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IFMI > SEC Filings for IFMI > Form 10-Q on 8-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings




Quarterly Report


The following discussion and analysis of the consolidated financial condition and results of operations of Institutional Financial Markets, Inc. and its majority owned subsidiaries (collectively, "we," "us," "our," or the "Company") should be read in conjunction with the unaudited consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and the audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto appearing in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011.

"Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" is based on our consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. On a regular basis, we evaluate these estimates, including fair value of financial instruments. These estimates are based on historical experience and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates.

All amounts in this disclosure are in thousands (except share and per share data) unless otherwise noted.


We are an investment firm specializing in credit-related fixed income investments. We began operations, through our predecessors, in 1999 as an investment firm focused on small and mid-cap banks, but have grown over the past years into a more diversified fixed income specialty investment firm. We are organized into three business segments: Capital Markets, Asset Management, and Principal Investing.

Capital Markets: Our Capital Markets business segment consists of credit-related fixed income sales, trading and financing, as well as new issue placements in corporate and securitized products and advisory services revenue. Our fixed income sales and trading group provides trade execution to corporate and institutional investors. We specialize in the following products: corporate bonds and loans, ABS, MBS, CLOs, CBOs, CDOs, CMBS, RMBS, TBA contracts, SBA loans, municipal bonds, U.S. government bonds, U.S. government agency securities, brokered deposits and CDs for small banks, and hybrid capital of financial institutions including TruPS, whole loans, and other structured financial instruments. We also offer execution and brokerage services for cash equity and derivative products. We carry out our capital market activities primarily through our subsidiaries: JVB, PrinceRidge, and CCFL.

Asset Management: We manage assets within managed accounts, permanent capital vehicles, and CDOs (collectively, "investment vehicles"). A CDO is a form of secured borrowing. The borrowing is secured by different types of fixed income assets such as corporate or mortgage loans or bonds. The borrowing is in the form of a securitization which means that the lenders are actually investing in notes backed by the assets. The lenders have recourse only to the assets securing the loan. Our Asset Management business segment includes our fee based asset management operations which include on-going base and incentive management fees. As of September 30, 2012, we had approximately $6.3 billion in AUM of which 97%, or $6.0 billion, was in CDOs.

Principal Investing: Our Principal Investing business segment is comprised primarily of our seed capital investments in investment vehicles we manage.

We generate our revenue by business segment primarily through:

Capital Markets:

our trading activities, which include execution and brokerage services, providing securities financing to customers, riskless trading activities, as well as gains and losses (unrealized and realized) and income and expense earned on securities classified as trading;

new issue and advisory revenue comprised of (a) origination fees for corporate debt issues originated by us; (b) revenue from advisory services; and (c) new issue revenue associated with arranging the issuance of newly created debt, equity, and hybrid financial instruments;

Asset Management:

asset management fees for our on-going services as asset manager charged and earned by managing investment vehicles, which may include fees both senior and subordinated to the securities issued by the investment vehicle;

incentive management fees earned based on the performance of the various investment vehicles;

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Principal Investing:

gains and losses (unrealized and realized) and income and expense earned on securities, primarily seed capital investments in vehicles we manage, classified as other investments, at fair value; and

income or loss from equity method affiliates.

Business Environment

Our business is materially affected by economic conditions in the financial markets, political conditions, broad trends in business and finance, changes in volume and price levels of securities transactions, and changes in interest rates, all of which can affect our profitability and which are unpredictable and beyond our control. These factors may affect the financial decisions made by investors, including their level of participation in the financial markets. Severe market fluctuations or weak economic conditions could continue to reduce our trading volume and revenues and adversely affect our profitability.

The markets remain uneven and vulnerable to changes in investor sentiment. We believe the general business environment will continue to be challenging for the remainder of 2012.

A portion of our revenues is generated from net trading activity. We engage in proprietary trading for our own account, provide securities financing for our customers, and execute "riskless" trades with a customer order in hand resulting in limited market risk to us. The inventory of securities held for our own account, as well as held to facilitate customer trades, and our market making activities are sensitive to market movements.

A portion of our revenues is generated from new issue and advisory engagements. The fees charged and volume of these engagements are sensitive to the overall business environment.

A portion of our revenues is generated from management fees. Our ability to charge management fees and the amount of those fees is dependent upon the underlying investment performance and stability of the investment vehicles. If these types of investments do not provide attractive returns to investors, the demand for such instruments will likely fall, thereby reducing our opportunity to earn new management fees or to maintain existing management fees. Ninety-seven percent of our existing AUM are CDOs. The creation of CDOs and permanent capital vehicles has depended upon a vibrant securitization market. Since 2008, volumes within the securitization market have dropped significantly and have not recovered since that time. Consequently, we have been unable to complete a new securitization since 2008.

A portion of our revenues is generated from our principal investing activities. Therefore, our revenues are impacted by the underlying operating results of these investments. As of September 30, 2012, we had $39,472 of other investments, at fair value representing our principal investment portfolio. Of this amount, $39,051, or 99%, is comprised of investments in three separate investment funds and permanent capital vehicles: Star Asia, EuroDekania, and Tiptree. Furthermore, the investment in Star Asia is our largest single principal investment and, as of September 30, 2012, had a fair value of $33,925, representing 86% of the total amount of other investments, at fair value. Star Asia seeks to invest in Asian commercial real estate structured finance products, including CMBS, corporate debt of REITs and real estate operating companies, whole loans, mezzanine loans, other commercial real estate fixed income investments, and in real property located in Japan. Therefore, our results of operations and financial condition will be significantly impacted by the financial results of these investments and, in the case of Star Asia, the Japanese real estate market in general. Our investment in Star Asia and our principal investing revenue was impacted by the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan that occurred during the first quarter of 2011. See "Revenues
- Principal Transactions and Other Income" below.

Margin Pressures in Corporate Bond Brokerage Business

Performance in the financial services industry in which we operate is highly correlated to the overall strength of the economy and financial market activity. Overall market conditions are a product of many factors, beyond our control and can be unpredictable. These factors may affect the financial decisions made by investors, including the level of participation in the financial markets. In turn, these decisions may affect our business results. With respect to financial market activity, our profitability is sensitive to a variety of factors including, the volatility of the equity and fixed income markets, the level and shape of the various yield curves, and the volume and value of trading in securities.

Since 2010, both margins and volumes in certain products and markets within the corporate bond brokerage business have decreased materially as competition has increased and general market activity has declined. Further, we continue to expect that competition will increase over time, resulting in continued margin pressure.

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Our response to this margin compression has included: (i) building a diversified securitized product trading platform; (ii) building our European capital markets business; (iii) acquiring new product lines, including through the acquisitions of JVB and PrinceRidge in 2011; and (iv) monitoring our fixed costs. During the third quarter of 2011, the Company implemented significant cost savings initiatives. These initiatives included the elimination of duplicative costs that arose with the PrinceRidge transaction as well as net reductions in overall costs to address adverse market conditions. The initiatives included:
termination of staff, reductions in compensation and benefits of remaining staff, the sublease and termination of duplicative leases, termination of or reduction in pricing of subscriptions, and other measures. More recently we have undertaken additional cost-cutting initiatives by merging support functionality among and across many of our subsidiaries and business lines. However, there can be no certainty that these efforts will be sufficient. If insufficient, we will likely see a decline in profitability.

Recent Legislation Affecting the Financial Services Industry

On July 21, 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") was signed into law. The Dodd-Frank Act contains a variety of provisions designed to regulate financial markets, including credit and derivative transactions. Many aspects of the Dodd-Frank Act are subject to rulemaking that will take effect over the next several years, thus making it difficult to assess the impact on the financial industry, including us, at this time. The Dodd-Frank Act establishes new and enhanced compensation and corporate governance oversight for the financial services industry, provides a specific framework for payment, clearing and settlement regulation, and empowers the SEC to adopt regulations requiring new fiduciary duties and other more stringent regulation of broker-dealers, investment companies and investment advisers. We will continue to monitor all applicable developments in the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and expect to adapt successfully to any new applicable legislative and regulatory requirements.

Recent Events

Repurchase of Mandatorily Redeemable Equity Interests

On October 5, 2012, PrinceRidge and the Company entered into a Separation, Release and Repurchase Agreement (collectively, the "Separation Agreements") with each of Ahmed Alali ("Alali"), Ronald J. Garner ("Garner"), and Matthew G. Johnson ("Johnson" and, together with Alali and Garner, the "Separated Employees").

Under the Separation Agreements, each of the Separated Employees resigned from all positions and offices held with PrinceRidge and its affiliates, including, with respect to Alali and Johnson, as members of the Board of Managers of PrinceRidge GP. In addition, each of the Separated Employees, on one hand, and PrinceRidge, the Operating LLC and the Company, on the other hand, entered into a mutual release of claims.

See note 22 to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 1 in this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

Departure of Certain Officers of PrinceRidge

On July 19, 2012, PrinceRidge and the Company entered into a Separation, Release and Repurchase Agreement with each of Michael T. Hutchins, the former CEO of PrinceRidge and member of the Board of Managers of PrinceRidge GP, and John P. Costas, the former Chairman of the Board of Managers of PrinceRidge GP, whereby
(i) PrinceRidge repurchased all of the equity and profit units in PrinceRidge held by Messrs. Hutchins and Costas; (ii) Messrs. Hutchins and Costas resigned as employees of PrinceRidge and as members of the Board of Managers of PrinceRidge GP; (iii) Messrs. Hutchins and Costas agreed to forfeit all of their unvested equity awards both from PrinceRidge and IFMI; and (iv) Messrs. Hutchins and Costas withdrew as members of PrinceRidge GP and as partners of PrinceRidge Holdings. Daniel G. Cohen, the Company's Chairman and CEO, was subsequent appointed as Chairman of the Board of Managers of PrinceRidge GP and CEO of PrinceRidge by the Board of Managers of PrinceRidge GP.

Consolidated Results of Operations

The following section provides a comparative discussion of our consolidated results of operations for the specified periods. The period-to-period comparisons of financial results are not necessarily indicative of future results.

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Nine Months Ended September 30, 2012 Compared to the Nine Months Ended September 30, 2011

The following table sets forth information regarding our consolidated results of operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011.

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