rate risk management process or high levels of interest rate exposure relative to its capital will be directed by the relevant federal banking agencies to take corrective actions.

Proprietary Trading and Certain Relationships with Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds
The “Volcker Rule” under the Dodd-Frank Act restricts, among other things, a bank's proprietary trading activities and a bank's ability to sponsor or invest in certain privately offered funds, including certain venture capital, hedge and private equity funds. On December 10, 2013, the federal bank regulatory agencies, the SEC and the CFTC adopted final regulations implementing the Volcker Rule. The final regulations became effective on April 1, 2014, subject to a conformance timeline pursuant to which affected entities (referred to as “banking entities”) are required to bring their activities and investments into conformance with the prohibitions and restrictions of the Volcker Rule and the final regulations thereunder.

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Subject to certain exceptions, the Volcker Rule prohibits a banking entity from engaging in “proprietary trading,” which is defined as engaging in purchases or sales of securities or certain other financial instruments, as principal, for the “trading account” of the banking entity. Certain forms of proprietary trading may qualify as “permitted activities,” and thus not be subject to the ban on proprietary trading, such as market-making related activities, risk-mitigating hedging activities, trading in U.S. government or agency obligations, or certain other U.S. state or municipal obligations, and the obligations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae. Based on this definition and the exceptions provided under the final regulations, we do not believe that we engage in any proprietary trading that is prohibited under the Volcker Rule.
Additionally, subject to certain exceptions, the rule prohibits a banking entity from sponsoring or investing in “covered funds,” which includes many venture capital, private equity and hedge funds. One such exception permits a banking entity to sponsor and invest in a covered fund that it organizes and offers to customers, provided that additional requirements are met. These permitted investments generally are limited to three percent of the total ownership interests in each covered fund. In addition, the aggregate investments a banking entity makes in all covered funds generally are limited to three percent of the institution’s Tier 1 capital.
Under the final regulations, the Volcker Rule’s prohibitions and restrictions apply to SVB Financial, the Bank and any affiliate of SVB Financial or the Bank. SVB Financial maintains investments in certain venture capital and private equity funds that it did not sponsor; maintains investments in sponsored-funds that exceed three percent of each such fund’s total ownership interests; and its aggregate investments in all covered funds may exceed three percent of its Tier 1 capital. SVB Financial (including its affiliates) expects, therefore, that it will be required to reduce the level of its investments in covered funds over time and to forego investment opportunities in certain funds in the future. SVB Financial is generally required by the final rules to come into conformance with the Volcker Rule’s requirements regarding covered funds by July 2016 with respect to covered funds in which SVB Financial invested or SVB Financial sponsored as of December 31, 2013. The Federal Reserve has indicated that it intends to extend this conformance deadline to July 2017. In addition, the Federal Reserve may extend the conformance deadline for up to an additional five years (until July 2022) for investments that are considered illiquid. We intend to seek the maximum extensions (up to July 2022) available to us. However, the process and standards that apply to any such additional extensions are not clear at this time, and there is no guarantee that the Federal Reserve will grant any of these extensions.
We estimate that our total venture capital and private equity fund investments deemed to be prohibited covered fund interests and therefore subject to the Volcker Rule’s restrictions, had, as of December 31, 2015, an aggregate carrying value of approximately $210 million (and an aggregate fair value of $321 million). These covered fund interests are comprised of interests attributable, solely, to the Company in our consolidated managed funds and certain of our non−marketable securities.
We continue to assess the financial impact of these rules on our fund investments, as well as the impact of other Volcker Rule restrictions on other areas of our business. (See “Risk Factors” under Item 1A of Part I below.)
The Volcker Rule also requires banking entities to design and implement a compliance program reasonably designed to ensure and monitor compliance with the Volcker Rule. If SVB Financial reports total consolidated assets as of the previous calendar year end of $50 billion or more, it will become subject to the Volcker Rule’s enhanced compliance program requirements, which, among other things, require an annual attestation from the chief executive officer regarding the design and effectiveness of the compliance program.
Prompt Corrective Action and Other General Enforcement Authority
State and federal banking agencies possess broad powers to take corrective and other supervisory action against an insured bank and its holding company. The FDIA requires each federal banking agency to take prompt corrective action to resolve the problems of insured depository institutions, including those that fall below one or more prescribed minimum capital ratios. The law requires each federal banking agency to promulgate regulations defining five categories in which an insured depository institution will be placed, based on the level of its capital ratios: well-capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized, and critically undercapitalized. At each successive lower capital category, an insured depository institution is subject to more restrictions and prohibitions, including restrictions on growth, restrictions on interest rates paid on deposits, restrictions or prohibitions on payment of dividends and restrictions on the acceptance of brokered deposits. Furthermore, if an insured depository institution is classified in one of the undercapitalized categories, it is required to submit a capital restoration plan to the appropriate federal banking agency, and the holding company must guarantee the performance of that plan. Based upon its capital levels, a bank that is classified as well-capitalized, adequately capitalized, or undercapitalized may be treated as though it were in the next lower capital category if the appropriate federal banking agency, after notice and opportunity for hearing, determines that an unsafe or unsound condition, or an unsafe or unsound practice, warrants such treatment.

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Bank holding companies and insured banks also may be subject to potential enforcement actions of varying levels of severity by the federal regulators for unsafe or unsound practices in conducting their business, or for violation of any law, rule, regulation, condition imposed in writing by the agency or term of a written agreement with the agency. In more serious cases, enforcement actions may include the issuance of directives to increase capital; the issuance of formal and informal agreements; the imposition of civil monetary penalties; the issuance of a cease and desist order that can be judicially enforced; the issuance of removal and prohibition orders against officers, directors, and other institution−affiliated parties; the termination of the bank’s deposit insurance; the appointment of a conservator or receiver for the bank; and the enforcement of such actions through injunctions or restraining orders based upon a judicial determination that the agency would be harmed if such equitable relief was not granted.

Safety and Soundness Guidelines
Banking regulatory agencies have adopted guidelines to assist in identifying and addressing potential safety and soundness concerns before capital becomes impaired. The guidelines establish operational and managerial standards generally relating to: (i) internal controls, information systems, and internal audit systems; (ii) loan documentation; (iii) credit underwriting; (iv) interest-rate exposure; (v) asset growth and asset quality; and (vi) compensation, fees and benefits. In addition, the bank regulatory agencies have adopted safety and soundness guidelines for asset quality and for evaluating and monitoring earnings to ensure that earnings are sufficient for the maintenance of adequate capital and reserves. The Federal Reserve’s enhanced prudential standards require bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $10 billion or more to establish and maintain risk management committees for their boards of directors to oversee the bank holding companies’ risk management frameworks. In January 2015, we formed a risk committee of our Board of Directors. Bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion and greater are subject to more stringent board risk committee and risk management requirements, including liquidity risk requirements.

Restrictions on Dividends
Dividends from the Bank constitute one of the primary sources of cash for SVB Financial. The Bank is subject to various federal and state statutory and regulatory restrictions on its ability to pay dividends, including applicable provisions of the California Financial Code and the prompt corrective action regulations. In addition, the banking agencies have the authority to prohibit the Bank from paying dividends, depending upon the Bank’s financial condition, if such payment is deemed to constitute an unsafe or unsound practice. Furthermore, under the federal prompt corrective action regulations, the Federal Reserve may prohibit a bank holding company from paying any dividends if the holding company’s bank subsidiary is classified as “undercapitalized.”
It is the Federal Reserve’s policy that bank holding companies should generally pay dividends on common stock only out of income available over the past year, and only if prospective earnings retention is consistent with the organization’s expected future needs and financial condition. It is also the Federal Reserve’s policy that bank holding companies should not maintain dividend levels that undermine their ability to be a source of strength to its banking subsidiaries. Additionally, in consideration of the recent financial and economic environment, the Federal Reserve has indicated that bank holding companies should carefully review their dividend policy and has discouraged payment ratios that are at maximum allowable levels unless both asset quality and capital are very strong.

Transactions with Affiliates
Transactions between the Bank and its operating subsidiaries (such as SVB Securities and SVB Asset Management) on the one hand, and the Bank’s affiliates (such as SVB Financial, SVB Analytics, Inc. or an entity affiliated with our SVB Capital business) on the other, are subject to restrictions imposed by federal and state law, designed to protect the Bank and its subsidiaries from engaging in unfavorable behavior with their affiliates. The Dodd-Frank Act further extended the definition of an “affiliate” to include any investment fund to which the Bank or an affiliate serves as an investment adviser. More specifically, these restrictions, contained in the Federal Reserve’s Regulation W, prevent SVB Financial and other affiliates from borrowing from, or entering into other credit transactions with, the Bank or its operating subsidiaries unless the loans or other credit transactions are secured by specified amounts of collateral, and also requires that the Bank enter into such transaction on terms no less favorable to the Bank than the terms of an arms’ length transaction with an unaffiliated party. Moreover, all loans and credit transactions and other “covered transactions” by the Bank and its operating subsidiaries with any one affiliate are limited, in the aggregate, to 10% of the Bank’s capital and surplus; and all loans and credit transactions and other “covered transactions” by the Bank and its operating subsidiaries with all affiliates are limited, in the aggregate, to 20% of the Bank’s capital and surplus. For this purpose, a “covered transaction” generally includes, among other things, a loan or extension of credit to an affiliate, including a purchase of assets subject to an agreement to repurchase; a purchase of or investment in securities issued by an affiliate; the acceptance of a security issued by an affiliate as collateral for an extension of credit to any borrower; the borrowing or lending of securities

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where the Bank has credit exposure to the affiliate; the acceptance of “other debt obligations” of an affiliate as collateral for a loan to a third party; any derivative transaction that causes the Bank to have credit exposure to an affiliate; and the issuance of a guarantee, acceptance, or letter of credit on behalf of an affiliate. The Dodd-Frank Act treats derivative transactions resulting in credit exposure to an affiliate as covered transactions. It expands the transactions for which collateral is required to be maintained, and for all such transactions, it requires collateral to be maintained at all times. In addition, the Volcker Rule under the Dodd-Frank Act establishes certain prohibitions, restrictions and requirements (known as “Super 23A” and “Super 23B”) on transactions between a covered fund and a banking entity that serves as an investment manager, investment adviser, organizer and offeror, or sponsor with respect to that covered fund, regardless whether the banking entity has an ownership interest in the fund.
Loans to Insiders
Extensions of credit by the Bank to insiders of both the Bank and SVB Financial are subject to prohibitions and other restrictions imposed by the Federal Reserve’s Regulation O. For purposes of these limits, “insiders” include directors, executive officers and principal stockholders of the Bank or SVB Financial and their related interests. The term “related interest” means a company controlled by a director, executive officer or principal stockholder of the Bank or SVB Financial. The Bank may not extend credit to an insider of the Bank or SVB Financial unless the loan is made on substantially the same terms as, and subject to credit underwriting procedures that are no less stringent than, those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with non-insiders. Under federal banking regulations, the Bank may not extend credit to insiders in an amount, when aggregated with all other extensions of credit, is greater than $500,000 without prior approval from the Bank’s Board of Directors (with any interested person abstaining from participating directly or indirectly in the voting). California law, the federal regulations and the Dodd-Frank Act place additional restrictions on loans to insiders, and generally prohibit loans to executive officers other than for certain specified purposes. The Bank is required to maintain records regarding insiders and extensions of credit to them.
 
Premiums for Deposit Insurance
The FDIC insures our customer deposits through the DIF up to prescribed limits for each depositor. In recent years, due to higher levels of bank failures, the FDIC’s resolution costs increased, which depleted the DIF. In order to restore the DIF to its statutorily mandated minimum of 1.35% of total deposits, the FDIC has increased deposit insurance premium rates. The FDIC must seek to achieve the 1.35% ratio by September 30, 2020. Insured institutions with assets of $10 billion or more, such as the Bank, are responsible for funding the increase. The Bank bases its assessment rate on a risk−based scorecard calculation provided by the FDIC. In addition, the FDIC retains the authority to further increase the Bank’s assessment rates and the FDIC has established a higher reserve ratio of 2% as a long-term goal which goes beyond what is required by statute. Continued increases in our FDIC insurance premiums could have an adverse effect on the Bank’s results of operations. For the year ended December 31, 2015 , we recorded $25.5 million in FDIC assessments expense.

Consumer Regulations
The Bank is subject to many federal consumer protection statutes and regulations, such as the CRA, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (Regulation B), the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (Regulation E), the Truth in Lending Act (Regulation Z), the National Flood Insurance Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act and various federal and state privacy protection laws. In addition, the CFPB has the authority to conduct examinations for all depository institutions with total assets of $10 billion or more, which includes the Bank. The CFPB’s mandate is to promulgate consumer regulations and ensure that consumer financial practices at large banks, such as the Bank, comply with consumer financial protection legal requirements. The CFPB’s authority includes the ability to examine all subsidiaries and affiliates of the Bank as well. Penalties for violating these laws could subject the Bank to lawsuits and could also result in administrative penalties, including, civil monetary penalties, remediation to affected consumers and reimbursements and orders to halt expansion/existing activities. The CFPB has broad authority to institute various enforcement actions, including investigations, civil actions, cease and desist proceedings and the ability to refer criminal findings to the Department of Justice. The Bank and SVB Financial are also subject to federal and state laws prohibiting unfair, deceptive and abusive, corrupt or fraudulent business practices, untrue or misleading advertising and unfair competition.
Examination and enforcement by the state and federal banking agencies, and other such enforcement authorities, for non-compliance with consumer protection laws and their implementing regulations have increased and become more intense. The advent of the CFPB further heightens oversight and review of compliance with consumer protection laws and regulations. Due to these heightened regulatory concerns, including increased enforcement of the CRA by the federal banking agencies, and new powers and authority of the CFPB, the Bank and its affiliates may incur additional compliance costs or be required to expend additional funds for investments in their local community.


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Anti-Money Laundering Regulations
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (“USA PATRIOT Act”) of 2001 and its implementing regulations substantially broadened the scope of U.S. anti-money laundering laws and regulations by requiring insured depository institutions, broker-dealers, and certain other financial institutions to have policies, procedures, and controls to detect, prevent, and report money laundering and terrorist financing. The USA PATRIOT Act and its regulations also provide for information sharing, subject to conditions, between federal law enforcement agencies and financial institutions, as well as among financial institutions, for counter-terrorism purposes. Federal banking regulators are required, when reviewing bank holding company acquisition and bank merger applications, to take into account the effectiveness of the anti-money laundering activities of the applicants. Material deficiencies in anti-money laundering compliance, and compliance with related requirements such as the U.S. economic and trade sanctions regimes, can result in public enforcement actions by the bank regulatory agencies and other government agencies, including the imposition of civil money penalties and supervisory restrictions on growth and expansion. Such enforcement actions could also have serious reputational consequences for SVB Financial and the Bank.

Regulation of Certain Subsidiaries
SVB Securities is registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC and a member of FINRA, and accordingly, is subject to regulation by both agencies. SVB Securities is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. As a broker-dealer, SVB Securities must comply with a variety of regulations associated with its business lines, including (i) rules that govern the registration and examination of SVB Securities and its employees, (ii) substantive requirements and prohibitions concerning its relationships with its customers and counterparties, (iii) anti-fraud provisions and (iv) requirements to develop and maintain internal compliance and supervisory programs. SVB Securities also must comply with the financial responsibility rules governing broker-dealers, including Rule 15c3-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which is designed to measure the general financial condition and liquidity of a broker-dealer and seek to ensure its financial stability in light of its activities. Under this rule, SVB Securities is required to maintain minimum net capital calculated in accordance with a specified formula in order to help meet its continuing commitments to customers and others. Under certain circumstances, this rule could limit the ability of the Bank to withdraw capital from SVB Securities or require a capital infusion to support growth in the business or new activities. SVB Asset Management and SVB Wealth Advisory are registered with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended, and are subject to its rules and regulations. In addition, following completion of various studies on investment advisers and broker−dealers required by the Dodd-Frank Act, the SEC has, among other things, recommended to Congress that it consider various means to enhance the SEC’s examination authority over investment advisers, which may have an impact on SVB Asset Management and SVB Wealth Advisory that we cannot currently assess. The regulatory environment for broker-dealers and investment advisers is constantly evolving as the regulators adopt new rules and interpretations.

International Regulation
Our international-based subsidiaries and global activities, including our banking branch in the United Kingdom and our joint venture bank in China are subject to the respective laws and regulations of those countries and the regions in which they operate. This includes laws and regulations promulgated by, but not limited to, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority in the United Kingdom, the China Banking Regulatory Commission and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. Moreover, promulgation by standard-setting bodies that are charged with the development of international regulatory frameworks, such as the Basel Committee, can affect the Bank and SVB Financial globally as national regulators implement the frameworks in local jurisdictions.

Available Information
We make available free of charge through our Internet website, http://www.svb.com, our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. The contents of our website are not incorporated herein by reference and the website address provided is intended to be an inactive textual reference only.
ITEM 1A.
RISK FACTORS
Our business faces significant risks, including credit, market/liquidity, operational, legal/regulatory and strategic/reputation risks. The factors described below may not be the only risks we face and are not intended to serve as a comprehensive listing or be applicable only to the category of risk under which they are disclosed. The risks described below are generally applicable to more than one of the following categories of risks. Additional risks that we do not yet know of or that we currently think are immaterial may also impair our business operations. If any of the events or circumstances described in the following factors actually occurs, our business, financial condition and/or results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

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Credit Risks
Because of the credit profile of our loan portfolio, our levels of nonperforming assets and charge-offs can be volatile. We may need to make material provisions for loan losses in any period, which could reduce net income and/or increase net losses in that period.
Our loan portfolio has a credit profile different from that of most other banking companies. The credit profile of our clients varies across our loan portfolio, based on the nature of the lending we do for different market segments. In our portfolios for emerging, early-stage and mid-stage privately-held companies, many of our loans are made to companies with modest or negative cash flows and/or no established record of profitable operations. Repayment of these loans may be dependent upon receipt by borrowers of additional equity financing from venture capitalists or others, or in some cases, a successful sale to a third party, public offering or other form of liquidity event. Since the financial crisis of 2008, overall economic conditions have relatively improved. Financing activity, as well as mergers & acquisitions (“M&A”) and initial public offerings (“IPOs”) - activities on which investors may rely on to “exit” investments to realize returns - have been at healthier levels. Valuations of companies, on which such activities are based, have also increased, though in some cases at potentially inflated levels. Economic and market conditions fluctuate and may be volatile. If current economic conditions weaken or do not continue to improve, such activities may slow down, or valuations may drop, in a meaningful manner, which may impact the financial health of our client companies. In such case, investors may provide financing in a more selective manner, at lower levels, and/or on less favorable terms, any of which may have an adverse effect on our borrowers that are otherwise dependent on such financing to repay their loans to us. Moreover, collateral for many of our loans often includes intellectual property, which is difficult to value and may not be readily salable in the case of default. Because of the intense competition and rapid technological change that characterizes the companies in the technology and life science/healthcare industry sectors, the two sectors in which most of our borrowers reside, as well as periodic volatility in the market prices for their securities, a borrower's financial position can deteriorate rapidly.

A meaningful portion of our loan portfolio is comprised of our larger loans. As of December 31, 2015, gross loans equal to or greater than $20 million to any single client (individually or in the aggregate) totaled $6.8 billion, or 40.6 percent, of our portfolio. These larger loans have over time represented, and continue to represent, an increasingly larger portion of our total loan portfolio. These loans include capital call lines of credit to our private equity/venture capital clients, as loans to our larger clients (including those in our Corporate Finance practice which serves our large corporate clients, typically with annual revenues over $75 million) which may be made to companies with greater levels of debt relative to their equity, balance sheet liquidity, and/or cash flow. We have been continuing to increase our efforts to lend to larger corporate and private equity clients, as well as to underwrite larger loans. Additionally, in recent periods, we have increased our efforts to make sponsor-led buyout loans, which are leveraged buyout or recapitalization financings that are typically sponsored by our private equity clients. These buyout loans tend to be larger in size, many of which individually are greater than $20 million. Increasing our loan commitments, especially larger loans, could increase the impact on us of any single borrower default. Moreover, we have been increasing our participation in larger syndicated credit facilities agented by other financial institutions, where our control or decision-making ability over the credit facility is limited to our participation interest .

We may also enter into financing arrangements with our clients, the repayment of which may be dependent on third parties' financial condition or ability to meet their payment obligations. For example, we enter into factoring arrangements which are secured by our clients' accounts receivable from third parties with whom they do business. We also make loans secured by letters of credit issued by other third party banks, or we enter into letters of credit discounting arrangements, the repayment of which may be dependent on the reimbursement by third party banks. We also extend recurring revenue-based lines of credit, where repayment may be dependent on borrowers’ revenues from third parties. Ultimately, these third parties may not meet their financial obligations to our clients or to us, which could have an adverse impact on us.

In our loan portfolio of private equity and venture capital firm clients, many of our clients have lines of credit, the repayment of which is dependent on the payment of capital calls or management fees by the underlying limited partner investors in the funds managed by these firms. In recent periods, we have increased the levels of these capital call lines of credit. These limited partner investors may face liquidity issues or have difficulties meeting their financial commitments, especially during unstable economic times, which may lead to our clients' inability to meet their repayment obligations to us.
 
We also lend primarily to private equity/venture capital professionals through SVB Private Bank. These individual clients may face difficulties meeting their financial commitments, especially during a challenging economic environment, and may be unable to repay their loans. In certain instances, we may also relax loan covenants and conditions or extend loan terms to borrowers that are experiencing financial difficulties. While such determinations are based on an assessment of various factors including access to additional capital in the near term, there can be no assurance that such continued support will result in the borrower meeting their financial commitments. We also lend to premium wineries and vineyards through SVB Wine. Repayment of loans made to these clients may be dependent on overall wine demand and sales, or other sources of financing or income

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(which may be adversely affected by a challenging economic environment), and overall grape supply (which may be adversely affected by poor weather, drought, earthquake, or other natural conditions). The state of California continues to experience severe drought conditions since 2011 due to extremely low levels of rainfall. In January 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for California, and in April 2015, Governor Brown announced a state-wide 25 percent mandatory reduction in water usage and a series of actions to conserve water. Most of our clients’ wineries and vineyards are based in California, and the drought and any current or future restrictions on water usage may have a material adverse effect on our SVB Wine borrower clients and their ability to repay their loans.
 
See “Loans” under “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations --- Consolidated Financial Condition” under Part II, Item 7 in this report .

Based on the credit profile of our overall loan portfolio, our level of nonperforming loans, loan charge-offs and allowance for loan losses can be volatile and can vary materially from period to period. Increases in our level of nonperforming loans or loan charge-offs may require us to increase our provision for loan losses in any period, which could reduce our net income or cause net losses in that period. Additionally, such increases in our level of nonperforming loans or loan charge-offs may also have an adverse effect on our capital ratios, credit ratings and market perceptions of us.
 
Our allowance for loan losses is determined based upon both objective and subjective factors, and may not be adequate to absorb loan losses.
As a lender, we face the risk that our borrower clients will fail to pay their loans when due. If borrower defaults cause large aggregate losses, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition. We reserve for such losses by establishing an allowance for loan losses, the increase of which results in a charge to our earnings as a provision for loan losses. We have established an evaluation process designed to determine the adequacy of our allowance for loan losses. While this evaluation process uses historical and other objective information, the classification of loans and the forecasts and establishment of loan losses are also dependent on our subjective assessment based upon our experience and judgment. Actual losses are difficult to forecast, especially if such losses stem from factors beyond our historical experience or are otherwise inconsistent or out of pattern with regards to our credit quality assessments. Moreover, our regulators, as part of their supervisory function, periodically review our methodology, models and the underlying assumptions, estimates and assessments we use for calculating, and the adequacy of, our allowance for loan losses. Our regulators, based on their judgment, may conclude that we should modify our methodology or models, reclassify or downgrade our loans, increase our allowance for loan losses , and/or recognize further losses. There can be no assurance that our allowance for loan losses will be sufficient to absorb future loan losses or prevent a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
 
The borrowing needs of our clients may be unpredictable, especially during a challenging economic environment. We may not be able to meet our unfunded credit commitments, or adequately reserve for losses associated with our unfunded credit commitments, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or reputation.
A commitment to extend credit is a formal agreement to lend funds to a client as long as there is no violation of any condition established under the agreement. The actual borrowing needs of our clients under these credit commitments have historically been lower than the contractual amount of the commitments. A significant portion of these commitments expire without being drawn upon. Because of the credit profile of our clients, we typically have a substantial amount of total unfunded credit commitments, which is reflected off our balance sheet. See Note 19 - “Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements, Guarantees and Other Commitments” of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements ” under Part II, Item 8 in this report for additional details. Actual borrowing needs of our clients may exceed our expected funding requirements, especially during a challenging economic environment when our client companies may be more dependent on our credit commitments due to the lack of available credit elsewhere, the increasing costs of credit, or the limited availability of financings from more discerning and selective private equity/venture capital firms. In addition, limited partner investors of our private equity/venture capital fund clients may fail to meet their underlying investment commitments due to liquidity or other financing issues, which may impact our clients' borrowing needs. Any failure to meet our unfunded credit commitments in accordance with the actual borrowing needs of our clients may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or reputation.
 
Additionally, we establish a reserve for losses associated with our unfunded credit commitments. The level of the reserve for unfunded credit commitments is determined by following a methodology similar to that used to establish our allowance for loan losses in our funded loan portfolio. The reserve is based on credit commitments outstanding, credit quality of the loan commitments, and management's estimates and judgment, and is susceptible to significant changes. There can be no assurance that our reserve for unfunded credit commitments will be adequate to provide for actual losses associated with our unfunded

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credit commitments. An increase in the reserve for unfunded credit commitments in any period may result in a charge to our earnings, which could reduce our net income or increase net losses in that period.
 
Market/Liquidity Risks
Our current level of interest rate spread may decline in the future. Any material reduction in our interest rate spread, or a sustained period of low market interest rates, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
A major portion of our net income comes from our interest rate spread, which is the difference between the interest rates paid by us on amounts used to fund assets and the interest rates and fees we receive on our interest-earning assets. We fund assets using deposits and other borrowings. While we offer interest-bearing deposit products, a majority of our deposit balances are from our noninterest bearing products. Our interest-earning assets include loans extended to our clients, securities held in our investment portfolio, and excess cash held to manage short-term liquidity. Overall, the interest rates we pay on our interest-bearing liabilities and receive on our interest-earning assets, and our level of interest rate spread, could be affected by a variety of factors, including changes in market interest rates, competition, regulatory requirements, and a change over time in the mix of the types of loans, investment securities, deposits and other liabilities on our balance sheet.
 
Changes in key variable market interest rates, such as the Federal Funds, National Prime, the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) or Treasury rates, generally impact our interest rate spread. While changes in interest rates do not produce equivalent changes in the revenues earned from our interest-earning assets and the expenses associated with our interest-bearing liabilities, increases in market interest rates will nevertheless likely cause our interest rate spread to increase. Conversely, if interest rates decline, our interest rate spread will likely decline. On December 16, 2015, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2007. However, if interest rates do not continue to rise, low rates could constrain our net income levels. Unexpected or further interest rate changes may adversely affect our business forecasts and expectations. Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors beyond our control, such as inflation, recession, global economic disruptions, unemployment and the fiscal and monetary policies of the federal government and its agencies. In addition, changes in the method of determining LIBOR or other reference rates may adversely affect the value of reference rate-linked debt securities that we hold or issue, which could further impact our interest rate spread, financial condition or results of operations.

Any material reduction in our interest rate spread or the continuation of low levels of market interest rates could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
 
Liquidity risk could impair our ability to fund operations and jeopardize our financial condition.
Liquidity is essential to our business, both at the SVB Financial and the Bank level. We require sufficient liquidity to meet our expected financial obligations, as well as unexpected requirements stemming from client activity and market changes. Primary liquidity resources for SVB Financial include cash flow from investments and interest in financial assets held by operating subsidiaries other than the Bank; to the extent declared, dividends from the Bank, its main operating subsidiary; and as needed, periodic capital market transactions offering debt and equity instruments in the public and private markets. Client deposits are the primary source of liquidity for the Bank. When needed, wholesale borrowing capacity supplements our liquidity in the form of short- and long-term borrowings secured by our portfolio of high quality investment securities, long-term capital market debt issuances and, finally, through unsecured overnight funding channels available to us in the Federal Funds market. An inability to maintain or raise funds through these sources could have a substantial negative effect, individually or collectively, on SVB Financial and the Bank's liquidity. Our access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance our activities, or on terms attractive to us, could be impaired by factors that affect us specifically or the financial services industry in general. Factors that could detrimentally impact our access to liquidity sources include an increase in costs of capital in financial capital markets, a decrease in the level of our business activity due to a market downturn or adverse regulatory action against us, or a decrease in depositor or investor confidence in us. Our ability to borrow could also be impaired by factors that are not specific to us, such as a severe volatility or disruption of the financial markets or negative views and expectations about the prospects for the financial services industry as a whole. Any failure to manage our liquidity effectively could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

Additionally, our credit ratings are important to our liquidity and our business. A reduction in our credit ratings could adversely affect our liquidity and competitive position, increase our borrowing costs, and limit our access to the capital markets. Moreover, a reduction in our credit ratings could increase the interest rates we pay on deposits, or adversely affect perceptions about our creditworthiness and business, or our overall reputation. Any damage to our reputation can also have an adverse effect on our liquidity and our business.
 

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Equity warrant assets, venture capital and private equity funds and direct equity investment portfolio gains or losses depend upon the performance of the portfolio investments and the general condition of the public and private equity and M&A markets, which are uncertain and may vary materially by period.
In connection with negotiated credit facilities and certain other services, we often obtain equity warrant assets giving us the right to acquire stock in private, venture-backed companies in the technology and life science/healthcare industries. We have also made investments through SVB Financial or our SVB Capital family of funds primarily in venture capital funds and direct investments in companies, many of which are required to be carried at fair value. The fair value of these warrants and investments are reflected in our financial statements and are adjusted on a quarterly basis. Fair value changes are generally recorded as unrealized gains or losses through consolidated net income. The timing and amount of changes in fair value, if any, of these financial instruments depend upon factors beyond our control, including the performance of the underlying companies, fluctuations in the market prices of the preferred or common stock of the underlying companies, the timing of our receipt of relevant financial information, general volatility and interest rate market factors, and legal and contractual restrictions. The timing and amount of our realization of actual net proceeds, if any, from our disposition of these financial instruments depend upon various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Those factors include the level of IPO and M&A activity (or other “exit” activity), legal and contractual restrictions on our ability to sell equity positions held (including the expiration of any “lock-up” agreements), the perceived and actual performance and future value of the underlying portfolio companies, the current valuation of the financial instruments, the timing of any actual dispositions, and overall market conditions. Because of the inherent variability of these financial instruments and the markets in which they are bought and sold, the fair market value of these financial instruments might increase or decrease materially, and the net proceeds realized upon disposition might be different than the then-current recorded fair market value.

In addition, depending on the fair value of these warrants and direct equity investments, a meaningful portion of the aggregate fair value of our total warrant and direct equity investment portfolios may, from time to time, be concentrated in a limited number of warrants and direct equity investments. Valuation changes in one or more of these warrants or direct equity investments may have a material impact on the valuation of the total investment portfolio.
 
We cannot predict future realized or unrealized gains or losses, and any such gains or losses are likely to vary materially from period to period. Additionally, the value of our equity warrant asset portfolio depends on, among other things, the underlying value of the issuing companies, which may also vary materially from period to period. See Note 14 - “Derivative Financial Instruments " of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 in this report for additional details.

Public equity offerings and mergers and acquisitions involving our clients or a slowdown in venture capital investment levels may reduce the borrowing needs of our clients, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.

While an active market for public equity offerings and M&A activity generally has positive implications for our business, one negative consequence is that our clients may pay off or reduce their loans with us if they complete a public equity offering, are acquired by or merge with another entity or otherwise receive a significant equity investment. Moreover, our capital call lines of credit are typically utilized by our private equity/venture capital fund clients to make investments prior to receipt of capital called from their respective limited partners. A slowdown in overall venture capital investment levels may reduce the need for our clients to borrow from our capital call lines of credit. Any significant reduction in the outstanding amounts of our loans or under our lines of credit could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.
 
Operational Risks
If we fail to retain our key employees or recruit new employees, our growth and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We rely on key personnel, including a substantial number of employees who have technical expertise in their subject matter area and/or a strong network of relationships with individuals and institutions in the markets we serve. In addition, as we expand in international markets, we will need to hire local personnel within those markets. If we were to have less success in recruiting and retaining these employees than our competitors, for reasons including domestic or foreign regulatory restrictions on compensation practices or the availability of more attractive opportunities elsewhere, our growth and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Moreover, equity awards are an important component of our compensation program, especially for our executive officers and other members of senior management. The extent of available equity for such awards is subject to stockholder approval, as well as our equity burn rate limit. If we do not have sufficient shares to grant to existing or new employees, there could be an adverse effect on our recruiting and retention efforts, which could impact our growth and results of operations.

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The occurrence of fraudulent activity, breaches of our information security or cybersecurity-related incidents could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
As a financial institution, we are susceptible to fraudulent activity, information security breaches and cybersecurity-related incidents that may be committed against us or our clients, which may result in financial losses or increased costs to us or our clients, disclosure or misuse of our information or our client information, misappropriation of assets, privacy breaches against our clients, litigation, or damage to our reputation. Such fraudulent activity may take many forms, including check fraud, electronic fraud, wire fraud, phishing, social engineering and other dishonest acts. Information security breaches and cybersecurity-related incidents may include fraudulent or unauthorized access to systems used by us or our clients, denial or degradation of service attacks, and malware or other cyber-attacks. In recent periods, there continues to be a rise in electronic fraudulent activity, security breaches and cyber-attacks within the financial services industry, especially in the commercial banking sector due to cyber criminals targeting commercial bank accounts. Consistent with industry trends, we have also experienced an increase in attempted electronic fraudulent activity, as well as attempts at security breaches and cybersecurity-related incidents in recent periods. Moreover, in recent periods, several large corporations, including financial institutions and retail companies, have suffered major data breaches, in some cases exposing not only confidential and proprietary corporate information, but also sensitive financial and other personal information of their customers and employees and subjecting them to potential fraudulent activity. Some of our clients may have been affected by these breaches, which increase their risks of identity theft, credit card fraud and other fraudulent activity that could involve their accounts with us, which could subject us to potential liability.

Information pertaining to us and our clients is maintained, and transactions are executed, on the networks and systems of us, our clients and certain of our third party partners, such as our online banking or reporting systems. The secure maintenance and transmission of confidential information, as well as execution of transactions over these systems, are essential to protect us and our clients against fraud and security breaches and to maintain our clients' confidence. Breaches of information security also may occur, and in infrequent cases have occurred, through intentional or unintentional acts by those having access to our systems or our clients’ or counterparties’ confidential information, including employees and third-party contractors used by us. In addition, SVB provides card transaction processing services to some merchant customers under agreements we have with those merchants and/or with the payment networks. Under these agreements, we may be responsible for certain losses and penalties if one of our merchant customers suffers a data security breach. Furthermore, SVB’s cardholders use their debit and credit cards to make purchases from third parties or through third-party processing services. As such, SVB is subject to risk from data breaches of such third-party’s information systems or their payment processors, including due to resulting unauthorized card use. Such a data security breach could compromise SVB account information, cause losses on card accounts and increase litigation costs. SVB may suffer losses associated with reimbursing our customers for such fraudulent transactions on customers’ card accounts, as well as for other costs related to data security breaches, such as replacing cards associated with compromised card accounts.

We also offer certain services that allow non-accountholders to process payments through SVB’s systems, as well as financial analytics services. In the course of providing those services, we may obtain sensitive data about customers who do not otherwise hold accounts with us, including information regarding accounts held at other institutions, as well as profit and loss and other proprietary financial or other information regarding our customers or the non-accountholders they service. In the event of a data breach, this sensitive information may be exposed and could subject us to claims for damages.
    
In addition, increases in criminal activity levels and sophistication, advances in computer capabilities, new discoveries, vulnerabilities in third-party technologies (including browsers and operating systems) or other developments could result in a compromise or breach of the technology, processes and controls that we use to prevent fraudulent transactions and to protect data about us, our clients and underlying transactions, as well as the technology used by our clients to access our systems. The more recent advent of state-sponsored or terrorist-sponsored efforts to hack or disable information technology systems increases risks, since the motivation may be for geopolitical as much as for financial gain. Although we have developed, and continue to invest in, systems and processes that are designed to detect and prevent security breaches and cyber-attacks and periodically test our security, our inability to anticipate, or failure to adequately mitigate, breaches of security could result in: losses to us or our clients; our loss of business and/or clients; damage to our reputation; the incurrence of additional expenses; disruption to our business; force majeure claims by us or critical suppliers; our inability to grow our online services or other businesses; additional regulatory scrutiny or penalties; or our exposure to civil litigation and possible financial liability - any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

More generally, publicized information concerning security and cyber-related problems could inhibit the use or growth of electronic or web-based applications or solutions as a means of conducting commercial transactions. Such publicity may also cause damage to our reputation as a financial institution. As a result, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected.
 

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We face risks associated with the ability of our information technology systems and our people and processes to support our operations and future growth effectively.
In order to serve our target clients effectively, we have developed, and are continually developing, a comprehensive array of banking and other products and services. In order to support these products and services and for the Company to operate effectively, we have developed, purchased and licensed information technology and other systems and processes. As our business continues to grow, we will continue to invest in and enhance these systems, and our people and processes. These investments and enhancements may affect our future profitability and overall effectiveness. From time to time, we may change, consolidate, replace, add or upgrade existing systems or processes, which if not implemented properly to allow for an effective transition, may have an adverse effect on our operations, including business interruptions which may result in inefficiencies, revenue losses, client losses, exposure to fraudulent activities, regulatory enforcement actions, or damage to our reputation. We routinely enhance our core banking systems, as well as implement or enhance other systems to support specific business units, including our international operations. We also outsource certain operational and other functions to consultants or other third parties to enhance our overall efficiencies. If we do not implement our systems effectively or if our outsourcing business partners do not perform their functions properly, there could be an adverse effect on us. There can be no assurance that we will be able to effectively maintain or improve our systems and processes, or utilize outsourced talent, to meet our business needs efficiently. Any failure of such could adversely affect our operations, financial condition, results of operations, future growth or reputation.
 
Business disruptions and interruptions due to natural disasters and other external events beyond our control can adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our operations can be subject to natural disasters and other external events beyond our control, such as earthquakes, fires, floods, severe weather, public health issues, power failures, telecommunication loss, major accidents, terrorist attacks, acts of war, and other natural and man-made events. Our corporate headquarters and a portion of our critical business offices are located in California near major earthquake faults. Such events of disaster, whether natural or attributable to human beings, could cause severe destruction, disruption or interruption to our operations or property. Financial institutions, such as us, generally must resume operations promptly following any interruption. If we were to suffer a disruption or interruption and were not able to resume normal operations within a period consistent with industry standards, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely affected in a material manner. In addition, depending on the nature and duration of the disruption or interruption, we might be vulnerable to fraud, additional expense or other losses, or to a loss of business and/or clients. We have implemented a business continuity management program and we continue to enhance it on an ongoing basis. There is no assurance that our business continuity management program can adequately mitigate the risks of such business disruptions and interruptions.

Additionally, natural disasters and external events, including those occurring in and around the state of California, could affect the business and operations of our clients, which could impair their ability to pay their loans or fees when due, impair the value of collateral securing their loans, cause our clients to reduce their deposits with us, or otherwise adversely affect their business dealings with us, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. A significant portion of our client borrowers are located in, or have operations in, the state of California, which has historically experienced severe natural disasters resulting in disruptions to businesses and damage to property. These clients include our premium winery and vineyard clients, our Private Bank mortgage clients and other corporate clients with California offices. If there is a major earthquake, flood, fire or other natural disaster in California or elsewhere in the markets in which we operate, our borrowers may experience uninsured property losses or sustained disruption to business or loss that may materially impair their ability to meet the terms of their loan obligations.

We face reputation and business risks due to our interactions with business partners, service providers and other third parties.
We rely on third parties, both in the United States and internationally in countries such as the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, Israel, and India, in a variety of ways, including to provide key components of our business infrastructure or to further our business objectives. These third parties may provide services to us and our clients or serve as partners in business activities. We rely on these third parties to perform services for us, fulfill their obligations to us, accurately inform us of relevant information, and conduct their activities professionally and in a manner that reflects positively on us. In some instances, our regulators may hold us responsible for the performance of parties with which we have these relationships. Any failure of our business partners, service providers or other third parties to meet their commitments to us or to perform in accordance with our expectations could result in operational issues, increased expenditures, regulatory actions, damage to our reputation or loss of clients, which could harm our business and operations, financial performance, strategic growth or reputation.

The soundness of other financial institutions could adversely affect us.
Financial services institutions are interrelated as a result of trading, clearing, counterparty, or other relationships. We routinely execute transactions with counterparties in the financial services industry, including brokers and dealers, commercial

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banks, investment banks, payment processors, and other institutional clients, which may result in payment obligations to us or to our clients due to products arranged by us. Many of these transactions expose us to credit and market risk that may cause our counterparty or client to default. In addition, we are exposed to market risk when the collateral we hold cannot be realized or is liquidated at prices not sufficient to recover the full amount of the secured obligation. There is no assurance that any such losses would not materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition.
We depend on the accuracy and completeness of information about customers and counterparties.
In deciding whether to extend credit or enter into other transactions with customers and counterparties, we may rely on information furnished to us by or on behalf of customers and counterparties, including financial statements and other financial information. We also may rely on representations of customers and counterparties as to the accuracy and completeness of that information and, with respect to financial statements, on reports of independent auditors. For example, under our accounts receivable financing arrangements, we rely on information, such as invoices, contracts and other supporting documentation, provided by our clients and their account debtors to determine the amount of credit to extend. Similarly, in deciding whether to extend credit, we may rely upon our customers' representations that their financial statements conform to U.S. GAAP (or other applicable accounting standards in foreign markets) and present fairly, in all material respects, the financial condition, results of operations and cash flows of the customer. We also may rely on customer representations and certifications, or other audit or accountants' reports, with respect to the business and financial condition of our clients. Our financial condition, results of operations, financial reporting or reputation could be negatively affected if we rely on materially misleading, false, inaccurate or fraudulent information.
Our accounting policies and methods are key to how we report our financial condition and results of operations. They require management to make judgments and estimates about matters that are uncertain.
Our accounting policies and methods are fundamental to how we record and report our financial condition and results of operations. Our management must exercise judgment in selecting and applying many of these accounting policies and methods so they comply with U.S. GAAP and reflect management's judgment of the most appropriate manner to report our financial condition or results. In some cases, management must select the accounting policy or method to apply from two or more alternatives, any of which might be reasonable under the circumstances yet might result in our reporting materially different amounts than would have been reported under a different alternative.
If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results. As a result, current and potential holders of our securities could lose confidence in our financial reporting, which would harm our business and the trading price of our securities.
If we identify material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting or are otherwise required to restate our financial statements, we could be required to implement expensive and time-consuming remedial measures and could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports. We may also face regulatory enforcement or other actions, including the potential delisting of our securities from the NASDAQ Stock Market. This could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations, as well as the trading price of our securities, and could potentially subject us to litigation.
 
We face risks associated with international operations.
One important component of our strategy is to expand internationally. In 2012, we opened a banking branch in the United Kingdom, as well as a joint venture bank in China. We also currently have offices in Hong Kong and Israel. We plan to expand our operations and business activities in some of our current international markets, as well as, expand our business beyond those markets. Our efforts to expand our business internationally carry with them certain risks, including risks arising from the uncertainty regarding our ability to generate revenues from foreign operations, risks associated with leveraging and doing business with local business partners and other general operational risks. In addition, there are certain risks inherent in doing business on an international basis, including, among others, legal, regulatory and tax requirements and restrictions, uncertainties regarding liability, tariffs and other trade barriers, difficulties in staffing and managing foreign operations, incremental requirement of management's attention and resources, differing technology standards or customer requirements, data security or transfer risks, cultural differences, political and economic risks, and financial risks, including currency and payment risks. These risks could adversely affect the success of our international operations and could have a material adverse effect on our overall business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, we face risks that our employees and affiliates may fail to comply with applicable laws and regulations governing our international operations, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, U.K. Bribery Act, anti-corruption laws, privacy laws, and other foreign laws and regulations. Failure to comply with such laws and regulations could, among other things, result in enforcement actions and fines against us, as well as limitations on our conduct, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.

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Legal/Regulatory Risks
We are subject to extensive regulation that could limit or restrict our activities, impose financial requirements or limitations on the conduct of our business, or result in higher costs to us, and the stringency of the regulatory framework applicable to us may increase if, and as, our asset size continues to grow.
SVB Financial Group, including the Bank, is extensively regulated under federal and state laws and regulations governing financial institutions, including those imposed by the FDIC, the Federal Reserve, the CFPB, and the DBO, as well as various regulatory authorities that govern our global activities. Federal and state laws and regulations govern, restrict, limit or otherwise affect the activities in which we may engage, may affect our ability to expand our business over time, may result in an increase in our compliance costs, including higher FDIC insurance premiums , and may affect our ability to attract and retain qualified executive officers and employees. Further, the stringency of the federal bank prudential regulatory framework that applies to us may increase as our asset size grows. In particular, under the Dodd-Frank Act and current Federal Reserve regulations, certain enhanced prudential standards will apply to us if we reach or exceed $50 billion in total consolidated assets. In addition, a change in the applicable statutes, regulations or regulatory policy could have a material adverse effect on our business, including limiting or imposing conditions on the types of financial services and products we may offer or increasing the ability of nonbanks to offer competing financial services and products. These laws and regulations also require financial institutions, including SVB Financial and the Bank, to maintain certain minimum levels of capital and meet other minimum financial standards, which may require us to raise additional capital in the future, affect our ability to use our capital resources for other business purposes or affect our overall business strategies and plans. Furthermore, the Basel Committee has adopted new capital, leverage and liquidity guidelines under the Basel Accord (known as “Basel III”). The Federal Reserve has adopted regulations that generally align with these international standards, and the new Federal Reserve regulations have the effect of raising our capital requirements beyond those previously in place. Such requirements also include limitations on capital distributions and discretionary bonus payments to executives if certain minimum capital requirements are not maintained. Such limitations may adversely affect our business, financial condition and stockholders, as well as our ability to recruit or retain key executives. The Federal Reserve also has adopted certain stress testing requirements, the results of which we are required to submit to the Federal Reserve and to disclose to the public. In addition, depending on the results of the stress tests, we could be required to raise additional capital or take certain other actions. Increased regulatory requirements (and the associated compliance costs), whether due to the adoption of new laws and regulations, changes in existing laws and regulations, or more expansive or aggressive interpretations of existing laws and regulations, may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We are subject to the Volcker Rule, which limits certain trading and investment activities and has required us to modify our historical venture capital fund investment and sponsorship business and activities.

The Volcker Rule restricts, among other things, a bank's proprietary trading activities and a bank's ability to sponsor or invest in certain privately offered funds, including certain venture capital, hedge and private equity funds. Although we do not believe that we engage in any proprietary trading that is prohibited under the Volcker Rule, certain of our historical venture capital fund investment and sponsorship businesses and activities are affected by the rule. In particular, the Volcker Rule restricts or limits us from sponsoring or having ownership interests in “covered” funds including venture capital and private equity funds. In general, we conformed our activities to these restrictions by July 21, 2015; however, certain legacy investments and relationships are subject to an extended conformance period that ends in July 2016. The Federal Reserve has indicated that it intends to extend this conformance deadline to July 2017. In addition, the Federal Reserve may extend the conformance deadline for up to an additional five-year years (until July 2022) for investments that are considered illiquid. We intend to seek the maximum extensions (up to July 2022) available to us. Under this rule, we will have to wind-down, transfer, divest or otherwise ensure the termination or expiration of any prohibited interests prior to the end of the applicable conformance period. While we intend to seek the maximum extensions available to us, the process and standards that apply to any such additional extensions are not clear at this time, and there is no assurance that we will be granted any of these extensions, and thus, we may be required to divest our prohibited interests within a short period of time and/or at possibly distressed prices.

We estimate that our total venture capital and private equity fund investments deemed to be prohibited covered fund interests had an aggregate carrying value of approximately $210 million (and an aggregate fair value of approximately $321 million) as of December 31, 2015. These covered fund interests are comprised of interests attributable, solely, to us in our consolidated managed funds and certain of our non-marketable securities. These Volcker Rule restrictions could have a material adverse effect on our investment portfolio and results of operations. The actual impact from these restrictions will be dependent on a variety of factors, including our ability to obtain regulatory extensions, our ability to sell the investments, our carrying value at the time of any sale, the actual sales price realized, the timing of such sales, and any additional regulatory guidance or interpretations of the Volcker Rule.


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If we continue to grow and our total consolidated assets reach or exceed $50 billion, we will be subject to more stringent regulations, including enhanced prudential standards, required by the Dodd-Frank Act and regulations adopted by the Federal Reserve for large bank holding companies.

Under the Federal Reserve’s enhanced prudential standard regulations, bank holding companies with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets are subject to more stringent prudential requirements.  Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the more stringent prudential standards include requirements for risk-based and leverage capital, liquidity, risk management, resolution planning, supervisory capital stress testing, single counterparty credit exposure limits, and early remediation --- all of which require appropriate resources and planning. The Dodd-Frank Act permits, but does not require the Federal Reserve to apply to such large bank holding companies enhanced prudential standards in other areas, including short-term debt limits and enhanced public disclosures . For information about the regulations applicable to bank holding companies with $50 billion or more in total consolidated assets, see the section "Business---Supervision and Regulation---Enhanced Prudential Standards," under this Part I, Item 1.

As of December 31, 2015 , our total consolidated assets were $44.7 billion . If we continue to grow, either organically or potentially by future acquisitions, and our total consolidated assets reach or exceed $50 billion, we will become subject to such enhanced prudential standards, which will impose more stringent requirements or limitations on our business, as well as increase our compliance costs. Specifically, SVB Financial would become subject to the more stringent prudential standards at the end of a four-quarter period over the course of which SVB Financial averages total consolidated assets of $50 billion or more. As described above in the section “Business---Supervision and Regulation---Enhanced Prudential Standards,” under this Part I, Item 1, the various requirements to which SVB Financial would become subject have varying transition periods.

For example, if we are subject to CCAR, the Federal Reserve may object to or otherwise not respond favorably to our capital plan, capital actions or stress test results, and we may be limited as to how we utilize our capital, including with respect to common stock dividends and stock repurchases.

In addition, if SVB Financial becomes subject to the Federal Reserve’s and the FDIC’s resolution planning rules, and the agencies jointly determine that our resolution plan is not credible, and we fail to cure the deficiencies in a timely manner, the Federal Reserve and the FDIC may jointly impose on us or our subsidiaries more stringent capital, leverage or liquidity requirements or restrictions on growth, activities or operations, or require the divestment of assets or operations.

Further, under the modified LCR rule, SVB Financial would be required to measure specified unencumbered high-quality liquid assets against our expected net cash outflows, using the methodologies prescribed by the rule. As a result of the rule’s application to SVB Financial, our holdings of high-quality liquid assets may increase and the composition of our balance sheet may change. Additionally, such an increase may also adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations since high-quality liquid assets tend to carry lower yields.

We face a risk of noncompliance and enforcement action with the Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering statutes and regulations.
 
The Bank Secrecy Act, the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, and other laws and regulations require financial institutions, among other duties, to institute and maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and file suspicious activity and currency transaction reports as appropriate. The federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is authorized to impose significant civil money penalties for violations of those requirements and has recently engaged in coordinated enforcement efforts with the federal banking regulators, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Internal Revenue Service. We also must comply with U.S. economic and trade sanctions administered by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and we, like other financial institutions, are subject to increased scrutiny for compliance with these requirements. If our anti-money laundering policies, procedures and systems, or compliance with related requirements such as the U.S. economic and trade sanctions regimes, are deemed deficient, we would be subject to liability, including fines and regulatory actions, which may include restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and the necessity to obtain regulatory approvals to proceed with certain aspects of our business plan. Failure to maintain and implement adequate programs to combat money laundering and terrorist financing could also have serious reputational consequences for us. Any of these results could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

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If we were to violate, or fail to comply with, international, federal or state laws or regulations governing financial institutions, we could be subject to disciplinary action that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or reputation.
International, federal and state banking regulators possess broad powers to take supervisory or enforcement action with respect to financial institutions. Other regulatory bodies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), the NASDAQ Stock Market, FINRA, and state securities regulators, regulate investment advisers and broker-dealers, including our subsidiaries, SVB Asset Management and SVB Securities, as applicable. If SVB Financial Group were to violate, even if unintentionally or inadvertently, the laws governing public companies, financial institutions and broker-dealers, the regulatory authorities could take various actions against us, depending on the severity of the violation, such as imposing restrictions on how we conduct our business, revoking necessary licenses or authorizations, imposing censures, civil money penalties or fines, issuing cease and desist or other supervisory orders, and suspending or expelling from the securities business a firm, its officers or employees. Supervisory actions could result in higher capital requirements, higher insurance premiums, higher levels of liquidity available to meet the Bank's financial needs and limitations on the activities of SVB Financial Group. These remedies and supervisory actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation.
Adverse results from litigation or governmental investigations can impact our business practices and operating results.
We are currently involved in certain legal proceedings, and may from time to time be involved in governmental investigations and inquiries, relating to matters that arise in connection with the conduct of our business. While we have not recognized a material accrual liability for lawsuits and claims filed or pending against us to date, the outcome of litigation and other legal and regulatory matters is inherently uncertain and it is possible that the actual results of one or more of such matters currently pending or threatened may be substantially higher than the amounts reserved, or judgments may be rendered, or fines or penalties assessed in matters for which we have no reserves. Adverse outcomes in lawsuits or investigations may result in significant monetary damages or injunctive relief that may adversely affect our operating results or financial condition as well as our ability to conduct our businesses as they are presently being conducted.

Changes in accounting standards could materially impact our financial statements.
From time to time, the Financial Accounting Standards Board or the SEC may change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the preparation of our financial statements. Also, our global initiatives, as well as continuing trends towards the convergence of international accounting standards, such as rules that may be adopted under the International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”), may result in our Company being subject to new or changing accounting and reporting standards. In addition, the bodies that interpret the accounting standards (such as banking regulators or outside auditors) may change their interpretations or positions on how these standards should be applied. These changes may be beyond our control, can be hard to predict and can materially impact how we record and report our financial condition or results of operations. In some cases, we could be required to apply a new or revised standard retrospectively, or apply an existing standard differently, also retrospectively, in each case resulting in our revising or restating prior period financial statements.
Our holding company, SVB Financial, relies on warrant income, investment distributions and dividends from its subsidiaries for most of its cash revenues.
SVB Financial is a holding company and is a separate and distinct legal entity from its subsidiaries. It receives most of its cash revenues from three primary funding sources: warrant income, investment distributions, and dividends from its subsidiaries, primarily the Bank. These sources generate income for SVB Financial to pay operating costs and borrowing costs and to the extent there are any ---- borrowings, dividends, and share repurchases. Our equity warrant assets and investment interests are held by SVB Financial, and any income derived from those financial instruments are subject to a variety of factors as discussed in this Risk Factors section. Moreover, various federal and state laws and regulations limit the amount of dividends that the Bank and certain of our nonbank subsidiaries may pay to SVB Financial. Also, SVB Financial's right to participate in a distribution of assets upon a subsidiary's liquidation or reorganization is subject to the prior claims of the subsidiary's creditors.
Anti-takeover provisions and federal law, particular those applicable to financial institutions, may limit the ability of another party to acquire us, which could prevent a merger or acquisition that may be attractive to stockholders and/or have a material adverse effect on our stock price.
As a bank holding company, we are subject to certain laws that could delay or prevent a third-party from acquiring us, even if doing so might be beneficial to our stockholders. The Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended, and the Change in Bank Control Act of 1978, as amended, together with federal and state regulations, require that, depending on the particular circumstances, either Federal Reserve approval must be obtained or the Federal Reserve, after receiving notice, not objecting prior to any person or entity acquiring “control” (as determined under the Federal Reserve's standards) of a bank holding company, such as SVB Financial, or a state member bank, such as the Bank. In addition, DBO approval may be required in connection with

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the acquisition of control of the Bank. Moreover, certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation and by-laws and certain other actions we may take or have taken could delay or prevent a third-party from acquiring us, even if such acquisition would be beneficial to our stockholders. For example, these laws, regulations and other provisions may prevent a merger or acquisition that would be attractive to stockholders and could limit the price investors would be willing to pay in the future for our common stock.
Strategic/Reputation/Other Risks
Concentration of risk increases the potential for significant losses.
Concentration of risk, including by client industry, size or stage of client companies and client geography, increases the potential for significant losses in our business. While there may exist a great deal of diversity within each industry, our clients are concentrated by these general industry niches: technology, life science/healthcare, private equity/venture capital and premium wine. Our technology clients generally tend to be in the industries of hardware (semiconductors, communications, data storage and electronics), software and internet (such as infrastructure software, applications, software services, digital content and advertising technology), and energy and resource innovation. Our life science/healthcare clients are concentrated in the industries of biotechnology, medical devices, healthcare information technology and healthcare services. Many of our client companies are concentrated by certain stages within their life cycles, such as early-stage, mid-stage or later-stage, and many of these companies are venture capital-backed. We take deposits from these clients and are also continuing to increase our efforts to lend to larger clients and to make larger loans. In addition, our geographic focus on key domestic and international innovation markets, as well as premium wine markets, may increase our concentration risk. Our loan concentrations are derived from our borrowers engaging in similar activities or types of loans extended to a diverse group of borrowers that could cause those borrowers to be similarly impacted by economic or other conditions. Any adverse effect on any of our areas of concentration could have a material impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Due to our concentrations, we may suffer losses even when economic and market conditions are generally favorable for our competitors.
 
Decreases in the amount of equity capital available to our portfolio companies could adversely affect our business, growth and profitability.
Our core strategy is focused on providing banking products and services to companies, including in particular to early-stage to mid-stage companies that receive financial support from sophisticated investors, including venture capital or private equity firms, “angels,” corporate investors, crowd-funding and other evolving sources of capital. We derive a meaningful share of our deposits from these companies and provide them with loans as well as other banking products and services. In some cases, our lending credit decision is based on our analysis of the likelihood that our client will receive additional rounds of equity capital from investors or other funding sources. If the amount of capital available to such companies decreases, it is likely that the number of new clients and investor financial support to our existing borrowers could decrease, which could have an adverse effect on our business, profitability and growth prospects.
Among the factors that have affected and could in the future affect the amount of capital available to our portfolio companies are the receptivity of the capital markets, the prevalence of IPO's or M&A activity of companies within our technology and life science/healthcare industry sectors, the availability and return on alternative investments, economic conditions in the technology, life science/healthcare and private equity/venture capital industries, and overall general economic conditions. Reduced capital markets valuations could reduce the amount of capital available to our client companies, including companies within our technology and life science/healthcare industry sectors.
Because our business and strategy are largely based on this private equity/venture capital financing framework focused on our particular client niches, any material changes in the framework, including unfavorable economic conditions and adverse trends in investment or fund-raising levels, may have a material adverse effect on our business, strategy and overall profitability.
We face competitive pressures that could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition or future growth.
We compete with other banks and specialty and diversified financial services companies and debt funds, some of which are larger than we are, which offer lending, leasing, payments, foreign currency exchange, other financial products and advisory services to our client base. We also compete with other alternative lenders, such as online “marketplace” lenders, peer-to-peer lenders and other non-traditional lenders that have emerged in recent years. Moreover, we compete with non-financial services, particularly payment facilitators/processors or other nonbanking technology providers in the payments industry, which may offer specialized services to our client base. In addition, we compete with hedge funds and private equity funds. In some cases, our competitors focus their marketing on our industry sectors and seek to increase their lending and other financial relationships with technology companies or special industries such as wineries. In other cases, some competitors may offer a broader range of financial products to our clients, and some competitors may offer a specialized set of specific products or service. When new

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competitors seek to enter one of our markets, or when existing market participants seek to increase their market share, they sometimes undercut the pricing and/or credit terms prevalent in that market, which could adversely affect our market share or ability to exploit new market opportunities. Our pricing and credit terms could deteriorate if we act to meet these competitive challenges, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and future growth. Similarly, competitive pressures could adversely affect the business, results of operations, financial condition or future growth of our non-banking services, including our payments services, as well as our access to capital and attractive investment opportunities for our funds business.
 
Our ability to maintain or increase our market share depends on our ability to attract and maintain, as well as meet the needs of, existing and future clients.
Our success depends, in part, upon our ability to maintain or increase our market share. In particular, much of our success depends on our ability to attract early-stage or start-up companies as clients and to retain those companies as clients as they grow and mature successfully through the various stages of their life cycles. In order to maintain or increase our market share, we must meet the needs of existing and potential future clients. Not only must we adapt our products and services to evolving industry standards, but we must also innovate new products and services beyond industry standards in order to serve our clients, who are innovators themselves. A failure to achieve market acceptance for any new products or services we introduce, a failure to introduce products or services that the market demands, or the costs associated with developing, introducing and providing new products and services could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, growth prospects and financial condition.

We face risks in connection with our strategic undertakings and new business initiatives.

We are engaged, and may in the future engage, in strategic activities domestically or internationally, including acquisitions, joint ventures, partnerships, investments or other business growth initiatives or undertakings. There can be no assurance that we will successfully identify appropriate opportunities, that we will be able to negotiate or finance such activities or that such activities, if undertaken, will be successful.

We are focused on our long-term growth and have undertaken various strategic activities and business initiatives, many of which involve activities that are new to us, or in some cases, experimental in nature. For example, we are expanding our global presence and may engage in activities in jurisdictions where we have limited experience or where legal and regulatory requirements are less certain than in the United States. We are also expanding our payments processing capabilities to better serve our clients, including innovating new electronic payment processing solutions, developing new payments technologies, and supporting new or evolving disruptive payments systems, such as “bitcoin” and other virtual currencies. Given our evolving geographic and product diversification, our innovative product solutions, and our limited experience, these payment-related initiatives may subject us to, among other risks, increased business, reputation and operational risk, as well as more complex legal, regulatory and compliance costs and risks.

Our ability to execute strategic activities and new business initiatives successfully will depend on a variety of factors. These factors likely will vary based on the nature of the activity but may include our success in integrating an acquired company or a new growth initiative into our business, operations, services, products, personnel and systems, operating effectively with any partner with whom we elect to do business, meeting applicable regulatory requirements and obtaining applicable regulatory licenses or other approvals, hiring or retaining key employees, achieving anticipated synergies, meeting management's expectations, actually realizing the anticipated benefits of the activities, and overall general market conditions. Our ability to address these matters successfully cannot be assured. In addition, our strategic efforts may divert resources or management's attention from ongoing business operations and may subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny and potential liability. If we do not successfully execute a strategic undertaking, it could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation or growth prospects. In addition, if we were to conclude that the value of an acquired business had decreased and that the related goodwill had been impaired, that conclusion would result in an impairment of goodwill charge to us, which would adversely affect our results of operations.
 
In addition, in order to finance future strategic undertakings, we might require additional financing, which might not be available on terms favorable to us, or at all. If obtained, equity financing could be dilutive and the incurrence of debt and contingent liabilities could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

Our business reputation is important and any damage to it could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our reputation is very important to sustain our business, as we rely on our relationships with our current, former and potential clients and stockholders, the venture capital and private equity communities, and the industries that we serve. Any damage to our reputation, whether arising from regulatory, supervisory or enforcement actions, matters affecting our financial

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reporting or compliance with SEC and exchange listing requirements, negative publicity, our conduct of our business or otherwise could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our risk management framework may not be effective, which could have a material adverse effect on our strategic planning and our mitigation of risks and/or losses, as well as have adverse regulatory consequences.

We have implemented a risk management framework to identify and manage our risk exposure. This framework is comprised of various processes, systems and strategies, and is designed to manage the types of risk to which we are subject, including, among others, credit, market, liquidity, operational, financial, interest rate, legal and regulatory, compliance, strategic, reputational, fiduciary, global, currency, sovereign, and general economic risks. Our framework also includes financial, analytical, forecasting, or other modeling methodologies, which involves management assumptions and judgment. In addition, our Board of Directors, in consultation with management, has adopted a risk appetite statement, which sets forth certain thresholds and limits to govern our key business risks. There is no assurance that our risk management framework, including the risk metrics under our risk appetite statement, will be effective under all circumstances or that it will adequately identify, manage or mitigate any risk or loss to us.

In addition, bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $50 billion and greater are subject to more stringent risk management requirements. In the event we reach or exceed such total consolidated asset size, we will be subject to these standards, subject to the transition period described above, and may need to further enhance our risk management framework and practices. See the section "Business---Supervision and Regulation---Enhanced Prudential Standards," under this Part I, Item 1.
 
If our risk management framework is not effective, we could suffer unexpected losses and our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects could be materially adversely affected. We may also be subject to potentially adverse regulatory consequences.

We rely on quantitative models to measure risks and to estimate certain financial values.

Quantitative models may be used to help manage certain aspects of our business and to assist with certain business decisions, including estimating probable loan losses, measuring the fair value of financial instruments when reliable market prices are unavailable, estimating the effects of changing interest rates and other market measures on our financial condition and result of operations and managing risk. Our measurement methodologies rely on many assumptions, historical analyses and correlations. These assumptions may not capture or fully incorporate conditions leading to losses, particularly in times of market distress, and the historical correlations on which we rely may no longer be relevant. Additionally, as businesses and markets evolve, our measurements may not accurately reflect this evolution. Even if the underlying assumptions and historical correlations used in our models are adequate, our models may be deficient due to errors in computer code, bad data, misuse of data, or the use of a model for a purpose outside the scope of the model’s design.

All models have certain limitations. Reliance on models presents the risk that our business decisions based on information incorporated from models will be adversely affected due to incorrect, missing, or misleading information. In addition, our models may not capture or fully express the risks we face, may suggest that we have sufficient capitalization when we do not, or may lead us to misjudge the business and economic environment in which we will operate. If our models fail to produce reliable results on an ongoing basis, we may not make appropriate risk management, capital planning, or other business or financial decisions. Strategies that we employ to manage and govern the risks associated with our use of models may not be effective or fully reliable. Also, information that we provide to the public or regulators based on poorly designed models could be inaccurate or misleading.

Banking regulators continue to focus on the models used by banks and bank holding companies in their businesses. Some of our decisions that the regulators evaluate could be affected adversely due to their perception that the quality of the models used to generate the relevant information is insufficient.

Our stress testing processes rely on analytical and forecasting models that may prove to be inadequate or inaccurate, which could adversely affect the effectiveness of our strategic planning and our ability to pursue certain corporate goals.
 
In accordance with the Dodd-Frank Act and the Federal Reserve’s regulations thereunder, banking organizations with $10 billion to $50 billion in assets are required to perform annual capital stress tests.  The results of our capital stress tests may require us to increase our regulatory capital, raise additional capital or take or decline to take certain other capital-related actions under certain circumstances.  Our stress testing processes also rely on our use of analytical and forecasting models. These models reflect assumptions that may not be accurate, particularly in times of market stress or other unforeseen circumstances. Furthermore,

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even if our assumptions are accurate predictors of future performance, the models they are based on may prove to be inadequate or inaccurate because of other flaws in their design or implementation. Also, the assumptions we utilize for our stress tests may not be met with regulatory approval, which could result in our stress tests receiving a failing grade. In addition to adversely affecting our reputation, failing our stress tests would likely preclude or delay our growth through acquisition, and would limit our ability to pay any cash dividends.

We could be adversely affected by changes in tax laws and regulations or the interpretations of such laws and regulations.

We are subject to the income tax laws of the U.S., its states and municipalities and those of the foreign jurisdictions in which we have business operations. These tax laws are complex and may be subject to different interpretations. We must make judgments and interpretations about the application of these inherently complex tax laws when determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities, and our valuation allowance. Changes to the tax laws, administrative rulings or court decisions could increase our provision for income taxes and reduce our net income.

U.S. tax laws and regulations may change from time-to-time. While impossible to predict, governments’ need for additional revenue may lead to continued proposals to change tax rules in ways that could increase our effective tax rate. In addition, these changes could include a widening of the corporate tax base by including earnings from international operations that are not currently required to be included. Such changes to the tax laws could have a material impact on our income tax expense.

The price of our common stock may be volatile or may decline.  
The trading price of our common stock may fluctuate as a result of a number of factors, many of which are outside our control. In addition, the stock market is subject to fluctuations in the share prices and trading volumes that affect the market prices of the shares of many companies. These broad market fluctuations could adversely affect the market price of our common stock. Among the factors that could affect our stock price are:
actual or anticipated quarterly fluctuations in our operating results and financial condition;
changes in revenue or earnings estimates or publication of research reports and recommendations by financial analysts;
failure to meet analysts’ revenue or earnings estimates;
speculation in the press or investment community;
strategic actions by us or our competitors;
actions by institutional stockholders;
fluctuations in the stock price and operating results of our competitors;
general market conditions and, in particular, developments related to market conditions for the financial services industry;
market perceptions about the innovation economy, including levels of funding or "exit" activities of companies in the industries we serve;
proposed or adopted regulatory changes or developments;
anticipated or pending investigations, proceedings or litigation that involve or affect us; or
domestic and international economic factors unrelated to our performance.

The trading price of the shares of our common stock and the value of our other securities will depend on many factors, which may change from time to time, including, without limitation, our financial condition, performance, creditworthiness and prospects, and future sales of our equity or equity-related securities. In some cases, the markets have produced downward pressure on stock prices and credit availability for certain issuers without regard to those issuers’ underlying financial strength. A significant decline in our stock price could result in substantial losses for individual stockholders and could lead to costly and disruptive securities litigation, as well as the loss of key employees.
ITEM 1B.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
ITEM 2.
PROPERTIES
Our corporate headquarters facility consists of three buildings and is located at 3003 Tasman Drive, Santa Clara, California. The total square footage of the premises leased under the current lease arrangement is approximately 213,625 square feet. The lease will expire on September 30, 2024, unless terminated earlier or extended.
We currently operate 29 regional offices, including an administrative office, in the United States as well as offices outside the United States. We operate throughout the Silicon Valley with offices in Santa Clara, Menlo Park and Palo Alto. Other regional

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offices in California include Irvine, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Helena, Santa Rosa and Pleasanton. Office locations outside of California but within the United States include: Tempe, Arizona; Broomfield, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Newton, Massachusetts; St. Louis Park, Minnesota; New York, New York; Morrisville, North Carolina; Beaverton, Oregon; Radnor, Pennsylvania; Austin, Texas; Dallas, Texas; Salt Lake City, Utah; Vienna, Virginia; and Seattle, Washington. Our international offices are located in: Hong Kong; Beijing and Shanghai, China; Bangalore, India; Herzliya Pituach, Israel; and London, England. All of our properties are occupied under leases, which expire at various dates through 2030, and in most instances include options to renew or extend at market rates and terms. We also own leasehold improvements, equipment, furniture, and fixtures at our offices, all of which are used in our business activities.
Our Global Commercial Bank operations are principally conducted out of our corporate headquarters in Santa Clara, and the lending teams operate out of the various regional and international offices. SVB Private Bank and SVB Capital principally operate out of our Menlo Park offices.
We believe that our properties are in good condition and suitable for the conduct of our business.
ITEM 3.
LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
The information set forth under Note 25-“Legal Matters” in the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 in this report is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 4.
MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
Not applicable.

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Table of Contents

PART II.
Item 5.
MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT'S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information
Our common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol SIVB. The per share range of high and low sale prices for our common stock as reported on the NASDAQ Global Select Market, for each full quarterly period during the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, was as follows:
 
 
2015
 
2014
Three months ended:
 
Low
 
High
 
Low
 
High
March 31
 
$
102.77

 
$
128.85

 
$
101.65

 
$
135.00

June 30
 
122.63

 
149.62

 
100.30

 
130.17

September 30
 
100.76

 
152.99

 
102.36

 
119.16

December 31
 
108.01

 
141.75

 
91.54

 
118.72

As of December 31, 2015 , SVB Financial had no preferred stock outstanding.
Holders
As of January 26, 2016, there were 693 registered holders of our stock, and we believe there were approximately 53,112 beneficial holders of common stock whose shares were held in the name of brokerage firms or other financial institutions . We are not provided with the number or identities of all of these stockholders, but we have estimated the number of such stockholders from the number of stockholder documents requested by these brokerage firms for distribution to their customers.
Dividends and Stock Repurchases
SVB Financial does not currently pay cash dividends on our common stock. We have not paid any cash dividends since 1992. Our Board of Directors periodically evaluates whether to pay cash dividends, taking into consideration such factors as it considers relevant, including our current and projected financial performance, our projected sources and uses of capital, general economic conditions, considerations relating to our current and potential stockholder base, changing regulatory rules, particularly rules impacting capital requirements, and relevant tax laws. Our ability to pay cash dividends is also limited by generally applicable corporate and banking laws and regulations. See “Business-Supervision and Regulation-Restrictions on Dividends” under Part I, Item 1 in this report. SVB Financial did not repurchase any of its common stock during 2015 .

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans
The information required by this Item regarding equity compensation plans is incorporated by reference to the information set forth in Part III, Item 12 in this report.


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Table of Contents

  Performance Graph
The following information is not deemed to be “soliciting material” or “filed” with the SEC or subject to the liabilities of Section 18 of the Exchange Act, and the report shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any prior or subsequent filing by the Company under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act.
The following graph compares, for the period from December 31, 2010 through December 31, 2015 , the cumulative total stockholder return on the common stock of the Company with (i) the cumulative total return of the Standard and Poor's 500 (“S&P 500”) Index, (ii) the cumulative total return of the NASDAQ Composite index, and (iii) the cumulative total return of the NASDAQ Bank Index. The graph assumes an initial investment of $100 and reinvestment of dividends. The graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock price performance.
Comparison of 5 Year Cumulative Total Return*
Among SVB Financial, the S&P 500 Index, the NASDAQ Composite Index, and the NASDAQ Bank Index
* $100 invested on 12/31/10 in stock & index-including reinvestment of dividends.
Fiscal year ending December 31.
Copyright © 2015 S&P, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
 
 
December 31,
 
 
2010
 
2011
 
2012
 
2013
 
2014
 
2015
SVB Financial Group
 
$
100.00

 
$
89.90

 
$
105.50

 
$
197.66

 
$
218.79

 
$
224.13

S&P 500
 
100.00

 
102.11

 
118.45

 
156.82

 
178.29

 
180.75

NASDAQ Composite
 
100.00

 
100.53

 
116.92

 
166.19

 
188.78

 
199.95

NASDAQ Bank
 
100.00

 
90.68

 
104.29

 
147.41

 
153.18

 
166.77



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Item 6.
SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA
The following selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and supplementary data as presented under Part II, Item 8 in this report. Information as of and for the years ended December 31, 2015 , 2014 , and 2013 is derived from audited financial statements presented separately herein, while information as of and for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011 is derived from audited financial statements not presented separately within.
 
 
Year ended December 31,
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts and ratios)
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Income statement summary:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net interest income
 
$
1,006,425

 
$
856,595

 
$
697,344

 
$
617,864

 
$
526,277

Provision for loan losses
 
(97,629
)
 
(59,486
)
 
(63,693
)
 
(44,330
)
 
(6,101
)
Noninterest income
 
472,794

 
572,239

 
673,206

 
335,546

 
382,332

Noninterest expense
 
(778,016
)
 
(707,180
)
 
(615,244
)
 
(545,998
)
 
(500,628
)
Income before income tax expense
 
603,574

 
662,168

 
691,613

 
363,082

 
401,880

Income tax expense
 
(228,754
)
 
(183,508
)
 
(146,830
)
 
(113,269
)
 
(119,087
)
Net income before noncontrolling interests
 
374,820

 
478,660

 
544,783

 
249,813

 
282,793

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests
 
(30,916
)
 
(214,790
)
 
(330,266
)
 
(74,710
)
 
(110,891
)
Net income available to common stockholders
 
$
343,904


$
263,870


$
214,517

 
$
175,103

 
$
171,902

Common share summary:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Earnings per common share—basic
 
$
6.70

 
$
5.39

 
$
4.73

 
$
3.96

 
$
4.00

Earnings per common share—diluted
 
6.62

 
5.31

 
4.67

 
3.91

 
3.94

Book value per common share
 
61.97

 
55.24

 
42.83

 
40.94

 
36.07

Weighted average shares outstanding—basic
 
51,318

 
48,931

 
45,309

 
44,242

 
43,004

Weighted average shares outstanding—diluted
 
51,916

 
49,662

 
45,944

 
44,764

 
43,637

Year-end balance sheet summary:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Available-for-sale securities
 
$
16,380,748

 
$
13,540,655

 
$
11,986,821

 
$
11,343,177

 
$
10,536,046

Held-to-maturity securities
 
8,790,963

 
7,421,042

 

 

 

Loans, net of unearned income
 
16,742,070


14,384,276


10,906,386

 
8,946,933

 
6,970,082

Total assets
 
44,686,703


39,337,869


26,410,144


22,762,824


19,968,894

Deposits
 
39,142,776


34,343,499


22,472,979

 
19,176,452

 
16,709,536

Short-term borrowings
 
774,900

 
7,781

 
5,080

 
166,110

 

Long-term debt
 
796,702

 
451,362

 
452,806

 
457,762

 
603,648

SVBFG stockholders' equity
 
3,198,134

 
2,813,072

 
1,961,635

 
1,827,256

 
1,569,392

Average balance sheet summary:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Available-for-sale securities
 
$
14,436,140

 
$
12,907,135

 
$
10,598,879

 
$
10,685,564

 
$
9,350,381

Held-to-maturity securities
 
7,829,177

 
3,696,417

 

 

 

Loans, net of unearned income
 
14,762,941

 
11,502,941

 
9,351,378

 
7,558,928

 
5,815,071

Total assets
 
40,846,377

 
32,961,936

 
23,208,169

 
21,311,172

 
18,670,499

Deposits
 
36,293,362

 
28,320,825

 
19,619,194

 
17,910,088

 
15,568,801

Short-term borrowings
 
23,226

 
6,264

 
27,018

 
70,802

 
16,994

Long-term debt
 
770,848

 
452,215

 
453,906

 
518,112

 
796,823

SVBFG stockholders' equity
 
3,075,371

 
2,523,235

 
1,927,674

 
1,735,281

 
1,448,398

Capital ratios:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SVBFG CET 1 risk-based capital ratio
 
12.28
%
 
%
 
%
 
%
 
 %
SVBFG total risk-based capital ratio
 
13.84

 
13.92

 
13.13

 
14.05

 
13.95

SVBFG tier 1 risk-based capital ratio
 
12.83

 
12.91

 
11.94

 
12.79

 
12.62

SVBFG tier 1 leverage ratio
 
7.63

 
7.74

 
8.31

 
8.06

 
7.92

SVBFG tangible common equity to tangible assets (1)
 
7.16

 
7.15

 
7.43

 
8.03

 
7.86

SVBFG tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets (1)
 
12.34

 
12.93

 
11.61

 
13.50

 
13.25

Bank CET 1 risk-based capital ratio
 
12.52

 

 

 

 

Bank total risk-based capital ratio
 
13.60

 
12.12

 
11.32

 
12.53

 
12.33

Bank tier 1 risk-based capital ratio
 
12.52

 
11.09

 
10.11

 
11.24

 
10.96

Bank tier 1 leverage ratio
 
7.09

 
6.64

 
7.04

 
7.06

 
6.87

Bank tangible common equity to tangible assets (1)
 
6.95

 
6.38

 
6.58

 
7.40

 
7.18

Bank tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets (1)
 
12.59

 
11.19

 
9.84

 
12.05

 
11.75

Average SVBFG stockholders' equity to average assets
 
7.53

 
7.65

 
8.31

 
8.14

 
7.76

Selected financial results:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Return on average assets
 
0.84
%
 
0.80
%
 
0.92
%
 
0.82
%
 
0.92
 %
Return on average common SVBFG stockholders' equity
 
11.18

 
10.46

 
11.13

 
10.09

 
11.87

Net interest margin
 
2.57

 
2.81

 
3.29

 
3.19

 
3.08

Gross loan charge-offs to average total gross loans
 
0.34

 
0.37

 
0.45

 
0.44

 
0.41

Net loan charge-offs (recoveries) to average total gross loans
 
0.31

 
0.32

 
0.33

 
0.31

 
(0.02
)
Nonperforming assets as a percentage of total assets
 
0.28

 
0.10

 
0.20

 
0.17

 
0.18

Allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total gross loans
 
1.29

 
1.14

 
1.30

 
1.23

 
1.28

 
(1)
See “Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Capital Resources-Capital Ratios” under Part II, Item 7 in this report for a reconciliation of non-GAAP tangible common equity to tangible assets and tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets.

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ITEM 7.  MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with "Selected Consolidated Financial Data" under Part II, Item 6 and our audited consolidated financial statements and supplementary data as presented under Part II, Item 8 in this report. Certain prior period amounts, including amounts related to the adoption of ASU 2014-01, ASU 2015-03 and ASU 2015-07, have been reclassified to conform to current period presentations.
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. See our cautionary language at the beginning of this report under “Forward Looking Statements”. Actual results could differ materially because of various factors, including but not limited to those discussed in “Risk Factors,” under Part I, Item 1A in this report.
Our fiscal year ends December 31 and, unless otherwise noted, references to years or fiscal years are for fiscal years ended December 31.
Overview of Company Operations
SVB Financial is a diversified financial services company, as well as a bank holding company and a financial holding company. SVB Financial was incorporated in the state of Delaware in March 1999. Through our various subsidiaries and divisions, we offer a variety of banking and financial products and services. For more than 30 years, we have been dedicated to helping innovative companies and their investors succeed, especially in the technology, life science/healthcare, private equity/venture capital and premium wine industries. We provide our clients of all sizes and stages with a diverse set of products and services to support them through all stages of their life cycles, and key innovation markets around the world.
We offer commercial and private banking products and services through our principal subsidiary, the Bank, which is a California-state chartered bank founded in 1983 and a member of the Federal Reserve System. Through its subsidiaries, the Bank also offers, investment advisory, asset management, private wealth management and brokerage services. We also offer non-banking products and services, such as funds management, venture capital and private equity investment, and business valuation services, through our subsidiaries and divisions.

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Management’s Overview of 2015 Financial Performance
Overall, we had another strong year in 2015 , which was reflective of strong balance sheet growth, solid core fee income and stable credit quality. We continued to perform well as a result of our ongoing focus serving early-stage companies and their investors, and our success in working with larger companies and private equity/venture capital firms. Furthermore, we continued to see success in the growth of our private bank offerings to our private equity/venture capital professionals and executive leaders of the innovation companies they support.
December 31, 2015 results (compared to December 31, 2014 , where applicable):
BALANCE SHEET
 
EARNINGS
Assets . $40.8 billion in average total assets (up 23.9%). $44.7 billion in period end total assets (up 13.6%).
Investments . $22.3 billion in average investment securities (up 34.1%). $25.2 billion in period-end investments securities (up 20.1%).
Loans . $14.8 billion in average total loan balances, net of unearned income (up 28.3%). $16.7 billion in period-end total loan balances, net of unearned income (up 16.4%).
Deposits . $36.3 billion in average total deposit balances (up 28.2%). $39.1 billion in period-end total deposit balances (up 14.0%).
Off-Balance Sheet Client Investment Funds . $39.2 billion in total average client investment fund balances (up 30.6%). $44.0 billion in total period-end client investment fund balances (up 35.9%)


 
EPS . Earnings per diluted share (“ EPS ”) of $6.62 (up 24.7%).
Net income . Consolidated net income available to common stockholders of $343.9 million (up 30.3%).
- Net interest income of $1.0 billion (up 17.5%).
- Net interest margin of 2.57 (down 24 bps).
- Noninterest income of $472.8 million, with non-GAAP core fee income (fee income for deposit services, letters of credit, business credit card, client investment, foreign exchange and lending-related activities) of $265.4 million +  (up 26.6%).
- Noninterest expense of $778.0 million (up 10.0%)

ROE . Return on average equity (annualized) (“ ROE ”) performance of 11.18%.

 
 
 
CAPITAL
 
CREDIT QUALITY
Capital/Liquidity . Continued strong capital and liquidity levels, including "well-capitalized" capital ratios.
- CET 1 risk-based capital ratio of 12.28%.
- Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 12.83%.
- Total risk-based capital ratio of 13.84%.
- Tier 1 leverage ratio of 7.63%.

 
Credit Quality . Prudent credit underwriting.
- Provision for loan losses of 0.58% as a percentage of total gross loans
- Net loan charge-offs of 0.31% as a percentage of average total gross loans
- Allowance for loan losses of 1.29% as a percentage of period-end total gross loans



+ This is a non-GAAP financial metric. (See the non-GAAP reconciliation under “Results of Operations—Noninterest Income”)
        



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A summary of our performance in 2015 compared to 2014 is as follows:
 
 
Year ended December 31,
 (Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts and ratios)
 
2015
 
2014
 
% Change  
Income Statement:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Diluted earnings per share
 
$
6.62

 
$
5.31

 
24.7

Net income available to common stockholders
 
343,904

 
263,870

 
30.3

  
Net interest income
 
1,006,425

 
856,595

 
17.5

  
Net interest margin
 
2.57
%
 
2.81
%
 
(24
)
bps 
Provision for loan losses
 
$
97,629

 
$
59,486

 
64.1

Noninterest income (1)
 
472,794

 
572,239

 
(17.4
)
  
Noninterest expense
 
778,016

 
707,180

 
10.0

  
Non-GAAP core fee income (2)
 
265,382

 
209,631

 
26.6

 
Non-GAAP net income available to common stockholders
 
343,904

 
275,306

 
24.9

  
Non-GAAP diluted earnings per common share
 
6.62

 
5.54

 
19.5

  
Non-GAAP noninterest income, net of noncontrolling interests and excluding net losses on SVBIF sale transaction (2)
 
441,058

 
352,549

 
25.1

  
Non-GAAP noninterest expense, net of noncontrolling interests (3)
 
777,188

 
688,313

 
12.9

  
Balance Sheet:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average available-for-sale-securities
 
$
14,436,140

 
$
12,907,135

 
11.8

Average held-to-maturity securities (4)
 
7,829,177

 
3,696,417

 
111.8

 
Average loans, net of unearned income
 
14,762,941

 
11,502,941

 
28.3

 
Average noninterest-bearing demand deposits
 
27,822,283

 
20,410,887

 
36.3

  
Average interest-bearing deposits
 
8,471,079

 
7,909,938

 
7.1

  
Average total deposits
 
36,293,362

 
28,320,825

 
28.2

  
Earnings Ratios:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Return on average assets (5)
 
0.84
%
 
0.80
%
 
5.0

Non-GAAP return on average assets (6)
 
0.84

 
0.84

 

 
Return on average common SVBFG stockholders’ equity (7)
 
11.18

 
10.46

 
6.9

  
Non-GAAP return on average common SVBFG stockholders' equity (8)
 
11.18

 
10.91

 
2.5

 
Asset Quality Ratios:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total period-end gross loans
 
1.29
%
 
1.14
%
 
15

bps 
Allowance for loan losses for performing loans as a percentage of total gross performing loans
 
0.99

 
1.04

 
(5
)
  
Gross loan charge-offs as a percentage of average total gross loans
 
0.34

 
0.37

 
(3
)
  
Net loan charge-offs as a percentage of average total gross loans
 
0.31

 
0.32

 
(1
)
  
Capital Ratios:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SVBFG CET 1 risk-based capital ratio (9)
 
12.28
%
 
%
 
N/A

bps 
SVBFG total risk-based capital ratio (9)
 
13.84

 
13.92

 
(8
)
 
SVBFG tier 1 risk-based capital ratio (9)
 
12.83

 
12.91

 
(8
)
  
SVBFG tier 1 leverage ratio (9)
 
7.63

 
7.74

 
(11
)
  
SVBFG tangible common equity to tangible assets (10)
 
7.16

 
7.15

 
1

  
SVBFG tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets (10)
 
12.34

 
12.93

 
(59
)
  
Bank CET 1 risk-based capital ratio (9)
 
12.52

 

 
N/A

 
Bank total risk-based capital ratio (9)
 
13.60

 
12.12

 
148

  
Bank tier 1 risk-based capital ratio (9)
 
12.52

 
11.09

 
143

  
Bank tier 1 leverage ratio (9)
 
7.09

 
6.64

 
45

  
Bank tangible common equity to tangible assets (10)
 
6.95

 
6.38

 
57

  
Bank tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets (10)
 
12.59

 
11.19

 
140

  
Other Ratios:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
GAAP operating efficiency ratio (11)
 
52.60
%
 
49.49
%
 
6.3

Non-GAAP operating efficiency ratio (3)
 
53.63

 
56.85

 
(5.7
)
  
Book value per common share (12)
 
$
61.97

 
$
55.24

 
12.2

  
Other Statistics:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Average full-time equivalent employees
 
2,004

 
1,815

 
10.4

Period-end full-time equivalent employees
 
2,089

 
1,914

 
9.1

  

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(1)
During the second quarter of 2015 we adopted new accounting guidance related to our consolidated variable interest entities (ASU 2015-02). Amounts prior to January 1, 2015 have not been revised for the adoption of this guidance. See Note 2— "Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 of this report for additional details.
(2)
See “Results of Operations–Noninterest Income” below for a description and reconciliation of non-GAAP core fee income and noninterest income.
(3)
See “Results of Operations–Noninterest Expense” below for a description and reconciliation of non-GAAP noninterest expense and non-GAAP operating efficiency ratio.
(4)
Average held-to-maturity securities balance is reflective of the re-designation from available-for-sale to held-to-maturity effective June 1, 2014.
(5)
Ratio represents consolidated net income available to common stockholders divided by average assets.
(6)
Ratio represents consolidated non-GAAP net income available to common stockholders divided by average assets.
(7)
Ratio represents consolidated net income available to common stockholders divided by average SVBFG stockholders’ equity.
(8)
Ratio represents consolidated non-GAAP net income available to common stockholders divided by average SVBFG stockholders’ equity.
(9)
Ratios reflect the adoption of the rules implementing the "Basel III" regulatory capital reforms and changes required by the Dodd-Frank Act ("Basel III Capital Rules") in effect beginning January 1, 2015. Ratios for prior periods represent the previous capital rules under Basel I.
(10)
See “Capital Resources–Capital Ratios” for a reconciliation of non-GAAP tangible common equity to tangible assets and tangible common equity to risk-weighted assets.
(11)
The operating efficiency ratio is calculated by dividing total noninterest expense by total net interest income plus noninterest income.
(12)
Book value per common share is calculated by dividing total SVBFG stockholders’ equity by total outstanding common shares at period-end.

Non-GAAP Net Income, Non-GAAP Diluted Earnings Per Common Share, and Non-GAAP Return on Average Assets and SVBFG Stockholders' Equity
We use and report non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP diluted earnings per common share and non-GAAP return on average assets and stockholders' equity, which excludes, in the year applicable net losses from the sale of the Bank’s subsidiary, SVB India Finance Private Limited, a non-banking financial company in India (“ SVBIF ”). We believe these non-GAAP financial measures, when taken together with the corresponding GAAP financial measures, provide meaningful supplemental information regarding our performance by excluding certain items that do not occur every reporting period. Our management uses, and believes that investors benefit from referring to, these non-GAAP financial measures in assessing our operating results and related trends, and when planning, forecasting and analyzing future periods. However, these non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to, not as a substitute for or preferable to, financial measures prepared in accordance with GAAP.
A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP net income available to common stockholders and non-GAAP diluted earnings per common share for 2015 and 2014 is as follows:
 
 
Year ended December 31,
(Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts and shares)
 
2015
 
2014
Net income available to common stockholders
 
$
343,904

 
$
263,870

Less: net losses on SVBIF sale transaction (1)
 

 
13,934

Tax impact from net losses on SVBIF sale transaction
 

 
(5,398
)
Tax impact of undistributed earnings of SVBIF
 

 
2,900

Non-GAAP net income available to common stockholders
 
$
343,904

 
$
275,306

GAAP earnings per common share—diluted
 
$
6.62

 
$
5.31

Less: net losses on SVBIF sale transaction (1)
 

 
0.28

Tax impact from net losses on SVBIF sale transaction
 

 
(0.11
)
Tax impact of undistributed earnings of SVBIF
 

 
0.06

Non-GAAP earnings per common share—diluted
 
$
6.62

 
$
5.54

Weighted average diluted common shares outstanding
 
51,916,408

 
49,661,547

 
 
(1)
Pre-tax net losses of $13.9 million on the then-pending sale of SVBIF are included in other noninterest income at December 31, 2014.

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A reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP return on average assets and return on average SVBFG stockholders' equity for 2015 and 2014 is as follows:
 
 
Year ended December 31,
(Dollars in thousands, except ratios)
 
2015
 
2014
Net income available to common stockholders
 
$
343,904

 
$
263,870

Non-GAAP net income available to common stockholders
 
$
343,904

 
$
275,306

Average assets
 
$
40,846,377

 
$
32,961,936

Return on average assets
 
0.84
%
 
0.80
%
Non-GAAP return on average assets
 
0.84

 
0.84

Average SVBFG stockholders' equity
 
$
3,075,371

 
$
2,523,235

Return on average SVBFG stockholders' equity
 
11.18
%
 
10.46
%
Non-GAAP return on average SVBFG stockholders' equity
 
11.18

 
10.91

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
Our accounting policies are fundamental to understanding our financial condition and results of operations. We have identified four policies as being critical because they require us to make particularly difficult, subjective and/or complex judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain, and because it is likely that materially different amounts would be reported under different conditions or using different assumptions. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis and we base these estimates on historical experiences and various other factors and assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
Our critical accounting policies include those that address the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses and reserve for unfunded credit commitments, measurements of fair value, the valuation of equity warrant assets and the recognition and measurement of income tax assets and liabilities. Our senior management has discussed and reviewed the development, selection, application and disclosure of these critical accounting policies with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors.
We disclose our method and approach for each of our critical accounting policies in Note 2-“Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 in this report.
Allowance for Loan Losses and Reserve for Unfunded Credit Commitments
Allowance for Loan Losses
The allowance for loan losses is management's estimate of credit losses inherent in the loan portfolio at the balance sheet date. We consider our accounting policy for the allowance for loan losses to be critical as estimation of the allowance involves material estimates by us and is particularly susceptible to significant changes in the near term. Determining the allowance for loan losses requires us to make forecasts that are highly uncertain and require a high degree of judgment. Our loan loss reserve methodology is applied to our loan portfolio and we maintain the allowance for loan losses at levels that we believe are appropriate to absorb estimated probable losses inherent in our loan portfolio. A committee comprised of senior management evaluates the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses.
Our allowance for loan losses is established for loan losses that are probable but not yet realized. The process of anticipating loan losses is inherently imprecise. We apply a systematic process for the evaluation of individual loans and pools of loans for inherent risk of loan losses. At the time of approval each loan in our portfolio is assigned a credit risk rating through an evaluation process, which includes consideration of such factors as payment status, the financial condition of the borrower, borrower compliance with loan covenants, underlying collateral values, potential loan concentrations, and general economic conditions. The credit risk ratings for each loan are monitored and updated on an ongoing basis.
The allowance for loan losses is based on a formula allocation for similarly risk-rated loans by client industry sector and individually for impaired loans. Our formula allocation is determined on a quarterly basis by utilizing a historical loan loss migration model, which is a statistical model used to estimate an appropriate allowance for outstanding loan balances by calculating the likelihood of a loan being charged-off based on its credit risk rating using historical loan performance data from our portfolio. The formula allocation provides the average loan loss experience for each portfolio segment, which considers our quarterly historical loss experience since the year 2000, both by risk-rating category and client industry sector. The resulting loan loss factors for each risk-rating category and client industry sector are ultimately applied to the respective period-end client loan balances for each corresponding risk-rating category by client industry sector to provide an estimation of the allowance for loan losses.

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Our allowance for loan losses is also sensitive to changes in economic factors. We apply qualitative allocations to the results we obtained through our historical loan loss migration model to ascertain the total allowance for loan losses. These qualitative allocations are based upon management's assessment of the risks that may lead to a loan loss experience different from our historical loan loss experience. These risks are aggregated to become our qualitative allocation. Refer to Note 2-“Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 in this report for a summary of the factors management considers for its qualitative allocation as part of management's estimate of the changing risks in the lending environment.
Reserve for Unfunded Credit Commitments
The level of the reserve for unfunded credit commitments is determined following a methodology that parallels that used for the allowance for loan losses. We consider our accounting policy for the reserve for unfunded credit commitments to be critical as estimation of the reserve involves material estimates by our management and is particularly susceptible to significant changes in the near term. We record a liability for probable and estimable losses associated with our unfunded credit commitments. Each quarter, every unfunded client credit commitment is allocated to a credit risk-rating category in accordance with each client's credit risk rating. We use the historical loan loss factors described under our allowance for loan losses to calculate the possible loan loss experience if unfunded credit commitments are funded. Separately, we use historical trends to calculate the probability of an unfunded credit commitment being funded. We apply the loan funding probability factor to risk-factor adjusted unfunded credit commitments by credit risk-rating to derive the reserve for unfunded credit commitments. The reserve for unfunded credit commitments also includes certain qualitative allocations as deemed appropriate by management.
Fair Value Measurements
We use fair value measurements to record fair value for certain financial instruments and to determine fair value disclosures. We disclose our method and approach for fair value measurements of assets and liabilities in Note 2-“Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 in this report.
ASC 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures, establishes a three-level hierarchy for disclosure of assets and liabilities recorded at fair value. The classification of assets and liabilities within the hierarchy is based on whether the significant inputs to the valuation methodology used for measurement are observable or unobservable and the significance of the level of the input to the entire measurement. Observable inputs reflect market-derived or market-based information obtained from independent sources, while unobservable inputs reflect our estimates about market data. The three levels for measuring fair value are defined in Note 2-“Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 in this report.
The degree of management judgment involved in determining the fair value of a financial instrument is dependent upon the availability of quoted market prices or observable market parameters. For financial instruments that trade actively and have quoted market prices or observable market parameters, there is minimal subjectivity involved in measuring fair value (Level 1 measurements). When observable market prices and parameters are not fully available, management judgment is necessary to estimate fair value. For inactive markets, there is little information, if any, to evaluate if individual transactions are orderly. Accordingly, we are required to estimate, based upon all available facts and circumstances, the degree to which orderly transactions are occurring and provide more weighting to price quotes that are based upon orderly transactions (Level 2 measurements). In addition, changes in the market conditions may reduce the availability of quoted prices or observable data. For example, reduced liquidity in the capital markets or changes in secondary market activities could result in observable market inputs becoming unavailable. Therefore, when market data is not available, we use valuation techniques requiring more management judgment to estimate the appropriate fair value measurement (Level 3 measurements). Significant judgment is required to determine whether certain assets measured at fair value are included in Level 2 or Level 3. When making this judgment, we consider available information and our understanding of the valuation techniques and significant inputs used. The classification of Level 2 or Level 3 is based upon the specific facts and circumstances of each instrument or instrument category and judgments are made regarding the significance of the Level 3 inputs to the instrument's fair value measurement in its entirety. If Level 3 inputs are considered significant, the instrument is classified as Level 3. Accordingly, the degree of judgment exercised by management in determining fair value is greater for financial assets and liabilities categorized as Level 3. Our valuation processes include a number of key controls that are designed to ensure that fair value is measured appropriately.
The following table summarizes our financial assets and liabilities that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis and the amounts measured using significant Level 3 inputs.

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December 31,
 
 
2015
 
2014
(Dollars in thousands)
 
Total Balance  
 
Level 3     
 
Total Balance  
 
Level 3     
Assets carried at fair value
 
$
16,710,656

 
$
137,208

 
$
15,008,982

 
$
185,902

As a percentage of total assets
 
37.4
%
 
0.3
%
 
38.2
%
 
0.5
%
Liabilities carried at fair value
 
$
30,737

 
$

 
$
31,111

 
$

As a percentage of total liabilities
 
0.1
%
 
%
 
0.1
%
 
%
As a percentage of assets carried at fair value
 


 
0.8
%
 
 
 
1.2
%
Financial assets valued using Level 3 measurements consist of our non-marketable securities (investments in venture capital and other investment securities in shares of public company stock subject to certain sales restrictions for which the sales restriction has not been lifted) and equity warrant assets (shares of private and public company capital stock). The valuation methodologies of our non-marketable securities carried under fair value accounting and equity warrant assets involve a significant degree of management judgment. Refer to Note 2-“Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” and Note 20-"Fair Value of Financial Instruments" of the “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements” under Part II, Item 8 in this report for a summary of the valuation techniques and significant inputs used for each class of Level 3 assets.
The inherent uncertainty in the process of valuing securities for which a ready market does not exist may cause our estimated values of these securities to differ significantly from the values that would have been derived had a ready market for the securities existed, and those differences could be material. The timing and amount of changes in fair value, if any, of these financial instruments depend upon factors beyond our control, including the performance of the underlying companies, fluctuations in the market prices of the preferred or common stock of the underlying companies, general volatility and interest rate market factors, and legal and contractual restrictions. The timing and amount of actual net proceeds, if any, from the disposition of these financial instruments depend upon factors beyond our control, including investor demand for IPOs, levels of M&A activity, legal and contractual restrictions on our ability to sell, and the perceived and actual performance of portfolio companies. All of these factors are difficult to predict and there can be no assurances that we will realize the full value of these securities, which could result in significant losses. (See “Risk Factors” under Item 1A of Part I above)
During 2015, the Level 3 assets that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis experienced net realized and unrealized gains of $72.6 million (which is inclusive of noncontrolling interest), primarily due to valuation increases from our private company warrant portfolio reflective of continued funding activity by investors. During 2014 and 2013, the Level 3 assets that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis experienced net realized and unrealized gains of $188.2 million and $251.0 million (which is inclusive of noncontrolling interest), respectively.
Derivative Assets-Equity Warrant Assets
As discussed above, the valuation of our equity warrant assets is a Level 3 measurement which requires a significant degree of management judgment in order to value the assets. Our equity warrant asset policy is also considered a critical policy due to the variability of returns from our shares of private and public companies and due to the degree of management judgment in selecting a valuation approach for our equity warrant assets.
The timing and value realized from the disposition of equity warrant assets depend upon factors beyond our control, including the performance of the underlying portfolio companies, investor demand for IPOs, fluctuations in the price of the underlying common stock of these private and public companies, levels of M&A activity, and legal and contractual restrictions on our ability to sell the underlying securities. All of these factors are difficult to predict. Many equity warrant assets may be terminated or may expire without compensation and may incur valuation losses from lower-priced funding rounds. We are unable to predict future gains or losses with accuracy, and gains or losses could vary materially from period to period.
Additionally, management has the ability to select from several valuation techniques and has alternative approaches in the calculation of significant inputs. The selection of alternative valuation techniques or alternative approaches used to calculate significant inputs in the current methodology may cause our estimated values of these assets to differ significantly from the values recorded. Further, the inherent uncertainty in the process of valuing these assets for which a ready market is unavailable may cause our estimated values of these assets to differ significantly from the values that would have been derived had a ready market for the assets existed, and those differences could be material and ultimately, the fair value of equity warrant assets may never be realized, which could result in significant losses.
Income Taxes
We are subject to income tax laws of the United States, its states and municipalities and those of the foreign jurisdictions in which we operate. Income taxes are accounted for using the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred tax assets

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and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax-basis carrying amount. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date. A valuation allowance is provided when management assesses available evidence and exercises their judgment that it is more likely than not that some portion of the deferred tax asset will not be realized.
We consider our accounting policy relating to income taxes to be critical as the determination of current and deferred income taxes is based on complex analyses of many factors including interpretation of federal, state and foreign income tax laws, the difference between tax and financial reporting bases of assets and liabilities (temporary differences), estimates of amounts due or owed, the timing of reversals of temporary differences and current financial accounting standards. Actual results could differ significantly from the estimates due to tax law interpretations used in determining the current and deferred income tax liabilities. Additionally, there can be no assurances that estimates and interpretations used in determining income tax liabilities may not be challenged by federal and state taxing authorities.
In establishing a provision for income tax expense, we must make judgments and interpretations about the application of these inherently complex tax laws. We must also make estimates about when in the future certain items will affect taxable income in the various tax jurisdictions, both domestic and foreign. We evaluate our uncertain tax positions in accordance with ASC 740, Income Taxes. We believe that our unrecognized tax benefits, including related interest and penalties, are adequate in relation to the potential for additional tax assessments.
We are also subject to routine corporate tax audits by the various tax jurisdictions. In the preparation of income tax returns, tax positions are taken based on interpretation of federal and state income tax laws as well as foreign tax laws. We review our uncertain tax positions quarterly, and we may adjust these unrecognized tax benefits in light of changing facts and circumstances, such as the closing of a tax audit or the refinement of an estimate. To the extent that the final tax outcome of these matters is different than the amounts recorded, such differences will impact income tax expense in the period in which such determination is made.
Results of Operations
Net Interest Income and Margin (Fully Taxable Equivalent Basis)
Net interest income is defined as the difference between interest earned from loans, our fixed income investment portfolio (available-for-sale and held-to-maturity securities) and our short-term investment securities and interest paid on funding sources. Net interest income is one of our principal sources of revenue. Net interest margin is defined as net interest income, on a fully taxable equivalent basis, as a percentage of average interest-earning assets. Net interest income and net interest margin are presented on a fully taxable equivalent basis to consistently reflect income from taxable loans and securities and tax-exempt securities based on the federal statutory tax rate of 35.0 percent.
Analysis of Net Interest Income Changes Due to Volume and Rate (Fully Taxable Equivalent Basis)
Net interest income is affected by changes in the amount and mix of interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities, referred to as “volume change.” Net interest income is also affected by changes in yields earned on interest-earning assets and rates paid on interest-bearing liabilities, referred to as “rate change.” The following table sets forth changes in interest income for each major category of interest-earning assets and interest expense for each major category of interest-bearing liabilities. The table also reflects the amount of simultaneous changes attributable to both volume and rate changes for the years indicated. For this table, changes that are not solely due to either volume or rate are allocated in proportion to the percentage changes in average volume and average rate.  

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2015 compared to 2014
 
2014 compared to 2013
 
 
Change due to
 
Change due to
(Dollars in thousands)
 
Volume
 
Rate
 
Total
 
Volume
 
Rate
 
Total
Interest income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Federal Reserve deposits, federal funds sold, securities purchased under agreements to resell and other short-term investment securities
 
$
(528
)
 
$
131

 
$
(397
)
 
$
3,117

 
$
(707
)
 
$
2,410

Fixed income investment portfolio (taxable)
 
72,884

 
391

 
73,275

 
98,572

 
(7,363
)
 
91,209

Fixed income investment portfolio (non-taxable)
 
(277
)
 
(79
)
 
(356
)
 

 
(100
)
 
(100
)
Loans, net of unearned income
 
153,251

 
(71,049
)
 
82,202

 
117,222

 
(48,481
)
 
68,741

Increase (decrease) in interest income, net
 
225,330

 
(70,606
)
 
154,724

 
218,911

 
(56,651
)
 
162,260

Interest expense:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest bearing checking and savings accounts

 
89

 
(620
)
 
(531
)
 
122

 
196

 
318

Money market deposits
 
427

 
(6,141
)
 
(5,714
)
 
4,589

 
(1,659
)
 
2,930

Money market deposits in foreign offices
 
(14
)
 
(48
)
 
(62
)
 
54

 
(73
)
 
(19
)
Time deposits
 
(124
)
 
(92
)
 
(216
)
 
(47
)
 
(217
)
 
(264
)
Sweep deposits in foreign offices
 
(12
)
 
(132
)
 
(144
)
 
98

 
(77
)
 
21

Total increase (decrease) in deposits expense
 
366

 
(7,033
)
 
(6,667
)
 
4,816

 
(1,830
)
 
2,986

Short-term borrowings
 
32

 
7

 
39

 
(76
)
 

 
(76
)
3.50% Senior Notes
 
11,540

 

 
11,540

 

 

 

5.375% Senior Notes
 
29

 

 
29

 
11

 
53

 
64

Junior Subordinated Debentures
 
(10
)
 
(16
)
 
(26
)
 
(10
)
 
29

 
19

6.05% Subordinated Notes
 
(22
)
 
126

 
104

 
(19
)
 
70

 
51

Total increase (decrease) in borrowings expense
 
11,569

 
117

 
11,686

 
(94
)
 
152

 
58

Increase (decrease) in interest expense, net