BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP) (“BGC Partners” or “BGC” or the “Company”), a leading global brokerage and financial technology company, today provided an update on its operations, financial results, and other relevant financial information.
Howard W. Lutnick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BGC said: “In these unprecedented and difficult times, all of us at BGC Partners wish to express sympathy for all who have been experiencing the pain and stress of this global health and financial crisis.
“I have never been more proud of our team, who have come together and worked with extraordinary dedication from remote locations, all while facing enormous uncertainty. Our employees across the firm are focused on serving our clients throughout these most difficult circumstances. It is because of our people that we continue to operate effectively.
“Our clients are also operating under incredibly challenging conditions. We are working closer than ever with our clients’ employees, traders, salespeople, technology professionals, and operational staff in order to maintain their connectivity to our platforms, and to help them access critical global market liquidity. We will continue to adapt as conditions change.”
Shaun D. Lynn, President of BGC, added: “We are inspired by the selfless dedication of the health care workers and first responders during this escalating public health crisis. Their commitment to others, while compromising their own safety, serves as an example for all of us to work together to support one another. As we have in the past, everyone at BGC is doing all that they can to meet the challenges that we all are facing while continuing to serve our clients to the best of our abilities.
“We want to thank our management and staff members who have worked tirelessly over these past several weeks in order to maintain BGC’s operations. We also want to thank our clients around the world for their support.”
Due to the enormous effort on the part of its employees and clients, BGC believes that it is likely to perform better than it had expected when it provided its previous outlook. March has been highly volatile, with significant volumes across numerous global instruments. The Company’s initial outlook was contained in BGC’s financial results press release issued on February 6, 2020, which can be found at http://ir.bgcpartners.com. BGC expects to release its first quarter financial results before market open on May 5, 2020. Details will be posted well before the call. Fintech News
Cash Position and Drawdown
The Company believes that its balance sheet and liquidity remain strong. Nonetheless, BGC has drawn down an aggregate of $230 million from its revolving credit facility since December 31, 2019, for a total of $300 million outstanding. The Company increased this borrowing in order to preserve financial flexibility given current uncertainty in the global markets resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. BGC notes that it has no meaningful debt maturities due until 2021. The proceeds from the revolving credit facility may be used for general corporate purposes.
Given the ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty, after consultations with its Board of Directors, BGC expects to reduce its quarterly dividend to one cent per common share. This will allow management to prioritize near-term financial flexibility and bolster its financial position in these uncertain times. The Board of Directors intends to review the Company’s quarterly cash dividend policy as developments warrant at a future time. Additionally, BGC Holdings, L.P. also expects to reduce its distributions of income from the operations of BGC’s businesses to its partners.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
This document contains non-GAAP financial measures that differ from the most directly comparable measures calculated and presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States (“GAAP”). Non-GAAP financial measures used by the Company include “Adjusted Earnings before noncontrolling interests and taxes”, which is used interchangeably with “pre-tax Adjusted Earnings”; “Post-tax Adjusted Earnings to fully diluted shareholders”, which is used interchangeably with “post-tax Adjusted Earnings”; “Adjusted EBITDA”; and “Liquidity”. The definitions of these terms are below.
Adjusted Earnings Defined
BGC uses non-GAAP financial measures, including “Adjusted Earnings before noncontrolling interests and taxes” and “Post-tax Adjusted Earnings to fully diluted shareholders”, which are supplemental measures of operating results used by management to evaluate the financial performance of the Company and its consolidated subsidiaries. BGC believes that Adjusted Earnings best reflect the operating earnings generated by the Company on a consolidated basis and are the earnings which management considers when managing its business.
As compared with “Income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes” and “Net income (loss) from continuing operations for fully diluted shares”, both prepared in accordance with GAAP, Adjusted Earnings calculations primarily exclude certain non-cash items and other expenses that generally do not involve the receipt or outlay of cash by the Company and/or which do not dilute existing stockholders. In addition, Adjusted Earnings calculations exclude certain gains and charges that management believes do not best reflect the ordinary results of BGC. Adjusted Earnings is calculated by taking the most comparable GAAP measures and adjusting for certain items with respect to compensation expenses, non-compensation expenses, and other income, as discussed below.
Calculations of Compensation Adjustments for Adjusted Earnings and Adjusted EBITDA
Treatment of Equity-Based Compensation Line Item for Adjusted Earnings and Adjusted EBITDA
The Company’s Adjusted Earnings and Adjusted EBITDA measures exclude all GAAP charges included in the line item “Equity-based compensation and allocations of net income to limited partnership units and FPUs” (or “equity-based compensation” for purposes of defining the Company’s non-GAAP results) as recorded on the Company’s GAAP Consolidated Statements of Operations and GAAP Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows. These GAAP equity-based compensation charges reflect the following items:
- Charges with respect to grants of exchangeability, which reflect the right of holders of limited partnership units with no capital accounts, such as LPUs and PSUs, to exchange these units into shares of common stock, or into partnership units with capital accounts, such as HDUs, as well as cash paid with respect to taxes withheld or expected to be owed by the unit holder upon such exchange. The withholding taxes related to the exchange of certain non-exchangeable units without a capital account into either common shares or units with a capital account may be funded by the redemption of preferred units such as PPSUs.
- Charges with respect to preferred units. Any preferred units would not be included in the Company’s fully diluted share count because they cannot be made exchangeable into shares of common stock and are entitled only to a fixed distribution. Preferred units are granted in connection with the grant of certain limited partnership units that may be granted exchangeability or redeemed in connection with the grant of shares of common stock at ratios designed to cover any withholding taxes expected to be paid. This is an alternative to the common practice among public companies of issuing the gross amount of shares to employees, subject to cashless withholding of shares, to pay applicable withholding taxes.
- GAAP equity-based compensation charges with respect to the grant of an offsetting amount of common stock or partnership units with capital accounts in connection with the redemption of non-exchangeable units, including PSUs and LPUs.
- Charges related to amortization of RSUs and limited partnership units.
- Charges related to grants of equity awards, including common stock or partnership units with capital accounts.
- Allocations of net income to limited partnership units and FPUs. Such allocations represent the pro-rata portion of post-tax GAAP earnings available to such unit holders.
The amounts of certain quarterly equity-based compensation charges are based upon the Company’s estimate of such expected charges during the annual period, as described further below under “Methodology for Calculating Adjusted Earnings Taxes.”
Virtually all of BGC’s key executives and producers have equity or partnership stakes in the Company and its subsidiaries and generally receive deferred equity or limited partnership units as part of their compensation. A significant percentage of BGC’s fully diluted shares are owned by its executives, partners and employees. The Company issues limited partnership units as well as other forms of equity-based compensation, including grants of exchangeability into shares of common stock, to provide liquidity to its employees, to align the interests of its employees and management with those of common stockholders, to help motivate and retain key employees, and to encourage a collaborative culture that drives cross-selling and revenue growth.
All share equivalents that are part of the Company’s equity-based compensation program, including REUs, PSUs, LPUs, HDUs, and other units that may be made exchangeable into common stock, as well as RSUs (which are recorded using the treasury stock method), are included in the fully diluted share count when issued or at the beginning of the subsequent quarter after the date of grant. Generally, limited partnership units other than preferred units are expected to be paid a pro-rata distribution based on BGC’s calculation of Adjusted Earnings per fully diluted share.
Compensation charges are also adjusted for certain other cash and non-cash items, including those related to the amortization of GFI employee forgivable loans granted prior to the closing of the January 11, 2016 back-end merger with GFI.
Certain Other Compensation-Related Adjustments for Adjusted Earnings
BGC also excludes various other GAAP items that management views as not reflective of the Company’s underlying performance in a given period from its calculation of Adjusted Earnings. These may include compensation-related items with respect to cost-saving initiatives, such as severance charges incurred in connection with headcount reductions as part of broad restructuring plans.
Calculation of Non-Compensation Adjustments for Adjusted Earnings
Adjusted Earnings calculations may also exclude items such as:
- Non-cash GAAP charges related to the amortization of intangibles with respect to acquisitions;
- Acquisition related costs;
- Certain rent charges;
- Non-cash GAAP asset impairment charges; and
- Various other GAAP items that management views as not reflective of the Company’s underlying performance in a given period, including non-compensation-related charges incurred as part of broad restructuring plans. Such GAAP items may include charges for exiting leases and/or other long-term contracts as part of cost-saving initiatives, as well as non-cash impairment charges related to assets, goodwill and/or intangibles created from acquisitions.
Calculation of Adjustments for Other (income) losses for Adjusted Earnings
Adjusted Earnings calculations also exclude certain other non-cash, non-dilutive, and/or non-economic items, which may, in some periods, include:
- Gains or losses on divestitures;
- Fair value adjustment of investments;
- Certain other GAAP items, including gains or losses related to BGC’s investments accounted for under the equity method; and
- Any unusual, one-time, non-ordinary, or non-recurring gains or losses.
Methodology for Calculating Adjusted Earnings Taxes
Although Adjusted Earnings are calculated on a pre-tax basis, BGC also reports post-tax Adjusted Earnings to fully diluted shareholders. The Company defines post-tax Adjusted Earnings to fully diluted shareholders as pre-tax Adjusted Earnings reduced by the non-GAAP tax provision described below and net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interest for Adjusted Earnings.
The Company calculates its tax provision for post-tax Adjusted Earnings using an annual estimate similar to how it accounts for its income tax provision under GAAP. To calculate the quarterly tax provision under GAAP, BGC estimates its full fiscal year GAAP income (loss) from continuing operations before income taxes and noncontrolling interests in subsidiaries and the expected inclusions and deductions for income tax purposes, including expected equity-based compensation during the annual period. The resulting annualized tax rate is applied to BGC’s quarterly GAAP income (loss) from operations before income taxes and noncontrolling interests in subsidiaries. At the end of the annual period, the Company updates its estimate to reflect the actual tax amounts owed for the period.
To determine the non-GAAP tax provision, BGC first adjusts pre-tax Adjusted Earnings by recognizing any, and only, amounts for which a tax deduction applies under applicable law. The amounts include charges with respect to equity-based compensation; certain charges related to employee loan forgiveness; certain net operating loss carryforwards when taken for statutory purposes; and certain charges related to tax goodwill amortization. These adjustments may also reflect timing and measurement differences, including treatment of employee loans; changes in the value of units between the dates of grants of exchangeability and the date of actual unit exchange; variations in the value of certain deferred tax assets; and liabilities and the different timing of permitted deductions for tax under GAAP and statutory tax requirements.
After application of these adjustments, the result is the Company’s taxable income for its pre-tax Adjusted Earnings, to which BGC then applies the statutory tax rates to determine its non-GAAP tax provision. BGC views the effective tax rate on pre-tax Adjusted Earnings as equal to the amount of its non-GAAP tax provision divided by the amount of pre-tax Adjusted Earnings.
Generally, the most significant factor affecting this non-GAAP tax provision is the amount of charges relating to equity-based compensation. Because the charges relating to equity-based compensation are deductible in accordance with applicable tax laws, increases in such charges have the effect of lowering the Company’s non-GAAP effective tax rate and thereby increasing its post-tax Adjusted Earnings.
BGC incurs income tax expenses based on the location, legal structure and jurisdictional taxing authorities of each of its subsidiaries. Certain of the Company’s entities are taxed as U.S. partnerships and are subject to the Unincorporated Business Tax (“UBT”) in New York City. Any U.S. federal and state income tax liability or benefit related to the partnership income or loss, with the exception of UBT, rests with the unit holders rather than with the partnership entity. The Company’s consolidated financial statements include U.S. federal, state and local income taxes on the Company’s allocable share of the U.S. results of operations. Outside of the U.S., BGC is expected to operate principally through subsidiary corporations subject to local income taxes. For these reasons, taxes for Adjusted Earnings are expected to be presented to show the tax provision the consolidated Company would expect to pay if 100 percent of earnings were taxed at global corporate rates.
Calculations of Pre- and Post-Tax Adjusted Earnings per Share
BGC’s pre- and post-tax Adjusted Earnings per share calculations assume either that:
- The fully diluted share count includes the shares related to any dilutive instruments, but excludes the associated expense, net of tax, when the impact would be dilutive; or
- The fully diluted share count excludes the shares related to these instruments, but includes the associated expense, net of tax.
The share count for Adjusted Earnings excludes certain shares and share equivalents expected to be issued in future periods but not yet eligible to receive dividends and/or distributions. Each quarter, the dividend payable to BGC’s stockholders, if any, is expected to be determined by the Company’s Board of Directors with reference to a number of factors, including post-tax Adjusted Earnings per share. BGC may also pay a pro-rata distribution of net income to limited partnership units, as well as to Cantor for its noncontrolling interest. The amount of this net income, and therefore of these payments per unit, would be determined using the above definition of Adjusted Earnings per share on a pre-tax basis.
The declaration, payment, timing and amount of any future dividends payable by the Company will be at the discretion of its Board of Directors using the fully diluted share count. For more information on any share count adjustments, see the table titled “Fully Diluted Weighted-Average Share Count under GAAP and for Adjusted Earnings from Continuing Operations”.
Management Rationale for Using Adjusted Earnings
BGC’s calculation of Adjusted Earnings excludes the items discussed above because they are either non-cash in nature, because the anticipated benefits from the expenditures are not expected to be fully realized until future periods, or because the Company views results excluding these items as a better reflection of the underlying performance of BGC’s ongoing operations. Management uses Adjusted Earnings in part to help it evaluate, among other things, the overall performance of the Company’s business, to make decisions with respect to the Company’s operations, and to determine the amount of dividends payable to common stockholders and distributions payable to holders of limited partnership units. Dividends payable to common stockholders and distributions payable to holders of limited partnership units are included within “Dividends to stockholders” and “Earnings distributions to limited partnership interests and noncontrolling interests,” respectively, in our unaudited, condensed, consolidated statements of cash flows.
The term “Adjusted Earnings” should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to GAAP net income (loss). The Company views Adjusted Earnings as a metric that is not indicative of liquidity, or the cash available to fund its operations, but rather as a performance measure. Pre- and post-tax Adjusted Earnings, as well as related measures, are not intended to replace the Company’s presentation of its GAAP financial results. However, management believes that these measures help provide investors with a clearer understanding of BGC’s financial performance and offer useful information to both management and investors regarding certain financial and business trends related to the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. Management believes that the GAAP and Adjusted Earnings measures of financial performance should be considered together.
For more information regarding Adjusted Earnings, see the sections of this document and/or the Company’s most recent financial results press release titled “Reconciliation of GAAP Income (Loss) from Continuing Operations before Income Taxes to Adjusted Earnings from Continuing Operations and GAAP Fully Diluted EPS from Continuing Operations to Post-Tax Adjusted EPS from Continuing Operations”, including the related footnotes, for details about how BGC’s non-GAAP results are reconciled to those under GAAP.
Adjusted EBITDA Defined
BGC also provides an additional non-GAAP financial performance measure, “Adjusted EBITDA”, which it defines as GAAP “Net income (loss) from continuing operations available to common stockholders”, adjusted to add back the following items:
- Provision (benefit) for income taxes;
- Net income (loss) from continuing operations attributable to noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries;
- Interest expense;
- Fixed asset depreciation and intangible asset amortization;
- Equity-based compensation and allocations of net income to limited partnership units and FPUs;
- Impairment of long-lived assets;
- (Gains) losses on equity method investments; and
- Certain other non-cash GAAP items, such as non-cash charges of amortized rents incurred by the Company for its new UK based headquarters.
The Company’s management believes that its Adjusted EBITDA measure is useful in evaluating BGC’s operating performance, because the calculation of this measure generally eliminates the effects of financing and income taxes and the accounting effects of capital spending and acquisitions, which would include impairment charges of goodwill and intangibles created from acquisitions. Such items may vary for different companies for reasons unrelated to overall operating performance. As a result, the Company’s management uses this measure to evaluate operating performance and for other discretionary purposes. BGC believes that Adjusted EBITDA is useful to investors to assist them in getting a more complete picture of the Company’s financial results and operations.
Since BGC’s Adjusted EBITDA is not a recognized measurement under GAAP, investors should use this measure in addition to GAAP measures of net income when analyzing BGC’s operating performance. Because not all companies use identical EBITDA calculations, the Company’s presentation of Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. Furthermore, Adjusted EBITDA is not intended to be a measure of free cash flow or GAAP cash flow from operations because the Company’s Adjusted EBITDA does not consider certain cash requirements, such as tax and debt service payments.
For more information regarding Adjusted EBITDA, see the section of this document and/or the Company’s most recent financial results press release titled “Reconciliation of GAAP Net Income (Loss) from Continuing Operations Available to Common Stockholders to Adjusted EBITDA from Continuing Operations”, including the footnotes to the same, for details about how BGC’s non-GAAP results are reconciled to those under GAAP.
Timing of Outlook for Certain GAAP and Non-GAAP Items
BGC anticipates providing forward-looking guidance for GAAP revenues and for certain non-GAAP measures from time to time. However, the Company does not anticipate providing an outlook for other GAAP results. This is because certain GAAP items, which are excluded from Adjusted Earnings and/or Adjusted EBITDA, are difficult to forecast with precision before the end of each period. The Company therefore believes that it is not possible for it to have the required information necessary to forecast GAAP results or to quantitatively reconcile GAAP forecasts to non-GAAP forecasts with sufficient precision without unreasonable efforts. For the same reasons, the Company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information. The relevant items that are difficult to predict on a quarterly and/or annual basis with precision and may materially impact the Company’s GAAP results include, but are not limited, to the following:
- Certain equity-based compensation charges that may be determined at the discretion of management throughout and up to the period-end;
- Unusual, one-time, non-ordinary, or non-recurring items;
- The impact of gains or losses on certain marketable securities, as well as any gains or losses related to associated mark-to- market movements and/or hedging. These items are calculated using period-end closing prices;
- Non-cash asset impairment charges, which are calculated and analyzed based on the period-end values of the underlying assets. These amounts may not be known until after period-end;
- Acquisitions, dispositions and/or resolutions of litigation, which are fluid and unpredictable in nature.
BGC may also use a non-GAAP measure called “liquidity”. The Company considers liquidity to be comprised of the sum of cash and cash equivalents, reverse repurchase agreements (if any), securities owned, and marketable securities, less securities lent out in securities loaned transactions and repurchase agreements (if any). The Company considers liquidity to be an important metric for determining the amount of cash that is available or that could be readily available to the Company on short notice.
For more information regarding Liquidity, see the section of this document and/or the Company’s most recent financial results press release titled “Liquidity Analysis from Continuing Operations”, including any footnotes to the same, for details about how BGC’s non-GAAP results are reconciled to those under GAAP.
About BGC Partners, Inc.
BGC Partners is a leading global brokerage and financial technology company. BGC’s offerings include fixed income securities, interest rate swaps, foreign exchange, equities, equity derivatives, credit derivatives, commodities, futures, and structured products. BGC provides a wide range of services, including trade execution, broker-dealer services, clearing, trade compression, post trade, information, and other services to a broad range of financial and non-financial institutions. Through brands including Fenics, BGC Trader, Capitalab, Lucera, and Fenics Market Data, BGC offers financial technology solutions, market data, and analytics related to numerous financial instruments and markets. BGC, BGC Trader, GFI, Fenics, Fenics Market Data, Capitalab, and Lucera are trademarks/service marks and/or registered trademarks/service marks of BGC Partners, Inc. and/or its affiliates.
BGC’s customers include many of the world’s largest banks, broker-dealers, investment banks, trading firms, hedge funds, governments, corporations, and investment firms. BGC’s Class A common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “BGCP”. BGC Partners is led by Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Howard W. Lutnick. For more information, please visit http://www.bgcpartners.com. You can also follow BGC at https://twitter.com/bgcpartners, https://www.linkedin.com/company/bgc-partners and/or http://ir.bgcpartners.com/Investors/default.aspx.
Discussion of Forward-Looking Statements about BGC
Statements in this document regarding BGC that are not historical facts are “forward-looking statements” that involve risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Except as required by law, BGC undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For a discussion of additional risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see BGC’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including, but not limited to, the risk factors and Special Note on Forward-Looking Information set forth in these filings and any updates to such risk factors and Special Note on Forward-Looking Information contained in subsequent reports on Form 10-K, Form 10-Q or Form 8-K.