Adjusted operating income is a non-GAAP measure of performance of our Financial Services Businesses. Adjusted operating income excludes “Realized investment gains (losses), net,” as adjusted, and related charges and adjustments. A significant element of realized investment gains and losses are impairments and credit-related and interest rate-related gains and losses. Impairments and losses from sales of credit-impaired securities, the timing of which depends largely on market credit cycles, can vary considerably across periods. The timing of other sales that would result in gains or losses, such as interest rate-related gains or losses, is largely subject to our discretion and influenced by market opportunities as well as our tax and capital profile.
Realized investment gains (losses) within certain of our businesses for which such gains (losses) are a principal source of earnings, and those associated with terminating hedges of foreign currency earnings and current period yield adjustments are included in adjusted operating income. Adjusted operating income excludes realized investment gains and losses from products that contain embedded derivatives, and from associated derivative portfolios that are part of a hedging program related to the risk of those products. Adjusted operating income also excludes gains and losses from changes in value of certain assets and liabilities relating to foreign currency exchange movements that have been economically hedged or considered part of our capital funding strategies for our international subsidiaries, as well as gains and losses on certain investments that are classified as other trading account assets.
Adjusted operating income also excludes investment gains and losses on trading account assets supporting insurance liabilities and changes in experience-rated contractholder liabilities due to asset value changes, because these recorded changes in asset and liability values are expected to ultimately accrue to contractholders. Trends in the underlying profitability of our businesses can be more clearly identified without the fluctuating effects of these transactions. In addition, adjusted operating income excludes the results of divested businesses, which are not relevant to our ongoing operations. Discontinued operations, which is presented as a separate component of net income under GAAP, is also excluded from adjusted operating income.