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OPY > SEC Filings for OPY > Form 10-K on 7-Mar-2014All Recent SEC Filings




Annual Report


The Company's consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto which appear elsewhere in this annual report.

The Company engages in a broad range of activities in the securities industry, including retail securities brokerage, institutional sales and trading, investment banking (both corporate and public finance), research, market-making, trust services and investment advisory and asset management services. Its principal subsidiaries are Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. ("Oppenheimer") and Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc. ("OAM"). As of December 31, 2013, the Company provided its services from 96 offices in 25 states located throughout the United States, offices in Tel Aviv, Israel, Hong Kong and Beijing, China, London, England, and St. Helier, Isle of Jersey. Client assets administered by the Company as of December 31, 2013 totaled approximately $84.6 billion. The Company provides investment advisory services through OAM and Oppenheimer Investment Management, LLC ("OIM") and Oppenheimer's Fahnestock Asset Management, Alpha and OMEGA Group divisions. The Company provides trust services and products through Oppenheimer Trust Company. The Company provides discount brokerage services through Freedom Investments, Inc. ("Freedom") and through BUYandHOLD, a division of Freedom. Through OPY Credit Corp., the Company offers syndication as well as trading of issued corporate loans. Oppenheimer Multifamily Housing & Healthcare Finance, Inc. ("OMHHF") is engaged in commercial mortgage origination and servicing. At December 31, 2013, client assets under management by the asset management groups totaled approximately $25.3 billion. At December 31, 2013, the Company employed 3,517 employees (3,435 full-time and 82 part-time), of whom approximately 1,388 were financial advisers.

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Critical Accounting Estimates

The Company's accounting policies are essential to understanding and interpreting the financial results reported in the consolidated financial statements. The significant accounting policies used in the preparation of the Company's consolidated financial statements are summarized in Note 2 to those statements. Certain of those policies are considered to be particularly important to the presentation of the Company's financial results because they require management to make difficult, complex or subjective judgments, often as a result of matters that are inherently uncertain. The following is a discussion of these policies.

Financial Instruments and Fair Value

Financial Instruments

Securities owned and securities sold, but not yet purchased, investments and derivative contracts are carried at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in earnings each period. The Company's other financial instruments are generally short-term in nature or have variable interest rates and as such their carrying values approximate fair value, with the exception of notes receivable from employees which are carried at cost.

Financial Instruments Used for Asset and Liability Management

For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as a cash flow hedge, the effective portion of the gain or loss on the derivative is reported as a component of other comprehensive income and reclassified into earnings in the same period or periods during which the hedged transaction affects earnings. Gains or losses on the derivative representing either hedge ineffectiveness or hedge components excluded from the assessment of effectiveness are recognized in current earnings.

Fair Value Measurements

Effective January 1, 2008, the Company adopted the accounting guidance for the fair value measurement of financial assets, which defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value, establishes a fair value measurement hierarchy, and expands fair value measurement disclosures. Fair value, as defined by the accounting guidance, is the price that would be received in the sale of an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The fair value hierarchy established by this accounting guidance prioritizes the inputs used in valuation techniques into the following three categories (highest to lowest priority):

Level 1: Observable inputs that reflect quoted prices (unadjusted) for identical assets or liabilities in active markets;

Level 2: Inputs other than quoted prices included in Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability either directly or indirectly; and

Level 3: Unobservable inputs.

The Company's financial instruments are recorded at fair value and generally are classified within Level 1 or Level 2 within the fair value hierarchy using quoted market prices or quotes from market makers or broker-dealers. Financial instruments classified within Level 1 are valued based on quoted market prices in active markets and consist of U.S. government, federal agency, and sovereign government obligations, corporate equities, and certain money market instruments. Level 2 financial instruments primarily consist of investment grade and high-yield corporate debt, convertible bonds, mortgage and asset-backed securities, municipal obligations, and certain money market instruments. Financial instruments classified as Level 2 are valued based on quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets and quoted prices for identical or similar assets and liabilities in markets that are

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not active. Some financial instruments are classified within Level 3 within the fair value hierarchy as observable pricing inputs are not available due to limited market activity for the asset or liability. Such financial instruments include investments in hedge funds and private equity funds where the Company, through its subsidiaries, is general partner, less-liquid private label mortgage and asset-backed securities, certain distressed municipal securities, and auction rate securities. A description of the valuation techniques applied and inputs used in measuring the fair value of the Company's financial instruments is located in Note 5 to the consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Fair Value Option

The Company has the option to measure certain financial assets and financial liabilities at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in earnings each period. The Company may make a fair value option election on an instrument-by-instrument basis at initial recognition of an asset or liability or upon an event that gives rise to a new basis of accounting for that instrument. The Company has elected to apply the fair value option to its loan trading portfolio which resides in OPY Credit Corp. and is included in other assets on the consolidated balance sheet. Management has elected this treatment as it is consistent with the manner in which the business is managed as well as the way that financial instruments in other parts of the business are recorded. There were no loan positions held in the secondary loan trading portfolio at December 31, 2013 and 2012.

The Company elected the fair value option for those securities sold under agreements to repurchase ("repurchase agreements") and securities purchased under agreements to resell ("reverse repurchase agreements") that do not settle overnight or have an open settlement date or that are not accounted for as purchase and sale agreements. The Company has elected the fair value option for these instruments to more accurately reflect market and economic events in its earnings and to mitigate a potential imbalance in earnings caused by using different measurement attributes (i.e. fair value versus carrying value) for certain assets and liabilities. At December 31, 2013, the fair value of the reverse repurchase agreements and repurchase agreements were $184.0 million and $nil, respectively.

On October 1, 2013, the Company also elected the fair value option for loans held for sale which reside in OMHHF and are reported on the consolidated balance sheet. Loans held for sale represent originated loans that are generally transferred or sold within 60 days from the date that a mortgage loan is funded. The Company initially measures all originated loans at fair value. Subsequent to initial measurement, the Company measures all mortgage loans at fair value, unless the Company documents at the time the loan is originated that it will measure the specific loan at the lower of cost or fair market value for the life of the loan. Electing to use fair value allows a better offset of the change in fair value of the loan and the change in fair value of the derivative instruments used as economic hedges. During the period prior to its sale, interest income on a loan held for sale is calculated in accordance with the terms of the individual loan. At December 31, 2013, the book value and fair value of the loans held for sale were $74.2 million and $76.0 million, respectively.

Financing Receivables

The Company's financing receivables include customer margin loans, securities purchased under agreements to resell ("reverse repurchase agreements"), and securities borrowed transactions. The Company uses financing receivables to extend margin loans to customers, meet trade settlement requirements, and facilitate its matched-book arrangements and inventory requirements.

Allowance for Credit Losses

The Company's financing receivables are secured by collateral received from clients and counterparties. In many cases, the Company is permitted to sell or re-pledge securities held as collateral. These securities may be used to collateralize repurchase agreements, to enter into securities lending agreements, to cover short positions or fulfill the obligation of fails to deliver. The Company monitors the market value of the collateral received on a daily basis and may require clients and counterparties to deposit additional collateral or return collateral pledged, when appropriate.

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Customer receivables, primarily consisting of customer margin loans collateralized by customer-owned securities, are stated net of allowance for credit losses. The Company reviews large customer accounts that do not comply with the Company's margin requirements on a case-by-case basis to determine the likelihood of collection and records an allowance for credit loss following that process. For small customer accounts that do not comply with the Company's margin requirements, the allowance for credit loss is generally recorded as the amount of unsecured or partially secured receivables.

The Company also makes loans or pays advances to financial advisers as part of its hiring process. Reserves are established on these receivables if the financial advisor is no longer associated with the Company and the receivable has not been promptly repaid or if it is determined that it is probable the amount will not be collected.

Legal and Regulatory Reserves

The Company records reserves related to legal and regulatory proceedings in accounts payable and other liabilities. The determination of the amounts of these reserves requires significant judgment on the part of management. In accordance with applicable accounting guidance, the Company establishes reserves for litigation and regulatory matters where available information indicates that it is probable a liability had been incurred at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the Company can reasonably estimate the amount of that loss. When loss contingencies are not probable and cannot be reasonably estimated, the Company does not establish reserves.

When determining whether to record a reserve, management considers many factors including, but not limited to, the amount of the claim; the stage and forum of the proceeding, the sophistication of the claimant, the amount of the loss, if any, in the client's account and the possibility of wrongdoing, if any, on the part of an employee of the Company; the basis and validity of the claim; previous results in similar cases; and applicable legal precedents and case law. Each legal and regulatory proceeding is reviewed with counsel in each accounting period and the reserve is adjusted as deemed appropriate by management. Any change in the reserve amount is recorded in the results of that period. The assumptions of management in determining the estimates of reserves may be incorrect and the actual disposition of a legal or regulatory proceeding could be greater or less than the reserve amount. See "Legal Proceedings," Note 15 to the consolidated financial statements appearing in Item 8 and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Regulatory and Legal Environment".


Goodwill arose upon the acquisitions of Oppenheimer, Old Michigan Corp., Josephthal & Co. Inc., Grand Charter Group Incorporated and the Oppenheimer Divisions, as defined below. The Company defines a reporting unit as an operating segment. The Company's goodwill resides in its Private Client Division ("PCD"). Goodwill of a reporting unit is subject to at least an annual test for impairment to determine if the fair value of goodwill of a reporting unit is less than its estimated carrying amount. Goodwill of a reporting unit is required to be tested for impairment between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying amount. The Company derives the estimated carrying amount of its operating segments by estimating the amount of stockholders' equity required to support the activities of each operating segment. Due to the volatility in the financial services sector and equity markets in general, determining whether an impairment of goodwill has occurred is increasingly difficult and requires management to exercise significant judgment. Goodwill recorded as at December 31, 2013 has been tested for impairment and it has been determined that no impairment has occurred. See Note 19 to the consolidated financial statements appearing in Item 8 for further discussion.

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Excess of fair value of assets acquired over cost arose from the January 2008 acquisition of certain businesses from CIBC World Markets Corp., including five-year contingent consideration issued as a result of such acquisition. At the end of 2012, all contingencies expired and the Company recorded a reduction of "Excess of fair value of assets acquired over cost" of $7.0 million and deferred tax liabilities of $5.0 million offset by the reversal of related customer relationship intangible assets of $630,000 and fixed assets of $65,000 on the consolidated balance sheet as of December 31, 2012 as well as a non-cash adjustment reducing occupancy expenses in the amount of $11.3 million.

Intangible Assets

Intangible assets arose upon the acquisition, in January 2003, of the U.S. Private Client and Asset Management Divisions of CIBC World Markets Corp. (the "Oppenheimer Divisions") and comprise trademarks and trade names. Trademarks and trade names, carried at $31.7 million, which are not amortized, are subject to at least an annual test for impairment to determine if the fair value is less than their carrying amount. Trademarks and trade names recorded as at December 31, 2013 have been tested for impairment and it has been determined that no impairment has occurred. See Note 19 to the consolidated financial statements appearing in Item 8 for further discussion.

Intangible assets also arose from the January 2008 acquisition of the Oppenheimer Divisions from CIBC World Markets Corp. and are comprised of customer relationships and a below market lease. Customer relationships were being amortized on a straight-line basis over 180 months commencing in January 2008. However, due to the expiration of the five-year contingent consideration issued as part of such acquisition, remaining amounts related to the customer relationship intangible asset of $630,000 were written off in the fourth quarter of 2012. The customer relationship intangible asset was fully amortized as of December 31, 2012. The below market lease was determined to amortize on a straight-line basis over 60 months commencing in January 2008. However, due to the plan to consolidate the Company's headquarters, the Company terminated the lease which resulted in a reevaluation of the remaining useful life of the below market lease intangible asset and amortized $1.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and $3.2 million during the first quarter of 2012.

Share-Based Compensation Plans

The Company estimates the fair value of share-based awards using the Black-Scholes model and applies to it a forfeiture rate based on historical experience. Key assumptions used to estimate the fair value of share-based awards include the expected term and the expected volatility of the Company's Class A Stock over the term of the award, the risk-free interest rate over the expected term, and the Company's expected annual dividend yield. Estimates of fair value are not intended to predict actual future events or the value ultimately realized by persons who receive share-based awards. For further discussion, see Note 16 to the consolidated financial statements appearing in Item 8.

Income Taxes

The Company records deferred taxes for the future consequences of events that have been recognized for financial statements or tax returns, based upon enacted tax laws and rates. In addition, the Company estimates and provides for potential liabilities that may arise out of tax audits to the extent that uncertain tax positions fail to meet the recognition standard under accounting guidance. For further discussion, see Note 15 to the consolidated financial statements appearing in Item 8.

New Accounting Pronouncements

Recently adopted and recently issued accounting pronouncements are described in Note 2 to the consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013 appearing in Item 8.

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Business Environment

The securities industry is directly affected by general economic and market conditions, including fluctuations in volume and price levels of securities and changes in interest rates, inflation, political events, investor participation levels, legal and regulatory, accounting, tax and compliance requirements and competition, all of which have an impact on commissions, firm trading, fees from accounts under investment management as well as fees for investment banking services, and investment income as well as on liquidity. Substantial fluctuations can occur in revenues and net income due to these and other factors.

For a number of years, the Company has offered auction rate securities ("ARS") to its clients. A significant portion of the market in ARS has 'failed' because, in the tight credit market, the dealers are no longer willing or able to purchase the imbalance between supply and demand for ARS. These securities have auctions scheduled on either a 7, 28 or 35 day cycle. Clients of the Company own a significant amount of ARS in their individual accounts. The absence of a liquid market for these securities presents a significant problem to clients and, as a result, to the Company. It should be noted that this is a failure of liquidity and not a default. These securities in almost all cases have not failed to pay interest or principal when due. These securities are fully collateralized for the most part and, for the most part, remain good credits. The Company has not acted as an auction agent for ARS.

Interest rates on ARS typically reset through periodic auctions. Due to the auction mechanism and generally liquid markets, ARS have historically been categorized as Level 1 in the fair value hierarchy. Beginning in February 2008, uncertainties in the credit markets resulted in substantially all of the ARS market experiencing failed auctions. Once the auctions failed, the ARS could no longer be valued using observable prices set in the auctions. The Company has used less observable determinants of the fair value of ARS, including the strength in the underlying credits, announced issuer redemptions, completed issuer redemptions, and announcements from issuers regarding their intentions with respect to their outstanding ARS. The Company has also developed an internal methodology to discount for the lack of liquidity and non-performance risk of the failed auctions. Due to liquidity problems associated with the ARS market, ARS that lack liquidity are setting their interest rates according to a maximum rate formula. For example, an auction rate preferred security maximum rate may be set at 200% of a short-term index such as LIBOR or U.S. Treasury yield. For fair value purposes, the Company has determined that the maximum spread would be an adequate risk premium to account for illiquidity in the market. The risk of non-performance is typically reflected in the prices of ARS positions where the fair value is derived from recent trades in the secondary market (e.g., municipal ARS issued by Jefferson County, Alabama.) Accordingly, the Company adds a spread to the short-term index for each asset class to derive the discount rate. The Company uses short-term U.S. Treasury yields as its benchmark short-term index. As of December 31, 2013, the Company had a valuation adjustment (unrealized loss) of $6.5 million for ARS held in inventory.

The Company has sought, with limited success, financing from a number of sources to try to find a means for all its clients to find liquidity from their ARS holdings and will continue to do so. There can be no assurance that the Company will be successful in finding a liquidity solution for all its clients' ARS. See "Risk Factors - The Company may continue to be adversely affected by the failure of the Auction Rate Securities Market" and "Factors Affecting 'Forward-Looking Statements'".

Recent events have caused increased review and scrutiny on the methods utilized by financial service companies to finance their short term requirements for liquidity. The Company utilizes commercial bank loans, securities lending, and repurchase agreements to finance its short term liquidity needs (See "Liquidity"). All repurchase agreements and reverse repurchase agreements are collateralized by short term U.S. Government obligations and U.S. Government Agency obligations.

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The Company is focused on growing its private client and asset management businesses through strategic additions of experienced financial advisers in its existing branch system and employment of experienced money management personnel in its asset management business. In addition, the Company is committed to the improvement of its technology capability to support client service and the expansion of its capital markets capabilities while addressing the issue of managing its expenses to be aligned with the rapidly changing investment environment. The Company will continue to monitor the growth of OMMHF as well as its business in non-U.S. markets.

Regulatory and Legal Environment

The brokerage business is subject to regulation by, among others, the SEC and FINRA in the United States, the FCA in the United Kingdom, the JFSC in the Isle of Jersey, the SFC in Hong Kong , and various state securities regulators in the United States. In addition, Oppenheimer Israel (OPCO) Ltd. operates under the supervision of the Israeli Securities Authority. Events of a decade ago surrounding corporate accounting and other activities leading to investor losses resulted in the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and have caused increased regulation of public companies. The financial crisis of 2008-9 accelerated this trend. New regulations and new interpretations and enforcement of existing regulations have created increased costs of compliance and increased investment in systems and procedures to comply with these more complex and onerous requirements. Various states are imposing their own regulations that make compliance more difficult and more expensive to monitor.

In July 2010, Congress enacted extensive legislation entitled the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd Frank") in which it mandated that the SEC and other regulators conduct comprehensive studies and issue new regulations based on their findings to control the activities of financial institutions in order to protect the financial system, the investing public and consumers from issues and failures that occurred in the 2008-9 financial crisis. All relevant studies have not yet been completed, but they are widely expected to extensively impact the regulation and practices of financial institutions including the Company. The changes are likely to significantly reduce leverage available to financial institutions and to increase transparency to regulators and investors of risks taken by such institutions. It continues to be impossible to predict the nature and impact of such rulemaking. Rules adopted in the U.S. and Europe would create a new regulator for certain activities, regulate and/or prohibit proprietary trading for certain deposit taking institutions, control the amount and timing of compensation to "highly paid" employees, create new regulations around financial transactions with consumers requiring the adoption of a uniform fiduciary standard of care of broker-dealers and investment advisers providing personalized investment advice about securities to retail customers, and increase the disclosures provided to clients, and create a tax on securities transactions. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has stated its intention to implement new rules affecting the interaction between financial institutions and consumers. In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor is poised to propose its own rules for financial institutions surrounding their fiduciary duty to retirement plans which could have significant negative implications for the industry's relationships with this broad group of clients including individuals holding Individual Retirement Accounts ("IRA"). In December 2012, France began applying a 0.2% transaction tax on financial transactions in American Depository Receipts of French companies that trade on U.S. exchanges. Italy implemented its own financial transaction tax in March 2013. The imposition of financial transaction taxes are likely to impact the jurisdiction in which securities are traded and the "spreads" demanded by market participants in order to make up for the cost of any such tax. Such a tax may be implemented throughout the European Union. If and when enacted, such regulations will likely increase compliance costs and reduce returns earned by financial service providers and intensify compliance overall. It is difficult to predict the nature of the final regulations and their impact on the business of the Company.

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Prohibitions and Restrictions on Proprietary Trading and Certain Interests in, and Relationships with, Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds (the "Volcker Rule") was published by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board as required by Dodd-Frank . . .

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