SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2021
|☐||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: 001-39558
PERELLA WEINBERG PARTNERS
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)
( State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
|(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
767 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
|(Address of principal executive offices)||(Zip Code)|
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (212) 287-3200
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class|| ||Trading Symbol(s)|| ||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share|| ||PWP || ||Nasdaq Global Select Market|
|Warrants, each whole warrant exercisable for one share of Class A common stock||PWPPW||Nasdaq Global Select Market|
Securities registered pursuant to the 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 ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
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 ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted 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 such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer||☐||Accelerated filer||☐||Non-accelerated filer||☒||Smaller reporting company||☒||Emerging growth company||☒|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262 (b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
The aggregate market value of the common stock of the registrant held by non-affiliates, based on the closing price on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. as of June 30, 2021 was $454,601,000.
As of March 8, 2022, the registrant had 46,939,793 shares of Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, and 46,318,952.737 shares of Class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of Perella Weinberg Partners’ Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days after December 31, 2021 are incorporated by reference in Item 12 of Part III of this Form 10-K.
Perella Weinberg Partners
Table of Contents
On June 24, 2021 (the “Closing Date” or the “Closing”), Perella Weinberg Partners (formerly known as FinTech Acquisition Corp. IV (“FTIV”)) consummated its previously announced business combination pursuant to that certain Business Combination Agreement, dated as of December 29, 2020 (the “Business Combination Agreement”). As contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement, (i) FTIV acquired certain partnership interests in PWP Holdings LP (“PWP OpCo”), (ii) PWP OpCo became jointly-owned by Perella Weinberg Partners, PWP Professional Partners LP (“Professional Partners”) and certain existing partners of PWP OpCo, and (iii) PWP OpCo serves as Perella Weinberg Partners’ operating partnership as part of an umbrella limited partnership C-corporation (Up-C) structure (collectively with the other transactions contemplated by the Business Combination Agreement, the “Business Combination”). Unless the context otherwise requires, all references to “PWP,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” refer to Perella Weinberg Partners and its consolidated subsidiaries.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements made in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are “forward looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Statements regarding the expectations regarding the combined business are “forward-looking statements.” In addition, words such as “estimates,” “projected,” “expects,” “estimated,” “anticipates,” “forecasts,” “plans,” “intends,” “believes,” “seeks,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “future,” “propose,” “target,” “goal,” “objective,” “outlook” and variations of these words or similar expressions (or the negative versions of such words or expressions) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, conditions or results, and involve a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other important factors, many of which are outside the control of the parties, that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors, among others, that may affect actual results or outcomes include:
•any projected financial information, anticipated growth rate, and market opportunity of the Company;
•the ability to maintain the listing of the Company's Class A common stock and warrants on Nasdaq following the Business Combination;
•our public securities' potential liquidity and trading;
•our success in retaining or recruiting partners and other employees, or changes related to, our officers, key employees or directors following the completion of the Business Combination;
•members of our management team allocating their time to other businesses and potentially having conflicts of interest with our business;
•factors relating to the business, operations and financial performance of the Company, including:
•whether the Company realizes all or any of the anticipated benefits from the Business Combination;
•whether the Business Combination results in any increased or unforeseen costs or has an impact on the Company's ability to retain or compete for professional talent or investor capital;
•global economic, business, market and geopolitical conditions, including the impact of public health crises, such as the ongoing rapid, worldwide spread of a novel strain of coronavirus and the pandemic caused thereby (collectively, “COVID-19”), as well as the impact of recent hostilities between Russia and Ukraine;
•the Company's dependence on and ability to retain working partners and other key employees;
•the Company's ability to successfully identify, recruit and develop talent;
•risks associated with strategic transactions, such as joint ventures, strategic investments, acquisitions and dispositions;
•conditions impacting the corporate advisory industry;
•the Company's dependence on its fee-paying clients and fluctuating revenues from its non-exclusive, engagement-by-engagement business model;
•the high volatility of the Company's revenue as a result of its reliance on advisory fees that are largely contingent on the completion of events which may be out of its control;
•the ability of the Company's clients to pay for its services, including its restructuring clients;
•the Company's ability to appropriately manage conflicts of interest and tax and other regulatory factors relevant to the Company's business, including actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest and other factors that may damage its business and reputation;
•strong competition from other financial advisory and investment banking firms;
•potential impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets, which represent a significant portion of the Company's assets;
•the Company's successful formulation and execution of its business and growth strategies;
•the outcome of third-party litigation involving the Company;
•substantial litigation risks in the financial services industry;
•cybersecurity and other operational risks;
•the Company's ability to expand into new markets and lines of businesses for the advisory business;
•exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates;
•assumptions relating to the Company's operations, financial results, financial condition, business prospects, growth strategy and liquidity;
•extensive regulation of the corporate advisory industry and U.S. and foreign regulatory developments relating to, among other things, financial institutions and markets, government oversight, fiscal and tax policy and laws (including the treatment of carried interest); and
•other risks and uncertainties described under “Part I—Item 1A. Risk Factors.”
The forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are based on current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects on the Company. There can be no assurance that future developments affecting the Company will be those that the Company has anticipated. The Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The SEC maintains an internet site where reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC are available. Our SEC filings are available to the public over the Internet at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and on our website at https://investors.pwpartners.com/ free of charge as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Our website is https://pwpartners.com/. Although we refer to our website in this report, the contents of our website are not included or incorporated by reference into this report. All references to our website in this report are intended to be inactive textual references only.
Item 1. Business
Unless the context otherwise requires, all references in this subsection to the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” refer to Perella Weinberg Partners and its consolidated subsidiaries following the Business Combination, other than certain historical information which refers to the business of PWP OpCo prior to the consummation of the Business Combination.
We are a leading global independent advisory firm that provides strategic and financial advice to clients across a range of the most active industry sectors and international markets. We provide advisory services to a wide range of clients globally, including large public multinational corporations, mid-sized public and private companies, individual entrepreneurs, private and institutional investors, creditor committees and government institutions.
We were founded in June 2006 with the opening of offices in New York and London, led by a team of ten seasoned advisory partners who previously held senior management positions at large global investment banks. The foundation of our Company was rooted in a belief, among other considerations, that clients would increasingly seek out deeply experienced advisors who offer independent strategic thinking and who are not burdened by the complicated conflicts that large investment banking institutions may face due to their various businesses. The 2008 global financial crisis reinforced this hypothesis and contributed to the early growth of our Company. Today, we believe that our independence is even more important. For clients and for us, independence means freedom from the distractions that dilute strategic thinking and a willingness and candor to share an honest opinion, even if at times it is contrary to our clients' point of view. We believe that our clients choose to engage us because they value our unbiased perspective and expert advice regarding complex financial and strategic matters.
Our business provides services to multiple industry sectors, geographic markets and advisory service offerings. We believe that our collaborative partnership and integrated approach combining deep industry insights, significant technical, product and transactional expertise, and rigorous work ethic create a significant opportunity for our Company to realize sustainable growth. We seek to advise clients throughout their evolution, with the full range of our advisory capabilities including, among other things, advice related to mission-critical strategic and financial decisions, mergers and acquisition (“M&A”) execution, shareholder and defense advisory, capital raising, capital structure and restructuring, capital markets advisory, specialized underwriting and research services for the energy and related industries.
Since our inception, we have experienced significant growth in our business, driven by hiring professionals who are highly regarded in their fields of expertise, expanding the scope and geographic reach of our advisory services, deepening and expanding our client relationships and maintaining a firm culture that attracts, develops and retains talented people. In addition to our hiring and internal development of individual professionals, in November 2016, we completed a business combination with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co., LLC (“TPH”), an independent advisory firm, focused on the energy industry, that shares our culture and strategic vision, which increased our footprint in this sector. As of December 31, 2021, we serve our clients with 422 advisory professionals, including 60 advisory partners (which numbers include two advisory partners who retired from the Company in January 2022), based in ten offices, located in five countries around the world.
We have demonstrated robust financial performance, achieving revenues of $801.7 million and operating income of $66.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2021, revenues of $519.0 million and operating loss of $14.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and revenues of $533.3 million and operating loss of $155.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. The operating losses in 2019 and 2020 were largely due to amortization of the equity-based compensation awards granted by Professional Partners, which have no economic impact on PWP or PWP OpCo. The vesting of equity awards granted in connection with the Transaction have been and will be recorded as an equity-based compensation expense at PWP OpCo for generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“U.S. GAAP”) accounting purposes. As a result (or due to other factors), we may continue to experience operating losses in future periods. We believe we have established leading franchises in each of our areas of focus, as evidenced by the lead role we often command among advisors, the complexity of the situations in which we advise clients and our clients’ reputation as leaders in their respective industries.
Our Market Opportunity
We founded our Company with the objective of providing strategic and financial advice to business leaders that is critical to the success of their businesses throughout their corporate evolution. The decisions that business leaders confront often transcend traditional transaction-related questions, focusing instead on the core risks and opportunities facing their businesses. We believe that clients are increasingly looking for an independent advisor who can serve as an unbiased sounding board, work with them in genuine partnership and be by their side as they navigate mission-critical and complex issues.
We believe many factors drive the demand for such advice, including, but not limited to:
Sector-Specific Transformation and Disruption: The sectors on which we focus are all experiencing change at an accelerating pace. Such change within a sector may be driven by new regulation, new competition, business model innovation and transformation and the increasing impact of technology, among other factors. Business leaders are highly focused on the effect of such change on their marketplace and the implications for their businesses.
Business Growth: Business leaders all share a desire to grow their business and improve their position relative to their peers and the market overall. This focus on growth often can lead to organic and inorganic initiatives such as business or business model transformation, expansion through acquisitions, rationalization of certain low-growth, non-core elements of their businesses or the selection of technologies that can alter the trajectory of their businesses.
Challenges for Leadership: Business leaders have to be vigilant in how they confront specific immediate and potential future challenges. These challenges can range from traditional business execution risk, to increased competitive risks, to funding and balance sheet constraints to shareholder initiatives or governance-related matters. These challenges are often highly complex and can be mission-critical to the success or survival of a company.
Rapidly Changing Political and Regulatory Landscape: Changes in political regimes, regulation, monetary policies, tariff policies, tax policies, environmental laws, regulations and policies, migration policies and economic stability, among others, can have a significant impact on the decisions that business leaders make to drive the success of their businesses.
The above issues are among the most important topics faced by business leaders every day, regardless of the size or the global nature of their business. In a business environment that is increasingly competitive, global, and undergoing significant transformation, we believe that business leaders will increasingly seek to partner with advisors who provide independent thought and advice to holistically navigate these opportunities and challenges and drive the long-term success of their businesses. We believe that our collaborative partnership and integrated approach positions us well to stand by our clients and support them with independent thinking, expertise and knowledge, and that this can lead to an expanded demand for our advisory services. The principal drivers of this opportunity include:
Growing Demand for Independent Advice: We believe the momentum driving demand for independent advice remains strong. When we founded our Company in 2006, this dynamic was driven largely by growing client concern about conflicts at the large financial conglomerates and a growing desire by bankers to join a pure play advisory platform, all of which became increasingly apparent during the 2008 global financial crisis. In our experience, our clients value a broad approach to independence—advisors who deliver deep industry, product and technical expertise rather than offer a wide array of financial products while also acting as transaction counterparty. Since 2005, the year before our founding, the demand for independent advice has increased significantly. On average, our peer independent advisory firms advised on 66% of volume from the top 25 announced M&A transactions in the five-year period ended December 31, 2021, up from 47% on average during the five-year period ended December 31, 2005, according to Dealogic. Similarly, according to Dealogic, the estimated M&A fee pool of our peer independent advisory firms averaged $5.4 billion in the five-year period ended December 31, 2021, up from an average of $1.2 billion in the five-year period ended December 31, 2005. We expect the trend toward independent advice to continue as business leaders become increasingly experienced with the independent advisory model and believe our Company is well positioned to continue to capitalize on this trend.
Dynamic Mergers & Acquisitions Activity: We believe the M&A environment will remain active based on a variety of economic, regulatory and strategic factors, strong corporate balance sheets, significant undeployed venture and private equity capital, attractive financing markets, a rapidly accelerating trend toward global consolidation and business model transformation. However, we also see various factors which we believe could make our markets more volatile and 2022 a less active year in M&A than 2021 including rising interest rates and inflation, shifting US anti-trust policy, potential tax law changes, geopolitical developments, international hostilities and other factors. In 2021 and 2020, globally announced M&A volume reached $5.8 trillion and $3.7 trillion, respectively, with approximately 71% occurring in North America and in Europe, the markets in which we are primarily focused. Dealogic estimates that the global M&A fee pool averaged approximately $30 billion annually in the five-year period ended December 31, 2021, which illustrates the large market opportunity that exists today. We believe that our Company is well positioned to further capitalize on these robust fundamentals and M&A trends, which we expect will continue to drive global growth of the financial advisory market.
Growing Demand in Liability Management (Restructuring and Capital Markets) Advisory Services: We believe that, due to large debt issuances by companies in recent years, a steady liability management (including restructuring and capital markets) advisory market will continue to exist as interest rates rise and/or credit markets become more difficult to access, even with a stable macroeconomic environment and robust M&A activity. According to Dealogic, the past nine years represented record years in volume of corporate bond issuance in the United States, as companies took advantage of historically low borrowing costs to add leverage to their capital structures. Additionally, beyond typical capital structure-related issues, we believe that the pace of business model transformation driven by a changing regulatory backdrop, and technology innovation and unanticipated shock resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, will lead to an entirely different wave of restructuring activity as companies consider their readiness for such change and the requirements to fund their growth and success in such an environment. We believe our integrated industry and geographic approach positions us to provide solutions to clients in both robust and challenging economic environments. We also believe that our broad industry coverage is an attractive complement to our restructuring and capital markets advisory practices due to the often uncorrelated industry-specific challenges that can lead to disruption for companies in distressed situations. Our strong positioning in each of our primary areas of industry focus and our restructuring and capital markets advisory practices diversifies our revenues and differentiates us from our peers.
Our Principles Define Our Strategy
Since our founding in 2006, we have focused on building a trust-based, focused, and high-intensity advisory business that we believe is well positioned to deliver significant value to our clients, our shareholders, and our employees.
Five key principles drive our approach:
Relationships are Everything to Us: We cultivate deep, long-term relationships, which transcend traditional transactional dialogue. Our clients often rely on us to assist them in assessing opportunities and challenges throughout their corporate evolution.
Partnership is at Our Core: We operate as a highly collaborative and integrated partnership defined by a culture of integrity, humility, rigor, and intensity. Working together is a critical ingredient of our success.
Focused Internationally: Since its founding, our organization has been integrated globally and is deliberately focused on the most active advisory markets worldwide. Our closely integrated partnership approach enables us to efficiently leverage our deep industry expertise with clients across geographies.
We Thrive in Complexity: We excel in complex, mission-critical situations where we can utilize our insights, experience, deep strategic thinking and personalized approach to partner with our clients to achieve their objectives.
Independence is Core to Our Character: We strive to be viewed as independent thinkers and our goal is to attract people to the Company with innovative, independent views and a willingness to speak with candor. We are not afraid to voice our perspective and are not afraid for “no” to be the right answer.
We believe these principles capture the essence of who we are and how we seek to be thought of in our markets. If we remain focused on these principles, we believe clients will continue to have the confidence to put their trust in us.
Our Key Competitive Strengths
When we founded the Company, we saw a compelling market opportunity to create a platform with deeply experienced, senior advisory professionals from the most reputable institutions around the world to focus solely on advising clients without the distractions and conflicts that may often plague senior bankers at large investment banking institutions. Over fifteen years later, we have built a leading global independent advisory platform offering a range of advisory services. Our success has been driven by the trust bestowed upon us by our clients, the high-caliber professionals who have joined the Company, and the continued growth in demand for independent advice.
We believe the primary qualities that drive our success include:
Deep Industry Insights: We believe our clients increasingly value advisors with deep industry insights when making strategic decisions that impact their businesses. These insights develop from extensive transaction experience and deep technical knowledge, and they serve as a platform for thought partnership with clients. Our primary areas of industry focus include: Consumer & Retail; Energy; Financial Institutions; Healthcare; Industrials; and Technology, Media & Telecommunications. We strive to attract and elevate individuals who are, or will be, considered thought leaders in their fields of focus. We believe our focused teams in the industries, geographies and product areas in which they specialize are leaders in their fields. We plan to continue investing in and developing professionals who will enhance our reputation as thought partners of choice to the leaders in the sectors, geographies and products on which we focus.
Independent Thought: Our foundation is rooted in a conviction, among other considerations, that clients would increasingly seek out advisors who offer independent thinking and who are not burdened by the complicated conflicts that large investment banking institutions may face due to their various businesses. We believe that our independence remains critically important and is increasingly valued by clients. We believe that our clients choose to partner with us because they value our unbiased perspectives and expert advice regarding complex financial and strategic matters, and appreciate the combination of candor and alignment of interests with their objectives that is at our core.
Innovation, Creativity and Ingenuity: From the very beginning, we have strived for differentiation. We seek original and exceptional ways to deliver value to our clients and to improve the way we operate. Our firm culture is an environment where colleagues are empowered to think expansively, question assumptions and pursue their ideas in an open and collaborative atmosphere. Our unique blend of innovation, creativity and ingenuity positions us well to advise on transformative and mission-critical situations for our clients.
High Standards of Integrity: We earn trust—our most important currency with clients and each other—first and foremost through integrity. We demand integrity from all of our employees in the way that they tackle their day-to-day duties, the way in which they treat clients and the way we treat each other. Integrity applies to everything we do as advisors, including the quality of the industry insights we share and our willingness to advise against transacting when an opportunity is not beneficial to our client. We demand the highest standards of integrity from all of our team members, from those hired directly out of college or business school to those with decades of experience.
Rigorous Work Ethic: As an advisory firm, the primary assets we bring to bear on any engagement are deep insights and creative ideas. However, great insights and ideas alone are not sufficient. In order for us to earn the role as a client's advisor of choice, we must complement such insights and ideas with tireless work ethic, rigor, and intensity in everything we do in partnership with our clients. Our intensity extends throughout our business, from our junior personnel to our most experienced advisory professionals. We believe that if we can continue to maintain these standards, we will retain our reputation as a partner of choice.
We believe the attributes above are all critical components of our success. We endeavor to embody all of these attributes to maximize the value that we can create for our clients, our shareholders, and our people. We believe that our integrated approach and our partnership culture in how we work with each other and our clients provides an ideal platform to deliver the strategic and financial advice sought by our clients. We believe that if we continue to remain focused on these attributes, we will create a truly unique firm where the very best professionals prefer to work, and one that clients consistently recognize as the advisor they want by their side when it matters most.
Our Growth Strategy
Our growth strategy centers on the expansion of the depth and breadth of our advisory business in the markets we serve today and the additional markets that we may expand into in the future. This expansion will be driven by our ability to attract and develop outstanding professionals who complement or expand our market presence or broaden our advisory product offerings. Based on our partners' expertise and client relationships, we believe our coverage presence in each of our industry sectors reaches between one-quarter and three-quarters of the relevant subsectors in the U.S. and between one-quarter and one-half of the relevant subsectors in Europe. As we execute on our growth strategy, we expect to expand our relationships with clients and the capabilities we can offer them, which will enhance our position as a leading independent advisory firm.
We plan to accomplish these goals by executing on the following strategies:
Leveraging our Existing Client Relationships: As we grow our business, we seek to deepen and expand our client relationships, which are the foundation of our Company's success. We believe that we can accomplish this by applying a combination of our deep sector expertise, our propensity for independent thought and our tireless and intense work ethic to confront the most complex challenges that our clients face. As our relationships with clients grow, we strive to be a more integrated partner in their strategic dialogue in a manner that goes beyond traditional transactional work. We believe that this consistent, long-term approach to developing client relationships will drive superior growth potential for our Company.
Broadening Client Coverage in Our Markets of Focus: We have established a strong global presence in six industry sectors across which we apply our recognized M&A, capital markets and restructuring expertise to assist clients as they tackle critical decisions for their businesses. While we believe we have successfully established well-regarded practices in these core industry areas, we believe that we have substantial head room to further expand our coverage in these sectors. We intend to continue to invest in our areas of strength, and remain focused on the most relevant sectors and geographies for our business. In addition, we expect to cautiously expand our industry coverage footprint and our geographic presence in markets we believe represent a substantial commercial opportunity for the Company.
Expanding Our Advisory Capabilities to Better Serve Our Clients: We provide a range of advisory services to our clients, including strategic advisory, M&A, restructuring and capital structure advisory, capital markets advisory and energy underwriting and research. We believe we have established a reputation for the quality of our advice across these products and will continue to deepen our capabilities in the core product areas we compete in today. As we expand our client base and deepen our relationships with those clients, their need for a broader and more developed array of advisory services may grow. We plan to also invest in expanding our capabilities to provide additional advisory services where we believe such expansions can represent a compelling value proposition to our clients and an attractive commercial opportunity for us.
Investing to Drive Innovation and Insights: We believe that the market for advisory services is undergoing a period of transition away from solely transactional advice. Independent thought leadership and critical and innovative thinking are increasingly valued and expected from a trusted advisor on a continuous basis. To succeed in this new paradigm, we plan to invest rigorously in driving innovation in the way we work with clients, in the ideas that we generate for clients and in insights into the specific challenges our clients face in their target markets, taking into account, among other things, the technological disruption currently facing all industries.
Attracting, Developing and Retaining World-Class Talent to the Company: Attracting and retaining world-class talent at the Company is a critical component to our growth and to our success. We will continue to attract, develop and retain advisory professionals who seek an environment where they can collaborate to deliver excellent advice to their clients. The profiles of the people we aim to recruit are consistent in that (i) they have a strong desire to devote their full time to advising clients, (ii) they are highly committed individuals, often with a long track-record at their prior firm, (iii) they are not afraid to be honest with their clients when “no” might be the right answer, (iv) they are willing to make a long-term commitment to our Company and (v) they are committed to mentorship and investing in expanding our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
We have also put significant emphasis on the training and development of all of our professionals, and plan to continue investing meaningful resources in our human capital with commitment to investing in diversity and inclusion. As a result, we have a deep bench of internally developed talent at all levels, as evidenced by an increasing number of internal senior promotions. We believe that the combination of our efforts to internally develop professionals and to continue growing through lateral hires provides for a vibrant environment that fosters adoption of best practices and diversity.
Maintaining Discipline in How We Manage Our Business: We manage our business in an effort to deliver value creation to our shareholders. To accomplish this, we demand accountability at all levels, including our sector, product and corporate teams. This culture of accountability helps ensure that appropriate balance is in place to drive responsible profit margin expansion over time while at the same time continuing to invest in growth. We also apply opportunities for investment to drive innovation, investments in external hires and the establishment of new offices. We believe that this discipline will enable us to maintain our competitive edge while also delivering appropriate returns and long-term value creation to our shareholders.
We believe all of these factors are important to our continued success. Additionally, we believe we will benefit from growing comfort in the independent advisory model from business leaders across the sectors of the economy which we believe will expand our overall market opportunity.
Our Advisory Offerings
We are a leading independent provider of strategic and financial advice to clients across a range of the most active sectors and international markets. We believe that the demand for independent strategic and financial advice is growing, and that our integrated approach combining deep industry insights, significant technical, product and transactional expertise, and rigorous work ethic creates a significant opportunity for our Company. Since our founding, we have rapidly scaled our global platform. We believe clients value our ability to put their interests ahead of our own and, accordingly, will increasingly want us by their side.
We provide advisory services to a wide range of clients globally, including large public multinational corporations, mid-sized public and private companies, individual entrepreneurs, private and institutional investors, creditor committees and government institutions. We deliver the full resources of our Company and high level senior banker attention to every client, regardless of size or situation.
Our business provides services to multiple industry sectors and geographic markets through a broad range of advisory service offerings, which we believe offer us an opportunity to realize sustainable growth. Our primary areas of industry focus include: Consumer & Retail; Energy; Financial Institutions; Healthcare; Industrials; and Technology, Media & Telecommunications.
We complement our industry focus with extensive advisory expertise in the largest international advisory markets. We operate primarily out of ten offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and we have deep international experience that has enabled us to work extensively with clients worldwide. Since our inception, we have advised over 1,000 clients on transactions in over 40 countries.
We seek to generate repeat business from our clients by becoming long-term partners to them, rather than being viewed as solely transaction focused. In an effort to develop new client relationships, we maintain an active dialogue with a large number of potential clients, as well as with their financial and legal advisors, on an ongoing basis. We continue to build new relationships through our business development initiatives, proprietary client engagement (including sector or product focused conferences), growing our senior team with professionals who bring additional client relationships, and through introductions from our strong network of relationships with senior executives, board members, attorneys and other third parties. We have also grown our business through client referrals, which we proudly believe validates such clients' satisfaction with our services.
Our Advisory Services
We seek to advise our clients throughout their corporate evolution, with the full range of our advisory capabilities. Those services include advice related to mission-critical strategic and financial decisions, M&A execution, shareholder and defense advisory, capital raising, structure and restructuring, capital markets advisory, energy underwriting and equity research.
M&A and Strategic Advisory: We have established a leading M&A and strategic advisory practice, advising clients on a range of strategic issues, risks and opportunities impacting their businesses. In these advisory relationships, we work closely with our clients through all stages of their assessment and evaluation of a range of strategic opportunities. Often, such situations can be complex and are mission-critical to the success of our client's businesses. In these situations, we believe we have built a reputation for providing valuable insights, experience, deep strategic thinking, rigor, technical expertise and a personalized approach in our partnerships with our clients to thoughtfully achieve their objectives.
Liability Management and Capital Structure Advisory: We have built a leading franchise to serve the liability management market (including restructuring). Our liability management professionals partner with our industry professionals to provide holistic advice related to capital structure and potential solutions in anticipated or actual financial distress situations, including corporate workouts, Chapter 11 proceedings, and prepackaged bankruptcies. We advise both companies and creditors, utilizing our strong relationship network to access capital, identify potential partners and drive support for our transactions. We understand that during times of financial distress, having a true and trusted partner as an advisor is of critical importance, and our partnership and collaboration with our clients during these times have helped us develop long-lasting relationships.
Capital Markets Advisory: We also advise clients on capital markets matters, both in transaction-related and ordinary course financing execution. We provide comprehensive capital structure advice and help our clients develop financing solutions tailored to their specific needs. We partner with our clients to advise on all aspects of public and private debt and equity transactions. For example, we have an active private capital raising business focused on providing privately marketed and negotiated financing solutions to clients requiring substantial amounts of capital to fund growth initiatives or other specific financing needs. We believe our independence and objectivity, coupled with our deep experience in such matters, inform our market views and enhance the likelihood of a successful transaction for our clients.
Company Investments Including Special Purpose Acquisition Companies: We have a relationship with the sponsor of PWP Forward Acquisition Corp. I (“PFAC”), a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”) that was formed to effect a business combination with a company that is founded by, led by or enriches the lives of women. We may in the future have relationships with or invest in subsequent SPACs and similar entities. SPACs provide us with opportunities to use our expertise to assist private companies in accessing growth capital and becoming publicly-traded companies. In addition, we may in the future invest in companies, including our clients, or enter into new business lines, including alongside our clients, employees, officers and directors. We believe working with growth companies enhances our network and facilitates dialogues with other participants in those industries, and subsequently may lead to business opportunities.
Collaborations with Other Firms: The Company has entered into collaborative relationships with certain other firms, including Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd., Banco Itau BBA S.A., and CICC US Securities, Inc. Under these collaborative relationships, the Company and such other firms have expressed their non-binding intention to provide strategic advice to certain companies within applicable regions. We believe that the collaborations, while generally not exclusive, will create new opportunities for the clients of both the Company and its collaborators as they benefit from the firms' combined experience, deep industry insights and market and regional intelligence. As part of the collaborations, the firms may second personnel to each other. The Company and its collaborators may approach applicable companies jointly and will seek to equitably share the fees earned from such clients. We are constantly evaluating the opportunity to collaborate with other organizations across disciplines to enhance our advisory service offerings to our clients.
Since our inception, we have advised on over $1 trillion of M&A transactions with over 1,000 clients in over 40 countries across a broad range of transaction types. Our clients include large public multinational corporations, mid-sized public and private companies, individual entrepreneurs, private and institutional investors, creditor committees and government institutions. We strive to maintain long-term relationships with these clients and in many cases work with them across multiple transactions.
Some illustrations of the noteworthy transactions in which we have advised clients in recent years include:
|Large-Cap Advisory||Mid-Cap Advisory||Restructuring / Capital |
|Financial advisor to Royal Dutch Shell in connection with the $9.5B sale of Shell's Permian business to ConocoPhillips||Financial advisor to Quidel in connection with Quidel's $6.0B acquisition of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics||Financial advisor to Lufthansa in connection with its €2.1B capital increase|
|Lead financial advisor to Baxter in connection with Baxter's $12.4B acquisition of Hillrom||Financial advisor to HELLA in connection with HELLA's €6.8B business combination with Faurecia||Financial advisor to Invitae Corporation in connection with its $1.15B Convertible Notes Offering to SB Management|
|Financial advisor to Vonovia in connection with Vonovia's €29B business combination with Deutsche Wohnen||Financial advisor to MKS Instruments in connection with MKS's $6.5B acquisition of Atotech||Financial advisor to Garrett Motion in connection with its Chapter 11 process|
|Advisor to the Independent Transaction Committee of Discovery, Inc. in connection with Discovery’s $22.2B business combination with AT&T’s WarnerMedia||Financial advisor to Luminex in connection with its $1.8B sale to DiaSorin||Capital markets advisor to Maravai LifeSciences on pricing of upsized Initial Public Offering|
|Financial advisor to Veolia in connection with Veolia's €25.9B merger with Suez||Exclusive financial advisor to Kraft Heinz in connection with the $3.35B sale of its Planters brand to Hormel Foods Corporation||Independent capital markets advisor to Maravai LifeSciences on its follow-on offering of common stock|
|Advisor to Owl Rock Capital Partners LP in executing a definitive business combination agreement with Dyal Capital Partners to form Blue Owl Capital Inc. and list on NYSE via a $12.5B business combination with Altimar Acquisition Corporation||Financial advisor to PureCycle Technologies in its merger with Roth CH Acquisition I Co. and $1.2B listing on the Nasdaq||Financial advisor to Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in connection with multiple financing transactions across both the debt and equity capital markets|
|Exclusive financial advisor to Northrop Grumman Corp. on the sale of its Federal IT and Mission Support Services Business to Veritas Capital Fund Management, LLC for $3.4B||Financial advisor to Precision Medicine Group, LLC in majority investment and recapitalization transaction led by The Blackstone Group Inc.||Advisor to the Ad Hoc Committee in Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s debt restructuring|
|Exclusive advisor to Northrop Grumman Corp. in its $9.2B acquisition of Orbital ATK, Inc.||Financial advisor to KKR in connection with KKR's $5.3B acquisition of Cloudera||Financial advisor to Alta Mesa Resources, Inc. in connection with its Chapter 11 process|
|Advisor to the Supervisory Board of Peugeot S.A. on its $26B merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.||Financial advisor to KKR & Co. Inc. on its $4.3B acquisition of a majority stake in Coty Inc.’s Professional Beauty and Retail Hair businesses and $1.0B investment in Coty Inc. in the form of convertible preferred shares||Financial advisor to Del Monte Foods, Inc. and Del Monte Pacific Limited on capital structure refinancing|
|Sole financial advisor to Oaktree Capital Group, LLC in 62% sale to Brookfield Asset Management Inc.||Lead financial advisor to Invitae Corp. in connection with $1.4B business combination with ArcherDX, Inc.||Financial advisor to Sabre Corp. on its $1.1 billion secured and exchangeable note offerings|
|Advisor to Altria Group, Inc. in connection with its stake in SABMiller plc’s $107B sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV||Sole financial advisor to PayPal Holdings, Inc. on its $4B acquisition of Honey Science Corporation||Financial advisor to the Ad Hoc Group of Constitutional Debtholders on settlement with Puerto Rico Oversight and Management Board|
|Advisor to Altria Group, Inc. in its $12.8B investment in JUUL Labs, Inc.||Advisor to Occidental Petroleum Corp. on formation of Midland Basin JV with EcoPetrol for $1.5B||Advisor to Legacy Reserves Inc. in its joint Chapter 11 plan of reorganization|
|Financial advisor to Altria Group, Inc. on its $1.8B acquisition of Cronos Group Inc.||Exclusive financial advisor to Cantel Medical Corp. on its $775M acquisition of Hu-Friedy Mfg. Co.||Exclusive financial advisor to the Special Committee of the WeWork Board of Directors|
|Advisor to E.ON SE in its $54B acquisition of innogy SE and exchange of assets with RWE AG||Exclusive advisor to SodaStream International, Ltd. in its $3.2B sale to PepsiCo Inc.||Advisor to one of the largest creditors in Sears, Roebuck and Co.’s debt restructuring|
|Lead advisor to Becton, Dickinson and Co. in its $24B acquisition of C.R. Bard, Inc.||Advisor to Apache Corporation in the $3.5B formation of Altus Midstream LP||Advisor to iHeartMedia, Inc. independent directors|
Our Commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance Leadership
We believe that leadership in the Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) issues is a central element of our Company's mission because our success is tied to how responsibly and sustainably we run our business. Over the past few years, we have taken steps to oversee and manage business-relevant ESG factors that impact the long-term interests of our stakeholders, such as engaging our employees and promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace, safeguarding our data through a cybersecurity program, and adhering to what we consider to be best practices in corporate governance and risk assessment and mitigation. Our board of directors, as well as our management team, provide direction and oversight with respect to the evolving priorities of our Company's ESG initiatives, organized into three pillars, which, in turn, contain focus areas for our attention and action:
•Environmental. The Environmental pillar is focused on assessing and monitoring our environmental footprint, and proactively raising our firm-wide awareness of environmental risk and opportunity by committing to sustainable practices to oversee environmental aspects in our business activities.
•Social. The Social pillar is focused on promoting diversity and inclusion, reinforcing our commitment to engage, develop and motivate our employees, and maintaining a rigorous cybersecurity program to protect our valuable data.
•Governance. The Governance pillar is focused on upholding our commitment to ethical business conduct, professional integrity and corporate responsibility by integrating strong governance and enterprise risk management oversight across all aspects of our business.
Our People and Inclusive Culture
We believe that our people are our most valuable asset. Our goal is to attract, develop and retain the best and brightest talent in our industry across all levels. We strive to foster a collaborative environment, and we seek individuals who are deeply committed to their clients, passionate about our business and additive to our culture.
Since our founding we have experienced significant growth of our team. At founding in 2006, we began the Company with 16 advisory professionals, including ten advisory partners. By 2010, we had grown our Company to 137 advisory professionals, including 24 advisory partners. By 2014, we had grown our Company to 183 advisory professionals, including 32 advisory partners. As of December 31, 2021, we serve our clients with 422 advisory professionals, including 60 advisory partners (which numbers include two advisory partners who retired from the Company in January 2022), based in ten offices, located in five countries around the world.
The drivers of the growth of the Company include a combination of internal promotions, lateral recruiting in our areas of focus and, in the case of the TPH Business Combination (as defined below), the addition of a substantial number of new partners and advisory professionals through a business combination. In addition to this promotion and addition of external hires, we have also maintained significant discipline in how we assess our advisory professionals within our culture and our strategic and financial objectives. Accordingly, we have developed a comprehensive internal review process and significantly evolved the partnership over our history. Today, we believe we have established a rigorous recruiting and review process that ensures that we maintain consistently high levels of performance and of quality among our advisors, which best positions us to serve our clients and their growing advisory needs.
Our partners are compensated based on their overall contribution to value creation for our Company. Contribution includes, among other things, the quality of advice and execution provided to clients, intellectual content and thought leadership, the financial contribution to the Company, the commitment made to recruiting new talent, the creation of an inclusive work environment and the overall spirit of partnership they demonstrate in working with their colleagues and their clients. We do not compensate on a commission-based pay model, whereby bankers are rewarded solely based upon financial contribution. We believe that our compensation model encourages a collaborative environment and attracts talented advisory professionals to join our Company.
We recruit our junior professionals from the world's leading undergraduate and graduate programs. We have developed a dedicated campus recruiting effort through which we have hired approximately 280 analysts and associates since 2017. We devote significant time and resources to attracting, training and mentoring our employees. This starts with positioning our Company to attract competitive, high caliber talent and providing a hands-on development platform from day one through our global internship program and full-time training program. As a testament to our efforts, in each of the last six years, the Vault Best Internship and Banking 25 surveys have ranked us Top Ten for Investment Banking Internships and Top Five for Formal Training. Following training, our junior professionals work closely with their deal teams to receive significant transactional experience across a wide range of products and industries. We believe this exposure enhances the investment banking experience and allows our junior professionals to develop and refine their proficiency in a broad variety of corporate finance matters at an early stage in their career. We are committed to talent retention, and our goal is to develop our brightest and most ambitious junior professionals into successful partners. To this end, as of December 31, 2021, 21 of our 60 advisory partners were promoted internally.
Diversity, equity and inclusion, which is one of the focus areas of the Social pillar of our ESG initiative, have been foundational elements at our Company to create a workforce comprised of people with different backgrounds and experiences who can collectively bring a strong diversity of thought to our advisory services. In addition to a number of firm-wide policies and procedures to promote diversity, equal opportunity and anti-discrimination, our programs, such as the Global Women's Advisory Prep Program and the Global Advisory Diversity Prep Program, have been instrumental to increase representation of women and ethnically diverse junior professionals. Our focus and effort on recruiting and developing undergraduate women through the Women's Advisory Diversity Prep Program has significantly increased the number of women in our entry level classes since the program's launch in 2015. We have also implemented talent acquisition strategies, which include assessment training and resources, to ensure we attract and identify the best, most diverse junior professionals to our Company and provide an equitable hiring process. To further foster a diverse and inclusive culture, employees participate in an interactive Conscious Inclusion workshop to explore conscious and unconscious biases and their impact, increase awareness of our reactions to differences and develop strategies for implementing inclusive behaviors in the workplace.
In addition to recruiting and developing advisory professionals, we have also entered into formal relationships with certain senior advisors who work with our advisory professionals to augment our overall advisory services to our clients. These individuals are generally former business leaders who previously worked within the sectors on which we focus. They bring a wealth of personal experience confronting many of the challenges our clients face and thereby complement our thought partnership with our clients. Our senior advisors are specifically selected to help us broaden the profile of advisory services we can deliver to our clients and address a larger scope of our clients' challenges, beyond traditional investment banking advice.
As of December 31, 2021, we had 602 employees.
Our Focus on Cybersecurity
We strive to protect the reputation of our Company by establishing, protecting and defending our data and systems in a number of ways through a combination of processes, tools, and awareness-building. We adhere to the best practices outlined in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) and International Organization for Standardization (“ISO”) frameworks, and our policies and procedures in managing personally identifiable information (“PII”) are in compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) requirements.
We maintain an ongoing process to enhance security and optimize our IT systems, and regularly conduct security assessments and testing of our systems to verify our systems' integrity to protect against the compromise from both internal and external sources. In addition to identifying information security risks, we have put robust controls in place to seek to reduce or mitigate such risks. Cybersecurity training is conducted annually and we maintain system logs of user activities, exceptions, and security events for a period consistent with industry best practices unless otherwise required by law, regulation or contractual obligation.
Multi-factor authentication is used for all remote access mechanisms that provide employee access to our infrastructure or data, and we employ rigorous measures to appropriately handle and protect sensitive and confidential data. We take precautionary measures to minimize, to the extent possible, the use of PII and the electronic or courier-based transmission of sensitive and confidential data, relying instead on approved and secured digital data transfer services which provide a tightly controlled and selective access to such information. All data is appropriately secured when at-rest or in-transit, and industry standard encryption is used to the maximum extent possible. We also take multiple steps to ensure our ability to restore data in the event of data failure, corruption, accidental deletion, or malicious tampering.
The TPH Business Combination
On November 30, 2016, we completed a business combination with TPH, an independent advisory firm focused on the energy industry (the “TPH Business Combination”). TPH was founded in 2007 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
This combination strengthened our position serving the energy sector and enabled deeper penetration in energy-adjacent sectors, such as chemicals and diversified industrials. The combination also added TPH's securities business, which we believe is recognized for its deep domain research and thought-leadership, and strengthened our capabilities in providing capital markets solutions to our clients.
On February 28, 2019, we effected the separation of our advisory business from the asset management business of PWP OpCo pursuant to a master separation agreement, pursuant to which PWP Capital Holdings LP (“PWP Capital”) became the holding company for our asset management business and PWP OpCo continued to be the holding company for our advisory business (the “PWP Separation”). For additional information about the PWP Separation and our relationship with PWP Capital, see “Part III—Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Persons Transactions, and Director Independence—PWP Related Party Transactions—Agreements with PWP Capital.”
We are a holding company and our only material assets are our partnership interests in PWP OpCo and our equity interest in the general partner of PWP OpCo, PWP GP, LLC (“PWP GP”). We operate and control all of the business and affairs of our advisory business, as run by PWP OpCo and its operating entity subsidiaries, indirectly through our equity interest in PWP GP.
The financial services industry is intensely competitive, and we expect it to remain so. Our competitors are other investment banking and financial advisory firms. We compete on both a global and a regional basis, and on the basis of a number of factors, including our reputation, depth of client relationships, industry knowledge and insights, transaction execution skills, our range of products and services, innovation and price.
We believe our primary competitors in securing advisory engagements include the investment banking businesses of Bank of America Corporation, Barclays Capital Inc., Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, UBS Securities LLC and other large investment banking firms as well as independent investment banking firms such as Centerview Partners, Evercore Partners Inc., Greenhill & Co., Inc., Guggenheim Partners, Houlihan Lokey, Inc., Lazard Ltd, Moelis, Inc., NM Rothschild & Sons Limited, PJT Partners, Inc., and other closely held boutique firms. We compete for business as well as to attract and retain qualified employees. Our ability to continue to compete effectively in our business will depend upon our ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees who are essential to our ability to serve clients.
In past years there has been substantial consolidation in the financial services industry. Many firms have the ability to offer a wider range of products, from loans, deposit-taking and insurance to brokerage, asset management and investment banking services, which may enhance their competitive position. They also have the ability to support investment banking and securities products with commercial lending and other financial services revenues in an effort to gain market share, which could result in pricing pressure in our business or loss of opportunities for us. In addition, we may be at a competitive disadvantage relative to certain of our competitors who are able to, and regularly do, provide financing or market making services that are often instrumental in effecting transactions. The trend toward consolidation has significantly increased the capital base and geographic reach of our competitors as well as the potential for actual or perceived conflicts of these firms.
Our business, as well as the financial services industry generally, is subject to extensive regulation in the United States and abroad. As a matter of public policy, regulatory bodies in the United States and foreign jurisdictions are charged with safeguarding the integrity of their home country securities and other financial markets and with protecting the interests of clients participating in those markets.
In the United States, the SEC is the federal agency responsible for the administration of the federal securities laws. Perella Weinberg Partners LP, through which we (i) conduct strategic advisory and restructuring services in the United States and (ii) engage in private placements of securities and investment banking mergers and acquisitions advisory services and Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, LLC (“TPH Securities”), through which we conduct equity research and sales and market making in the United States are registered as broker-dealers with, and are subject to regulation and oversight by, the SEC. In addition, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), a self-regulatory organization that is subject to oversight by the SEC, adopts and enforces rules governing the conduct, and examines the activities of, its member firms, including Perella Weinberg Partners LP and TPH Securities. TPH Securities is also a member of several national securities exchanges, which also adopt rules and enforce compliance with their own rules and the federal securities laws. State securities regulators also have regulatory or oversight authority over Perella Weinberg Partners LP and TPH Securities.
Broker-dealers are subject to regulations that cover all aspects of the securities business, including trading practices, order handling, best execution, anti-money laundering, handling of material non-public information, safeguarding data, reporting, record retention, market access and the conduct and qualifications of its officers, directors, employees and other associated persons. In particular, as registered broker-dealers and members of a self-regulatory organization, our U.S. broker-dealer subsidiaries are subject to the SEC's uniform net capital rule, Rule 15c3-1. Rule 15c3-1 specifies the minimum level of net capital a broker-dealer must maintain and also requires that a significant part of a broker-dealer's assets be kept in relatively liquid form. The SEC and various self-regulatory organizations impose rules that require notification when net capital falls below certain predefined criteria, limit the ratio of subordinated debt to equity in the regulatory capital composition of a broker-dealer and constrain the ability of a broker-dealer to expand its business under certain circumstances. Additionally, the SEC's uniform net capital rule imposes certain requirements that may have the effect of prohibiting a broker-dealer from distributing or withdrawing capital and requiring prior notice to the SEC for certain withdrawals of capital. Any failure to comply with applicable broker-dealer rules or regulations could have a material adverse effect on the operation of our business, financial condition and operating results.
In addition to the regulation we are subject to in the United States, we are also subject to regulation internationally. Perella Weinberg UK Limited (“PWP U.K.”) is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) and, as a limited license Prudential sourcebook for Investment Firms investment firm, is required to maintain, as a minimum, regulatory capital of the greater of: (a) its base capital requirement of €50,000; (b) the sum of its market and credit risk requirements; or (c) one-quarter of PWP U.K.'s annual fixed overheads calculated in accordance with European Union laws that have implemented the European Banking Authority's regulatory technical standards. Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities Canada, ULC (“TPH Canada”) is registered as an investment dealer with the provincial securities regulators in the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec and Saskatchewan, with the Alberta Securities Commission being TPH Canada's principal regulator under the passport system adopted by Canada's provincial and territorial securities regulators. TPH Canada is also a dealer member of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”), which adopts and enforces rules governing the capital, business conduct, record keeping, trading, individual registration and proficiency, governance, and examines the activities of, its member firms. Per IIROC's rules, TPH Canada is subject to a minimum capital requirement of $250,000 Canadian dollars, with additional capital requirements when TPH Canada participates in deal financings or executes trades outside of its carrying broker relationship.
Certain parts of our business are subject to compliance with laws and regulations of U.S. federal and state governments, non-U.S. governments, their respective agencies and/or various self-regulatory organizations or exchanges relating to, among other things, the privacy of client information, and any failure to comply with these regulations could expose us to liability and/or reputational damage.
Failure to comply with any laws, rules or regulations could result in administrative or court proceedings, censures, fines, penalties, judgments, disgorgement, restitution and censures, suspension or expulsion from a certain jurisdiction, self-regulatory organization or market, the revocation or limitation of licenses, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or injunctions or the suspension or disqualification of the entity and/or its officers, employees or other associated persons. The U.S. and non-U.S. government agencies and self-regulatory organizations, as well as state securities commissions in the United States, are empowered to conduct periodic examinations and initiate administrative proceedings that can result in censure, fines, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer or its directors, officers or employees. These administrative or court proceedings, whether or not resulting in adverse findings, can require substantial expenditures of time and money and can have an adverse impact on a firm's reputation, customer relationship and profitability. Our U.S. broker-dealer subsidiaries, like most other broker-dealers, have from time to time been the subject of requests for information and documents from the SEC, FINRA and other regulators. We have cooperated and complied in all material respects with any such requests for information and documents.
The Bank Secrecy Act (the “BSA”), as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2021, and the Treasury Department's and FINRA's implementing regulations require each of Perella Weinberg Partners LP and TPH Securities, as broker-dealers, to establish and maintain an anti-money laundering program, file suspicious activity and other reports and comply with certain record-keeping requirements. Under the BSA, a financial institution's anti-money laundering program must include policies, procedures and controls, employee training, the designation of an anti-money laundering compliance officer, periodic independent testing and customer due diligence and monitoring. PWP's non-U.S. subsidiaries are required to comply with similar non-U.S. laws and regulations designed to deter and detect money laundering and the financing of terrorism. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in reputational damage as well as monetary, regulatory and, in certain cases, criminal penalties.
In support of U.S. foreign policy and national security goals, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against targeted foreign countries and regimes, terrorists, international narcotics traffickers, and those engaged in activities related to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other threats to the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States. Among other OFAC sanctions programs, comprehensive sanctions and embargoes target certain countries and geographic regions (“Sanctioned Countries”) and their governments. We are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving any Sanctioned Country, its government or entities owned or controlled by a Sanctioned Country's government or persons or entities located in a Sanctioned Country, unless such activity is licensed or otherwise permissible. OFAC's “list-based” sanctions are imposed on individuals and entities designated under various programs for certain activities, including those referenced above. The names of individuals and entities designated under OFAC's list-based sanctions programs are generally placed on OFAC's List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (parties included on such list, “SDNs”) or similar lists. Assets of SDNs are blocked, and we are generally prohibited from dealing with them. In addition, any property, including a company that is 50 percent or more owned, directly or indirectly, by one or more SDNs in the aggregate, is blocked property. We must also comply with the economic sanctions and embargo programs administered by the United Nations Security Council and certain governmental agencies outside the United States. A violation of a sanctions or embargo program could subject us, and individual employees, to reputational damage and regulatory enforcement actions as well as significant civil and criminal penalties.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) the UK Bribery Act 2010 (the “UK Bribery Act”) and other applicable laws and regulations prohibit the payment of bribes to foreign government officials and political figures. The FCPA prohibits us from making or offering to make any payment, or giving anything of value, to a foreign official for the purpose of influencing that official to assist us in obtaining or retaining an improper business advantage. The FCPA has a broad reach, covering all U.S. companies and citizens doing business abroad, among others, and defining as foreign officials not only those holding public office but also individuals acting in an official capacity for or on behalf of foreign government-run, -owned or -controlled organizations or public international organizations. The FCPA also requires issuers of U.S. securities to maintain accurate books and records and adequate internal controls to prevent and detect possible FCPA violations. The UK Bribery Act prohibits us from bribing, accepting bribes or making other prohibited payments to government officials or other persons (i.e., within the public or private sector) in order to obtain or retain business or gain some other business advantage. These offenses under the UK Bribery Act apply to acts or omissions that take place in the United Kingdom (“U.K.”) or outside the U.K., where the person's act or omission would constitute an offence if carried out in the U.K. and the person has a close connection with the U.K. The UK Bribery Act also establishes a corporate offense of failing to prevent bribery by an associated party, which can be committed regardless of where the offense takes place. We maintain policies and procedures designed to prevent bribery, but such policies and procedures may not be effective in all instances to prevent violations. A violation could subject us, and individual employees, to reputational damage and regulatory enforcement actions as well as significant civil and criminal penalties. We can incur higher costs and face greater compliance risks in structuring and operating our businesses to comply with any of the foregoing regulatory requirements.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
You should consider carefully all of the risks described below, which we believe are the principal risks that we face and of which we are currently aware, and all of the other information contained in this report. If any of the events or developments described below occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations could be negatively affected. Additional risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also impair our business.
Risk Factor Summary
The principal risks and uncertainties affecting our business include the following:
•The scale, scope and duration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business is unpredictable and depends on a number of factors outside of our control. We cannot reasonably predict the magnitude of the ultimate impact that COVID-19 will have on us and whether the impact may have a sustained adverse effect on our business, revenues, operating results and financial condition.
•Our ability to retain working partners and key employees is critical to the success of our business.
•Our future growth will depend on, among other things, our ability to successfully identify, recruit and develop talent and will require us to commit additional resources.
•Our inability to successfully identify, consummate and integrate strategic transactions such as joint ventures, strategic investments and acquisitions may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our business.
•Changing market conditions can adversely affect our business in many ways, including by reducing the volume of the transactions involving our business, which could materially reduce our revenue.
•Our revenue in any given period is dependent on the number of fee-paying clients in such period, and a significant reduction in the number of fee-paying clients in any given period could reduce our revenue and adversely affect our operating results in such period.
•Substantially all of our revenue is derived from advisory fees, including fees that are largely contingent upon the completion of events which may be out of our control, such as the completion of a transaction and, as a result, our revenue and profits are highly volatile on a quarterly basis.
•Our engagements are often singular in nature and do not provide for subsequent engagements, which could cause our revenues to fluctuate materially from period to period.
•Our clients may be unable to pay us for our services.
•Our failure to deal appropriately with actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest could damage our reputation and materially adversely affect our business.
•We face strong competition from other financial advisory firms, many of which have the ability to offer clients a wider range of products and services than those we can offer, which could cause us to lose engagements to competitors, fail to win advisory mandates and subject us to pricing pressures that could materially adversely affect our revenue and profitability.
•Goodwill and other intangible assets represent a significant portion of our assets, and an impairment of these assets could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
•We may be unable to execute on our growth initiatives, business strategies or operating plans.
•As a member of the financial services industry, we face substantial litigation risks.
•Our business is subject to various cybersecurity and other operational risks.
•We may enter into new lines of business which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our business.
•Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely affect our results.
•The historical consolidated financial information for periods prior to the Business Combination on June 24, 2021 in our filings is not representative of the results we would have achieved as a stand-alone public company and may not permit you to predict our future results.
•Extensive and evolving regulation of our business and the business of our clients exposes us to the potential for significant penalties and fines due to compliance failures, increases our costs and may result in limitations on the manner in which our business is conducted.
Risks Related to Our Business
The scale, scope and duration of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business is unpredictable and depends on a number of factors outside of our control. We cannot reasonably predict the magnitude of the ultimate impact that COVID-19 will have on us and whether the impact may have a sustained adverse effect on our business, revenues, operating results and financial condition.
COVID-19 has created global economic disruption and uncertainty. COVID-19 may have a significant and adverse effect on our business, revenues and operating results in the short term. Additionally, the prolonged impact of COVID-19 could heighten the impact of one or more of the other risk factors described herein.
As a financial services firm, we are materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic conditions throughout the world. During periods of unfavorable market or economic conditions, including current market conditions, the volume and value of M&A and capital markets transactions may decrease, thereby reducing the demand for our M&A and capital markets advisory services and increasing price competition among financial services companies seeking such engagements. COVID-19's adverse impact may also be significantly driven by other factors that are beyond our control, including, for example: the timing, scope, and effectiveness of additional governmental responses to the pandemic; medical advancements providing vaccinations for the novel coronavirus and treatments for the medical conditions caused by the virus, the timing and speed of economic recovery; the impact on our clients' willingness to transact in a sustained uncertain environment; and the continued unpredictable impacts on public health and economic activity as the pandemic continues.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, our business (from both a marketing and execution perspective) depended to a large degree on our financial staff meeting in person with potential and engaged clients, potential and actual counterparties to our clients involved in transactions, and other parties in interest. The travel restrictions and social distancing requirements that were put in place as a result of COVID-19 greatly diminished our ability to travel and attend events and meetings in person. While, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have successfully conducted meetings using technology, our ability to generate and conduct business may have been adversely impacted.
We have implemented various initiatives to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on our Company and our people, such as employees working remotely from home, while also seeking to maintain business continuity. We face various cybersecurity and other operational risks related to our business on a day to day basis, which may be heightened by COVID-19. We rely heavily on financial, accounting, communication, and other information technology systems, including, without limitation, cloud based storage systems, and the people who operate them. These systems, including the systems of third parties on whom we rely, may experience a disruption as a result of COVID-19 or increased cybersecurity threats. If we were unable to timely and successfully recover from such a disruption, our business could be materially impacted and such a disruption could cause material financial loss, regulatory actions, reputational harm or legal liability. An extended period of remote working by our employees could strain our technology resources and introduce operational risks, including heightened cybersecurity risk. Remote working environments may be less secure and more susceptible to hacking attacks, including phishing and social engineering attempts that seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 presents a threat to our employees' well-being. While we have implemented a business continuity plan to protect the health of our employees, such plans cannot anticipate all scenarios, and we may experience a potential loss of productivity.
We remain subject to the risks of future pandemics, which could result in challenges to our business that are similar to, or in excess of, those posed by COVID-19.
Our ability to retain working partners and key employees is critical to the success of our business.
Our future success depends to a substantial degree on our ability to retain qualified professionals within our organization, including our working partners. However, we may not be successful in our efforts to retain the required personnel as the market for qualified advisory professionals is extremely competitive. Working partners and other senior professionals have left us in the past and others may do so in the future. Loss of key employees may occur due to perceived opportunity for promotion, compensation levels, work environment, retirement or the pursuit of philanthropic, civic or similar service opportunities, or other individualized reasons, some of which may be beyond our control. Our senior personnel possess substantial experience and expertise and have strong relationships with our advisory clients. As a result, the loss of these professionals could jeopardize our relationships with clients and result in the loss of client engagements. For example, if any of our working partners or other senior professionals, including our executive officers, or groups of professionals, were to join or form a competing firm, some of our current clients could choose to use the services of that competitor rather than our services. There is no guarantee that our compensation and non-competition arrangements with our working partners provide sufficient incentives or protections to prevent our working partners from resigning to compete with our Company or join our competitors. For instance, we are currently the plaintiff in a litigation involving certain former working partners and a former employee as defendants, in which the defendants allegedly entered into a scheme to lift out our entire restructuring group to form a new competing firm that they were secretly forming in breach of their contractual and fiduciary duties to our Company. See “Part I—Item 3. Legal Proceedings” included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. In addition, some of our competitors have more resources than we do, which may allow them to attract some of our existing employees through higher compensation, promotions or otherwise. The departure of a number of working partners or groups of professionals could have a material adverse effect on our business and our profitability.
Our future growth will depend on, among other things, our ability to successfully identify, recruit and develop talent and will require us to commit additional resources.
We have experienced significant growth over the past several years, which may be difficult to sustain at the same rate. In addition, our business involves the delivery of professional services and is largely dependent on the talents and efforts of highly skilled individuals. Accordingly, our future growth will depend on, among other things, our ability to successfully identify and recruit individuals to join our Company. It typically takes time for these professionals to become profitable and effective. During that time, we may incur significant expenses and expend significant time and resources toward training, integration and business development aimed at developing this new talent. If we are unable to recruit and develop such professionals, we will not be able to implement our growth strategy and our financial results could be materially adversely affected.
In addition, sustaining growth will require us to commit additional management, operational and financial resources and to maintain appropriate operational and financial systems to adequately support expansion, especially in instances when we open new offices that may require additional resources before they become profitable. See “Risks Related to our Business—Our growth strategy may involve opening or acquiring new offices and/or expanding, both domestically and internationally, and could involve hiring new Limited Partners and other senior professionals for these offices, which would require substantial investment by us and could materially adversely affect our operating results.” There can be no assurance that we will be able to manage our expanding operations effectively, and any failure to do so could materially adversely affect our ability to grow revenue and control our expenses.
Furthermore, we have grown, and in the future we may continue to grow, by strategic investment or acquisition, which would expose us to numerous risks and uncertainties similar to those of hiring and developing our current professionals. Additionally, there are challenges related to integrating a large number of personnel into our global organization and ensuring a proper cultural fit. Management and other existing personnel have spent, and may in the future spend, considerable time and resources working to integrate any acquired business or strategic investment, which may distract them from other business operations.
Our inability to successfully identify, consummate and integrate strategic transactions such as joint ventures, strategic investments and acquisitions may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our business.
In addition to recruiting and internal promotions, we may grow our business through strategic transactions, including joint ventures, strategic investments or acquisitions.
We regularly evaluate opportunities to acquire other businesses. Unless and until acquisitions of other businesses generate meaningful revenues, the purchase prices or consideration we pay to acquire such businesses could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If we acquire a business, we may be unable to manage it profitably or successfully integrate its operations with our own. Additionally, acquisitions may have “earn-out” provisions that could result in large costs after the closing of the acquisition, some or all of which could be dilutive of the holders of our Class A common stock. Moreover, we may be unable to realize the financial, operational, and other benefits we anticipate from acquisitions. Competition for future acquisition opportunities in our markets could increase the price we pay for businesses we acquire and could reduce the number of potential acquisition targets. Further, acquisitions may involve a number of special financial and business risks, including expenses related to any potential acquisition from which we may withdraw; diversion of our management's time, attention, and resources; decreased utilization during the integration process; loss of key acquired personnel; difficulties in integrating diverse corporate cultures; increased costs to improve or integrate personnel and financial, accounting, technology and other systems, including compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”); dilutive issuances of equity securities, including convertible debt securities; the assumption of legal liabilities; amortization of acquired intangible assets; potential write-offs related to the impairment of goodwill and additional conflicts of interest. In addition, our clients may react unfavorably to our acquisition, growth and joint venture strategies, and disagreements between us and any joint-venture partners may negatively impact our business and profitability. If we are unable to successfully manage these risks, we will not be able to implement our growth strategy, which could ultimately materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In the case of any joint ventures and strategic investments, we are subject to additional risks and uncertainties relating to governance and controls, in that we may be dependent upon personnel, controls and systems, including management of the business by third parties, and subject to liability, losses or reputational damage relating to such personnel, controls and systems and the management decisions of third parties that are not under our control. In the event we make further strategic investments or acquisitions, we would face numerous risks and would be presented with financial, managerial and operational challenges, including the difficulty of integrating personnel, financial, accounting, technology and other systems and management controls.
Changing market conditions can adversely affect our business in many ways, including by reducing the volume of the transactions involving our business, which could materially reduce our revenue.
As a financial services firm, we are materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic conditions throughout the world. Financial markets and economic conditions can be negatively impacted by many factors beyond our control, such as the inability to access credit markets, rising interest rates or inflation, pandemic, terrorism, international hostilities, including the recent hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, political uncertainty, uncertainty in U.S. federal fiscal, monetary, tax or regulatory policy and the fiscal, monetary, tax or regulatory policy of foreign governments and the timing and nature of such reform. For example, our revenue is related to the volume and value of the transactions in which we are involved. During periods of unfavorable market or economic conditions, the volume and value of M&A transactions may decrease, thereby reducing the demand for our M&A advisory services and increasing price competition among financial services companies seeking such engagements. We may face a similar reduction in demand for our M&A services when the prices of certain commodities, including oil, are suppressed or experience volatility for an extended period of time. In addition, during periods of strong market and economic conditions, the volume and value of recapitalization and restructuring transactions may decrease, thereby reducing demand for our recapitalization and restructuring advisory services and increasing price competition among financial services companies seeking such engagements. Our results of operations could be adversely affected by any such reduction in the volume or value of such advisory transactions. Revenue improvements in our M&A practice in strong economic conditions could be offset in whole or in part by any related revenue declines in our restructuring practice. Further, in the period following an economic downturn, the volume and value of M&A transactions typically take time to recover and lag a recovery in market and economic conditions. These trends are cyclical in nature and subject to periodic reversal.
Furthermore, rapid increases in equity valuations and market volatility can negatively impact M&A activity. Our clients engaging in M&A transactions often rely on access to the credit and/or equity markets to finance such transactions. The uncertain availability of credit and the volatility of equity markets can adversely affect the size, volume, timing and ability of our clients to successfully complete M&A transactions and adversely affect our advisory business. Market volatility also affects our clients' ability and willingness to engage in stock-for-stock transactions.
Changes in market and economic conditions can also impact other aspects of our business in different ways. For example, our profitability may be adversely affected by our fixed costs and the possibility that we would be unable to scale back other costs within a time frame sufficient to match any decreases in revenue relating to changes in market and economic conditions. While we operate in North America, Europe and the Middle East, our operations in the United States have historically provided most of our revenues and earnings. Consequently, our revenues and profitability are particularly affected by market conditions in the United States.
Our revenue in any given period is dependent on the number of fee-paying clients in such period, and a significant reduction in the number of fee-paying clients in any given period could reduce our revenue and adversely affect our operating results in such period.
Our revenue in any given period is dependent on the number of fee-paying clients in such period. For the year ended December 31, 2021, we earned revenues from 232 advisory clients, 142 of which generated fees equal to or greater than $1.0 million. For the year ended December 31, 2020 we earned revenues from 175 advisory clients, 99 of which generated fees equal to or greater than $1.0 million. For the year ended December 31, 2019, we earned revenues from 179 advisory clients, 100 of which generated fees equal to or greater than $1.0 million. We may lose clients as a result of the sale or merger of a client, a change in a client's senior management, competition from other financial advisors and financial institutions and other causes. A significant reduction in the number of fee-paying clients in any given period could reduce our revenue and adversely affect our operating results for such period. There was no individual client that accounted for more than 10% of aggregate revenues for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, and 2019.
In addition, the composition of the group comprising our largest clients varies significantly from year to year, and a relatively small number of clients may account for a significant portion of our revenues in any given period. As a result, our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity may be significantly affected by the loss of a relatively small number of mandates or the failure of a relatively small number of assignments to be completed.
We have recorded operating losses in the past and may experience operating losses in the future.
For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we recorded operating losses of $14.6 million and $155.1 million, respectively. These operating losses were largely due to amortization of the equity-based compensation awards granted by Professional Partners, which have no economic impact on PWP or PWP OpCo. The vesting of equity awards granted in connection with the Business Combination have been and will be recorded as equity-based compensation expense at PWP OpCo for U.S. GAAP accounting purposes. Although we did not record an operating loss for the year ended December 31, 2021, we need to continue to compensate personnel competitively in order to continue building our business and as a result, we may again experience operating losses in future periods.
Substantially all of our revenue is derived from advisory fees, including fees that are largely contingent upon the completion of events which may be out of our control, such as the completion of a transaction and, as a result, our revenue and profits are highly volatile on a quarterly basis.
Our revenue and profits can be highly volatile. Unlike diversified investment banks, which generate revenues from commercial lending, securities trading and retail banking, or other advisory firms, which have asset management and other recurring revenue businesses, our generation of revenues from sources other than advisory fees is minimal. Our advisory fees are generally derived from a limited number of engagements that generate significant fees contingent on key transaction milestones, the timing and conditions of which are outside of our control. We expect that we will continue to rely on advisory fees for most of our revenue for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, a decline in our advisory engagements or the market for advisory services would adversely affect our business. In addition, our financial results will likely fluctuate from quarter to quarter based on the timing of when fees are earned, and high levels of revenue in one quarter will not necessarily be predictive of continued high levels of revenue in future periods. In some cases, for advisory engagements that do not result in the successful consummation of a transaction, we are not paid a fee other than the reimbursement of certain out-of-pocket expenses and, in some cases, a retainer, despite having devoted considerable resources to these transactions.
Because we lack other, more stable, sources of revenue which could moderate some of the volatility in our advisory revenue, we may experience greater variations in our revenue and profits than other larger, more diversified competitors in the financial services industry. Should our contingent fee arrangements represent a greater percentage of our business in the future, we may experience increased volatility in our working capital requirements and greater variations in our quarter-to-quarter results.
Because in many cases revenues are not recognized until the successful consummation of the underlying transaction, our revenue is highly dependent on market conditions and the decisions and actions of our clients, interested third parties and governmental authorities. For example, we may be engaged by a client in connection with a sale or divestiture, but the transaction may not occur or be consummated because, among other things, anticipated bidders may not materialize, no bidder is prepared to pay our client's price or because our client's business experiences unexpected operating or financial problems. We may be engaged by a client in connection with an acquisition, but the transaction may not occur or be consummated for a number of reasons, including because our client may not be the winning bidder, failure to agree upon final terms with the counterparty, failure to obtain necessary regulatory consents or board or stockholder approvals, failure to secure necessary financing, adverse market conditions or because the target's business experiences unexpected operating or financial problems. Additionally, a client may not receive bids acceptable to it in connection with a restructuring transaction or may not be able to restructure its operations or indebtedness due to a failure to reach an agreement with its principal creditors or the court. In such circumstances, we often do not receive advisory fees, despite having devoted considerable resources to these transactions.
Our engagements are often singular in nature and do not provide for subsequent engagements, which could cause our revenues to fluctuate materially from period to period.
We operate in a highly-competitive environment where our clients generally retain us on a non-exclusive, short-term, engagement-by-engagement basis in connection with specific transactions or projects, rather than under long-term contracts covering potential additional future services. As these transactions and projects are often singular in nature and subject to intense competition, we must seek out new engagements when our current engagements are successfully completed or terminated. As a result, high activity levels in any period are not indicative of high activity levels in the next-succeeding or any future period, and the successful completion of a previous engagement does not guarantee that we will be engaged by the same client in the future on the same terms or at all.
Our clients may be unable to pay us for our services.
We face the risk that our clients may not have the financial resources to pay our agreed-upon advisory fees, including in the bankruptcy or insolvency context. Further, our clients include companies that have had and may from time to time encounter financial difficulties. If a client's financial difficulties become severe, the client may be unwilling or unable to pay our invoices in the ordinary course of business, which could adversely affect collections of both our accounts receivable and unbilled services. On occasion, some of our clients have entered bankruptcy, which has prevented us from collecting amounts owed to us. The bankruptcy of a number of our clients who, in the aggregate, owe us substantial accounts receivable could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, if a client declares bankruptcy after paying us certain invoices, courts may determine that we are not properly entitled to those payments and may require repayment of some or all of the amounts we received, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Further, some fees earned from certain activities in our restructuring business are subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts and other interested parties which have the ability to challenge the payment of such fees. Fees earned and reflected in our revenue may from time to time be subject to successful challenges, which could result in a reduction of revenue. Certain clients may, due to changes in senior personnel, ownership or otherwise, also be unwilling to pay our advisory fees in whole or in part, in which case we may have to incur significant costs to bring legal action to enforce our engagement agreements to obtain our advisory fees. Such actions may require considerable financial and personnel resources and may result in negative public relations due to the public nature of legal action. Ultimately, there is no guaranty that such legal action could be successful.
If the number of debt defaults, bankruptcies or other factors affecting demand for our recapitalization and restructuring advisory services declines, our recapitalization and restructuring business could suffer.
We provide various financial recapitalization and restructuring and related advice to companies in financial distress or to their creditors or other stakeholders. A number of factors affect demand for these advisory services, including general economic conditions, the availability and cost of debt and equity financing, governmental policy and changes to laws, rules and regulations, including those that protect creditors. In addition, providing recapitalization and restructuring advisory services entails the risk that the transaction will be unsuccessful or take considerable time and can be subject to a bankruptcy court's authority to disallow or discount our fees in certain circumstances, including after payment of our fees. If the number of debt defaults, bankruptcies or other factors affecting demand for our recapitalization and restructuring advisory services declines, our business could be adversely affected.
Our failure to deal appropriately with actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest could damage our reputation and materially adversely affect our business.
We confront actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in our business. For instance, we face the possibility of an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest when we represent a client on a transaction in which an existing (or future) client is (or becomes) a party. We may be asked by two or more potential clients to act on their behalf on the same transaction, including multiple clients as potential buyers in the same acquisition transaction, and we may act for such clients if all such clients agree to us doing so (with such agreement potentially being subject to certain operational or other conditions). In each of these situations, we face the risk that our current policies, controls and procedures do not timely identify, disclose or appropriately manage such conflicts of interest.
In addition, we frequently come into possession of material non-public information and other confidential information in connection with our advisory engagements, and our possession of a client's material non-public information could place restrictions on our other operations or engagements. It is possible that actual, potential or perceived conflicts could give rise to client dissatisfaction, litigation or regulatory enforcement actions, or result in a client terminating our engagement. Appropriately identifying and managing actual or perceived conflicts of interest is complex and difficult, and our reputation could be damaged if we fail, or appear to fail, to deal appropriately with one or more potential or actual conflicts of interest. Regulatory scrutiny of, or litigation in connection with, conflicts of interest could have a material adverse effect on our reputation which could materially adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including as a result of a reluctance of some potential clients and counterparties to do business with us. Policies, controls and procedures that we implement or may be required to implement to address additional regulatory requirements, including as a result of additional foreign jurisdictions in which we operate, or to mitigate actual or potential conflicts of interest, may result in increased costs; including for additional personnel and infrastructure and information technology improvements; limit our activities; and reduce the positive synergies that we seek to cultivate across our businesses. Conflicts may also arise if our advisory business has access to material non-public information that may not be shared with our equity research business or vice versa.
Employee misconduct, which is difficult to detect and deter, and other labor-related issues could harm us by impairing our ability to attract and retain clients and by subjecting us to legal liability and reputational harm.
There have been a number of highly-publicized cases involving fraud, insider trading or other misconduct by employees in the financial services industry, and there is a risk that our employees could engage in misconduct that would adversely affect our business. For example, our business often requires that we deal with confidential matters of great significance to our clients. If our employees were to improperly use or disclose confidential information provided by our clients, we could be subject to legal sanctions and suffer serious harm to our reputation, financial position, current client relationships and ability to attract future clients. In addition, our financial professionals and other employees are responsible for following proper measures to maintain the confidentiality of information we hold. If an employee's failure to do so results in the improper release of confidential information, we could be subject to reputational harm and legal liability, which could impair our ability to attract and retain clients and/or personnel and in turn materially adversely affect our business. Furthermore, as we continue to increase the size of our workforce, the risk of potential employment-related claims will also increase. As such, we may be subject to legal proceedings related to employment matters including, but not limited to, discrimination, harassment (sexual or otherwise), wrongful termination and local, state or federal labor law violations. It is not always possible to deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent misconduct may not be effective in all cases. If our employees engage in misconduct or fail to follow appropriate security measures, our business could be materially adversely affected.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC continue to devote significant resources to the enforcement of the FCPA. In addition, the UK and other jurisdictions have significantly expanded the reach of their anti-bribery laws. While we have developed and implemented policies and procedures that we believe are reasonably designed to ensure compliance by us and our personnel with the applicable laws, such policies and procedures may not be effective in all instances to prevent violations. Any determination that we have violated the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption laws could subject us to, among other things, reputational damage, regulatory enforcement, civil and criminal penalties, material fines, profit disgorgement, injunctions on future conduct, securities litigation and/or a general loss of client or investor confidence, any one of which could adversely affect our business prospects, financial position or the market value of our securities. For further detail regarding the FCPA and other regulations that we are subject to, see “Part I—Item 1. Business—Regulation.”
We may face damage to our professional reputation if our services are not regarded as satisfactory or for other reasons.
As an advisory service firm, we depend to a large extent on our relationships with our clients and reputation for integrity and high caliber professional services to attract and retain clients. Our ability to secure new engagements is substantially dependent on our reputation and the individual reputations of our financial professionals. Any factor that diminishes our reputation or that of our financial professionals, including not meeting client expectations or actual or alleged misconduct by our financial professionals, including misuse of confidential information or mishandling actual or perceived conflicts, could make it substantially more difficult for us to attract new engagements and clients or retain existing clients. As a result, if a client is not satisfied with our services, it may be more damaging in our field of business than in other business fields.
Further, because we provide our services primarily in connection with significant or complex transactions, disputes or other matters that usually involve confidential and sensitive information or are adversarial, and because our work is the product of myriad judgments of our financial professionals and other staff operating under significant time and other pressures, we may not always perform to the standards expected by our clients. In addition, we may face reputational damage from, among other things, litigation against us, actual or perceived conflicts of interest, our failure to protect confidential information and/or breaches of our cybersecurity protections or other inappropriate disclosure of confidential information, including inadvertent disclosures.
We face strong competition from other financial advisory firms, many of which have the ability to offer clients a wider range of products and services than those we can offer, which could cause us to lose engagements to competitors, fail to win advisory mandates and subject us to pricing pressures that could materially adversely affect our revenue and profitability.
The financial services industry is intensely competitive, highly fragmented and subject to rapid change and we expect it to remain so. Our competitors are other investment banking and financial advisory firms. We compete on both a global and a regional basis, and on the basis of a number of factors, including depth of client relationships, industry knowledge, transaction execution skills, our range of products and services, innovation, reputation and price. In addition, in our business there are usually no long-term contracted sources of revenue. Each revenue generating engagement typically is separately solicited, awarded and negotiated.
We have experienced intense competition in obtaining advisory mandates in recent years, including with respect to pricing, and we may experience further pricing pressures in our business in the future as some of our competitors may seek to obtain increased market share by reducing fees.
Our competitors include large financial institutions, many of which have far greater financial and other resources than we do and, unlike us, have the ability to offer a wider range of products, from loans, deposit taking and insurance to brokerage and trading, and employ more key professionals to serve their clients' needs and develop client relationships, which may enhance their competitive position. They also regularly support investment banking, including financial advisory services, with commercial lending and other financial services and products we do not offer in an effort to gain market share, which puts us at a competitive disadvantage and could result in pricing pressures or loss of opportunities, which could materially adversely affect our revenue and profitability. These larger and better capitalized competitors may also be better able to respond to changes in the financial services industry. In addition, we may be at a competitive disadvantage with regard to certain of our competitors who are able to and often do, provide financing or market-making services that are often a crucial component of the types of transactions on which we advise.
In addition to our larger competitors, we also compete with a number of independent investment banks that offer independent advisory services. There are relatively few barriers to entry impeding the launch of new financial advisory firms, including a relatively low cost of entering this business, and the success of new entrants into our lines of business, including major banks and other financial institutions, have resulted in increased competition. As these independent firms or new entrants into the market seek to gain market share there could be pricing pressures, which would adversely affect our revenues and earnings.
If we are unable to compete successfully with our existing competitors or with any new competitors, we will not be able to implement our growth strategy, which ultimately could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Goodwill and other intangible assets represent a significant portion of our assets, and an impairment of these assets could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operation.
Goodwill and other intangible assets represent a significant portion of our assets, and totaled $66.7 million and $73.3 million as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Goodwill is the excess of the fair value of consideration transferred over the fair value of identifiable net assets, including other intangibles, acquired at the time of an acquisition. We review goodwill and other intangible assets at least annually for impairment. We may need to perform impairment tests more frequently if events occur or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of these assets may not be recoverable. These events or circumstances could include a significant change in the business climate, attrition of key personnel, a prolonged decline in our stock price and market capitalization, legal factors, or operating performance indicators, competition, sale or disposition of a significant portion of one of our businesses and other factors. Annual impairment reviews of indefinite-lived intangible assets, any future impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets would result in a non-cash charge against earnings, which would adversely affect our results of operations. The valuation of the reporting unit requires judgment in estimating future cash flows, discount rates and other factors. In making these judgments, we evaluate the financial health of our reporting unit, including such factors as market performance, changes in our client base and projected growth rates. Because these factors are ever changing, due to market and general business conditions, our goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets may be impaired in future periods.
We may be unable to execute on our growth initiatives, business strategies or operating plans.
We are executing on a number of growth initiatives, strategies and operating plans designed to enhance our business. For example, we have expanded, and intend to continue to expand, our platform into various industry and product sectors, both organically and through acquisitions, and to expand our existing expertise into new geographies. The anticipated benefits from these efforts are based on several assumptions that may prove to be inaccurate. Moreover, we may not be able to successfully complete these growth initiatives, strategies and operating plans and realize all or any of the expected benefits, including growth targets and margin expansion, we expect to achieve or it may be more costly to do so than we anticipate. A variety of factors could cause us not to realize some or all of the expected benefits. These factors include, among others: delays in the anticipated timing of activities related to such growth initiatives, strategies and operating plans; difficulty in competing in certain industries, product areas and geographies in which we have less experience than others; negative attention from any failed initiatives; and increased or unexpected costs in implementing these efforts.
Moreover, our continued implementation of these programs may disrupt our operations and performance. As a result, we may not realize the expected benefits from these plans. If, for any reason, the benefits we realize are less than our estimates or the implementation of these growth initiatives, strategies and operating plans adversely affect our operations or cost more or take longer to effectuate than we expect, or if our assumptions prove inaccurate, we will not be able to implement our growth strategy, which ultimately could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Restrictions in the Credit Agreement (as defined below) governing our Revolving Credit Facility (as defined below) or the credit agreement governing any replacement credit facility may impair our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs or engage in other business activities that may be in our interests.
On December 11, 2018, Perella Weinberg Partners Group LP (“PWP Group”), a wholly owned subsidiary of PWP OpCo, entered into a revolving credit facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility”) with Cadence Bank, N.A. (“Cadence Bank”) in order to pay in full the outstanding credit agreement with Cadence Bank, dated November 30, 2016 (as amended and restated on December 11, 2018, the “Credit Agreement”), through which the Company borrowed an aggregate of $50.0 million, plus outstanding interest, fees and expenses related thereto and provide for the future working capital needs and other general corporate purposes of PWP Group and its subsidiaries. The Revolving Credit Facility, as amended in connection with the Closing, provides for a $50.0 million unsecured revolving credit facility that matures on July 1, 2025, and contains a number of significant covenants that, among other things, require PWP OpCo and certain of its subsidiaries (the “Loan Parties”) to maintain (on a consolidated basis) minimum liquidity levels, a minimum debt service coverage ratio and a maximum leverage ratio and restrict the ability of the Loan Parties to:
•dispose of assets;
•incur additional indebtedness;
•make certain restricted payments;
•engage in business mergers or consolidations; and
•engage in certain transactions with subsidiaries and affiliates.
These restrictions (and similar restrictions under any replacement credit facility) could impair our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs or engage in other business activities that may be in our interests. The ability of the Loan Parties to comply with these financial ratios and covenants may be affected by events beyond our control. A breach of the provisions of the Revolving Credit Facility (or any replacement credit facility) or the inability of any Loan Party to comply with the required financial ratios or covenants included therein could result in a default thereunder. In the event of any such default, the administrative agent under the Revolving Credit Facility (or any replacement credit facility) could elect to:
•declare the commitments of all of the lenders under the Revolving Credit Facility (or any replacement credit facility) to be terminated; and
•declare all outstanding debt, accrued interest and fees to be due and immediately payable.
Any such election could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as our reputation, which could materially adversely affect our business in a number of ways, including as a result of a reluctance of some potential clients and counterparties to do business with us.
As a member of the financial services industry, we face substantial litigation risks.
Our business is subject to various U.S. and international laws and regulations that could lead to enforcement actions, fines, civil or criminal penalties or the assertion of litigation claims and damages. In addition, improper conduct by our employees, agents or other related parties could damage our reputation and/or lead to litigation or legal proceedings that could result in civil or criminal penalties, including substantial monetary fines. In certain circumstances it may not be economical to defend against such matters and/or our legal strategy may not ultimately result in us prevailing in a matter. Such events could lead to an adverse impact on our financial condition or results of operations.
Our role as advisor to our clients on important transactions involves complex analysis and the exercise of professional judgment, including rendering “fairness opinions” in connection with mergers and other transactions. Our activities may subject us to the risk of significant legal liabilities to our clients and affected third parties, including shareholders of our clients who could bring securities class actions against us. In recent years, the volume of claims and amount of damages claimed in litigation and regulatory proceedings against financial services companies have been increasing, including claims for aiding and abetting client misconduct. Litigation alleging that we performed below our agreed standard of care or breached any other obligations to a client or other parties could expose us to significant legal liabilities, and, regardless of outcome, could be very costly, could distract our management and could damage our reputation. For example, we are currently involved in litigation with certain former working limited partners whose tenure was terminated prior to November 1, 2020 (“Legacy Partners”) and a former employee regarding claims of breach of contract. For further information, see “Part I—Item 3. Legal Proceedings” included elsewhere in this Form 10-K. Moreover, judicial scrutiny and criticism of investment banker performance and activities has increased, creating risk that our services in a litigated transaction could be criticized by a court. These risks often may be difficult to assess or quantify and their existence and magnitude often remain unknown for substantial periods of time.
Our engagements typically include broad indemnities from our clients and provisions to limit our exposure to legal claims relating to our services, but these provisions may not protect us in all cases, including when we perform below our agreed standard of care or a client does not have the financial capacity to pay for its obligations under any such indemnity. As a result, we may incur significant legal expenses in defending against or settling litigation. In addition, we may not have, and may not in the future choose to obtain, insurance with respect to any or all potential claims and, if desirable, we may have to spend a significant amount to adequately insure against these potential claims, and such insurance coverage may not be available on commercial terms or at all. Substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us or significant criticism by a court of our performance or activities could have material adverse financial effects or cause significant reputational harm to us, which could materially harm our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations. Further, allegations by private litigants or regulators of our having engaged in improper conduct, whether true or false and regardless of whether the ultimate outcome is favorable or unfavorable to us, as well as negative publicity and press speculation about us, our competitors or our industry, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation, which may be more damaging to our business than to other types of businesses.
Our management had not previously managed our advisory business as a separate public company prior to the Business Combination.
The individuals who now constitute our management had not previously managed our advisory business as a separate publicly traded company prior to the Business Combination. Compliance with public company requirements places significant additional demands on our management and requires us to enhance our investor relations, legal, financial reporting and corporate communications functions. These additional efforts may strain our resources and divert management's attention from other business concerns, which could adversely affect our business and profitability.
In addition, on February 28, 2019, we consummated the PWP Separation, separating our advisory business from the rest of the business of PWP OpCo. These two businesses have historically utilized common senior management and certain operational structures, including facilities and technology platforms as well as certain legal, compliance, human resources, finance, accounting, marketing and other support personnel and senior management oversight. The process of separating these businesses, and of operating our advisory business on a stand-alone basis, may result in increased costs and inefficiencies and other impediments to the regular operations of our business, the occurrence of any of which could adversely affect our business and profitability.
Our business is subject to various cybersecurity and other operational risks.
We face various cybersecurity and other operational risks related to our business on a day-to-day basis. We rely heavily on financial, accounting, communication and other information technology systems and the people who operate them. These systems, including the systems of third parties on whom we rely, may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of tampering or a breach of our or such third parties' network security systems or otherwise, including for reasons beyond our control. Our clients typically provide us with sensitive and confidential information. We are dependent on information technology networks and systems to securely process, transmit and store such information and to communicate among our locations around the world and with our clients, alliance partners and vendors. We may be subject to attempted security breaches and cyber-attacks and a successful breach could lead to shutdowns or disruptions of our systems or third-party systems on which we rely and potential unauthorized disclosure of sensitive or confidential information. Breaches of our system or the third party network security systems on which we rely could involve attacks that are intended to obtain unauthorized access to our proprietary information, destroy data or disable, degrade or sabotage our systems, often through the introduction of computer viruses and the mounting of cyber-attacks and other means and could originate from a wide variety of sources, including employees, contractors, foreign governments and other unknown third parties outside the Company. If our or the third-party systems on which we rely are compromised, do not operate properly or are disabled, we could suffer a disruption of our business, financial losses, liability to clients, regulatory sanctions and damage to our reputation. In addition, our financial professionals and other employees are responsible for following proper measures to maintain the confidentiality of information we hold. If an employee's failure to do so results in the improper release of confidential information, we could be subject to reputational harm and legal liability, which could impair our ability to attract and retain clients and in turn materially adversely affect our business. The increased use of mobile technologies can heighten these and other operational risks. There can be no assurance that we or the third parties on whom we rely will be able to anticipate, detect or implement effective preventative measures against frequently changing cyber threats.
We operate a business that is highly dependent on information systems and technology. Any failure to keep accurate books and records can render us liable to disciplinary action by governmental and self-regulatory authorities, as well as to claims by our clients. We rely on third party service providers for certain aspects of our business. Any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties or failures of their information systems and technology could impair our operations, affect our reputation and adversely affect our business.
In addition, a disaster or other business continuity problem, such as a pandemic, other man made or natural disaster or disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, could lead us to experience operational challenges. Our continued success will depend, in part, on the availability of our personnel and office facilities and the proper functioning of our computer, software, telecommunications, transaction processing and other related systems and operations, as well as those of third parties on whom we rely. In particular, we depend on our headquarters in New York City, where a large number of our personnel are located, for the continued operation of our business. A disaster or a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our businesses, a disruption involving electronic communications or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, or a disruption that directly affects our headquarters or other major offices in Houston or the U.K., could have a material adverse impact on our ability to continue to operate our business without interruption. The incidence and severity of disasters or other business continuity problems are inherently unpredictable, and our inability to timely and successfully recover could materially disrupt our business and cause material financial loss, regulatory actions, reputational harm or legal liability.
We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service any indebtedness.
Our ability to make scheduled payments on or to refinance any debt obligations, including borrowings under the Revolving Credit Facility or any replacement credit facility, depends on our financial condition and operating performance. We cannot provide assurance that we will maintain a level of cash flows from operating activities sufficient to permit us to pay the principal of, and interest on, any existing or future indebtedness. If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund any future debt service obligations, we may be forced to reduce or delay investments and capital expenditures, seek additional capital or restructure or refinance such indebtedness, and we may not be able to pursue any of these options on commercially reasonable terms or at all. This could also result in us lowering or eliminating future undeclared dividend payments. Any such transactions could also involve significant expense and management attention.
Our international operations are subject to certain risks, which may affect our revenue.
For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, we earned approximately 17.7%, 25.4% and 16.3%, respectively, of our revenues from our international operations. We intend to grow our non-U.S. business, including growth into new regions with which we have less familiarity and experience, and this growth is important to our overall success. Our international operations carry special financial and business risks, which could include the following:
•greater difficulties in managing and staffing foreign operations;
•language barriers and cultural differences, including the need to adopt different business practices in different geographic areas;
•fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates that could adversely affect our results;
•unexpected, additional and/or costly changes in trading policies, regulatory requirements, tariffs and other barriers;
•restrictions on travel;
•longer transaction cycles;
•higher operating costs;
•local labor conditions and regulations;
•adverse consequences or restrictions on the repatriation of earnings;
•potentially adverse tax consequences, such as trapped foreign losses or profits;
•potentially less stable political and economic environments;
•terrorism, international hostilities, war and other civil disturbances or other catastrophic events that reduce business activity;
•different fee structures for our advisory services; and
•difficulty collecting fees.
Further, as part of our day-to-day operations outside the United States, we are required to create compensation programs, employment policies, compliance policies and procedures and other administrative programs that comply with the laws of multiple countries. We also must communicate and monitor standards and directives across our geographically dispersed operations.
Any payment of distributions, loans or advances to and from our subsidiaries could be subject to restrictions on or taxation of, dividends or repatriation of earnings under applicable local law, monetary transfer restrictions, foreign currency exchange regulations in the jurisdictions in which our subsidiaries operate or other restrictions imposed by current or future agreements, including debt instruments, to which our non-U.S. subsidiaries may be a party. Our business, financial condition and/or results of operations could be adversely impacted, possibly materially, if we are unable to successfully manage these and other risks of international operations.
If our international business increases relative to our total business, the materialization of these risks could have a more pronounced effect on our operating results or growth prospects.
Our growth strategy may involve opening or acquiring new offices and/or expanding, both domestically and internationally, and could involve hiring new Limited Partners and other senior professionals for these offices, which would require substantial investment by us and could materially adversely affect our operating results.
Our ability to grow our advisory business depends in part on our ability to open or acquire new offices, expand internationally and hire new Limited Partners and other senior professionals for these offices. We may not be successful in any efforts to open new offices, expand internationally or hire new Limited Partners and other senior professionals for these offices. The costs of opening a new office, expanding internationally and hiring the necessary personnel to staff any such office are substantial. If we are not successful in these efforts, we may not be able to recover our investments or our substantial cost outlays, and new international operations may not achieve profitability. To the extent that we pursue business opportunities in certain markets outside the United States, such as our business operations in the European Union (the “E.U.”), U.K., Canada, France and Germany, we will be subject to political, economic, legal, operational, regulatory and other risks that are inherent in operating in a foreign country, including risks of possible nationalization, expropriation, price controls, capital controls, exchange controls, inflation controls, licensing requirements and other restrictive governmental actions, as well as the outbreak of hostilities.
Depending upon the extent of our expansion, and whether it is done by recruiting new Limited Partners, strategic investment or acquisition, the incremental costs of our expansion may be funded from cash from operations, new share issuances or other financing alternatives. There can be no assurance that we will be able to generate or obtain sufficient capital on acceptable terms to fund our expansion needs which would limit our future growth and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may enter into new lines of business which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our business.
We currently generate substantially all of our revenue from advisory engagements. However, we may grow our business by entering into new lines of business. Moreover, we currently derive a small portion of revenue through equity research, underwriting and trading services conducted through TPH. To the extent we enter into new lines of business or increase our focus on existing lines of business other than our advisory engagements, we will face numerous risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with actual or perceived conflicts of interest because we would no longer be limited to the advisory business, the possibility that we have insufficient expertise to engage in such activities profitably or without incurring inappropriate amounts of risk, the required investment of capital and other resources, diversion of management’s time and attention and the loss of clients due to the perception that we are no longer focusing on our business.
For instance, if we increasingly act as an underwriter in public offerings and other distributions of securities in order to support our advisory business, we may incur losses and be subject to reputational harm to the extent that, for any reason, we are unable to sell securities we purchased as an underwriter at the anticipated price levels. In addition, if we act as an underwriter, we may also be subject to liability for material misstatements or omissions in prospectuses and other offering documents relating to offerings we underwrite. In such cases, any indemnification provisions in the applicable underwriting agreement may not be available to us or may not be sufficient to protect us against losses arising from such liability. For a discussion of the conflicts of interest risks that may be associated with an increased focus on our equity research business, see “Risks Related to Our Business—Our failure to deal appropriately with actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest could damage our reputation and materially adversely affect our business” above.
In addition, PFAC is a SPAC that is related to us, and is sponsored by us, our partners, employees and other investors who have a relationship with us. If PFAC, or any other SPAC that is related to us or is sponsored by us, our partners, employees and other investors, engages in poor business practices or experiences adverse results, we could suffer reputational harm that could adversely affect our revenue and our business prospects. Furthermore, PWP's relationship to SPACs could lead to actual or perceived conflicts of interest with existing or potential clients of our advisory business, which could affect our ability to obtain certain client engagements and have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We may in the future also invest in companies, including our clients, or enter into new lines of business, including alongside our clients, employees, officers and directors. To the extent that we enter into new business lines or we make such investments, we may cover costs and expenses, including with respect to broken deals. In addition, there can be no assurances that such investments will be successful or that we will not lose the entire amount of our investment.
Further, entry into certain new lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar, or from which we are currently exempt, and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. In addition, certain aspects of our cost structure, such as costs for compensation, occupancy, communication and information technology services, and depreciation and amortization will be largely fixed, and we may not be able to timely adjust these costs to match fluctuations in revenue related to our entering into new lines of business. If a new business generates insufficient revenues or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our business, financial condition and our results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates could adversely affect our results.
Because our financial statements are denominated in U.S. dollars and we receive a portion of our net revenue in other currencies (including the Euro, pound sterling and Canadian dollars), we are exposed to fluctuations in foreign currencies. During the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, 14.5% and 21.5%, respectively, of revenue was denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. In addition, we pay certain of our expenses in such currencies. Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates can be unpredictable and may lead to losses in net cash. An appreciation or depreciation of any of these currencies relative to the U.S. dollar could result in an adverse or beneficial impact, respectively, to our financial results. We have not entered into any transactions to hedge our exposure to these foreign exchange fluctuations through the use of derivative instruments or otherwise.
The exit by the U.K. from the E.U. could adversely impact our business, operations and financial condition.
We have a presence in the U.K. and certain E.U. countries, including France and Germany. On January 31, 2020, the U.K. withdrew from the E.U., commonly referred to as “Brexit.” The U.K. remained in the E.U.'s customs union and single market for a transition period that expired on December 31, 2020. The U.K. and the E.U. agreed to a Trade and Cooperation Agreement on December 24, 2020 (the “TCA”), which was applied on a provisional basis from January 1, 2021 and entered into full force on May 1, 2021, following formal approval by the U.K. and the E.U.
While the TCA regulates a number of important areas, significant parts of the U.K. economy are not addressed in detail by the TCA, including in particular the services sector, which represents the largest component of the U.K.'s economy. A number of issues, particularly in relation to the financial services sector, remain to be resolved through further bilateral negotiations. As a result, the new relationship between the U.K. and the E.U. could in the short-term, and possibly for longer, cause disruptions to and create uncertainty in the economy, which could in turn result in reduced corporate transactional activity that would negatively impact our business. In addition, there could be an adverse impact on the ability of our London office personnel to operate within the E.U. A failure to agree a sustainable and practical financial services regulatory relationship between the U.K. and the E.U., whether on the basis of equivalence, mutual recognition or otherwise, could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
A change in relevant income tax laws, regulations, or treaties, or an adverse interpretation of these items by tax authorities, could result in an audit adjustment or revaluation of our deferred tax assets that may cause our effective tax rate and tax liability to be higher than what is currently presented in the Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition.
As part of the process of preparing our consolidated statements of financial condition, we are required to estimate income taxes in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. Significant management judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities, and any valuation allowance recorded against our deferred tax assets. This process requires us to estimate our actual current tax liability and to assess temporary differences resulting from differing book versus tax treatment. Our effective tax rate and tax liability is based on the application of current income tax laws, regulations, and treaties. These laws, regulations, and treaties are complex, and the manner in which they apply to our facts and circumstances is sometimes open to interpretation. We believe our application of current laws, regulations, and treaties to be correct and sustainable upon examination by the tax authorities. However, the tax authorities could challenge our interpretation resulting in additional tax liability or adjustment to our income tax provision that could increase our effective tax rate. In addition, tax laws, regulations, or treaties enacted in the future may cause us to revalue our net deferred tax assets and have a material change to our effective tax rate.
The phasing out of LIBOR may adversely affect the value of our outstanding debt instruments.
National and international regulators and law enforcement agencies have conducted investigations into a number of rates or indices known as “reference rates.” Actions by such regulators and law enforcement agencies may result in changes to the manner in which certain reference rates are determined, their discontinuance, or the establishment of alternative reference rates. In particular, in 2021, the FCA announced the future cessation or loss of representativeness of the U.S. dollar LIBOR tenors. At the end of 2021, the ICE Benchmark Administration, the administrator of LIBOR, ceased the publication of all settings of non-U.S. dollar LIBOR and the one-week and two-month U.S. dollar LIBOR settings, with the publication of the remaining U.S. dollar LIBOR settings being discontinued after June 30, 2023. It is unclear if LIBOR will cease to exist at that time or if new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established. The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of, among other entities, large U.S. financial institutions, has recommended replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with a new index that measures the cost of borrowing cash overnight, backed by U.S. Treasury securities ("SOFR"). SOFR is observed and backward-looking, which stands in contrast with LIBOR under the current methodology, which is an estimated forward-looking rate and relies, to some degree, on the expert judgment of submitting panel members.
While we continue to monitor market developments to assess replacement rate options, the consequences of these developments, with respect to LIBOR cannot be entirely predicted and may result in the level of interest payments on the portion of our indebtedness that bears interest at variable rates to be affected, which may adversely impact the amount of our interest payments under such debt. Uncertainty as to the nature of such developments may materially adversely affect the trading market for securities linked to related benchmarks.
Our ability to successfully operate our business will depend largely upon the efforts of certain key personnel, including the key personnel of PWP. The loss of such key personnel could adversely affect the operations and profitability of our business.
Our ability to successfully operate our business will depend upon the efforts of certain key personnel, including key personnel of PWP. The unexpected loss of key personnel may adversely affect our operations and profitability. In addition, our future success depends in part on our ability to identify and retain key personnel to succeed senior management. Furthermore, while we have closely scrutinized the skills, abilities and qualifications of the key personnel, our assessment may not prove to be correct. If such personnel do not possess the skills, qualifications or abilities we expect or those necessary to manage a public company, the operations and profitability of our business may be negatively impacted.
The historical consolidated financial information for periods prior to the Business Combination on June 24, 2021 in our filings is not representative of the results we would have achieved as a stand-alone public company and may not permit you to predict our future results.
The historical consolidated financial information for periods prior to the Business Combination on June 24, 2021 in our filings does not reflect the financial condition, results of operations or cash flows that we would have achieved as a stand-alone public company during the periods presented or those we will achieve in the future as a result of (i) the expense allocations for certain support functions that are provided on a centralized basis within PWP OpCo prior to the PWP Separation, such as expenses for business technology, facilities, legal, finance, human resources and business development, which are reflected in PWP's historical consolidated financials and may be higher or lower than the comparable expenses that it would have actually incurred, or will incur in the future, as a stand-alone company and (ii) the added costs we expect to incur as a public company, including costs related to public company reporting, investor relations and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. As a result of these matters, among others, it may be difficult for investors to compare our future results to historical results or to evaluate our relative performance or trends in our business.
Risks Related to Regulation
Extensive and evolving regulation of our business and the business of our clients exposes us to the potential for significant penalties and fines due to compliance failures, increases our costs and may result in limitations on the manner in which our business is conducted.
As a participant in the financial services industry, we are subject to extensive regulation in the United States and internationally, including regulatory capital and other requirements imposed on our two SEC-registered broker-dealers, Perella Weinberg Partners LP and TPH Securities. We are subject to regulatory restrictions and requirements imposed by applicable statutes, regulations and policies in the jurisdictions in which we operate. U.S. and non-U.S. government agencies and self-regulatory organizations, including FINRA and U.S. state securities commissions, are empowered to enforce the regulatory restrictions and requirements applicable to us and conduct administrative proceedings that can result in censure, fine, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer from registration or membership. See “Part I—Item 1. Business—Regulation.”
The statutes, regulations and policies to which we are subject may change at any time. Extensive legislation and implementing regulation affecting the financial services industry continue to be adopted in regions that directly or indirectly affect our business, including the United States, the U.K., the E.U., Canada, France and Germany, and the manner in which those laws and related regulations are applied to our operations is still evolving. For example, in the United States, several states and municipalities, including, but not limited to, California, Illinois, New York State and New York City have adopted “pay-to-play” rules, which, in addition to imposing registration and reporting requirements, limit our ability to charge fees in connection with certain engagements of our advisory business. There are also examples of changes to legislation in non-U.S. jurisdictions that directly or indirectly affect our business. For instance, in the U.K. and E.U., there are extensive changes to the prudential framework applicable to investment firms which are likely to impact the way in which we remunerate staff, including by imposing malus and clawback requirements on variable remuneration, that may impair our ability to attract and retain talent. Any legislative or regulatory actions and any required changes to our business operations resulting from such legislation and regulations, as well as any deficiencies in our compliance with such legislation and regulation, could result in significant loss of revenue, limit our ability to pursue business opportunities in which we might otherwise consider engaging or otherwise adversely affect our businesses.
Our ability to conduct business and our operating results may also be adversely affected as a result of any new requirements imposed by, or changes in, the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules by the SEC, FINRA, the FCA, the Canadian Securities Regulators, IIROC, the Autorité de contrôle prudentiel et de resolution (“ACPR”) or other U.S. or foreign governmental regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations that regulate financial services firms or supervise financial markets. In addition, some of our clients or prospective clients may adopt policies that exceed regulatory requirements and impose additional restrictions affecting their dealings with us. Accordingly, we may incur significant costs, including compliance costs, to comply with U.S. and international applicable statutory, regulatory and other requirements, and such expenses, including legal fees and fees paid to the SEC, FINRA, the FCA, the Canadian Securities Regulators, IIROC, ACPR and other U.S. or foreign governmental regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations, have increased in recent years and may continue to increase. For instance, in order to comply with such requirements, we maintain an internal team that works full-time to develop and implement regulatory compliance policies and procedures, monitor business activities to ensure compliance with such policies and procedures and reports to senior management. This team also uses various software tracking and reporting systems and confers regularly with internal and outside legal counsel in the performance of its responsibilities. The need to continuously adjust our operations to, and ensure compliance with, a changing regulatory environment may result in further increases in compliance and other operating costs, which may negatively affect our business.
In addition, new laws or regulations or changes in enforcement of existing laws or regulations applicable to our clients may adversely affect our business. For example, changes in antitrust enforcement or the focus of the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States could affect the level of M&A activity and changes in applicable regulations could restrict the activities of our clients and their need for the types of advisory services that we provide to them.
Failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations could result in sanctions being levied against us, including fines, penalties, judgments, disgorgement, restitution and censures, suspension or expulsion from a certain jurisdiction, self-regulatory organization or market or the revocation or limitation of licenses. Failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations could also result in adverse publicity and reputational harm and could impair executive retention or recruitment. In addition, any changes in the regulatory framework could impose additional expenses or capital requirements on us, result in limitations on the manner in which our business is conducted, have a material adverse impact upon our business and financial condition and require substantial attention by senior management. In addition, our business is subject to periodic examination by various regulatory authorities, and we cannot predict the timing or the outcome of any such examinations.
The cost of compliance with international broker dealer, employment, labor, benefits and tax regulations may adversely affect our business and hamper our ability to expand internationally.
Since we operate our business both in the United States and internationally, we are subject to many distinct broker dealer, employment, labor, benefits and tax laws in each country in which we operate, including regulations affecting our employment practices and our relations with our employees and service providers. In addition, the data privacy and security framework of the E.U., the GDPR, took effect on May 25, 2018. As we engage in significant business in Europe, we are subject to the GDPR's requirements. If we are required to comply with new regulations or new interpretations of existing regulations, or if we are unable to comply with these regulations or interpretations, our business could be adversely affected or the cost of compliance may make it difficult to expand into new international markets. Additionally, our competitiveness in international markets may be adversely affected by regulations requiring, among other things, the awarding of contracts to local contractors, the employment of local citizens and/or the purchase of services from local businesses or favoring or requiring local ownership.
Changes in laws or regulations, or a failure to comply with any laws and regulations, may adversely affect our business, investments and results of operations.
We are subject to laws and regulations enacted by national, regional and local governments, including in particular, reporting and other requirements under the Exchange Act. Compliance with, and monitoring of, applicable laws and regulations may be difficult, time consuming and costly. Those laws and regulations and their interpretation and application may also change from time to time and those changes could have a material adverse effect on our business, investments and results of operations. In addition, a failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations, as interpreted and applied, could result in fines, injunctive relief or similar remedies which could be costly to us or limit our ability to operate.
Risks Related to our Organizational Structure
Our only material assets are our partnership interests in PWP OpCo and our equity interest in the general partner of PWP OpCo, PWP GP, and we are accordingly dependent upon distributions from PWP OpCo to pay dividends, taxes, make payments under the TRA (as defined below) and pay other expenses.
We are a holding company, and our only material assets are our partnership interests in PWP OpCo and our equity interest in PWP GP, the general partner of PWP OpCo. We have no independent means of generating revenue. We are accordingly dependent upon, and intend to cause PWP OpCo to make, distributions to our partners in an amount sufficient to cover all applicable taxes payable, other expenses, payments under the TRA, Professional Partners' indemnification claims with respect to the advisory business and dividends, if any, declared by us.
PWP OpCo is generally prohibited under Delaware law from making a distribution to a partner to the extent that, at the time of the distribution, after giving effect to the distribution, liabilities of PWP OpCo (with certain exceptions) exceed the fair value of its assets. Furthermore, certain subsidiaries of PWP OpCo may be subject to similar legal limitations on their ability to make distributions to PWP OpCo. Moreover, our regulated subsidiaries may be subject to regulatory capital requirements that limit the distributions that may be made by those subsidiaries.
Deterioration in the financial condition, earnings or cash flow of PWP OpCo and its subsidiaries for any reason could limit or impair its ability to pay such distributions. PWP OpCo's ability to make distributions to us will be dependent on our subsidiaries' ability to pay dividends to it. Certain of its subsidiaries are SEC-registered broker-dealers and subject to regulatory capital requirements, which may restrict their ability to make distributions unless specified levels of regulatory capital are maintained. To the extent that we require funds and PWP OpCo is restricted from making such distributions under applicable law or regulation or under the terms of financing arrangements, or is otherwise unable to provide such funds, our liquidity and financial condition could be materially adversely affected. See “Part I—Item 1. Business—Regulation.”
We are required to pay our ILPs (as defined below) and/or Limited Partners for certain tax benefits we may claim as a result of the tax basis step-up we received in connection with the Business Combination and related transactions and that we may receive in connection with subsequent exchanges of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units for cash or our Class A common stock. In certain circumstances, payments under the TRA (as defined herein) may be accelerated and/or significantly exceed the actual tax benefits we realize.
Our acquisition of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units in connection with the Business Combination or pursuant to future exchanges of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units for shares of our Class A common stock or cash, and certain other transactions, are expected to result in increases in the tax basis of the assets of PWP OpCo and other deductions that otherwise would not have been available to us. Such increases in tax basis and other deductions are expected to reduce the amount of cash tax that we would otherwise have to pay in the future due to increases in depreciation and amortization deductions (for tax purposes). These increases in tax basis may also decrease gain (or increase loss) on future dispositions of certain assets of PWP OpCo to the extent the increased tax basis is allocated to those assets. The IRS may challenge all or part of these tax basis increases, and a court could sustain such a challenge.
At the Closing, we entered into a tax receivable agreement (the “TRA” or “Tax Receivable Agreement”) with PWP OpCo, Professional Partners and certain other persons party thereto. The TRA generally provides for payment by us to Investor Limited Partners (the “ILPs” or “ILP”) and certain Partners (as defined therein) (the “TRA Parties” and individually, a “TRA Party”) of 85% of the cash tax savings, if any, in U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income taxes and related interest realized (or deemed realized) in periods after the Closing as a result of (a) the Business Combination and related transactions, (b) exchanges of interests in PWP OpCo for cash or stock of the Company and certain other transactions and (c) payments made under the TRA. We expect to retain the benefit of the remaining 15% of these cash tax savings. While the actual increase in tax basis, as well as the amount and timing of any payments under the TRA, will vary depending upon a number of factors, including the timing of exchanges, the price of shares of our Class A common stock at the time of the exchange, the extent to which such exchanges are taxable, future tax rates and the amount and timing of our income, we expect that, as a result of the size of the increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of PWP OpCo attributable to our prior and future acquisition of interests in PWP OpCo, during the expected term of the TRA, the payments that we may make under the TRA could be substantial.
The payment obligation under the TRA is our obligation and not an obligation of PWP OpCo. In addition, although we are not aware of any issue that would cause the IRS to challenge a tax basis increase or other benefits, the relevant ILPs and/or Limited Partners will not reimburse us for any payments that may previously have been made under the TRA if such basis increases or other benefits are subsequently disallowed, although excess payments made to any ILP and/or Limited Partner may be netted against payments otherwise to be made, if any, to the relevant party after our determination of such excess. As a result, in certain circumstances we could make payments to the relevant ILPs and/or Limited Partners under the TRA in excess of our cash tax savings. Our ability to achieve benefits from any tax basis increase or other benefits, and the payments to be made under the TRA, will depend upon a number of factors, as discussed above, including the timing and amount of our future income.
The TRA also provides that, upon a merger, asset sale or other form of business combination or certain other changes of control, our (or our successor’s) obligations with respect to exchanged or acquired Class A partnership units (whether exchanged or acquired before or after such change of control) would be based on certain assumptions, including that we would have sufficient taxable income to fully utilize the deductions arising from the increased tax deductions and tax basis and other benefits related to entering into the TRA, that certain loss carryforwards will be used within 15 years, and that any non-amortizable assets are deemed disposed of at the earlier of (i) when the relevant asset is sold or (ii) within 15 years.
Furthermore, upon a material breach of our obligations under the TRA that is not cured within the time period specified by the TRA or if, at any time, we elect an early termination of the TRA, we shall pay to each ILP and/or Limited Partner the present value, discounted at LIBOR (or a replacement agreed rate) plus 300 basis points as of such date, of all tax benefit payments due to such partner as of either the date of delivery of the early termination notice, in the case of an early termination, or as of the date of such breach, in the case of a material breach. The calculation of payments in such circumstances would also be based on certain assumptions, including, in addition to those described above with respect to a change of control, that federal, state, local, and foreign income tax rates will remain the same as those specified for such taxable year by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and other laws on the date of such breach or the early termination payment, that any non-amortizable assets shall be deemed disposed of within 15 years of the earlier of the basis adjustment for such asset or the date of breach or delivery of the early termination notice, and that any PWP OpCo Class A partnership units that have not been exchanged will be deemed exchanged for the market value of our Class A common stock at the time of termination or material breach. Consequently, it is possible, in the case of a change of control, early termination, or material breach, that the actual cash tax savings realized by us may be significantly less than the corresponding TRA payments.
PWP OpCo may make distributions of cash to us substantially in excess of the amounts we use to make distributions to our shareholders and to pay our expenses (including our taxes and payments under the TRA). To the extent we do not distribute such excess cash as dividends on our Class A common stock, the holders of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units would benefit from any value attributable to such cash as a result of their ownership of our Class A common stock upon a redemption or exchange of their PWP OpCo Class A partnership units.
Under the amended and restated agreement of limited partnership of PWP OpCo (the “PWP OpCo LPA”), we have the right (through our control of PWP GP, the general partner of PWP OpCo), subject to applicable law, to determine when distributions will be made to the partners of PWP OpCo and the amount of any such distributions. If we authorize a distribution, such distribution will be made to the partners of PWP OpCo pro rata in accordance with their respective ownership of partnership units. In accordance with the PWP OpCo LPA, we intend to use best efforts to cause PWP OpCo to make sufficient cash distributions to the holders of partnership units of PWP OpCo to fund their tax obligations in respect of the income of PWP OpCo that is allocated to them.
If we accumulate cash received as distributions from PWP OpCo in excess of the amounts that we need to pay any cash dividends declared by our board of directors, taxes and other expenses (including payments under the TRA), neither our organizational documents nor the PWP OpCo LPA will require us to distribute such excess cash to our stockholders. Our board of directors may, in its sole discretion, choose to use such excess cash for any purpose, including (i) to make additional distributions to the holders of our Class A common stock, (ii) to acquire additional newly-issued PWP OpCo Class A partnership units, and/or (iii) to repurchase outstanding shares of our Class A common stock. Unless and until our board of directors chooses, in its sole discretion, to make a distribution to our stockholders, we will have no obligation to distribute such cash (or other available cash other than any declared dividend) to our stockholders. No adjustments to the redemption or exchange ratio of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units for shares of our Class A common stock will be made as a result of either (i) any cash distribution by us or (ii) any cash that we retain and do not distribute to our shareholders, in each case, to the extent such cash was received pursuant to a pro rata distribution by PWP OpCo. To the extent we do not distribute such cash as dividends on our Class A common stock or otherwise use such cash as described and instead, for example, hold such cash balances or lend them to PWP OpCo, this may result in shares of our Class A common stock increasing in value relative to the PWP OpCo Class A partnership units. The holders of PWP OpCo Units may benefit from any value attributable to such cash balances or loans to PWP OpCo if they acquire shares of our Class A common stock in exchange for their Class A partnership units or if we acquire additional PWP OpCo Class A partnership units (whether from PWP OpCo or from holders of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units) at a price based on the market price of shares of our Class A common stock at the time.
If Perella Weinberg Partners were deemed an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act of 1940 as a result of its ownership of PWP OpCo, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could have a material adverse effect on our business.
If Perella Weinberg Partners were to cease participation in the management of PWP OpCo, its interests in PWP OpCo could be deemed an “investment security” for purposes of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”). Generally, a person is deemed to be an “investment company” if it owns investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of its total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items), absent an applicable exemption. Perella Weinberg Partners has nominal assets and has partnership interests in PWP OpCo and our equity interest in the general partner of PWP OpCo, PWP GP. A determination that this interest was an investment security could result in Perella Weinberg Partners being an investment company under the 1940 Act and becoming subject to the registration and other requirements of the 1940 Act. We intend to conduct our operations so that we will not be deemed an investment company. However, if we were to be deemed an investment company, restrictions imposed by the 1940 Act, including limitations on our capital structure and our ability to transact with affiliates, could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and have a material adverse effect on our business and the price of our securities.
PWP OpCo and PWP Capital have entered into various arrangements, including a master separation agreement, which contain cross-indemnification obligations of us and PWP Capital.
The master separation agreement that we entered into with PWP Capital, which holds the former asset management business of PWP OpCo prior to the PWP Separation, provides, among other things, that PWP Capital generally will indemnify us for losses that we incur relating to, arising out of or resulting from the business of PWP Capital and any payments with respect to joint liabilities to the extent they exceed 81.304% of such joint liabilities. In addition, we generally will indemnify PWP Capital for losses that PWP Capital incurs relating to our business and any payments with respect to joint liabilities to the extent they exceed 18.696% of such joint liabilities. We may not be able to recover any or all of the amount of any indemnified losses from PWP Capital should it be financially unable to perform under its indemnification obligations. In addition, we may be required to make substantial payments under our indemnity obligations to PWP Capital, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations and the price of our securities.
Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation could prevent us from benefiting from corporate opportunities that might have otherwise been available to us.
Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation, which is subject to the terms and provisions of the Stockholders Agreement (as defined below), contains provisions related to corporate opportunities that may be of interest to us and our subsidiaries and Perella Weinberg Partners LLC (“Professionals GP”) and Professional Partners and their respective subsidiaries. It provides that Professional Partners and its subsidiaries, Professionals GP and its subsidiaries, FinTech Masala Advisors, LLC and FinTech Investor Holdings IV, LLC (together, the “Sponsor”) and any of their respective affiliates (excluding us or any of our subsidiaries) (collectively, the “PWP Partner Group”) and their respective affiliates will not have any duty (fiduciary or otherwise) to refrain from engaging, directly or indirectly, in the same or similar business activities or lines of business as us or any of our subsidiaries or PWP OpCo or any of its subsidiaries and in the event that the PWP Partner Group acquires knowledge of a potential transaction or matter which may be a corporate opportunity for us or any of our subsidiaries or PWP OpCo or any of its subsidiaries and the PWP Partner Group or any of their respective affiliates, none of us or any of our subsidiaries or PWP OpCo or any of its subsidiaries shall have any expectancy in such corporate opportunity and the PWP Partner Group shall not have any duty to communicate or offer such corporate opportunity to us or any of our subsidiaries or PWP OpCo or any of its subsidiaries and may pursue such corporate opportunities for themselves or direct such corporate opportunity to another person, including one of their affiliates, in each case, to the fullest extent permitted by law. Furthermore, to the fullest extent permitted by law, in the event that any of our directors or officers or a director or officer of any or our subsidiaries, PWP OpCo or any of its subsidiaries who is also a partner, principal, director, officer, member, manager, employee, consultant, independent contractor and/or other service provider of any of the PWP Partner Group acquires knowledge of a potential transaction or matter which may be a corporate opportunity for us or any of our subsidiaries or PWP OpCo or any of its subsidiaries and the PWP Partner Group or any of their respective affiliates, none of us or any of our subsidiaries or PWP OpCo or any of its subsidiaries shall have any expectancy in such corporate opportunity unless such corporate opportunity has expressly been offered to such person in his or her capacity as our director or officer in which case such opportunity shall belong to us. By becoming our stockholder, you will be deemed to have notice of and have consented to these provisions of our Restated Certificate of Incorporation.
If PWP OpCo were to become a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we and PWP OpCo could be subject to potentially significant tax inefficiencies, and we would not be able to recover payments previously made by us under the TRA even if the corresponding tax benefits were subsequently determined to have been unavailable due to such status.
We intend to operate such that PWP OpCo is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and does not become a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation. A “publicly traded partnership” is a partnership the interests of which are traded on an established securities market or readily tradable on a secondary market or the substantial equivalent thereof. Under certain circumstances, exchanges of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units pursuant to the PWP OpCo LPA or other transfers of PWP OpCo units could cause PWP OpCo to be treated as a corporation. We intend to operate such that transfers of PWP OpCo units will not cause PWP OpCo to be treated as other than a partnership by providing for limitations on the ability of partners to exchange or otherwise transfer PWP OpCo units and providing our board of directors and the board of directors of PWP GP with certain rights to further limit exchanges or other transfers of PWP OpCo units as necessary to maintain the partnership status of PWP OpCo. However, there can be no assurance that this treatment will be respected.
If PWP OpCo were to become a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, significant tax inefficiencies could result for us and PWP OpCo, including as a result of our inability to file a consolidated U.S. federal income tax return with PWP OpCo. In addition, we may not be able to realize tax benefits covered under the TRA and would not be able to recover any of our previously made payments under the TRA, even if the corresponding tax benefits (including any claimed increase in the tax basis of PWP OpCo's assets) were subsequently determined to have been unavailable.
The use of certain of our licensed trademarks by PWP Capital and its subsidiaries may expose us to reputational harm that could adversely affect our business should they take actions that damage the brand name.
We have licensed to PWP Capital and its subsidiaries the use of certain trademarks owned by us and our subsidiaries for use in connection with its asset management business that were in use by the PWP Capital business prior to the PWP Separation. As a result, there is a risk of reputational harm to us if PWP Capital and its subsidiaries use such trademarks and engage in poor business practices, experience adverse results or otherwise damage the reputational value of the “Perella Weinberg Partners” or “Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co.” brand names. These risks could impair our operations, affect our reputation and adversely affect our business.
Our voting control is concentrated among the holders of our Class B-1 common stock. As a result, the market price of our securities may be materially adversely affected by such disparate voting rights.
Professional Partners beneficially owns all of the outstanding shares of our Class B-1 common stock, representing approximately 90.1% of our total voting power, ILPs beneficially own all of the outstanding shares of our Class B-2 common stock, representing approximately less than 0.4% of our total voting power, and holders of Class A common stock own shares of our Class A common stock, representing approximately 9.5% of our total voting power. As long as Professional Partners beneficially owns a majority of our total voting power, it will have the ability, without the consent of the public holders of our Class A common stock, to elect all of the members of our board of directors and to control our management and affairs. In addition, it will be able to determine the outcome of matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders for approval and will be able to cause or prevent a change of control of us.
The holders of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock have substantially identical rights, except that holders of Class A common stock and Class B-2 common stock are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B-1 common stock are entitled to 10 votes per share on all matters to be voted on by stockholders in general. This differential in the voting rights of our Class B-1 common stock could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.
Professional Partners’ control over us may give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest with the Limited Partners who manage Professional Partners.
We are controlled by Professional Partners, which is ultimately managed by a committee of Limited Partners that manages Professionals GP, the general partner of Professional Partners. The interests of the Limited Partners who manage Professional Partners may differ from those of our other stockholders. For example, the Limited Partners who manage Professional Partners may have a different tax position from us, which could influence their decisions regarding whether and when we should dispose of assets or incur new or refinance existing indebtedness, especially in light of the TRA, and whether and when we should undergo certain changes of control within the meaning of the TRA or terminate the TRA. In addition, the structuring of future transactions may take into consideration these tax or other considerations even where no similar benefit would accrue to us. Professional Partners, which is ultimately managed by a committee of Limited Partners that manages Professionals GP, the general partner of Professional Partners, holds all outstanding shares of Class B-1 common stock and thereby control approximately 90.1% of the voting interest in us as of February 28, 2022. The shares of Class B-1 common stock will entitle Professional Partners to (i) for so long as the condition that Professional Partners or its Limited Partners or its or their respective successors or assigns maintain, directly or indirectly, ownership of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units that represent at least ten percent (10%) of our issued and outstanding Class A common stock (calculated, without duplication, on the basis that all issued and outstanding PWP OpCo Class A partnership units not held by us or our subsidiaries had been exchanged for our Class A common stock) (the “Class B Condition”) is satisfied, 10 votes per share for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders and (ii) after the Class B Condition ceases to be satisfied, one vote per share for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of stockholders. In addition, we are party to the Stockholders Agreement with Professional Partners, pursuant to which, for so long as the Class B Condition is satisfied, Professional Partners will have certain approval rights over certain transactions, including the right to designate a number of nominees to our board of directors equal to a majority thereof. For so long as the Class B Condition is no longer satisfied and the condition that Professional Partners or its Limited Partners as of the date of Closing or its or their respective successors or assigns maintain, directly or indirectly, ownership of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units that represent at least five percent (5%) of our issued and outstanding Class A common stock (calculated, without duplication, on the basis that all issued and outstanding PWP OpCo Class A partnership units not held by us or our subsidiaries had been exchanged for our Class A common stock) (the “Secondary Class B Condition”) is satisfied, Professional Partners will have the right to designate a number of directors (rounded up to the nearest whole number) equal to one third of our board of directors. As a result, because the Limited Partners who manage Professional Partners have a majority of the voting power in us through their control of Professional Partners, and our Restated Certificate of Incorporation does not provide for cumulative voting, they will have the ability to elect all of the members of our board of directors and thereby to control our management and affairs, including determinations with respect to acquisitions, dispositions, borrowings, issuances of our Class A common stock or other securities, and the declaration and payment of dividends. The Limited Partners who manage Professional Partners are able to determine the outcome of all matters requiring stockholder approval and are able to cause or prevent a change of control of us or a change in the composition of our board of directors and could preclude any unsolicited acquisition of us. The voting power of the Limited Partners who manage Professional Partners could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their Class A common stock as part of a sale of us and might ultimately affect the market price of our Class A common stock. As a result of the control exercised by the Limited Partners who manage Professional Partners over us, none of our agreements with them have been negotiated on “arm’s length” terms. We cannot assure you that we would not have received more favorable terms from an unaffiliated party.
Risks Related to Our Securities
We may be unable to satisfy Nasdaq listing requirements in the future and the Nasdaq may delist our securities from trading on its exchange, which could limit investors' ability to effect transactions in our securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.
Our Class A common stock and warrants are listed on the Nasdaq, but there is no guarantee that these securities will remain listed on the Nasdaq. Although we currently meet the minimum initial listing standards set forth in the Nasdaq listing standards, there can be no assurance that these securities will continue to be listed on the Nasdaq in the future. In order to continue listing our securities on the Nasdaq, we must maintain certain financial, distribution and share price levels.
If we are delisted, there could be significant material adverse consequences, including:
•a limited availability of market quotations for our securities;
•a limited amount of news and analyst coverage for the combined company; and
•a decreased ability to obtain capital or pursue acquisitions by issuing additional equity or convertible securities.
Our warrants are accounted for as liabilities and the changes in value of our warrants could have a material effect on our financial results.
On April 12, 2021, the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a public statement entitled “Staff Statement on Accounting and Reporting Considerations for Warrants issued by SPACs” (the “SEC Staff Statement”). The SEC Staff Statement focused on certain settlement terms and provisions related to certain tender offers following a business combination. The terms described in the SEC Staff Statement are common in SPACs and are similar to the terms contained in the warrant agreement governing our warrants, which were initially issued by FTIV in connection with its initial public offering (“IPO”). In response to the SEC Staff Statement, FTIV reevaluated the accounting treatment of the Public Warrants (as defined below) and Private Placement Warrants (as defined below), and determined to classify the warrants as derivative liabilities measured at fair value, with changes in fair value each period reported in earnings. As a result, included on the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition as of December 31, 2021 included elsewhere in this Form 10-K are derivative liabilities related to embedded features contained within the warrants. Accounting Standards Codification 815, Derivatives and Hedging (“ASC 815”), provides for the remeasurement of the fair value of such derivatives at each balance sheet date, with a resulting non-cash gain or loss related to the change in the fair value being recognized in earnings in the statement of operations. As a result of the recurring fair value measurement, our financial statements and results of operations may fluctuate quarterly based on factors which are outside of our control. Due to the recurring fair value measurement, we expect that we will recognize noncash gains or losses on our warrants each reporting period and that the amount of such gains or losses could be material.
If our performance does not meet market expectations, the price of our securities may decline.
If our performance does not meet market expectations, the price of our securities may decline.
In addition, fluctuations in the price of our Class A common stock could contribute to the loss of all or part of your investment. The trading price of our Class A common stock could be volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to various factors, some of which are beyond our control. Any of the factors listed below could have a material adverse effect on your investment in our Class A common stock and our Class A common stock may trade at prices significantly below the price you paid for your shares.
Factors affecting the trading price of our common stock may include:
•actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly financial results or the quarterly financial results of companies perceived to be similar to us;
•changes in the market's expectations about our operating results;
•our operating results failing to meet market expectations in a particular period;
•changes in financial estimates and recommendations by securities analysts concerning us or the online automobile sales industry and market in general;
•operating and stock price performance of other companies that investors deem comparable to us;
•changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
•commencement of, or involvement in, litigation involving us;
•changes in our capital structure, such as future issuances of securities or the incurrence of additional debt;
•the volume of shares of our common stock available for public sale;
•any significant change in our board or management;
•sales of substantial amounts of common stock by our directors, executive officers or significant stockholders or the perception that such sales could occur; and
•general economic and political conditions such as recessions, interest rates, fuel prices, international currency fluctuations, international hostilities and acts of war or terrorism.
Broad market and industry factors may depress the market price of our securities irrespective of our operating performance. The stock market in general and Nasdaq have experienced price and volume fluctuations that have often been unrelated or disproportionate to the operating performance of the particular companies affected. The trading prices and valuations of these stocks, and of our securities, may not be predictable. A loss of investor confidence in our market or the stocks of other companies which investors perceive to be similar to us could depress our stock price regardless of our business, prospects, financial conditions or results of operations. A decline in the market price of our securities also could adversely affect our ability to issue additional securities and our ability to obtain additional financing in the future.
At any time in the future, the Public Warrants may not be in the money, and they may expire worthless.
The exercise price for our warrants is $11.50 per share. There can be no assurance that the Public Warrants will be in the money prior to their expiration and, as such, the warrants may expire worthless.
The terms of our warrants may be amended in a manner that may be adverse to the holders. The warrant agreement with American Stock Transfer & Trust Company, LLC, as warrant agent provides that the terms of the warrants may be amended without the consent of any holder to cure any ambiguity or correct any defective provision, but requires the approval by the holders of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants to make any change that adversely affects the interests of the registered holders. Accordingly, we may amend the terms of the warrants in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants approve of such amendment. Our ability to amend the terms of the warrants with the consent of at least 65% of the then outstanding Public Warrants is unlimited. Examples of such amendments could be amendments to, among other things, increase the exercise price of the warrants, shorten the exercise period or decrease the number of shares of our common stock purchasable upon exercise of a warrant.
We may redeem your unexpired warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to you, thereby making your warrants worthless.
We have the ability to redeem outstanding warrants (excluding any placement warrants held by the Sponsor or their permitted transferees) at any time after they become exercisable and prior to their expiration, at $0.01 per warrant, provided that the last reported sales price (or the closing bid price of our common stock in the event the shares of our common stock are not traded on any specific trading day) of the common stock equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for stock splits, stock dividends, reorganizations and the like) on each of 20 trading days within the 30 trading-day period ending on the third business day prior to the date on which we send proper notice of such redemption, provided that on the date we give notice of redemption and during the entire period thereafter until the time we redeem the warrants, we have an effective registration statement under the Securities Act covering the shares of common stock issuable upon exercise of the warrants and a current prospectus relating to them is available. If and when the warrants become redeemable by us, we may exercise our redemption right even if we are unable to register or qualify the underlying securities for sale under all applicable state securities laws. Redemption of the outstanding warrants could force a warrant holder: (i) to exercise its warrants and pay the exercise price therefore at a time when it may be disadvantageous for it to do so, (ii) to sell its warrants at the then-current market price when it might otherwise wish to hold its warrants or (iii) to accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding warrants are called for redemption, will be substantially less than the market value of its warrants.
Warrants to purchase our Class A common stock are exercisable, which could increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
Outstanding warrants to purchase an aggregate of 7,869,975 shares of our Class A common stock became exercisable September 29, 2021, the one-year anniversary of the IPO in accordance with the terms of the warrant agreement governing those securities. These warrants consist of 7,666,642 warrants originally included in the units issued in the IPO (“Public Warrants”) and 203,333 warrants included in the placement units (“Private Placement Warrants”). Each warrant entitles its holder to purchase one share of our Class A common stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share and will expire at 5:00 p.m., New York time, five years after the Closing or earlier upon redemption of our Class A common stock or our liquidation. To the extent warrants are exercised, additional shares of our Class A common stock will be issued, which will result in dilution to our then existing stockholders and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Sales of substantial numbers of such shares in the public market could depress the market price of our securities.
Our stockholders may be diluted by the future issuance of common stock, preferred stock or securities convertible or exchangeable into common or preferred stock, in connection with exchanges of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units for shares of Class A common stock, our incentive plans, acquisitions, capital raises or otherwise.
As of February 28, 2022, we had 1,500,000,000 shares of Class A common stock authorized, of which 47,939,793 had been issued. Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation authorizes us to issue these shares of common stock and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to common stock for the consideration and on the terms and conditions established by our board of directors in its sole discretion, whether in connection with acquisitions or otherwise.
Subject to the exchange procedures and restrictions set forth in the PWP OpCo LPA, and any other procedures or restrictions imposed by us, holders of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units (other than Perella Weinberg Partners) may exchange these units for (i) shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis (subject to customary conversion rate adjustments for stock splits, stock dividends and reclassifications) or (ii) cash from an offering of shares of Class A common stock (based on the net proceeds received by us for such shares in such offering) with the form of consideration determined by us. We have reserved approximately 46.3 million shares of Class A common stock for issuance from time to time in exchange for PWP OpCo Class A partnership units. We may in the future cause PWP OpCo to issue additional PWP OpCo Class A partnership units that would also be exchangeable for shares of Class A common stock. Simultaneously with an exchange by a PWP OpCo unitholder who holds shares of Class B common stock, a number of shares of Class B common stock held by such unitholder equal to the number of PWP OpCo Class A partnership units exchanged by such unitholder will be automatically converted into shares of Class A common stock or cash which will be delivered to the exchanging holder (at Perella Weinberg Partners' option) at a conversion rate of 1:1000 (or 0.001). We have reserved approximately 46,320 shares of Class A common stock for issuance from time to time in respect of conversion of shares of Class B-1 or Class B-2 common stock into Class A common stock.
In the future, we expect to obtain financing or to further increase our capital resources by issuing additional shares of our capital stock or offering debt or other equity securities, including senior or subordinated notes, debt securities convertible into equity, or shares of preferred stock. Issuing additional shares of our capital stock, other equity securities, or securities convertible into equity may dilute the economic and voting rights of our existing stockholders, reduce the market price of our securities, or both. The amount of cash available per share including for payment of dividends in the future may also decrease. Debt securities convertible into equity could be subject to adjustments in the conversion ratio pursuant to which certain events may increase the number of equity securities issuable upon conversion. Preferred stock, if issued, could have a preference with respect to liquidating distributions or a preference with respect to dividend payments that could limit our ability to pay dividends to the holders of our Class A common stock. Our decision to issue securities in any future offering will depend on market conditions and other factors beyond our control, which may adversely affect the amount, timing, or nature of our future offerings. As a result, holders of our Class A common stock bear the risk that our future offerings may reduce the market price of our securities and dilute their percentage ownership.
Our ability to meet expectations and projections in any research or reports published by securities or industry analysts, or a lack of coverage by securities or industry analysts, could result in a depressed market price and limited liquidity for our securities.
The trading market for our securities is influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts may publish about us, our business, our market, or our competitors. If we do not receive adequate coverage by securities or industry analysts, our stock price would likely be less than that which we would obtain if we had more coverage and the liquidity, or trading volume of our securities may be limited, making it more difficult for a stockholder to sell shares at an acceptable price or amount. Analyst projections may vary widely and may not accurately predict the results we actually achieve. Our share price may decline if our actual results do not match the projections of research analysts covering us. Similarly, if one or more of the analysts who write reports on us downgrades our stock or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, our share price could decline. If one or more of these analysts ceases coverage of us or fails to publish reports on us regularly, our share price or trading volume could decline.
Future sales of our Class A common stock may reduce the market price of our Class A common stock.
In connection with the signing of the Business Combination Agreement, the Sponsor entered into the Sponsor Share Surrender and Share Restriction Agreement, which was amended on May 4, 2021. Pursuant to the Sponsor Share Surrender and Share Restriction Agreement, as amended, the Founder Shares (as defined below) and Placement Shares (as defined below) owned by the Sponsor were subject to transfer restrictions for six months following the closing of the Business Combination and 80% of the Founder Shares held by the Sponsor continue to be subject to transfer restrictions based on certain closing share price thresholds of the Company's Class A common stock for 20 out of any 30 consecutive trading days. On January 7, 2022, the Sponsor distributed 5,456,667 shares of Class A common stock (Founder Shares and Placement Shares) and 203,333 Private Placement Warrants to its members (the "Sponsor Distribution"), after which the Sponsor owns 1,000,000 shares of Class A common stock. The 1,000,000 shares of Class A common stock retained by the Sponsor continue to be subject to transfer restrictions until the $15 Threshold (as defined herein) is met. 1,738,680 of the shares distributed in the Sponsor Distribution remain subject to transfer restrictions until either the $15 Threshold or the $17 Threshold (as defined herein), as applicable, is met.
We amended and restated the existing registration rights agreement with the Sponsor by entering into an amended and restated registration rights agreement (the “Amended and Restated Registration Rights Agreement”) with the RRA Parties with respect to the shares of our Class A common stock and certain other equity securities held by the RRA Parties. On July 15, 2021, we filed with the SEC a registration statement (the “Shelf Registration Statement”) pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act registering the resale of certain shares of our Class A common stock and certain of our other equity securities held by the RRA Parties, which Shelf Registration Statement became effective on July 26, 2021.
In connection with our offering of 3,502,033 shares of Class A common stock, which closed on January 21, 2022 (the “January 2022 Offering”), the Sponsor and certain of its affiliated investors entered into lockup agreements covering 3,975,095 shares of Class A common stock and three Private Placement Warrants held by certain affiliates of the Sponsor, and such investors (including 2,067,274 shares subject to transfer restrictions until either the $15 Threshold or the $17 Threshold, as applicable, is met, pursuant to the Sponsor Share Surrender and Share Restriction Agreement described above) which expire 90 days after January 18, 2022, the date of the prospectus related to the January 2022 Offering. Upon such expiration, the Sponsor and these affiliated investors may sell large amounts of our stock in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions. The registration and availability of such a significant number of shares of Class A common stock for trading in the public market may increase the volatility in the price of our Class A common stock or put significant downward pressure on the price of our Class A common stock. In addition, we may use shares of our Class A common stock as consideration for future acquisitions, which could further dilute our stockholders.
We may be subject to securities litigation, which is expensive and could divert management attention.
Our share price may be volatile and, in the past, companies that have experienced volatility in the market price of their stock have been subject to securities class action litigation. We may be the target of this type of litigation in the future. Litigation of this type could result in substantial costs and diversion of management's attention and resources, which could have a material adverse effect on business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Any adverse determination in litigation could also subject us to significant liabilities.
Risks Related to Being a Public Company
We incur significant costs and obligations as a result of being a public company.
As a privately held company, PWP had not been required to comply with many corporate governance and financial reporting practices and policies required of a publicly traded company. As a publicly traded company, we incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses that PWP was not required to incur in the past. These expenses will increase once we are no longer an “emerging growth company” as defined under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”). In addition, new and changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure for public companies, including Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, regulations related thereto and the rules and regulations of the SEC and Nasdaq, have increased the costs and the time that must be devoted to compliance matters. We expect these rules and regulations will increase our legal and financial costs and lead to a diversion of management time and attention from revenue-generating activities.
For as long as we remain an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act, we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies.” We may remain an “emerging growth company” until December 31, 2025 or such earlier time that we have more than $1.07 billion in annual revenues, have more than $700.0 million in market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates, or issue more than $1.0 billion of non-convertible debt over a three-year period. To the extent we choose not to use exemptions from various reporting requirements under the JOBS Act, or if we no longer can be classified as an “emerging growth company,” we expect that we will incur additional compliance costs, which will reduce our ability to operate profitably.
As an “emerging growth company,” we cannot be certain if the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to “emerging growth companies” will make our common stock less attractive to investors.
As an “emerging growth company,” we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies,” including not being required to obtain an assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting from our independent registered public accounting firm pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We will cease to be an emerging growth company upon the earliest of: (i) the end of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the closing of FTIV's IPO, (ii) the first fiscal year after our annual gross revenues are $1.07 billion or more, (iii) the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities or (iv) the end of any fiscal year in which the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeded $700 million as of the end of the second quarter of that fiscal year. In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards, which we have elected to do.
We cannot predict if investors will find our common stock less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active market for our common stock, our share price may be more volatile and the price at which our securities trade could be less than if we did not use these exemptions.
If we do not develop and implement all required accounting practices and policies, we may be unable to provide the financial information required of a United States publicly traded company in a timely and reliable manner.
Since PWP was a privately held company prior to the Business Combination, it was not required to adopt all of the financial reporting and disclosure procedures and controls required of a United States publicly traded company. We expect that the implementation of all required accounting practices and policies and the hiring of additional financial staff will increase our operating costs and could require our management to devote significant time and resources to such implementation. If we fail to develop and maintain effective internal controls and procedures and disclosure procedures and controls, we may be unable to provide financial information and required SEC reports that are timely and reliable. Any such delays or deficiencies could harm us, including by limiting our ability to obtain financing, either in the public capital markets or from private sources and damaging our reputation, which in either case could impede our ability to implement our growth strategy. In addition, any such delays or deficiencies could result in our failure to meet the requirements for continued listing of our securities on the Nasdaq.
We may not be able to timely and effectively implement controls and procedures required by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
As a public company, we are required to maintain internal control over financial reporting and to report any material weaknesses in such internal controls. As permitted by Section 215.02 of the SEC Division of Corporation Finance's Regulation S-K Compliance & Disclosure Interpretations, management is excluding its assessment of internal controls over financial reporting for the year ended December 31, 2021, which is the year the Business Combination was completed, and we do not expect to have to include such assessment until our annual report for the year ended December 31, 2022. Management may not be able to effectively and timely implement controls and procedures that adequately respond to the increased regulatory compliance and reporting requirements that are now applicable to us after the Business Combination or will be applicable to us in the future. If we are not able to implement the additional requirements of Section 404 in a timely manner or with adequate compliance, we may not be able to assess whether our internal controls over financial reporting are effective, which may subject us to adverse regulatory consequences and could harm investor confidence and lead to a decrease in the market price of our securities.
Prior to the Business Combination, FTIV identified a material weakness in its internal control over financial reporting related to the accounting for the warrants FTIV issued in connection with its initial public offering in September 2020. As a result of this material weakness, FTIV's management concluded that its internal control over financial reporting was not effective as of December 31, 2020. This material weakness of FTIV did not result in a material weakness of PWP and we identified no material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2021.
Any failure to maintain effective internal controls could adversely impact our ability to report our financial position and results from operations on a timely and accurate basis. If our financial statements are not accurate, investors may not have a complete understanding of our operations. Likewise, if our financial statements are not filed on a timely basis, we could be subject to sanctions or investigations by the stock exchange on which our securities are listed, the SEC or other regulatory authorities. We may also be subject to litigation or other disputes which may include, among others, claims invoking the federal and state securities laws, contractual claims or other claims relating to our financial statements or any material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. In either case, there could result a material adverse effect on our business. Ineffective internal controls could also cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, which could have a negative effect on the trading price of our securities.
We can give no assurance that material weaknesses or restatements of financial results will not arise in the future due to a failure to implement and maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting or circumvention of these controls, or that any measures we take will be sufficient to remediate such material weaknesses. In addition, even if we are successful in strengthening our controls and procedures, in the future those controls and procedures may not be adequate to prevent or identify irregularities or errors or to facilitate the fair presentation of our financial statements.
Pursuant to the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for so long as we are an “emerging growth company.”
Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires annual management assessments of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, and generally requires in the same report a report by our independent registered public accounting firm on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. However, under the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We will be an “emerging growth company” until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following September 29, 2025, the fifth anniversary of our IPO, (b) in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.07 billion or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our common stock that is held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the last business day of our prior second fiscal quarter, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period. Accordingly, until we cease being an “emerging growth company” stockholders will not have the benefit of an independent assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control environment.
Risks Related to Our Governance and Governance Documents
We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the rules of Nasdaq and, as a result, qualify for, and rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. You will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.
Professional Partners holds more than 50% of the voting power of our shares eligible to vote. As a result, we are a “controlled company” under the rules of Nasdaq. Under these rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power in the election of directors is held by an individual, group or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including the requirements that (i) a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors and (ii) the board of directors have compensation and nominating and corporate governance committees composed entirely of independent directors.
We currently utilize these exemptions. As a result, we do not have a majority of independent directors on our board of directors and do not have a nominating and governance committee. Accordingly, although we may transition to a board with a majority of independent directors prior to the time we cease to be a “controlled company,” for such period of time you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements set by Nasdaq. In the event that we cease to be a “controlled company” and our shares continue to be listed on Nasdaq, we will be required to comply with these provisions within the applicable transition periods. These exemptions do not modify the independence requirements for our audit committee, and we intend to comply with the applicable requirements of the SEC and Nasdaq with respect to our audit committee.
The classification of our board of directors may have anti-takeover effects, including discouraging, delaying or preventing our change of control.
Our board of directors is currently divided into three classes of directors with staggered, three-year terms. The presence of a classified board could have anti-takeover effects, including discouraging a third party from making a tender offer for our shares or attempting to obtain control of us, even when stockholders may consider such a takeover to be in their best interests. It could also delay stockholders who disapprove of the performance of our board of directors from changing a majority of the composition of our board of directors through a single proxy contest.
Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and Delaware law, as well as the rules of FINRA, the FCA, the Alberta Commission, IIROC, ACPR and other U.S. or foreign governmental regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations, could delay or prevent a change in control, limit the price investors may be willing to pay in the future for our Class A common stock and could entrench management.
Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation and Amended and Restated Bylaws may delay or prevent a merger or acquisition that a stockholder may consider favorable by permitting our board of directors to issue one or more series of preferred stock, requiring advance notice for stockholder proposals and nominations and placing limitations on convening stockholder meetings. In addition, there will be no cumulative voting in the election of directors, and our Restated Certificate of Incorporation will provide that, subject to the rights, if any, of the holders of shares of preferred stock then outstanding, directors may be removed from office at any time, with or without cause, by the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the voting power of the shares entitled to vote in connection with the election of our directors; provided, that at any time the Class B Condition is satisfied, any or all of our directors may be removed from office at any time, with or without cause, by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the voting power of the shares entitled to vote in connection with the election of our directors. These provisions may also discourage acquisition proposals or delay or prevent a change in control, which could harm our stock price.
Further, our two U.S. broker-dealer subsidiaries are members of FINRA and subject to FINRA's rules, which could impede or delay a change of control. FINRA Rule 1017 generally provides that FINRA approval must be sought in connection with any transaction resulting in a single person or entity acquiring or controlling, directly or indirectly, twenty-five percent (25%) or more of a FINRA member firm's or its parent company's equity for the first time.
Similarly, our U.K. subsidiary, PWP U.K., is regulated by the FCA and is, therefore, an FCA authorized person, acquisitions of interests in which are subject to change in control rules. Prior FCA approval must be obtained for any transaction that would result in a single person or entity acquiring, directly or indirectly, 10% or more of PWP U.K.'s voting rights or share capital, including through ownership of the equity of any of its parent undertakings.
Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation provides that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the sole and exclusive forum for certain stockholder limitation matters, subject to limited exceptions, which could discourage stockholder lawsuits or limit our stockholders' ability to bring a claim in any judicial forum that they find favorable for disputes against our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders.
Our Restated Certificate of Incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the sole and exclusive forum for any stockholder to bring (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers or other employees or to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us, our directors, officers or employees arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law or our charter or bylaws, or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us, our directors, officers or employees governed by the internal affairs doctrine, and, if brought outside of Delaware, the stockholder bringing the suit will be deemed to have consented to service of process on such stockholder's counsel, except (a) any action (A) as to which the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware determines that there is an indispensable party not subject to the jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery (and the indispensable party does not consent to the personal jurisdiction of the Court of Chancery within ten days following such determination), (B) which is vested in the exclusive jurisdiction of a court or forum other than the Court of Chancery, (C) for which the Court of Chancery does not have subject matter jurisdiction, or (D) any action arising under the federal securities laws, as to which the Court of Chancery and the federal district court for the District of Delaware shall have concurrent jurisdiction, and (b) in the event that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware lacks jurisdiction over any such action or proceeding, the sole and exclusive forum for such action or proceeding shall be another state or federal court located within the State of Delaware. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the choice of forum provisions do not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal district courts of the United States of America shall be the sole and exclusive forum. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to the forum provisions in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation. However, no such person or entity shall be deemed to have waived any right of action against us or our officers or directors pursuant to the federal securities laws. If any action the subject matter of which is within the scope of the choice of forum provision is filed in a court other than a court located within the State of Delaware (a “foreign action”) in the name of any stockholder, such stockholder shall be deemed to have consented to: (x) the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located within the State of Delaware in connection with any action brought in any such court to enforce the choice of forum provision (an “enforcement action”), and (y) having service of process made upon such stockholder in any such enforcement action by service upon such stockholder's counsel in the foreign action as agent for such stockholder.
This choice of forum provision may limit a stockholder's ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or any of our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders, which may discourage lawsuits with respect to such claims. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our Restated Certificate of Incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Supplementary Item. Information About Our Executive Officers
Below is a list of our executive officers and their respective ages and a brief account of the business experience of each of them.
Peter A. Weinberg
|64||Chairman and Chief Executive Officer|
Gary S. Barancik
|57||Chief Financial Officer|
|59||Co-President and Director|
|54||Co-President and Director|
Peter A. Weinberg has served as our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since the closing of the Business Combination. Mr. Weinberg is a Founding Partner of PWP and has served as PWP's Chief Executive Officer since the PWP Separation. Mr. Weinberg has over 35 years of investment banking experience. Prior to co-founding PWP in 2006, Mr. Weinberg was the Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs International in London from 1999 to 2005 and served on the firm's Management Committee and led the European Management Committee. At Goldman Sachs, where he began his career in 1988, Mr. Weinberg served as co-head of the Global Investment Banking Division, co-head of the Partnership Committee and he founded the Financial Sponsors Group. Mr. Weinberg earned a Bachelor of Arts from Claremont McKenna College and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.
Gary S. Barancik has served as our Chief Financial Officer since the closing of the Business Combination. Mr. Barancik is a Founding Partner of PWP and has served as PWP's Chief Financial Officer since 2018. Mr. Barancik has approximately 30 years of investment banking experience. Prior to his current role, Mr. Barancik was a partner in PWP's Advisory business where he was Co-Chair of the Company's Fairness Committee and Co-Head of PWP's Board and Special Committee Advisory Practice. Prior to joining PWP in 2006, Mr. Barancik was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, where he worked in the Mergers and Acquisitions department. He began his investment banking career at Morgan Stanley in 1987. Mr. Barancik earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dietrich Becker has served as our Co-President and a member of our board of directors since the closing of the Business Combination. Mr. Becker is a Founding Partner of PWP and has served as PWP's Co-President since March 2020. Mr. Becker has over 30 years of investment banking experience. In addition to his current role, Mr. Becker is a partner in PWP's Advisory business where he has served as Head of PWP's Advisory business in Europe since 2017. Prior to joining PWP in 2006, Mr. Becker was Co-Head of the Global Industrial Group at Morgan Stanley. He began his investment banking career with Merrill Lynch in 1991. Mr. Becker earned a degree from Cologne University Law School and a Master’s in Business Administration from New York University Stern Graduate School of Business.
Andrew Bednar has served as our Co-President and a member of our board of directors since the closing of the Business Combination. Mr. Bednar is a Founding Partner of PWP and has served as PWP's Co-President since March 2020. Mr. Bednar has over 25 years of investment banking experience. In addition to his current role, Mr. Bednar is a partner in PWP's Advisory business where he served as Co-Head of PWP's Advisory business in the U.S. until 2013. Prior to joining PWP in 2006, Mr. Bednar was Head of U.S. Mergers & Acquisition at Bank of America and a member of the Investment Banking Executive Committee. Prior to that, he was a Managing Director at Goldman, Sachs & Co. He began his career at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in 1994. Mr. Bednar earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s in Business Administration from Cornell University, and also received a Juris Doctor from Columbia University.
Vladimir Shendelman has served as our General Counsel since the closing of the Business Combination. Mr. Shendelman is a Partner and has served as the General Counsel of PWP. Mr. Shendelman also serves as the General Counsel of PWP Capital, which holds the former asset management business of PWP OpCo prior to the PWP Separation. Mr. Shendelman has approximately 20 years of legal experience. Prior to joining PWP in January of 2007, Mr. Shendelman worked as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in their Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets and Investment Management groups. Mr. Shendelman earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Brandeis University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Item 2. Properties
Our principal executive offices are located in leased office space at 767 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, 10153. We also lease office space for our offices in Calgary, Chicago, Denver, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Munich, Paris and San Francisco. We do not own any real property. We consider these arrangements to be adequate for our present needs.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
On October 20, 2015, Professionals GP, PWP MC LP, PWP Equity I LP and Perella Weinberg Partners Group LP (collectively, the “PWP Plaintiffs”), filed a complaint against Michael A. Kramer, Derron S. Slonecker, Joshua S. Scherer, Adam W. Verost (collectively, the “Individual Defendants”) and Ducera Partners LLC (together with the Individual Defendants, the “Defendants”) in New York Supreme Court, Commercial Division (the “Court”). The complaint alleges that the Individual Defendants, three former partners and one former employee of the PWP Plaintiffs, entered into a scheme while still at PWP to lift out the PWP Plaintiffs' restructuring group to form a new competing firm that they were secretly forming in breach of their contractual and fiduciary duties to the PWP Plaintiffs. The complaint contains fourteen causes of action, and seeks declaratory relief as well as damages resulting from the Individual Defendants' breaches of their obligations under the PWP Plaintiffs' partnership and employment agreements, and from Defendants' unfair competition and tortious interference with the PWP Plaintiffs' contracts and client relationships.
On November 9, 2015, the Defendants filed an Answer, Counterclaims, Cross-claims and a Third-Party Complaint, which contained 14 causes of action. On July 17, 2016, the Court issued a decision, dismissing half of the Defendants' counterclaims and cross-claims with prejudice. On August 18, 2016, the Defendants filed an Amended Answer, Counterclaims, Cross-claims and Third-Party Complaint, which contained only seven counterclaims and cross-claims. On December 12, 2016, the Defendants appealed the dismissal of three of their counterclaims and cross-claims to the New York Appellate Division, First Department (the “First Department”). On August 29, 2017, the First Department issued a decision denying the Defendants' appeal in its entirety other than allowing one Defendant to proceed with his breach of fiduciary duty counterclaim. On October 27, 2017, the Defendants moved the First Department for leave to appeal its decision to the New York Court of Appeals. On December 28, 2017, the First Department denied the Defendants' motion for leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals. On April 24, 2018, the Defendants filed a Second Amended Answer, Counterclaims, Cross-claims and Third-Party Complaint, which contains eight counterclaims and cross-claims. The Defendants are seeking declaratory relief and damages of no less than $60 million, as well as statutory interest.
Discovery is complete. Both the PWP Plaintiffs and the Defendants subsequently moved for summary judgment. As of March 20, 2020, the parties had completed briefing their respective motions for summary judgment. The PWP Plaintiffs moved affirmatively for summary judgment on each of their 14 claims and also moved for dismissal of each of the Defendants' remaining eight counterclaims and cross-claims. The Defendants moved affirmatively for summary judgment on four of their eight counterclaims and cross-claims and also moved for dismissal of each of the PWP Plaintiffs’ 14 claims. The Court held oral argument on the motions for summary judgment on May 27, 2021. The Court has yet to issue a decision on the motions for summary judgment. In addition, on January 19, 2022, Defendants filed a motion for leave to renew one of their counterclaims brought under the New York Labor Law that the Court dismissed in 2016 (the dismissal of which was affirmed by the First Department in 2017). That motion was fully briefed as of February 3, 2022.
We believe that our 14 causes of action are meritorious. Further, we believe that we have meritorious defenses to the Defendants’ remaining counterclaims and cross-claims and plan to vigorously contest them. Litigation, however, can be uncertain and there can be no assurance that any judgment for one or more of the Defendants or other outcome of the case would not have a material adverse effect on us. Additionally, even if we prevail in the litigation and are awarded damages, we do not know if we will be able to fully collect on any judgment against any or all Defendants.
We are now, and from time to time may in the future be, named as a defendant in legal actions relating to transactions conducted in the ordinary course of business. We may also become involved in other judicial, regulatory and arbitration proceedings concerning matters arising in connection with the conduct of our businesses. Some of these matters may involve claims of substantial amounts.
For further details on the current legal proceedings, refer to Note 18—Commitments and Contingencies in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our Class A common stock is listed and traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the stock symbol “PWP.” As of March 8, 2022, there were approximately 56 holders of record of our Class A common stock and 3 holders of record of our Class B common stock. This does not include the number of shareholders that hold shares in “street name” through banks or broker-dealers. Our Class B common stock is not listed or quoted on any exchange and is not transferable by the holders, subject to certain limited exceptions.
We intend to pay dividends quarterly to our common stockholders. For the year ended December 31, 2021, cash dividends of $0.14 per outstanding share of Class A common stock were paid to our stockholders. The declaration of any future cash dividends and, if declared, the amount of any such dividends, will be subject to our financial condition, earnings, capital requirements, financial covenants, applicable law and other factors our board of directors deems relevant. Therefore, there can be no assurance as to what level of dividends, if any, will be paid in the future.
Comparison of Cumulative Total Return
The performance graph below shows the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock, compared with the S&P 500 Composite Stock Price Index (the “S&P 500 Index”) and the S&P Financials Index from the closing price on June 24, 2021 (the date our Class A common stock began trading on Nasdaq) through December 31, 2021. The results are based on an investment of $100 in each of our common stock, the S&P 500 Index and the S&P Financials Index. The graph assumes the reinvestment of dividends and adjusts all closing prices and dividends for stock splits. The performance shown in the graph represents past performance and is not intended to be indicative of future performance.
The performance graph shall not be deemed incorporated by reference by any general statement incorporating by reference this Annual Report on Form 10-K into any filing under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate this information by reference, and shall not otherwise be deemed filed under those Acts. The performance graph is not intended to be indicative of future performance.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds
Shares of Common Stock
In connection with the Business Combination, the Company delivered 12,500,000 shares of Class A common stock (as described in the “Private Placement” section below), 48,470,675 shares of Class B-1 common stock (of which 45,608,840 shares of Class B-1 common stock remained outstanding after giving effect to Redemptions (as defined below)) and 12,589,325 shares of Class B-2 common stock (of which 4,545,359 shares of Class B-2 common stock remained outstanding after giving effect to Redemptions).
In connection with entering into the Business Combination Agreement, the Company entered into subscription agreements (the “Subscription Agreements”) with certain investors (collectively, the “PIPE Investors”), pursuant to which, among other things, the PIPE Investors party thereto agreed to purchase an aggregate of 12,500,000 shares of Class A common stock immediately prior to the Closing at a cash purchase price of $10.00 per share, resulting in aggregate proceeds of $125,000,000 in the private placement (the “PIPE Investment”). The shares of Class A common stock issued to the PIPE Investors were issued in reliance on the exemption from registration requirements thereof provided by Section 4(a)(2)of the Securities Act as a transaction by an issuer not involving a public offering without any form of general solicitation or general advertising.
The Subscription Agreements for the PIPE Investors (other than the Sponsor-related PIPE Investors, whose registration rights are governed by a registration rights agreement (the “Non-Sponsor PIPE Investors”)) provide for certain registration rights. In accordance with the subscription agreements, we filed a registration statement registering the resale of such shares. Such registration statement is required to be kept effective for at least three years after effectiveness or, if earlier, until either (i) the shares thereunder have been sold by the Non-Sponsor PIPE Investors or (ii) the shares may be sold without restriction under Rule 144 promulgated under the Securities Act (as defined below). The Company filed a registration statement registering resale of such shares (as well as other securities) on July 15, 2021, and such registration statement was declared effective by the SEC on July 26, 2021.
PWP OpCo Units
Subject to the exchange procedures and restrictions set forth in the PWP OpCo LPA, and any other procedures or restrictions imposed by the Company, holders of the 61,060,000 PWP OpCo Class A partnership units (other than the Company) outstanding as of immediately after the Closing (before giving effect to the redemptions of certain legacy partners of Professional Partners and ILPs) may exchange these units for (i) shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis (subject to customary conversion rate adjustments for stock splits, stock dividends and reclassifications) or (ii) cash from an offering of shares of Class A common stock (based on the net proceeds received by the Company for such shares in such offering) with the form of consideration determined by the Company. The PWP OpCo Class A partnership units were previously issued in reliance on the exemption from registration requirements thereof provided by Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act as a transaction by an issuer not involving a public offering without any form of general solicitation or general advertising.
Use of Proceeds
On September 29, 2020, FTIV consummated its initial public offering of 23,000,000 units at a price of $10.00 per unit, generating gross proceeds of $230,000,000. After deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions (excluding the deferred portion of up to $9,800,000 in underwriting discounts and commissions) and the total offering expenses, the total net proceeds from FTIV’s initial public offering and private placement were $231,634,508 of which $230,000,000 (or approximately $10.00 per unit sold in the initial public offering) was placed in the trust account.
Upon the Closing, FTIV had an aggregate of approximately $325 million of the proceeds from the PIPE Investment and funds held in the trust account, net of deemed transaction expenses of $30 million, which net proceeds were used to fund the cash consideration of the Business Combination. Approximately $189 million of the such proceeds were used by PWP to retire existing indebtedness, with the remaining amount (subject to PWP retaining of up to $10 million to add to its balance sheet cash) being used to first redeem PWP OpCo units held by certain electing ILPs, and second, redeem PWP OpCo units held by certain electing Legacy Partners. Remaining cash proceeds were retained by PWP for general corporate purposes and for payment of any transaction expenses in excess of $30 million.
Repurchase of Equity Securities
The following table summarizes our repurchases of equity securities during the three months ended December 31, 2021:
|Period||Total Number of Shares Repurchased||Average Price Paid per Unit|
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Program
Dollar Value of Shares that may yet to be Purchased Under the Publicly Announced Program
|October 1, 2021 - October 31, 2021||— ||$||— ||— ||— |
|November 1, 2021 - November 30, 2021||— ||$||— ||— ||— |
|December 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021||— ||$||— ||— ||— |
|Total||— ||$||— ||— ||— |
Item 6. [Reserved]
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 our Consolidated Financial Statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements below. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below and those discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Form 10-K.
We are a leading global independent advisory firm that provides strategic and financial advice to clients across a range of the most active industry sectors and international markets. We provide advisory services to a wide range of clients globally, including large public multinational corporations, mid-sized public and private companies, individual entrepreneurs, private and institutional investors, creditor committees and government institutions.
We were founded in June 2006 with the opening of offices in New York and London, led by a team of ten seasoned advisory partners who previously held senior management positions at large global investment banks. Our mission is helping clients address complex strategic and financial challenges. The foundation of our Company was rooted in a belief, among other considerations, that clients would increasingly seek out deeply experienced advisors who offer independent strategic thinking and who are not burdened by the complicated conflicts that large investment banking institutions may face due to their various businesses. The 2008 global financial crisis reinforced this hypothesis and contributed to the early growth of our Company. Today, we believe that our independence is even more important. For clients and for us independence means freedom from the distractions that dilute strategic thinking and a willingness and candor to share an honest opinion, even if at times it is contrary to our clients' point of view. We believe that our clients choose to engage us because they value our unbiased perspective and expert advice regarding complex financial and strategic matters.
Our business provides services to multiple industry sectors and geographic markets. We believe that our collaborative partnership and integrated approach combining deep industry insights, significant technical, product and transactional expertise, and rigorous work ethic create a significant opportunity for our Company to realize sustainable growth. We seek to advise clients throughout their evolution, with the full range of our advisory capabilities including, among other things, advice related to mission-critical strategic and financial decisions, M&A execution, capital markets advisory, shareholder and defense advisory, capital raising, capital structure and restructuring, specialized underwriting and research services for the energy and related industries.
Since our inception, we have experienced significant growth in our business, driven by hiring professionals who are highly regarded in their fields of expertise, expanding the scope and geographic reach of our advisory services, deepening and expanding our client relationships and maintaining a firm culture that attracts, develops and retains talented people. In addition to our hiring and internal development of individual professionals, in November 2016, we completed the TPH Business Combination with TPH, an independent advisory firm, focused on the energy industry. As of December 31, 2021, we serve our clients with 422 advisory professionals, including 60 advisory partners (which numbers include two advisory partners who retired from the Company in January 2022), based in ten offices, located in five countries around the world.
We generate and recognize revenues when earned, primarily from providing advisory services on transactions that are subject to individually negotiated engagement letters, which set forth our fees.
Upfront fees are recognized over the estimated period that the related services are performed. Transaction-related fees are recognized when or as services for a transaction are provided and specified conditions or certain milestones have been achieved, which are often outside of our control. Underwriting revenues are recognized when the offering is deemed complete. As a result, revenues and net income in any period may not be indicative of full year results or the results of any other period and may vary significantly from year to year and quarter to quarter. The performance of our business depends on the ability of our professionals to build relationships with clients over many years by providing trusted advice and exceptional transaction execution.
On June 24, 2021, Perella Weinberg Partners consummated the Business Combination whereby (i) FTIV acquired certain partnership interests in PWP OpCo, (ii) PWP OpCo became jointly-owned by Perella Weinberg Partners, Professional Partners and certain existing partners of PWP OpCo, and (iii) PWP OpCo serves as the Company’s operating partnership as part of an umbrella limited partnership C-corporation (Up-C) structure. The Business Combination was structured as a reverse recapitalization. The historical operations of PWP OpCo are deemed to be those of the Company. Thus, the consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K reflect (i) the historical operating results of PWP OpCo prior to the Business Combination and (ii) the combined results of the Company following the Business Combination. The Company shareholders are entitled to receive a portion of PWP OpCo’s economics through their ownership interests in shares of Class A common stock of Perella Weinberg Partners, which holds PWP OpCo Class A partnership units. The non-controlling interest owners of PWP OpCo receive a portion of its economics through their ownership of PWP OpCo units. See Note 3—Business Combination and Note 11—Stockholders' Equity in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for additional discussion related to the transaction.
Business Environment and Outlook
Worldwide announced M&A volumes in 2021 increased significantly as compared to 2020. While the overall level of mergers and acquisitions globally declined in 2020, heavily influenced by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, M&A activity began to recover in the third quarter of 2020, accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2020, and continued to reflect a strong performance for 2021.
The level of M&A advisory dialogue remains strong across all our industries and geographies of focus and among our large cap, middle market and sponsor clients. As companies continue to focus on strategic growth and capital deployment, we expect these considerations and the overall business environment will keep activity elevated in the medium term. However, we also see various factors which we believe could make our markets more volatile and 2022 a less active year in M&A than 2021 including rising interest rates and inflation, shifting U.S. anti-trust policy, potential tax law changes, geopolitical developments, international hostilities and other factors.
More broadly, our core advisory services benefit from changes which impact our client base and lead them to consider business combinations, acquisitions and divestitures, capital raises and restructurings. These changes can include a broad range of economic factors in global or local markets, technological advancements which alter the competitive landscape, regulatory and political policies, globalization, changing consumer preferences, commodity and financial market movements, among many other factors.
As our team of advisory professionals expands and continues to gain traction, and as we continue to expand our advisory services, we expect our sector-focused global team collaboration will deepen and continue to resonate with clients. We expect to continue to experience growing global demand for independent advice.
Economic and global financial conditions can materially affect our operational and financial performance. See “Part I — Item 1A. Risk Factors” included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for a discussion of some of the factors that can affect our performance.
Results of Operations
The following is a discussion of our results of operations for the respective periods indicated.
|Year Ended December 31,|
|2021||2020||2019||2021 vs. 2020||2020 vs. 2019|
|$||801,662 ||$||518,986 ||$||533,297 ||54 ||%||(3)||%|
Compensation and benefits
|504,364 ||374,332 ||349,819 ||35 ||%||7 ||%|
|96,330 ||24,815 ||193,299 ||288 ||%||(87)||%|
Total compensation and benefits
|600,694 ||399,147 ||543,118 ||50 ||%||(27)||%|
|134,384 ||134,435 ||145,298 ||— ||%||(7)||%|
Total operating expenses
|735,078 ||533,582 ||688,416 ||38 ||%||(22)||%|
Operating income (loss)
|66,584 ||(14,596)||(155,119)||NM||91 ||%|
Non-operating income (expenses)
Related party income
|7,516 ||9,263 ||8,810 ||(19)||%||5 ||%|
Other income (expense)
|761 ||185 ||108 ||311 ||%||71 ||%|
Change in fair value of warrant liabilities
|(4,897)||— ||— ||NM||NM|
Loss on debt extinguishment
|(39,408)||— ||— ||NM||NM|
Total non-operating income (expenses)
Income (loss) before income taxes
|22,950 ||(20,889)||(161,596)||NM||87 ||%|
Income tax benefit (expense)
Net income (loss)
|$||4,023 ||$||(24,342)||$||(164,019)||NM||85 ||%|
Less: Net income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests
Net income (loss) attributable to Perella Weinberg Partners
|NM = Not meaningful|
We operate in a highly competitive environment. Each revenue-generating engagement is separately solicited, awarded and negotiated, and there are limited long-term sources of revenue in the form of recurring retainers. Therefore, our fee-paying client engagements are not predictable, and high levels of revenues in one quarter are not necessarily predictive of continued high levels of revenues in future periods. To develop new business, our professionals maintain an active business dialogue with a large number of existing and potential clients. We expect to add new clients each year as our advisory professionals continue to expand their relationships, as we hire senior advisory professionals who bring their client relationships and as we receive introductions from our relationship network of senior executives, board members, attorneys and other third parties. We also lose clients each year as a result of the sale or merger of clients, changes in clients' senior management, competition from other financial services firms and other reasons.
In many cases, revenue is not recognized until the successful completion of an underlying transaction. Complications that may terminate or delay a transaction include failure to agree upon final terms with the counterparty, failure to obtain regulatory consents, failure to obtain board or stockholder approvals, failure to secure financing, adverse market conditions or unexpected operating or financial problems related to either party to the transaction (or their customer base). While transactions typically close within a 12-month period post-announcement of such transaction, they can occasionally extend longer. Such delays often occur with larger transactions and can contribute to unpredictability in the timing of such revenues. In other circumstances, we often do not receive the same level of advisory fees that would have been received if the transaction had been completed, and in some cases we may receive no advisory fee despite the fact that we may have devoted considerable time and resources to the transaction. Other barriers to the completion of a restructuring transaction may specifically include a lack of anticipated bidders for the assets or securities of our client, the inability of our client to restructure its operations, the absence of court approval in a bankruptcy proceeding, or a failure to reach agreement with a client's creditors. In these circumstances, our advisory fees are generally limited to monthly retainer fees (if any). In the case of bankruptcy engagements, fees are subject to approval by the applicable court. In most cases, even if a transaction is not successfully completed, we are reimbursed for certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the engagement.
We do not present our revenue by the type of advice we provide because of the complexity of the transactions on which we may earn revenue and our holistic approach to client service. For example, (i) a restructuring engagement may evolve to require a sale of all or a portion of the client, (ii) M&A assignments can develop from relationships established on prior restructuring engagements, (iii) capital markets expertise can be instrumental on both M&A and restructuring assignments, and (iv) capital markets revenue can be generated through the provision of capital markets advisory work, capital raising assignments or the issuance of focused equity research services. We dedicate the resources and expertise needed on any given assignment regardless of product lines and focus on achieving the desired outcome for our clients. Such an approach does not lend itself to tracking the type of advisory service offered in each instance.
Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020
Revenues were $801.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 as compared with $519.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, representing an increase of 54%. The increase in revenues can be attributed to both an increase in the number of advisory clients and the average fee size per client as M&A activity increased year over year, partially offset by a reduction in restructuring and liability management fees as compared to the prior year.
For the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, we earned revenues from 232 and 175 advisory clients, respectively. The number of advisory clients who paid fees equal to or greater than $1.0 million increased to 142 advisory clients for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to 99 advisory clients for the year ended December 31, 2020. The average fee size increased to $3.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 from $2.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
Revenues were $519.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 as compared with $533.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, representing a decrease of 3%. The decrease in revenues was primarily driven by a decline in mergers and acquisitions activity during the start of COVID-19 pandemic, offset partially by an increase in capital structure and restructuring activity.
For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we earned revenues from 175 and 179 advisory clients, respectively. The number of advisory clients who paid fees equal to or greater than $1 million decreased to 99 advisory clients for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 100 advisory clients for the year ended December 31, 2019. The average fee size remained unchanged from 2019 to 2020 at $2.9 million.
The following table sets forth information relating to our operating expenses:
Year Ended December 31,
|(Dollars in thousands)||2021||2020||2019||2021 vs. 2020||2020 vs. 2019|
Compensation and benefits
|$||504,364 ||$||374,332 ||$||349,819 ||35 ||%||7 ||%|
% of Revenues
|63 ||%||72 ||%||66 ||%|
|$||96,330 ||$||24,815 ||$||193,299 ||288 ||%||(87 ||%)|
% of Revenues
|12 ||%||5 ||%||36 ||%|
Total compensation and benefits
|$||600,694 ||$||399,147 ||$||543,118 ||50 ||%||(27 ||%)|
% of Revenues
|75 ||%||77 ||%||102 ||%|
|$||134,384 ||$||134,435 ||$||145,298 ||— ||%||(7 ||%)|
% of Revenues
|17 ||%||26 ||%||27 ||%|
Total operating expenses
|$||735,078 ||$||533,582 ||$||688,416 ||38 ||%||(22 ||%)|
% of Revenues
|92 ||%||103 ||%||129 ||%|
Income (loss) before income taxes
|$||22,950 ||$||(20,889)||$||(161,596)||NM||87 ||%|
% of Revenues
|3 ||%||(4 ||%)||(30 ||%)|
Our operating expenses are classified as (i) total compensation and benefits expenses including equity-based compensation and (ii) non-compensation expenses. Headcount is the primary driver of the level of our operating expenses. Compensation and benefits expenses account for the majority of our operating expenses. Compensation expenses also include expense associated with hiring which has been a significant focus of the Company in all of the historical periods described herein. Non-compensation expenses, which include the costs of professional fees, travel and related expenses, technology and infrastructure, rent and occupancy, depreciation and amortization, and general, administrative and other expenses generally have been less significant in comparison with compensation and benefits expenses.
Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020
Operating expenses were $735.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 and represented 92% of revenues, compared with $533.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, which represented 103% of revenues. The increase in operating expenses was primarily driven by an increase in total compensation and benefits expenses, which were $600.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to $399.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020. Non-compensation expenses were $134.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2021 and represented 17% of revenues, compared to $134.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, which represented 26% of revenues.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
Operating expenses were $533.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 and represented 103% of revenues, compared with $688.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, which represented 129% of revenues. The decrease in operating expenses was driven by a decrease in both total compensation and benefits and non-compensation expense from the prior year. Total compensation and benefits was $399.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to $543.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. Non-compensation expense was $134.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2020, representing 26% of revenue compared to $145.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, representing 27% of revenue.
Compensation and Benefits Expenses
Our compensation and benefits expenses are determined by management based on revenues earned, the competitiveness of the prevailing labor market and anticipated compensation requirements for our employees, the level of recruitment of new partners, the amount of compensation expense amortized for equity awards and other relevant factors. Such factors can fluctuate, including headcount, and as a result, our compensation expenses may fluctuate materially in any particular period. Accordingly, the amount of compensation expenses recognized in any particular period may not be consistent with prior periods or indicative of future periods.
Our compensation expenses consist of base salary, benefits, payroll taxes, annual incentive compensation payable as cash bonus awards, deferred compensation awards, profit sharing arrangements and amortization of equity-based compensation awards. Compensation expenses also include signing bonuses and compensation paid pursuant to guarantees for new hires. These amounts have historically been significant. Base salary and benefits are paid ratably throughout the year. Depending on the plan, deferred compensation and profit-sharing awards vest immediately, at future dates, or upon the occurrence of certain events. Cash bonuses, which are accrued each quarter, are discretionary and dependent upon many factors, including the performance of the Company, and are generally paid during the first quarter of each calendar year with respect to prior year performance.
Equity awards are measured at fair value on the grant date and recognized on a straight-line basis over the vesting period. The awards are subject to a service vesting condition, and in some cases a market-based performance vesting condition, and vest ratably on a graded vesting schedule of up to five years. The awards are recorded within equity as they are expensed. The vesting of certain equity-based awards granted by Professional Partners to partners providing services to PWP OpCo prior to the Business Combination and the various Professional Partners value capital units (“VCUs”) and alignment capital units (“ACUs”) (collectively, the “Professional Partners Awards”) issued in connection with the Business Combination have no economic impact on, and do not dilute, PWP shareholders relative to Professional Partners. The awards do not change the economic allocations between Professional Partners and PWP shareholders, nor do they change the Professional Partners' interest in PWP OpCo. As a result, all of the compensation expense and corresponding capital contribution associated with the Professional Partners Awards is allocated to non-controlling interests on the Consolidated Statements of Operations and Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition.
Beginning in the third quarter of 2021, the Company granted incentive compensation awards in accordance with the Perella Weinberg Partners 2021 Omnibus Incentive Plan (the “PWP Incentive Plan” or “Incentive Plan”). The Company uses shares of PWP Class A common stock to satisfy vested awards under the plan. The vesting of these awards for employees are recorded as equity-based compensation expense and awards for non-employees are recorded as professional fees at PWP OpCo for U.S. GAAP accounting purposes. The accounting for this equity-based compensation expense, and potentially other factors as well, may cause the Company to experience operating losses in future periods.
We intend to compensate our personnel competitively in order to continue building our business and growing our Company. Certain awards were granted in conjunction with the Business Combination and directly related to this transaction milestone event. These awards were outside the Company's normal and recurring compensation processes. Total future amortization which will be recognized over the next five years before accounting for forfeitures is $97.2 million for restricted stock units out of the Transaction Pool Share Reserve (as defined below) consisting of (a) performance restricted stock units (“PSUs”) that only vest upon the achievement of both service and market conditions and (b) restricted stock units (“RSUs”) that vest upon the achievement of service conditions and $76.6 million for PSUs out of the aggregate number of shares of Class A common stock reserved for issuance under the PWP Incentive Plan for general purposes to certain executives that vest upon the achievement of both service and market conditions granted in conjunction with the Business Combination.
Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020
For the year ended December 31, 2021, total compensation and benefits expenses of $600.7 million represented 75% of revenues, compared with $399.1 million of compensation-related expenses, which represented 77% of revenues for the year ended December 31, 2020. Included in total compensation-related expense was $96.3 million and $24.8 million amortization of equity awards for the years ended December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The increase in total compensation and benefit expenses was due to a larger bonus accrual associated with the increase in revenue despite a lower compensation margin as well as increased equity-based compensation due principally to awards granted in connection with the Business Combination.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
For the year ended December 31, 2020, total compensation-related expenses of $399.1 million represented 77% of revenues, compared with $543.1 million of compensation-related expenses, which represented 102% of revenues for the year ended December 31, 2019. Included in total compensation-related expense was $24.8 million and $193.3 million amortization of equity awards for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. The decrease in compensation expenses was due to equity-based compensation awards granted by Professional Partners in connection with the TPH Business Combination fully vesting in 2019, which had no economic impact on PWP OpCo. This decrease was offset in part by certain severance expenses incurred in connection with a restructuring in the spring of 2020 and increased bonus compensation, including public company transaction-related incentive compensation.
Our non-compensation expenses include the costs of professional fees, travel and related expenses, technology and infrastructure, rent and occupancy, depreciation and amortization and general, administrative and other expenses including certain co-advisory fees and expenses reimbursed by our clients. Any expenses reimbursed by clients and the co-advisory fees are also presented within revenues on our Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Historically, our non-compensation expenses associated with business development have increased as we have increased our headcount. These costs include costs such as travel and related expenses. Growth in our headcount has increased rent and occupancy expenses as well as professional fees related to recruiting expenses, while geographic expansion has increased regulatory expenses. This trend may continue as we expand into new sectors, geographies and products to serve our clients' growing needs, domestically and internationally. Additionally, travel and related expenses may increase as COVID-19 pandemic related travel restrictions ease.
Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020
For the year ended December 31, 2021, non-compensation expenses of $134.4 million represented 17% of revenues, compared with $134.4 million, which represented 26% of revenues, for the year ended December 31, 2020. Non-compensation expenses for the year ended December 31, 2021 included a $1.0 million decrease in professional fees. This reduction is largely due to elevated professional fees during the year ended December 31, 2020 as previously deferred offering costs of $14.8 million were expensed due to the termination of a public company transaction process in May 2020. Excluding this write-off, professional fees during the year ended December 31, 2021 increased $13.8 million, including approximately $9.6 million increase in consulting fees and approximately $3.8 million increase in recruiting expenses. Non-compensation expense for the year ended December 31, 2021 also included a $1.9 million increase in general and administrative and other expense primarily driven by increased public company costs such as directors and officers insurance and a $1.1 million increase in technology and infrastructure expenses related to certain new initiatives which were partially offset by a $1.6 million decrease in rent and occupancy expenses as a result of a lease modification whereby the Company vacated a portion of the Houston office space.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
For the year ended December 31, 2020, non-compensation expenses of $134.4 million represented 26% of revenues, compared with $145.3 million, which represented 27% of revenues, for the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease in non-compensation expenses was largely due to lower travel and related expenses offset partially by an increase in professional fees. Travel and related expenses decreased by approximately $13.9 million, or 71%, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related work-from-home policies. Professional fees for the year ended December 31, 2020 were $3.6 million higher than the previous year; however, they included the write-off of approximately $14.8 million in previously deferred offering costs as a result of the delay of the Company's pursuit of becoming a public company. This write-off was largely offset by lower executive search fees due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as lower legal and consulting fees. Legal and consulting fees were lower as a number of projects, including the PWP Separation, were completed in 2019.
Non-Operating Income (Expenses)
Non-operating income (expenses) includes the impact of income and expense items that we consider to be non-operational in nature, including related party income, interest expense, change in the fair value of warrant liabilities, loss on debt extinguishment and other income (expense).
For the year ended December 31, 2021, non-operating income (expenses) was $43.6 million of expense compared to $6.3 million of expense for the year ended December 31, 2020. The most significant component and change from the prior year period was the $39.4 million loss on debt extinguishment which was related to the redemption of the $150.0 million aggregate principal of PWP’s 7.0% Subordinated Unsecured Convertible Notes due 2026 (the “Convertible Notes”) concurrent with the Business Combination. The loss is composed of the $10.9 million premium and $28.5 million of unamortized debt discount and issuance costs. Additionally, the increase in non-operating expense during the year ended December 31, 2021 was also driven by the change in the fair value of warrant liabilities. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in interest expense related to the repayment of all indebtedness in connection with the Business Combination
Income Tax Benefit (Expense)
Prior to the Business Combination, the Company operated as a partnership, and therefore, was generally not subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income taxes. Subsequent to the Business Combination, PWP is a corporation and is subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income taxes on its proportionate share of taxable income generated by the operating partnership, PWP OpCo, as well as any standalone income (or loss) generated at the PWP parent-entity level.
The Company's income tax provision and the corresponding annual effective tax rate are based on projected U.S. GAAP income and the currently enacted statutory tax rates in the various jurisdictions in which the Company operates. For interim reporting, the Company estimates the annual effective tax rate based on projected income for the full year and records a quarterly tax provision in accordance with the annual effective tax rate.
The Company's effective tax rate is dependent on many factors, including the estimated amount of income subject to tax. Consequently, the effective tax rate can vary from period to period. The Company's overall effective tax rate in each of the periods described above varies from the U.S. federal statutory rate primarily because (i) the Company was not subject to U.S. federal corporate income taxes prior to the Business Combination, (ii) a portion of compensation expense is non-deductible, both prior to the Business Combination and for the subsequent period (iii) the Company has recorded unrecognized tax benefits related to a potential double inclusion of income on its foreign tax returns and (iv) a portion of the Company's income is allocated to non-controlling interests held in PWP OpCo in which the majority of any tax liability on such income is borne by the holders of such non-controlling interests and reported outside of the consolidated financial statements.
Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2020
The Company’s income tax expense and effective tax rate were $18.9 million and 82.5%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2021 compared to income tax expense and effective tax rate of $3.5 million and (16.5)%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Year Ended December 31, 2020 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2019
The Company's income tax expense and effective tax rate were $3.5 million and (16.5%), respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to income tax expense and effective tax rate of $2.4 million and (1.5%), respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Our operating cash flows are primarily influenced by the amount and timing of receipt of advisory fees, which generally have net terms of 30 days, and the payment of operating expenses, including payments of incentive compensation to our employees. We pay a significant portion of incentive compensation during the first quarter of each calendar year with respect to the prior year's results. Our investing and financing cash flows are primarily influenced by purchases of fixed assets, debt payments and distributions to partners, and during the year ended December 31, 2021, the proceeds and distributions related to the Business Combination.
A summary of our operating, investing and financing cash flows is as follows:
|Year Ended |
|(Dollars in thousands)||2021||2020||2019|
Cash Provided By (Used In)
Net income (loss)
Non-cash charges and other operating activity adjustments
|171,886 ||63,825 ||229,814 |
Other operating activities
|58,999 ||46,424 ||(171,902)|
Total operating activities
|234,908 ||85,907 ||(106,107)|
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash
|(3,580)||5,930 ||1,638 |
Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash
|173,867 ||64,326 ||(141,949)|
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, beginning of period
|330,908 ||266,582 ||408,531 |
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash, end of period
|$||504,775 ||$||330,908 ||$||266,582 |
Year Ended December 31, 2021
Cash and restricted cash were $504.8 million as of December 31, 2021, an increase of $173.9 million from $330.9 million as of December 31, 2020. Operating activities resulted in a net inflow of $234.9 million largely attributable to changes in working capital and net income generated during the year ended December 31, 2021. Net income included $171.9 million of non-cash charges including a $39.4 million loss on debt extinguishment related to the redemption of the Convertible Notes concurrent with the Business Combination. Investing activities resulted in a net outflow of $2.4 million attributable to the Company’s purchases of fixed assets and the deconsolidation of PFAC Holdings I LLC. Financing activities resulted in a net outflow of $55.0 million primarily related to the transactions associated with the Business Combination, the payoff of all outstanding debt and tax distributions to limited partners of PWP OpCo, the repurchase of Founder Shares held as treasury shares, withholding payments for vesting of incentive awards and the payment of dividends.
Year Ended December 31, 2020
Cash and restricted cash were $330.9 million as of December 31, 2020, an increase of $64.3 million from $266.6 million as of December 31, 2019. Net cash provided by operating activities was $85.9 million. While the Company reported a net loss of $24.3 million for the year, this net loss included $64.4 million of non-cash charges, largely comprised of equity-based compensation and depreciation and amortization and non-cash operating lease expense. Accounts receivable balances (which includes accrued revenue) decreased by $27.5 million due to a reduction in revenue, combined with timing of collections. Accrued compensation and benefits increased by $19.3 million primarily for discretionary bonuses that are paid annually. Discretionary bonus compensation is correlated with the Company's annual revenue and as such will vary period to period. While revenue decreased for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019, discretionary bonus compensation increased, as a percentage of revenue, and included public company transaction-related incentive compensation and certain severance expenses incurred in connection with a restructuring in the spring of 2020. Investing activities resulted in a net outflow of $5.5 million attributable to purchases of fixed assets. Financing activities resulted in a net outflow of $22.0 million largely as a result of a net $10.0 million paydown of the Revolving Credit Facility and distributions to limited partners of PWP OpCo of $12.0 million.
Year Ended December 31, 2019
Cash and restricted cash were $266.6 million as of December 31, 2019, a decrease of $141.9 million from $408.5 million as of December 31, 2018. The Company reported a net loss of $164.0 million for the year, which included $229.1 million of non-cash charges, largely composed of the equity-based compensation. This was offset by a decrease in accrued compensation and benefits of $148.4 million stemming from lower bonus accrual compared to the prior year due to the decrease in revenue from December 31, 2018 to 2019. Discretionary bonus compensation is correlated with the Company's annual revenue and as such will vary period to period. Investing activities resulted in a net outflow of $7.3 million primarily attributable to purchases of fixed assets. Financing activities resulted in a net outflow of $30.2 million largely as a result of $38.4 million of distributions to limited partners of PWP OpCo, partially offset by $10.0 million net proceeds of the Revolving Credit Facility.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
We regularly monitor our liquidity position, including cash and cash equivalents, working capital assets and liabilities, commitments and other liquidity requirements. Our primary sources of liquidity are our cash balances and net cash generated from operations.
Our current assets are primarily composed of cash, receivables related to fees earned from providing advisory services and due from related parties. Our current liabilities are primarily composed of accounts payable, accrued expenses, accrued and deferred employee compensation and due to related parties. Due from related parties primarily includes amounts due from PWP Capital. We pay a significant portion of our annual incentive compensation, in the form of cash bonuses, during the first quarter of each calendar year with respect to the prior year’s results. Therefore, levels of cash generally decline during the first quarter of each year after our annual incentive compensation has been paid to our employees. Accrued compensation and benefits as of December 31, 2021 and 2020 was $311.5 million and $213.5 million, respectively. Cash then typically builds over the remainder of the year. The Company makes quarterly partner tax distributions as required under the partnership agreement of PWP OpCo. These distributions totaled $65.9 million, $12.0 million and $38.4 million during the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019. Additionally, as a public company, we intend to pay dividends throughout the year and may consider share or warrant repurchases as well. During the year ended December 31, 2021, the Company paid $6.0 million in cash dividends and repurchased 1,000,000 shares at a purchase price of $12.00 per share for a total purchase price of $12.0 million, which are being held in treasury stock. The Company has the option to net settle vesting RSUs in order to remit required employee withholding taxes using cash on hand. During the year ended December 31, 2021, the Company paid $10.5 million in withholding payments for vested RSUs. Additionally, on February 16, 2022, the Board authorized a $100 million Class A common stock repurchase program, with no expiration date, whereby the Company’s Class A common stock may be repurchased from time to time in open market transactions. The timing and actual number of shares repurchased will depend on a variety of factors, including legal requirements and regulatory restrictions as well as market conditions.
We evaluate our cash needs on a regular basis in light of current market conditions. Cash and cash equivalents include short-term highly liquid investments that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and have original maturities of three months or less from the date of purchase. The Company had no cash equivalents as of December 31, 2021 and 2020. As of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the Company had cash balances of $502.8 million and $329.1 million, respectively, maintained in U.S. and non-U.S. bank accounts, of which most bank account balances exceeded the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) and U.K. Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”) coverage limits.
Our liquidity is highly dependent upon cash receipts from clients, which generally require the successful completion of transactions. Accounts receivable generally have net terms of 30 days. Accounts receivable was $46.9 million, net of $1.9 million of allowance for credit losses balance as of December 31, 2021. Accounts receivable was $40.8 million, net of $1.0 million of allowance for credit losses balance as of December 31, 2020.
Line of credit
The Company has the Revolving Credit Facility with Cadence Bank. Upon consummation of the Business Combination, the Company repaid all of the outstanding borrowings under the Credit Agreement, which included $27.7 million principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest. As of the Closing Date, the Credit Agreement was amended such that (i) the maturity was extended from April 1, 2022 to July 1, 2025, (ii) interest accrues at LIBOR plus a fixed rate of 2.00% per annum (with a 0.25% LIBOR floor) with an alternate base rate option equal to Cadence Bank’s prime rate minus 1.00% (with a 3.25% floor), (iii) up to $15.0 million of the Revolving Credit Facility may be used for the issuance of letters of credit, (iv) up to $20.0 million of incremental revolving commitments above the $50.0 million commitment amount may be incurred under the Credit Agreement, and (v) certain financial covenants were amended. As of December 31, 2021, the Company had no outstanding balance related to the Revolving Credit Facility and no incremental revolving commitments were incurred. For further information on the Revolving Credit Facility, refer to Note 10—Debt in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K.
Based on current market conditions, we believe that the cash we retain post-transaction, the net cash generated from operations and the available borrowing capacity under our Revolving Credit Facility will be sufficient to meet our operating needs and commitments for the next twelve months; however, if these sources of liquidity are not sufficient, we may seek additional debt or equity financing.
Share Repurchase Program
On February 16, 2022, the Company’s board of directors approved a stock repurchase program under which the Company is authorized to repurchase up to $100.0 million of the Company’s Class A common stock with no requirement to purchase any minimum number of shares. Shares may be repurchased under the new repurchase program through open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, block trades, accelerated or other structured share repurchase programs, or other means. The manner, timing, pricing and amount of any transactions will be subject to the Company’s discretion.
We actively monitor our regulatory capital base. Our principal subsidiaries are subject to regulatory requirements in their respective jurisdictions to ensure general financial soundness and liquidity. This requires, among other things, that we comply with certain minimum capital requirements, record-keeping, reporting procedures, experience and training requirements for employees and certain other requirements and procedures. These regulatory requirements may restrict the flow of funds to and from affiliates. Refer to Note 7—Regulatory Requirements in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for further information. These regulations differ in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France and other countries in which we operate a registered broker-dealer or regionally similar construct. The license or regulatory framework under which we operate in each such country is meant to comply with applicable laws and regulations to conduct an advisory business. We believe that we provide each of our subsidiaries with sufficient capital and liquidity, consistent with their business and regulatory requirements to effectively operate in each jurisdiction.
In accordance with the PWP OpCo LPA, PWP OpCo unitholders (other than the Company) may exchange these units for (i) shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis or (ii) cash from an offering of shares of Class A common stock with the form of consideration determined by the Company.
The PWP OpCo LPA contains restrictions on the ability to exchange PWP OpCo class A partnership units for shares of Class A common stock or cash from an offering of shares of Class A common stock, for the following periods: (i) PWP OpCo class A partnership units held by Professional Partners will be subject to a restriction for time periods that are fully back-to-back with the lock-up periods contemplated in the amended and restated limited partnership agreement of Professional Partners (generally speaking, such lock-up periods (a) for former Working Partners, the lock up period expired on December 24, 2021; and (b) for Working Partners, will be between three to five years after the Closing), (ii) the restriction on PWP OpCo class A partnership units held by ILPs existing at the time of the Business Combination expired on December 24, 2021, and (iii) any other outstanding PWP OpCo class A partnership units not previously covered by clauses (i) and (ii) above will be subject to such restriction for a period of twelve months to five years after the Closing. PWP GP may waive, and in certain cases has waived, the foregoing restrictions for any single holder with respect to all or a portion of such holder's units, with no obligation to do so for any other holder.
Sponsor Share Surrender and Share Restriction Agreement
Concurrent with the Business Combination Agreement, FTIV, PWP OpCo and certain other parties entered into the Sponsor Share Surrender and Share Restriction Agreement with the Sponsor, which was amended on May 4, 2021. Pursuant to this agreement, if, prior to the fourth anniversary of the Closing, the closing share price is greater than $12.00 per share or $15.00 per share for any 20 trading days out of 30 consecutive trading days (each a “Trigger Date”), then, during the 15 day period following such Trigger Date, the Company shall have the right to purchase from the Sponsor up to an aggregate of 1,000,000 Founder Shares per Trigger Date for a purchase price of $12.00 per share or $15.00 per share, respectively, by providing written notice of such repurchase election to the Sponsor.
On August 9, 2021, the Company repurchased 1,000,000 Founder Shares from the Sponsor at $12.00 per share for a total purchase price of $12.0 million.
PWP OpCo has also unconditionally guaranteed, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, certain loans to limited partners of Professional Partners (“Limited Partners”) with First Republic Bank (the “Program Lender”), whereby PWP OpCo will pay the Program Lender upon the occurrence of a default event. Refer to Note 17—Related Party Transactions and Note 18—Commitments and Contingencies in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for further information.
Tax Receivable Agreement
In connection with the Business Combination, the Company entered into the TRA with, Professional Partners and certain other persons under which the Company agreed to payments of 85% of the amount of savings, if any, that the Company realizes in U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income taxes as a result of (a) the Business Combination and related transactions, (b) exchanges of interests in PWP OpCo for cash or stock of the Company and certain other transactions and (c) payments made under the TRA. See Note 17—Related Party Transactions in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for further information as well as the expected timing of payments.
We have various non-cancelable operating leases in connection with the leases of our office spaces and equipment. The related lease agreements, which range from non-cancelable to month-to-month terms, generally provide for fixed monthly rentals and can also include renewal options. See Note 5—Leases in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for further information as well as the expected timing of payments. Our London and New York office leases expire in December 2022 and September 2023, respectively, and given our significant historical growth, we anticipate expanding our square footage meaningfully in both locations which will increase our contractual obligations, including capital expenditures for leasehold improvements.
In addition, PWP OpCo sponsors certain deferred compensation arrangements whereby portions of compensation related to employees (including Working Partners) providing services to the Company are deferred and paid in later periods. The deferred compensation amounts are charged to expenses over the period that each employee (including Working Partners) is required to provide services in order to vest in the payment. Refer to Note 14—Other Compensation and Benefits in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for further information.
Market Risk and Credit Risk
Our business is not capital-intensive and we do not invest in derivative instruments. We are not subject to significant market risk (including interest rate risk and commodity price risk) or significant credit risk.
Risks Related to Cash and Cash Equivalents
Our cash and cash equivalents include any short-term highly liquid investments that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and have original maturities of three months or less from the date of purchase. Cash is maintained in U.S. and non-U.S. bank accounts. Most U.S. and U.K. account balances exceed the FDIC and FSCS coverage limits. We believe our cash and cash equivalents are not subject to any material interest rate risk, equity price risk, credit risk or other market risk.
We regularly review our accounts receivable and allowance for credit losses by considering factors such as historical experience, credit quality, age of the accounts receivable, and the current economic conditions that may affect a client’s ability to pay such amounts owed to the Company. We maintain an allowance for credit losses that, in our opinion, provides for an adequate reserve to cover current expected credit losses. Refer to Note 2—Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in the notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Form 10-K for further information.
Exchange Rate Risk
The Company is exposed to exchange rate risk as a result of entering into transactions that are not denominated in the functional currency of its operating subsidiaries, as well as having foreign subsidiaries with non-U.S. dollar functional currencies. For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, the net impact of non-functional currency-related transaction gains and losses recorded in Other income (expense) on our Consolidated Statements of Operations was a $0.2 million loss, a $0.2 million loss, and a $0.9 million loss, respectively. In addition, the reported amounts in our consolidated financial statements may be affected by movements in the rate of exchange between the pound sterling, Euro, and Canadian dollar and our reporting currency, the U.S. dollar, resulting in translation gains and losses. For the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, and 2019, the net impact of the fluctuation of foreign currencies recorded in Foreign currency translation gain (loss) within our Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income (Loss) was a $1.5 million loss, $3.5 million gain, a $0.8 million gain, respectively. We have not entered into any transactions to hedge our exposure to these foreign currency fluctuations using derivative instruments or other methods but may do so if we deem appropriate in the future.
As of December 31, 2021, we held balances of $46.9 million of non-U.S. dollar denominated currencies, composed of pound sterling, the Euro, and Canadian dollars.
Critical Accounting Policies
We believe that the critical accounting policies included below represent those that are most important to the presentation of our financial condition and results of operations and require management's most difficult, subjective and complex judgment.
The preparation of our historical consolidated financial statements and related disclosures in conformity with U.S. GAAP, requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of our historical consolidated financial statements, and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Estimates and assumptions are reviewed periodically, and the effects of revisions are reflected in the period for which they are determined to be necessary.
Revenue and Expense Recognition
The services provided under contracts with clients include transaction-related advisory services, fairness opinion services, research and trading services, and underwriting services, each of which are typically identified as a separate performance obligation in contracts that contain more than one type of service. Additionally, the Company is typically reimbursed for certain professional fees and other expenses incurred that are necessary in order to provide services to the client. These fees and related reimbursements are recorded when incurred to the relevant expense item and Revenues, respectively, in the consolidated statements of operations.
The Company recognizes revenue from providing advisory services when or as its performance obligations are fulfilled. The majority of the Company’s advisory revenue is recognized over time. However, certain performance obligations may be recognized at a point in time if the performance obligation represents a singular objective that does not transfer any notable value until formally completed, such as when issuing fairness opinions. The Company provides its advisory services on an ongoing basis, which, for example, may include evaluating and selecting one of multiple strategies. During such engagements, the Company’s clients continuously benefit from its advice as the Company is providing financial and strategic advice throughout the engagement, and accordingly, over time revenue recognition matches the transfer of such benefits.
Although the Company’s transaction-related advisory services meet the criteria for over time revenue recognition, the fee structures often involve an “all or nothing” consideration amount and the associated fees are predominantly considered variable as they are often based on the ultimate transaction value or the outcome ultimately achieved and/or are susceptible to factors outside of the Company’s influence, such as third-party negotiations, regulatory approval, court approval, and shareholder votes.
Accordingly, a large portion of the fees associated with these services is constrained until substantially all services have been provided, specified conditions have been met and/or certain milestones have been achieved, and it is probable that a significant revenue reversal will not occur in a future period.
In some cases, a portion of the variable fees may be deferred based on the services remaining to be completed, if any (e.g., when announcement fees are earned but additional services are expected to be provided until the transaction closes). The determination of when and to what extent to recognize variable fees may require significant judgment, particularly when milestones are met near the end of a reporting period and in cases where additional services are expected to be provided subsequent to the achievement of the milestone. Fixed fees specified in the Company’s contracts, which may include upfront fees and retainers, are recognized on a systematic basis over the estimated period in which the related services are performed.
The Company provides research on the energy and related industries and related equity and commodity markets. The Company’s research clients continuously benefit from the research provided throughout arrangements between the Company and such clients, and accordingly, over time revenue recognition matches the transfer of such benefits. Because fees received for research services, and any associated trading services, are typically at the complete discretion of the client and are based on the value the client perceives in the research services provided, the entire transaction price associated with such services is variable.
Accordingly, because of the broad range of possible outcomes and the inability to predict the value the client will ascribe to such services, the Company fully constrains the revenue associated with research services, and any associated trading services, until the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved, which is typically upon the earlier of receiving an invoice request from the client or receiving payment from the client.
Revenue associated with underwriting services includes management fees, selling concessions and underwriting fees attributable to public and private offerings of equity and debt securities. The nature of the Company’s underwriting services is raising capital on behalf of an issuer and therefore is typically accounted for as a single performance obligation. A separate performance obligation is identified in instances in which the contract with the client includes an over-allotment option. The Company’s underwriting services generally do not meet any of the requirements for revenue to be recognized over time and, therefore, the Company typically recognizes underwriting revenue on the pricing date of the offering, which is when the Company receives the pricing wire communication from the lead underwriter detailing the underwriting fees to which the Company is entitled. Similarly, the performance obligation associated with the over-allotment is satisfied at the point in time at which the option is exercised.
The Company’s role in underwriting commitments is usually as a co-manager or passive bookrunner, rather than as the lead underwriter. Accordingly, the Company estimates its share of transaction related expenses incurred by the underwriting syndicate on the pricing date of the offering and presents these expenses gross within Travel and related expenses in the consolidated statements of operations. Such amounts are adjusted to reflect actual expenses in the period in which the Company receives the final settlement, typically within 90 days following the closing of the transaction.
Incremental costs of obtaining a contract are expensed as incurred as such costs are generally not recoverable. Costs to fulfill contracts consist of out-of-pocket expenses that are part of performing transaction-related advisory services and are typically expensed as incurred as these costs are related to performance obligations that are satisfied over time. The timing of revenue recognition may differ from the timing of payment. The Company records a receivable when revenue is recognized prior to payment and the Company has an unconditional right to payment. The Company records deferred revenue (otherwise known as contract liabilities) when it receives fees from clients that have not yet been earned or when the Company has an unconditional right to consideration before all performance obligations are complete (e.g., receipt of certain announcement, retainer or upfront fees before the performance obligation has been fully satisfied).
Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Credit Losses
Accounts receivable are presented net of allowance for credit losses based on the Company’s assessment of the collectability of client accounts. The Company maintains an allowance for credit losses account that, in management’s opinion, provides for an adequate reserve to cover estimated losses on accounts receivable. The Company determines the adequacy of the allowance by estimating the probability of loss based on the Company’s historical credit loss experience of its client receivables and taking into consideration current market conditions and supportable forecasts that affect the collectability of the reported amount. The Company also regularly reviews the age of the receivables, credit worthiness of the client and the current economic conditions that may affect a client’s ability to pay such amounts owed to the Company and as a result may recognize a specific credit loss reserve. Accounts receivable also includes accrued revenue which represents amounts due from clients and recognized as revenue in accordance with the Company’s revenue recognition polices, but unbilled as of the date of the consolidated financial statements.
Prior to the Business Combination, PWP operated as a partnership, and therefore, was generally not subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income taxes. Subsequent to the Business Combination, PWP is a corporation and is subject to U.S. federal and state corporate income taxes on its proportionate share of taxable income generated by the operating partnership, PWP OpCo, as well as any standalone income (or loss) generated at the PWP parent-entity level. PWP OpCo is treated as a partnership, and as a result, taxable income (or loss) generated by PWP OpCo flows through to its limited partners, including PWP, and is generally not subject to U.S. federal or state income tax at the partnership level. The Company primarily conducts business through disregarded entities held by PWP OpCo, as well as non-U.S. subsidiaries which generally operate as corporate entities in various non-U.S. jurisdictions. Certain non-U.S. subsidiaries are subject to income taxes in their respective local jurisdictions, and therefore, the related income tax provision is reported in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Taxes are accounted for using the asset and liability method of accounting pursuant to ASC 740, Income Taxes (“ASC 740”). Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the expected future tax consequences of differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases, using tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to reverse. The effect of a change in tax rates on deferred tax assets and liabilities is recognized in income in the period when the change is enacted. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when it is more-likely-than-not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. The realization of deferred tax assets is dependent on the amount, timing and character of the Company’s future taxable income. When evaluating the realizability of deferred tax assets, all evidence – both positive and negative – is considered. This evidence includes, but is not limited to, expectations regarding future earnings, future reversals of existing temporary tax differences and tax planning strategies.
The Company analyzes its tax positions for all U.S. federal, state and local tax jurisdictions where it is required to file income tax returns in accordance with the provisions of ASC 740. This standard establishes consistent thresholds for recognizing the benefits of tax return positions in the financial statements as more-likely-than-not to be sustained by the relevant taxing authority upon audit. This standard requires a two-step process in which (i) determination is made whether it is more-likely-than-not that the tax position will be sustained based on the technical merits of the position, and (ii) those tax positions that meet the more-likely-than-not threshold are recognized as the largest amount of tax benefit that is greater than 50 percent likely to be realized upon ultimate settlement with the related tax authority. If upon performance of an assessment pursuant to ASC 740 the Company determines that uncertainties in tax positions exist that do not meet the minimum threshold for recognition of the related tax benefit, a liability is recorded in the consolidated financial statements. The Company recognizes interest and penalties, if any, related to unrecognized tax benefits as Interest expense and General, administrative and other expenses in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Quantitative and qualitative disclosures about market risk are set forth above in “Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Market Risk and Credit Risk.”
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Shareholders and the Board of Directors of Perella Weinberg Partners
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Perella Weinberg Partners (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, the related consolidated statements of comprehensive income (loss), changes in equity and cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “consolidated financial statements”). In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company at December 31, 2021 and 2020, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2021, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.
Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
/s/ Ernst & Young LLP
|We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2007.|
New York, New York
March 11, 2022
Perella Weinberg Partners
Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition
(Dollars in Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
Cash and cash equivalents
|$||502,773 ||$||329,063 |
|2,002 ||1,845 |
Accounts receivable, net of allowance
|46,914 ||40,802 |
Due from related parties
|4,225 ||289 |
Fixed assets, net of accumulated depreciation and amortization
|10,362 ||17,189 |
Intangible assets, net of accumulated amortization
|32,352 ||38,932 |
|34,383 ||34,383 |
Prepaid expenses and other assets
|24,313 ||25,792 |
Right-of-use lease assets
|39,912 ||53,444 |
Deferred tax asset, net
|21,091 ||1,214 |
|$||718,327 ||$||542,953 |
|Liabilities and Equity|
Accrued compensation and benefits
|$||311,500 ||$||213,524 |
Deferred compensation programs
|11,221 ||17,208 |
Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities
|31,048 ||22,246 |
|7,845 ||10,598 |
|43,448 ||58,229 |
Debt, net of unamortized debt discounts and issuance costs
|— ||146,965 |
|Warrant liabilities||27,805 ||— |
|Amount due pursuant to tax receivable agreement||14,108 ||— |
|446,975 ||468,770 |
Commitments and Contingencies (Note 18)
Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (1,500,000,000 shares authorized, 43,649,319 issued and 42,649,319 outstanding at December 31, 2021)
|$||4 ||$||— |
Class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share (600,000,000 shares authorized, 50,154,199 issued and outstanding at December 31, 2021)
|5 ||— |
|Additional paid-in-capital||158,131 ||— |
|Retained earnings (accumulated deficit)||(18,075)||— |
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)
Treasury stock, at cost (1,000,000 shares of Class A common stock at December 31, 2021)
|— ||76,509 |
Total Perella Weinberg Partners equity / Partners’ capital
|126,319 ||74,183 |
|145,033 ||— |
|Total equity||271,352 ||74,183 |
Total liabilities and equity
|$||718,327 ||$||542,953 |
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
Perella Weinberg Partners
Consolidated Statements of Operations
(Dollars in Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
Year Ended December 31,
|$||801,662 ||$||518,986 ||$||533,297 |
Compensation and benefits
|504,364 ||374,332 ||349,819 |
|96,330 ||24,815 ||193,299 |
Total compensation and benefits
|600,694 ||399,147 ||543,118 |
|41,891 ||42,880 ||39,265 |
Technology and infrastructure