10-K 1 d653265d10k.htm 10-K 10-K
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 10-K

 

 

FOR ANNUAL AND TRANSITION REPORTS PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF

THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

(Mark One)

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013

OR

 

¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to                     

Commission File Numbers: 0-28191, 1-35591

 

 

BGC Partners, Inc.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   13-4063515

(State or Other Jurisdiction of

Incorporation or Organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

499 Park Avenue, New York, NY   10022
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)   (Zip Code)

(212) 610-2200

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

Title of Each Class

 

Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered

Class A Common Stock, $0.01 par value   The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
8.125% Senior Notes due 2042   New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

None

(Title of Class)

 

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x

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  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post such files).    Yes  x    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See definition of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large Accelerated Filer   x    Accelerated Filer   ¨
Non-accelerated Filer   ¨    Smaller Reporting Company   ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ¨    No  x

The aggregate market value of voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the closing price of the Class A common stock on June 30, 2013 as reported on NASDAQ, was approximately $764,762,295.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant’s classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date.

 

Class

 

Outstanding at February 21, 2014

Class A Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share   183,592,979 shares
Class B Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share   34,848,107 shares

 

 

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE.

Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for its 2014 annual meeting of stockholders are incorporated by reference in

Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

 


Table of Contents

BGC Partners, Inc.

2013 FORM 10-K ANNUAL REPORT

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

         Page  
PART I     
ITEM 1.  

BUSINESS

     7   
ITEM 1A.  

RISK FACTORS

     33   
ITEM 1B.  

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

     77   
ITEM 2.  

PROPERTIES

     77   
ITEM 3.  

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

     78   
ITEM 4.  

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

     78   
PART II     
ITEM 5.  

MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

     79   
ITEM 6.  

SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

     84   
ITEM 7.  

MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

     86   
ITEM 7A.  

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

     134   
ITEM 8.  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

     136   
ITEM 9.  

CHANGES IN AND DISAGREEMENTS WITH ACCOUNTANTS ON ACCOUNTING AND FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

     201   
ITEM 9A.  

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

     201   
ITEM 9B.  

OTHER INFORMATION

     201   
PART III     
ITEM 10.  

DIRECTORS, EXECUTIVE OFFICERS AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

     202   
ITEM 11.  

EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION

     202   
ITEM 12.  

SECURITY OWNERSHIP OF CERTAIN BENEFICIAL OWNERS AND MANAGEMENT AND RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS

     202   
ITEM 13.  

CERTAIN RELATIONSHIPS AND RELATED TRANSACTIONS, AND DIRECTOR INDEPENDENCE

     202   
ITEM 14.  

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

     202   
PART IV     
ITEM 15.  

EXHIBITS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENT SCHEDULES

     203   


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SPECIAL NOTE ON FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of 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”). Such statements are based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. For example, words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “possible,” “potential,” “continue,” “strategy,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” “intends,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

Our actual results and the outcome and timing of certain events may differ significantly from the expectations discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause or contribute to such a discrepancy include, but are not limited to, the factors set forth below and may impact either or both of our operating segments:

 

   

market conditions, including trading volume and volatility, potential deterioration of equity and debt capital markets and markets for commercial real estate and related services, and our ability to access the capital markets;

 

   

pricing and commissions and market position with respect to our products and services and those of our competitors;

 

   

the effect of industry concentration and reorganization, reduction of customers, and consolidation;

 

   

liquidity, regulatory, and clearing capital requirements and the impact of credit market events;

 

   

our relationships with Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. and its affiliates (“Cantor”), including Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. (“CF&Co”) and Cantor Commercial Real Estate Company, L.P. (“CCRE”), any related conflicts of interest, any impact of Cantor’s results on our credit ratings and/or the associated outlooks, CF&Co’s acting as our sales agent under our controlled equity or other offerings, CF&Co’s acting as our financial advisor in connection with potential business combinations, dispositions, or other transactions, our participation in various investments or cash management vehicles placed by or recommended by CF&Co, and any services by CCRE with respect to finding and reviewing suitable acquisition or partner candidates, structuring transactions, negotiating and due diligence services;

 

   

economic or geopolitical conditions or uncertainties, the actions of governments or central banks, and the impact of natural disasters or weather-related or similar events, including power failures, communication and transportation disruptions, and other interruptions of utilities or other essential services;

 

   

the effect on our businesses, our clients, the markets in which we operate, and the economy in general of possible shutdowns of the U.S. government, sequestrations, uncertainties regarding the debt ceiling and the federal budget, and other potential political impasses;

 

   

the effect on our businesses of reductions in overall industry volumes in certain of our products as a result of Federal Reserve Board quantitative easing, the tapering of quantitative easing, and other factors, including the level and timing of governmental debt issuances and outstanding amounts;

 

   

the effect on our businesses of worldwide governmental debt issuances, austerity programs, increases or decreases in deficits, and potential political impasses or regulatory requirements, including increased capital requirements for banks and other financial institutions;

 

   

extensive regulation of our businesses, changes in regulations relating to the financial services, commercial real estate and other industries, and risks relating to compliance matters, including regulatory examinations, inspections, investigations and enforcement actions, and any resulting costs, fines, penalties, sanctions, enhanced oversight, increased financial and capital requirements, and changes to or restrictions or limitations on specific activities, operations, compensatory arrangements, and growth opportunities, including acquisitions, hiring, and new businesses, products, or services;

 

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factors related to specific transactions or series of transactions, including credit, performance, and unmatched principal risk, trade failures, counterparty failures, and the impact of fraud and unauthorized trading;

 

   

costs and expenses of developing, maintaining, and protecting our intellectual property, as well as employment and other litigation and their related costs, including judgments or settlements paid or received;

 

   

certain financial risks, including the possibility of future losses, reduced cash flows from operations, and the need for long-term borrowings or other sources of cash, related to acquisitions, dispositions, or other matters, potential liquidity and other risks relating to our ability to obtain financing or refinancing of existing debt on terms acceptable to us, if at all, and risks of the resulting leverage, including potentially causing a reduction in our credit ratings and/or the associated outlooks, increased borrowing costs, as well as interest and currency rate fluctuations;

 

   

risks associated with the temporary or longer-term investment of our available cash, including defaults or impairments on our investments or cash management vehicles and collectability of loan balances owed to us by partners, employees, or others;

 

   

our ability to enter new markets or develop new products, trading desks, marketplaces, or services and to induce customers to use these products, trading desks, marketplaces, or services and to secure and maintain market share;

 

   

our ability to enter into marketing and strategic alliances and business combinations or other transactions in the financial services, real estate, and other industries, including acquisitions, dispositions, reorganizations, partnering opportunities and joint ventures, and our ability to maintain or develop relationships with independently owned offices in our real estate services business, the anticipated benefits of any such transactions or relationships and the future impact of any such transactions or relationships on our financial results for current or future periods, the integration of any completed acquisitions and the use of proceeds of any completed dispositions, and the value of and any hedging entered into in connection with consideration received or to be received in connection with such dispositions;

 

   

our estimates or determinations of potential value with respect to various assets or portions of our businesses, including with respect to the accuracy of the assumptions or the valuation models or multiples used;

 

   

our ability to hire and retain personnel, including brokers, managers, and other professionals;

 

   

our ability to expand the use of technology for hybrid and fully electronic trading in our product offerings;

 

   

our ability to effectively manage any growth that may be achieved, while ensuring compliance with all applicable financial reporting, internal control, legal compliance, and regulatory requirements;

 

   

our ability to identify and remediate any material weaknesses in our internal controls that could affect our ability to prepare financial statements and reports in a timely manner, control our policies, procedures, operations and assets, assess and manage our operational, regulatory, and financial risks, and integrate our acquired businesses;

 

   

the effectiveness of our risk management policies and procedures, and the impact of unexpected market moves and similar events;

 

   

information technology implementation issues, capacity constraints, failures, or disruptions in our systems or those of the clients, counterparties, exchanges, clearing facilities, or other parties with which we interact, including cybersecurity risks and incidents;

 

   

the fact that the prices at which shares of our Class A common stock are sold in one or more of our controlled equity offerings or in other offerings or other transactions may vary significantly, and

 

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purchasers of shares in such offerings or transactions, as well as existing stockholders, may suffer significant dilution if the price they paid for their shares is higher than the price paid by other purchasers in such offerings or transactions;

 

   

our ability to meet expectations with respect to payments of dividends and distributions and repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and purchases or redemptions of limited partnership interests of BGC Holdings, L.P. (“BGC Holdings”) or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, including from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners, and others, and the net proceeds to be realized by us from offerings of our shares of Class A common stock; and

 

   

the effect on the market for and trading price of our Class A common stock of various offerings and other transactions, including our controlled equity and other offerings of our Class A common stock and convertible or exchangeable debt securities, our repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and purchases of BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, any exchanges or redemptions of limited partnership units and issuances of shares of Class A common stock in connection therewith, including in partnership restructurings, our payment of dividends on our Class A common stock and distributions on BGC Holdings limited partnership interests, convertible arbitrage, hedging, and other transactions engaged in by holders of our 4.50% convertible notes and counterparties to our capped call transactions, and resales of shares of our Class A common stock acquired from us or Cantor, including pursuant to our employee benefit plans, unit exchanges and redemptions, partnership restructurings, acquisitions, conversions of our convertible notes, conversions or exchanges of our convertible or exchangeable debt securities, and distributions from Cantor pursuant to Cantor’s distribution rights obligations and other distributions to Cantor partners, including deferred distribution rights shares.

The foregoing risks and uncertainties, as well as those risks and uncertainties discussed under the headings “Item 1A—Risk Factors,” “Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and “Item 7A—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Risk” and elsewhere in this Form 10-K, may cause actual results and events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. The information included herein is given as of the filing date of this Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), and future results or events could differ significantly from these forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

 

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WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the SEC. You may read and copy any document we file at the SEC’s Public Reference Room located at One Station Place, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. You can also request copies of the documents, upon payment of a duplicating fee, by writing the Public Reference Section of the SEC. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the Public Reference Room. These filings are also available to the public from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

Our website address is www.bgcpartners.com. Through our website, we make available, free of charge, the following documents as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC: our Annual Reports on Form 10-K; our proxy statements for our annual and special stockholder meetings; our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q; our Current Reports on Form 8-K; Forms 3, 4 and 5 and Schedules 13D filed on behalf of Cantor, CF Group Management, Inc. (“CFGM”), our directors and our executive officers; and amendments to those documents. Our website also contains additional information with respect to our industry and business. The information contained on, or that may be accessed through, our website is not part of, and is not incorporated into, this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

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PART I

 

ITEM 1. BUSINESS

Throughout this document BGC Partners, Inc. is referred to as “BGC” and, together with its subsidiaries, as the “Company,” “BGC Partners,” “we,” “us,” or “our.”

Our Business

We are a leading global brokerage company primarily servicing the wholesale financial and commercial real estate markets through our Financial Services and Real Estate Services businesses. Our Financial Services business specializes in the brokerage of a broad range of products, including fixed income securities, interest rate swaps, foreign exchange, equities, equity-related products, credit derivatives, commodities, futures and structured products. Our Financial Services business also provides a full range of services, including trade execution, broker-dealer services, clearing, processing, information, and other back-office services to a broad range of financial and non-financial institutions. Our integrated platform is designed to provide flexibility to customers with regard to price discovery, execution and processing of transactions, and enables them to use voice, hybrid, or in many markets, fully electronic brokerage services in connection with transactions executed either over-the-counter (“OTC”) or through an exchange. Through our BGC Trader and BGC Market Data brands, we offer financial technology solutions, market data, and analytics related to numerous financial instruments and markets.

We entered into the commercial real estate business in October 2011 with the acquisition of Newmark & Company Real Estate, Inc. and certain of its affiliates (collectively “Newmark”), a leading U.S. commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm primarily serving corporate and institutional clients. Newmark was founded in 1929 in New York City. In 2000, Newmark embarked upon a national expansion and in 2006 entered into an agreement with London-based Knight Frank LLP, pursuant to which Newmark would operate as “Newmark Knight Frank.” In the second quarter of 2012, we completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis Company and its direct and indirect subsidiaries, which we refer to as “Grubb & Ellis.” Grubb & Ellis was formed in 1958 and built a full-service national commercial real estate platform of property management, facilities management and brokerage services. We have integrated Grubb & Ellis with Newmark Knight Frank to form the resulting brand, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (or “NGKF”). NGKF is a full-service commercial real estate platform, offering commercial real estate tenants, owners, investors and developers a wide range of services, including leasing and corporate advisory services, investment sales and financial services, consulting, project and development management, and property and facilities management.

In connection with the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis, we changed our reportable segments beginning with the second quarter of 2012 to consist of two reportable segments, Financial Services and Real Estate Services. Prior to the second quarter of 2012, we had only one reportable segment.

Our customers include many of the world’s largest banks, broker-dealers, investment banks, trading firms, hedge funds, governments, corporations, property owners, real estate developers and investment firms. We have offices in dozens of major markets, including New York and London, as well as in Atlanta, Beijing, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dallas, Denver, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Moscow, Nyon, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Washington, D.C. and Zurich. We expect to have additional offices as we grow our businesses and add acquisitions.

As of December 31, 2013, we had 2,385 brokers, salespeople and other front-office professionals.

 

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Our History

The voice brokerage business within our Financial Services segment originates from one of the oldest and most established inter-dealer franchises in the financial intermediary industry. Cantor started our wholesale intermediary brokerage operations in 1972. In 1996, Cantor launched the eSpeed system, which revolutionized the way government bonds are traded in the inter-dealer market by providing a fully electronic trading marketplace. eSpeed, Inc. (“eSpeed”) completed an initial public offering in 1999 and began trading on NASDAQ, yet remained one of Cantor’s controlled subsidiaries. Following eSpeed’s initial public offering, Cantor continued to operate its inter-dealer voice brokerage business separately from eSpeed. In June 2013 BGC sold certain assets relating to its U.S. Treasury benchmark business and the name eSpeed to the NASDAQ OMX Group (see “NASDAQ OMX Transaction”).

Prior to the events of September 11, 2001, our financial brokerage business was widely recognized as one of the leading full-service wholesale inter-dealer brokers in the world, with a rich history of developing innovative technological and financial solutions. After September 11, 2001 and the loss of the majority of our U.S.-based employees, our voice financial brokerage business operated primarily in Europe.

In August 2004, Cantor announced the reorganization and separation of its inter-dealer voice brokerage business into a subsidiary called “BGC,” in honor of B. Gerald Cantor, the pioneer in screen brokerage services and fixed income market data products. Since then, we have substantially rebuilt our U.S. presence and have continued to expand our global footprint through the acquisition and integration of established brokerage companies and the hiring of experienced brokers. Through these actions, we have been able to expand our presence in key markets and position our Financial Services business for sustained growth. Recent acquisitions include:

 

   

October 2012—Various assets of North American municipal bond inter-dealer broker Wolfe & Hurst Bond Brokers, Inc.;

 

   

December 2012—Acquisition of Ginalfi Finance, a Paris-based inter-dealer specializing in the intermediation of money market products, credit bonds, government bonds and swaps;

 

   

February 2013—Acquisition of the business and certain assets of Sterling International Brokers Limited, a London-based financial brokerage firm specializing in Pound Sterling and other major currency transactions;

 

   

February 2014—Acquisition of the assets of HEAT Energy Group, an independent energy brokerage company focused on regional term power markets and natural gas swaps; and

Our Real Estate Services business was created through various acquisitions of securities, assets and businesses. Specifically, we made the following acquisitions:

 

   

October 2011—Newmark & Company Real Estate, Inc. and certain of its affiliates, a leading U.S. commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm serving corporate and institutional clients. Newmark operated as Newmark Knight Frank in the United States until it was integrated with Grubb & Ellis and the combined companies became known as “Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.” Newmark is associated with London-based Knight Frank LLP;

 

   

April 2012—Substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis Company and its direct and indirect subsidiaries. We have integrated Grubb & Ellis assets with Newmark, resulting in the Newmark Grubb Knight Frank brand;

 

   

December 2012—Acquisition of a commercial real estate services firm, Denver-based Frederick Ross Company;

 

   

December 2012—Acquisition of a commercial real estate services firm, Philadelphia-based Smith Mack; and

 

   

January 2014—Announcement of an agreement to acquire a commercial real estate services firm, Northern California-based Cornish & Carey Commercial.

 

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NASDAQ OMX Transaction

On June 28, 2013, we completed the sale (the “NASDAQ OMX Transaction”) of certain assets to The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (“NASDAQ OMX”). The NASDAQ OMX Transaction occurred pursuant to a Purchase Agreement, dated as of April 1, 2013 (the “Purchase Agreement”). At the closing, NASDAQ OMX purchased certain assets and assumed certain liabilities from us and our affiliates, including the eSpeed brand name and various assets comprising the fully electronic portion of our benchmark on-the-run U.S. Treasury brokerage, market data and co-location service businesses (the “Purchased Assets” or “eSpeed”), for cash consideration of $750 million paid at closing, plus an earn-out of up to 14,883,705 shares of NASDAQ OMX common stock to be paid ratably in each of the fifteen years following the closing. The $750 million in cash paid at closing was subject to adjustment for certain pre-paid amounts and accrued costs and expenses, and the 14,883,705 shares of NASDAQ OMX common stock will be paid ratably in each of the fifteen years following the closing in which the consolidated gross revenue of NASDAQ OMX, as a whole, is equal to or greater than $25 million. On November 12, 2013, we received 992,247 shares of NASDAQ OMX common stock in accordance with the agreement. The contingent future issuances of NASDAQ OMX common stock are also subject to acceleration upon the occurrence of certain events, including the acquisition by any person of 50% or more of NASDAQ OMX’s stock (including by merger), NASDAQ OMX ceasing to hold Purchased Assets representing 50% or more of the aggregate revenue attributable to the Purchased Assets as of the closing, and the sale of all or substantially all of NASDAQ OMX’s assets, as well as to certain anti-dilution provisions.

As a result of the NASDAQ OMX Transaction, we only sold our on-the-run, benchmark 2-, 3-, 5-, 7-, 10-, and 30-year fully electronic trading platform for U.S. Treasury Notes and Bonds. Over time, we have built these six instruments into some of the deepest and most liquid markets in the world. This platform, together with the directly related market data and co-location businesses, generated approximately $99 million in revenues in 2012 and $48.4 million in revenues in the first six months of 2013. We retain all of our other voice, hybrid, and fully electronic trading, market data, and software businesses, including voice, hybrid and electronic brokerage of off-the-run U.S. Treasuries, as well as Treasury Bills, Treasury Swaps, Treasury Repos, Treasury Spreads, and Treasury Rolls. We also continue to offer voice brokerage for on-the-run U.S. Treasuries.

Overview of Our Products and Services

Financial Services

Financial Brokerage

We are focused on serving three principal financial brokerage markets:

 

   

traditional, liquid brokerage markets, such as government bonds;

 

   

illiquid markets, such as emerging market bonds and single name credit derivatives; and

 

   

targeted local markets throughout the world, such as rates products in Brazil.

We provide electronic marketplaces in several financial markets through BGC Trader, a multi-asset hybrid offering for voice and electronic execution. These electronic marketplaces include government bond markets, spot foreign exchange, foreign exchange options, corporate bonds, and credit default swaps. We believe that BGC Trader is a comprehensive application providing volume, access, speed of execution and ease of use. Our trading platform establishes a direct link between our brokers and customers and occupies valuable real estate on traders’ desktop, which is difficult to replicate. We believe that we can leverage our platform to offer fully electronic trading as additional products transition from voice to electronic execution.

We have leveraged our hybrid platform to provide real-time product and pricing information through our BGC Trader application. We also provide straight-through processing to our customers for an increasing number of products. Our end-to-end solution includes real-time and auction-based transaction processing, credit and risk management tools and back-end processing and billing systems. Customers can access our trading application through our privately managed global high speed data network, over the internet, or through third party communication networks.

 

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The following table identifies some of the key Financial Services products that we broker:

 

Rates    Interest rate derivatives
   Certain off-the-run U.S. Treasuries
   Global government bonds
   Agencies
   Futures
   Dollar derivatives
   Repurchase agreements
   Non-deliverable swaps
   Interest rate swaps and options
Credit    Credit derivatives
   Asset-backed securities
   Convertibles
   Corporate bonds
   High yield bonds
   Emerging market bonds
Foreign Exchange    Foreign exchange options
   G-10
   Emerging markets
   Cross currencies
   Exotic options
   Spot FX
   Emerging market FX options
   Non-deliverable forwards
Equities and Other    Equity derivatives
   Cash equities
   Index futures
   Commodities
   Energy derivatives
   Other derivatives and futures

Certain categories of trades settle for clearing purposes with CF&Co, one of our affiliates. CF&Co is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (“FICC”), a subsidiary of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation. We, CF&Co and other affiliates participate in off-the-run U.S. Treasuries as well as other markets by posting quotations for our respective accounts and by acting as principal. Such activity is intended, among other things, to assist us, CF&Co and our affiliates in managing proprietary positions (including, but not limited to, those established as a result of combination trades and errors), facilitating transactions, framing markets, adding liquidity, increasing commissions and attracting order flow.

Market Data

BGC Market Data is a supplier of real-time, tradable, indicative, end-of-day, and historical market data. Our product suite includes fixed income, interest rate derivatives, credit derivatives, foreign exchange, foreign exchange options, money markets, energy and equity derivatives and structured market data products. It is made available via direct data feed, as well as via vendors such as Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Interactive Data Corporation and other select specialist vendors. A significant portion of our market data revenue was historically generated by products sold in the NASDAQ OMX Transaction. We continue to sell data relating to our remaining products.

 

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Software Solutions

Through our Software Solutions business, we provide customized screen-based market solutions to both related and unrelated parties. Using Software Solutions, our clients are able to develop a marketplace, trade with their customers, issue debt, access program trading interfaces and access our network and our intellectual property. We can add advanced functionality to enable our customers to distribute branded products to their customers through online offerings and auctions, including private and reverse auctions, via our trading platform and global network.

We have signed Software Solutions agreements with a number of U.S. and international enterprises, including the following:

 

   

The Federal Home Loan Bank, which is a U.S. government-sponsored enterprise and one of the largest issuers in the global short-term securities market. Our electronic auction-based technology has powered The Federal Home Loan Bank’s primary discount note auctions since August 2002.

 

   

The Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation, which issues a variety of debt securities on behalf of the Farm Credit System, has been using our platform since October 2010.

Our Software Solutions business provides the software and technology infrastructure for the transactional and technology related elements of Freedom International Brokerage Company’s (“Freedom”) marketplace as well as certain other services in exchange for specified percentages of transaction revenues from the marketplace. It also provides certain technology services to support ELX’s electronic trading platform.

Aqua Business

In October 2007, we spun off our former eSpeed Equities Direct business to form Aqua Securities, L.P. (“Aqua”), a business owned 51% by Cantor and 49% by us. Aqua’s purpose is to provide access to new block trading liquidity in the equities markets. The SEC has granted approval for Aqua to operate an Alternative Trading System in compliance with Regulation ATS.

Real Estate Services

Throughout this Form 10-K, we refer to our Real Estate Services business and to NGKF interchangeably. NGKF was formed through the acquisition of Newmark & Company Real Estate, Inc. in October 2011 and the purchase of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis Company in April 2012. NGKF is a full-service commercial real estate platform that comprises our Real Estate Services segment, offering commercial real estate tenants, owners, investors and developers a wide range of services, including leasing and corporate advisory , investment sales and financial services, consulting, project and development management, and property and facilities management.

As of December 31, 2013, we owned and operated 51 offices in the U.S. We generate revenues from commissions or transactions, management fees on a contractual and per project basis, fees for Global Corporate Services and consulting fees.

We also have agreements in place to operate on a collaborative and cross-referral basis with over 50 independently-owned offices in the United States and elsewhere in the Americas in return for contractual and referral fees paid to us and/or certain mutually beneficial co-branding and other business arrangements. These independently-owned offices generally use some variation of Newmark’s branding in their names and marketing materials. These agreements are normally multi-year contracts, and generally provide for mutual referrals in their respective markets, generating additional contract and brokerage fees. Through these independently-owned offices, our clients have access to additional brokers with local market research capabilities as well as other commercial real estate services in locations where our Real Estate Services business does not have a physical presence.

 

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Outside of the Americas, we are associated with London-based Knight Frank LLP (“Knight Frank”), which operates on a similar collaborative and cross-referral basis. Knight Frank is a leading independent, global real estate consultancy firm providing integrated prime and commercial real estate services, operating in approximately 220 key office hubs across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa.

NGKF has consistently won a number of U.S. industry awards and accolades in recognition of its performance and achievements. These include being named or receiving:

 

   

A top five brokerage firm by National Real Estate Investor magazine and Commercial Property Executive magazine, for 2013;

 

   

A top 10 property manager by National Real Estate Investor magazine, Commercial Property Executive magazine, and Crain’s New York Business magazine for 2013;

 

   

One of the top 100 outsourcing firms for 2013 by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals; and

 

   

10 awards over the last 11 years from the Real Estate Board of New York.

Real Estate Brokerage and Transaction Services

Our brokerage sales professionals assist in the purchase, sale and leasing of property on behalf of users, owners, investors and developers of commercial real estate. With a comprehensive approach to transactions, we offer a full suite of services to clients, from site selection and sale negotiations to needs analysis, occupancy projections, prospect qualification, pricing recommendations, long-term value consultation, tenant representation and consulting services. We believe that we offer the strategic consulting, analysis and resources clients need to assign value to an initiative and make informed decisions that enhance financial outcomes and corporate performance, for purposes of acquisition, disposition, potential use, retention, redevelopment, mortgage, income tax, or litigation. Assignments have included office buildings, regional malls, shopping centers, free-standing retail, industrial facilities, apartment projects, master-planned communities, land, air rights, schools and universities, new developments, hospitals and medical centers, hotels, historic landmarks, transportation stations, sports arenas and a variety of other special-use properties.

We offer a diverse range of real estate brokerage and transactional services including:

 

   

Tenant Representation. We represent tenants in the office, industrial, retail, data center, healthcare and hospitality sectors. Tenant representation services include space acquisition and disposition, strategic planning, site selection, financial and market analysis, economic incentives analysis, lease negotiations, lease auditing, project management and construction supervision.

 

   

Owner Representation. We represent both owners and investors. Services include agency leasing, property assessment, prospecting/canvassing, marketing and repositioning strategy, financial analysis, lease negotiation, construction supervision and tenant retention.

 

   

Investment Sales and Financial Services. We provide clients with strategic solutions to their real estate capital concerns. NGKF offers a broad range of real estate capital markets services, including investment sales and access to providers of debt and equity financing. Representing buyers and sellers, we provide access to a broad range of services, including asset sales, sale leasebacks, asset management, valuation, mortgage and entity-level financing and due diligence. The transactions we broker involve vacant land, new real estate developments and existing buildings. NGKF specializes in arranging equity or debt for most types of value-added commercial real estate, including land, condominium, conversions, subdivisions, office, retail, industrial, multifamily, student housing, hotels, data center, healthcare, self-storage and special use.

 

   

Valuation Services. Our Landauer Valuation & Advisory division is a leader in valuation and advisory services, having provided quality insight into client real estate assets for more than 75 years.

 

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Headquartered in New York with offices nationwide, the Landauer team has executed projects of nearly every size and type—from a single property to large portfolios, existing and proposed facilities, and mixed-use developments valued as high as in the billions of dollars.

Real Estate Management Services

Through our NGKF brand, we have the ability to provide commercial property and facility management services to tenants, owners and landlords. We offer a diverse range of management services to clients, many of whom also use our real estate brokerage services, including:

 

   

Property and Facilities Management. NGKF manages a broad range of properties, including headquarters, facilities and office space, for a broad cross section of companies, including Fortune 500 companies. We manage the day-to-day operations and maintenance for urban and suburban commercial properties of most types, including office, industrial, data centers, healthcare, retail, call centers, urban towers, suburban campuses, and landmark buildings. Property management services include building operations and maintenance, leasing, vendor and contract negotiation, project oversight and value engineering, labor relations, property inspection/quality control, property accounting and financial reporting, cash flow analysis, financial modeling, lease administration, due diligence, and exit strategies. Facilities management services also include facility audits and reviews, energy management services, janitorial services, mechanical services, bill payment, maintenance, project management, and moving management. As of December 31, 2013, we had approximately 165.5 million square feet managed in the U.S. by offices owned by us.

 

   

Global Corporate Services. NGKF provides what we believe are comprehensive, beginning-to-end corporate services solutions for clients. We thoroughly assess clients’ business objectives and long-term goals, and then implement real estate and operational strategies designed to reduce costs and increase flexibility and profitability for clients regarding their real estate needs. Services include brokerage services, account management, transition management, lease administration, operations consulting, transaction management, financial integration, project management, and facilities management. Our real estate business utilizes a variety of proprietary technology tools to facilitate provision of transaction and management services to our clients. For example, our global corporate services professionals utilize our proprietary NGKF Vision Tool, which provides data integration, analysis and reporting, as well as the capability to analyze potential “what if” scenarios to support client decision making. Our proprietary NGKF Analytics solution integrates data from client HR and ERP systems, government, Internet sources and NGKF internal databases to support our professionals in providing information analysis and insight to clients in managing their portfolios.

 

   

Consulting Services. Through our Global Corporate Services business, we seek to develop and implement best practices to align our clients’ real estate needs with their overall business strategies. Consulting services include operations and portfolio strategy, location strategy and optimization, workplace strategies, workflow and business process improvement, and operations and industrial consulting. Project management services include master planning, design and construction in commercial, retail, hospitality, medical, higher education and transportation spaces. Industrial service offerings also include logistics evaluation, strategic planning and building repositioning, facility assessment, financial and economic incentive analysis, drive time studies, geographic searches and zoning issues.

Customers

In Financial Services, we primarily serve the wholesale inter-dealer market, including many of the world’s largest banks that regularly trade in capital markets, brokerage houses, investment firms, hedge funds, and investment banks. Customers using our branded products also include professional trading firms, futures commission merchants and other professional market participants and financial institutions. Our market data products and services are available through many platforms and are available to a wide variety of capital market

 

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participants. including banks, investment banks, brokerage firms, asset managers, hedge funds, investment analysts and financial advisors. We also license our intellectual property portfolio and Software Solutions to various financial markets participants. For the year ended December 31, 2013, our top 10 Financial Services customers, collectively, accounted for approximately 20.1% of our total revenue on a consolidated basis and our largest customer accounted for approximately 2.4% of our total revenue on a consolidated basis.

In our Real Estate Services segment, our customers include a full range of real estate owners, tenants, investors, lenders and multi-national corporations in the markets we serve. For the year ended December 31, 2013, our top 10 Real Estate Services customers, collectively, accounted for approximately 2.2% of our total revenue on a consolidated basis and our largest customer accounted for approximately 0.4% of our total revenue on a consolidated basis.

Sales and Marketing

Financial Services

In our Financial Services business, our brokers and salespeople are the primary marketing and sales resources to our customers. Thus, our sales and marketing program is aimed at enhancing the ability of our brokers to cross-sell effectively in addition to informing our customers about our product and service offerings. We also employ product teams and business development professionals. We leverage our customer relationships through a variety of direct marketing and sales initiatives and build and enhance our brand image through marketing and communications campaigns targeted at a diverse audience, including traders, potential partners and the investor and press communities. We may also market to our existing and prospective customers through a variety of co-marketing/co-branding initiatives with our partners.

Our brokerage product team is composed of product managers who are each responsible for a specific part of our brokerage business. The product managers seek to ensure that our brokers, across all regions, have access to technical expertise, support and multiple execution methods in order to grow and market their business. This approach of combining marketing with our product and service strategy has enabled us to turn innovative ideas into both deliverable fully electronic and hybrid solutions, such as BGC Trader, our multi-asset hybrid offering to our customers for voice and electronic execution.

Our team of business development professionals is responsible for growing our global footprint through raising awareness of our products and services. The business development team markets our products and services to new and existing customers. As part of this process, they analyze existing levels of business with these entities in order to identify potential areas of growth and also to cross-sell our multiple offerings.

Our BGC Market Data branded products and services are promoted to our existing and prospective customers through a combination of sales, marketing and co-marketing campaigns.

Real Estate Services

Sales and marketing efforts for our Real Estate Services business occur on several interrelated levels. Our Real Estate Services marketing team seeks to develop the NGKF brand and to highlight its expansive platform while reinforcing NGKF’s position as a leading commercial real estate services firm in the U.S. This is accomplished through media relations, industry sponsorships, sales collateral and targeted advertising in trade and business publications. We believe that an emphasis on our Real Estate Services businesses unique capabilities and specialty groups, such as Capital Markets, Retail, Healthcare, Hospitality and Global Corporate Services, enables us to demonstrate our strengths and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. These multi-market business groups provide customized collateral, website and technology solutions that address specific client needs. On a local level, NGKF offices (including those owned by us and independently-owned offices) have access to tools and templates that arm NGKF sales professionals with the market knowledge we believe is necessary to educate and advise clients, and also to bring properties to market quickly and effectively. This includes proprietary research and analyses, web-based marketing systems, and ongoing communications and

 

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training about the firm’s depth and breadth of services. Our Real Estate Services business provides marketing services and materials to certain independently-owned offices as part of their overall agreement allowing them to use Newmark’s branding. We also benefit from shared referrals and materials from local offices.

Technology

Financial Services Technology

Pre-Trade Technology. Our financial brokers use a suite of pricing and analytical tools that have been developed both in-house and in cooperation with specialist software suppliers. The pre-trade software suite combines proprietary market data, pricing and calculation libraries, together with those outsourced from what we believe to be the best-of-breed providers in the sector. The tools in turn publish to a normalized, global market data distribution platform, allowing prices and rates to be distributed to our proprietary network, data vendor pages, secure websites and trading applications as indicative pricing.

Inter-Dealer Trading Technology. We utilize a sophisticated proprietary electronic trading platform to provide execution and market data services to our customers. The services are available through the proprietary API, FIX and a multi-asset proprietary trading platform BGC Trader. The platform presently supports a wide and constantly expanding range of products, which includes FX Options, European corporate bonds, European CDS and iTRAXX, IRS in multiple currencies, US REPO, TIPS, MBS, and other products. Every product on the platform is supported in either view-only, hybrid/managed or fully electronic mode, and can be transitioned from one mode to the next in response to market demands. The flexible BGC technology stack is designed to support feature-rich workflows required by the hybrid mode as well as delivering high throughput and low transaction latency required by the fully-electronic mode. Trades executed by our customers in any mode are eligible for immediate electronic confirmation through direct straight-through processing (“STP”) links as well as STP hubs. The BGC trading platform services are operated out of several globally distributed datacenters and delivered to customers over BGC’s global private network, third-party connectivity providers as well as the Internet. BGC’s proprietary graphical user interfaces and the API/FIX connectivity are deployed at hundreds of major banks and institutions and service thousands of users.

Post-Trade Technology. Our platform automates previously paper and telephone-based transaction processing, confirmation and other functions, substantially improving and reducing the cost of many of our customers’ back offices and enabling STP. In addition to our own system, confirmation and trade processing is also available through third-party hubs including Swapswire, T-Zero, Reuters RTNS, Logicscope and direct straight-through processing in FIX for various banks.

We have electronic connections to most mainstream clearinghouses, including The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), CLS Group, Euroclear, Clearstream, Monte Titoli, LCH.Clearnet, Eurex Clearing, CME Clearing and the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC). As more products become centrally cleared, and as our customers request that we use a particular venue, we expect to expand the number of clearinghouses to which we connect in the near future.

Systems Architecture. Our systems consist of layered components, which provide matching, credit management, market data distribution, position reporting, customer display and customer integration. The private network currently operates from four concurrent data centers (two of which are in London, one of which is in Rochelle Park, New Jersey, which we have rights to use until July 2015 pursuant to an agreement with NASDAQ OMX, and one of which is in Trumbull, Connecticut) and 6 hub cities throughout the world acting as distribution points for all private network customers. Our network hubs beyond the core data centers are in Chicago, Hong Kong, São Paolo, Singapore, Tokyo and Toronto. The redundant structure of our system provides multiple backup paths and re-routing of data transmission in the event of failure.

In addition to our own network system, we also receive and distribute secure trading information from customers using the services of multiple, major Internet service providers throughout the world. These connections enable us to offer our products and services via the Internet to our global customers.

 

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Software Development

We devote substantial efforts to the development and improvement of our hybrid and electronic marketplaces and licensed software products and services. We work with our customers to identify their specific requirements and make modifications to our software, network distribution systems and technologies that are responsive to those needs. Our efforts focus on internal development, strategic partnering, acquisitions and licensing. As of December 31, 2013, we employed approximately 400 technology professionals.

Our Intellectual Property

We have adopted a comprehensive intellectual property program to protect our proprietary technology. We currently have licenses covering various Cantor patents in the United States, including patents relating to (1) a system and method for auction-based trading of specialized items such as fixed income instruments and (2) a fixed income portfolio index processor. Foreign counterpart applications for some of these U.S. patents have been filed.

We also have agreements to license technology that may be covered by several pending U.S. patent applications relating to various aspects of our electronic trading systems, including both functional and design aspects. We have filed a number of patent applications to further protect our proprietary technology and innovations, and have received patents for some of those applications.

Our patent portfolio is growing and consists of numerous patents and patent applications relating to our core businesses and relating to other businesses. We continue to look for opportunities to license and/or otherwise monetize these and other patents in our portfolio.

Credit Risk

Credit risk arises from potential non-performance by counterparties and customers. We have established policies and procedures to manage our exposure to credit risk. We maintain a thorough credit approval process to limit exposure to counterparty risk and employ stringent monitoring to control the counterparty risk from our matched principal and agency businesses. Our account opening and counterparty approval process includes verification of key customer identification, anti-money laundering verification checks and a credit review of financial and operating data. The credit review process includes establishing an internal credit rating and any other information deemed necessary to make an informed credit decision, which may include correspondence, due diligence calls and a visit to the entity’s premises, as necessary.

Credit approval is granted subject to certain trading limits and may be subject to additional conditions, such as the receipt of collateral or other credit support. Ongoing credit monitoring procedures include reviewing periodic financial statements and publicly available information on the client and collecting data from credit rating agencies, where available, to assess the on-going financial condition of the client.

Principal Transaction Risk

Through our subsidiaries, we execute matched principal transactions in which we act as a “middleman” by serving as counterparty to both a buyer and a seller in matching back-to-back trades. These transactions are then settled through a recognized settlement system or third-party clearing organization. Settlement typically occurs within one to three business days after the trade date. Cash settlement of the transaction occurs upon receipt or delivery of the underlying instrument that was traded. We generally avoid settlement of principal transactions on a free-of-payment basis or by physical delivery of the underlying instrument. However, free-of-payment transactions may occur on a very limited basis.

 

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The number of matched principal trades we execute has continued to grow as compared to prior years. Receivables from broker-dealers and clearing organizations and payables to broker-dealers and clearing organizations on our consolidated statements of financial condition primarily represent the simultaneous purchase and sale of the securities associated with those matched principal transactions that have not settled as of their stated settlement dates. Our experience has been that substantially all of these transactions ultimately settle at the contracted amounts.

Market Risk

Market risk refers to the risk that a change in the level of one or more market prices, rates, indices or other factors will result in losses for a specified position. In our Financial Services business, we may allow certain of our desks to enter into unmatched principal transactions in the ordinary course of business and hold long and short inventory positions. These transactions are primarily for the purpose of facilitating clients’ execution needs, adding liquidity to a market or attracting additional order flow. As a result, we may have market risk exposure on these transactions. Our exposure varies based on the size of our overall positions, the risk characteristics of the instruments held and the amount of time the positions are held before they are disposed of. We have limited ability to track our exposure to market risk and unmatched positions on an intra-day basis; however, we attempt to mitigate market risk on these positions by strict risk limits, extremely limited holding periods and hedging our exposure. These positions are intended to be held short term to facilitate customer transactions. However, due to a number of factors, including the nature of the position and access to the market on which it trades, we may not be able to unwind the position and we may be forced to hold the position for a longer period than anticipated. All positions held longer than intra-day are marked to market.

We also have investments in marketable equity securities, which are publicly-traded, and which had a fair value of $45.0 million as of December 31, 2013. Investments in marketable securities carry a degree of risk, as there can be no assurance that the marketable securities will not lose value and, in general, securities markets can be volatile and unpredictable. As a result of these different market risks, our holdings of marketable securities could be materially and adversely affected. We seek to minimize the effect of price changes on a portion of our investments in marketable securities through the use of derivative contracts. However, there can be no assurance that our hedging activities will be adequate to protect us against price risks associated with our investments in marketable securities. See Note 8—“Marketable Securities” and Note 10—“Derivatives” to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further information regarding these investments and related hedging activities.

Our risk management procedures and strict limits are designed to monitor and limit the risk of unintended loss and have been effective in the past. However, there is no assurance that these procedures and limits will be effective at limiting unanticipated losses in the future. Adverse movements in the securities positions or a downturn or disruption in the markets for these positions could result in a substantial loss. In addition, principal gains and losses resulting from these positions could on occasion have a disproportionate effect, positive or negative, on our consolidated financial condition and results of operations for any particular reporting period.

Operational Risk

Our Financial Services businesses are highly dependent on our ability to process a large number of transactions across numerous and diverse markets in many currencies on a daily basis. If any of our data processing systems does not operate properly or is disabled or if there are other shortcomings or failures in our internal processes, people or systems, we could suffer impairment to our liquidity, financial loss, a disruption of our businesses, liability to clients, regulatory intervention or reputational damage. These systems may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of events that are wholly or partially beyond our control, including a disruption of electrical or communications services or our inability to occupy one or more of our buildings. The inability of our systems to accommodate an increasing volume of transactions could also constrain our ability to expand our businesses.

 

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In addition, despite our contingency plans, our ability to conduct business may be adversely impacted by a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our businesses and the communities in which they are located. This may include a disruption involving electrical, communications, transportation or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business.

Further, our operations rely on the secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential and other information on our computer systems and networks. Although we take protective measures such as software programs, firewalls and similar technology to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our and our clients’ information, the nature of the threats continue to evolve. As a result, our computer systems, software and networks may be vulnerable to unauthorized access, loss or destruction of data (including confidential client information), account takeovers, unavailability or disruption of service, computer viruses, acts of vandalism, or other malicious code, cyber attaches and other events that could have an adverse security impact. There have also been an increasing number of malicious cyber incidents in recent years in various industries, including ours. Any such cyber incidents involving our computer systems and networks, or those of third parties important to our businesses, could present risks to our operations.

Foreign Currency Risk

We are exposed to risks associated with changes in foreign exchange rates. Changes in foreign currency rates create volatility in the U.S. dollar equivalent of our revenues and expenses in particular with regard to British Pounds and Euros. In addition, changes in the remeasurement of our foreign currency denominated net assets are recorded as part of our results of operations and fluctuate with changes in foreign currency rates. We monitor the net exposure in foreign currencies on a daily basis and hedge our exposure as deemed appropriate with highly rated major financial institutions.

Interest Rate Risk

We had $408.4 million in fixed-rate debt outstanding as of December 31, 2013. These debt obligations are not currently subject to fluctuations in interest rates, although in the event of refinancing or issuance of new debt, such debt could be subject to changes in interest rates.

Disaster Recovery

Our processes address disaster recovery concerns. We operate most of our technology from dual-primary data centers at our two different London locations. Either site alone is capable of running all of our essential systems. In addition, we maintain technology operations from data centers in New Jersey and Connecticut. Replicated instances of this technology are maintained in our London data centers. All data centers are built and equipped to best-practice standards of physical security with appropriate environmental monitoring and safeguards. Failover for the majority of our systems is automated.

Competition

Financial Services

We encounter competition in all aspects of our businesses. In our Financial Services businesses, we compete primarily with other inter-dealer brokers, including for brokers, salespeople, and suitable acquisition candidates. Our existing and potential competitors are numerous and include other inter-dealer brokerage firms, multi-dealer trading companies, technology companies and market data and information vendors, securities and futures exchanges, electronic communications networks, crossing systems, software companies, consortia, business-to-business marketplace infrastructure companies and niche market energy and other commodity Internet-based trading systems.

 

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Inter-Dealer Brokers

Our Financial Services segment primarily competes with four major, diversified inter-dealer brokers. These inter-dealer brokers are ICAP plc, Tullett Prebon plc, GFI Group Inc. and Compagnie Financière Tradition (which is majority owned by Viel & Cie), all of which are currently publicly traded companies. Other inter-dealer broker competitors include a number of smaller, private firms that tend to specialize in specific product areas or geographies.

Demand for services of brokers is directly affected by national and international economic and political conditions, broad trends in business and finance, the level and volatility of interest rates, changes in and uncertainty regarding tax laws and substantial fluctuations in the volume and price levels of securities transactions. Other significant factors affecting competition in the brokerage industry are the quality and ability of professional personnel, the depth and pricing efficiency of the markets in which the brokers transact, the strength of the technology used to service and execute on those markets and the relative prices of products and services offered by the brokers and by competing markets and trading processes.

Market Data Vendors

The majority of our large inter-dealer broker competitors also sell proprietary market data, which competes with our market data offerings. In addition to direct sales, we resell market data through large market data and information providers. These companies have established significant presences on the vast majority of trading desks in our industry. Some of these market data and information providers, such as Bloomberg L.P. and Thomson Reuters Corporation, have expanded their product mix to include electronic trading and execution of both OTC and listed products in addition to their traditional market data offerings.

Exchanges

Although our businesses will often use exchanges to execute transactions brokered in both listed and OTC markets, we believe that exchanges have sought and will seek to migrate products traditionally traded in OTC markets by inter-dealer brokers to exchanges. However, we believe that when a product goes from OTC to exchange-traded, the underlying or related OTC market often continues to experience growth in line with the growth of the exchange-traded contract. In addition, IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. (“ICE”) operates both regulated exchanges and OTC execution services, and in the latter it competes directly with inter-dealer brokers in energy, commodities, and credit products. ICE entered these OTC markets primarily by acquiring independent OTC brokers, and we believe that it is likely ICE or other exchange operators may seek to compete with us in the future by acquiring other such brokers, by creating futures products designed to mimic OTC products, or through other means. Further, ICE and CME also operate swap execution facilities (“SEFs”), and we expect that other exchanges may also seek to do so.

Banks and Broker-dealers

Banks and broker-dealers have in the past created and/or funded consortia to compete with exchanges and inter-dealer brokers. For example, ICAP plc’s inter-dealer businesses for fully electronic trading of U.S. Treasuries and spot foreign exchange both began as dealer-owned consortia before being acquired by ICAP plc. An example of a current and similar consortium is Tradeweb Markets LLC (“Tradeweb”). Currently, several large banks hold stakes in Tradeweb, an internet-based market intermediary. Thomson Reuters Corporation is Tradeweb’s single largest shareholder. Although Tradeweb operates primarily as a dealer to customer platform, one of its offerings includes a voice and electronic inter-dealer platform for mortgage-backed and U.S. Agency securities. Tradeweb operates a SEF. In addition, Tradeweb’s management has said that it would like to expand into other inter-dealer markets, and as such may compete with us in other areas over time. In connection with the NASDAQ OMX Transaction, we agreed that for three years after the closing, we and Cantor will not engage in the business of fully electronic brokerage of benchmark on-the-run U.S. Treasuries and certain transactions in first off-the-run U.S. Treasuries, subject to certain exceptions.

 

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Overall, we believe that we may also face future competition from market data and technology companies and some securities brokerage firms, some of which are currently our customers, as well as from any future strategic alliances, joint ventures or other partnerships created by one or more of our potential or existing competitors.

Real Estate Services

In our Real Estate Services segment, we compete across a variety of business disciplines within the commercial real estate industry, including commercial property and corporate facilities management, occupier and property/agency leasing, property sales, valuation, capital markets (equity and debt) solutions, development services and proprietary research. Each business discipline is highly competitive on a national, regional and local level. Depending on the geography, property type or service, we face competition from other commercial real estate service providers, including outsourcing companies that traditionally competed in limited portions of our facilities management business and have recently expanded their offerings; in-house corporate real estate departments; developers; institutional lenders; insurance companies; investment banking firms; investment managers; and accounting and consulting firms. Despite recent consolidation, the commercial real estate services industry remains highly fragmented and competitive. Although many of our competitors are local or regional firms and are smaller than we are, some of these competitors are more entrenched on a local or regional basis. We are also subject to competition from other large multi-national firms that have similar service competencies to ours, including CBRE Group, Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, Cushman & Wakefield and Colliers International. In addition, specialized firms like HFF, Inc. and Eastdil Secured, LLC compete with us in certain areas.

Partnership Overview

We believe that our partnership structure is one of the unique strengths of our business. Many of our key brokers have their own capital invested in our business, aligning their interests with our stockholders. Limited partnership interests in BGC Holdings consist of: (i) “founding/working partner units” held by limited partners who are employees; (ii) “limited partnership units,” which consist of a variety of units that are generally held by employees such as REUs, RPUs, PSUs, PSIs and LPUs; (iii) “Cantor units” which are the exchangeable limited partnership interests held by Cantor entities; and (iv) preferred partnership units (“Preferred Units”), which are working partner units that may be awarded to holders of, or contemporaneous with, the grant of, PSUs, PSIs, PSEs, LPUs, ASPUs, ASPIs, ASPEs, REUs, RPUs, AREUs, and ARPUs. (see our “Organizational Structure”.)

We believe that our partnership structure is an effective tool in recruiting, motivating and retaining key employees. Many brokers are attracted by the opportunity to become partners because the partnership agreement generally entitles partners to quarterly distributions of income from the partnership. While BGC Holdings limited partnership interests generally entitle our partners to participate in distributions of income from the operations of our business, upon leaving BGC Holdings (or upon any other redemption or purchase of such limited partnership interests as described below), any such partners are only entitled to receive over time, and provided he or she does not violate certain partner obligations, an amount for his or her BGC Holdings limited partnership interests that reflects such partner’s capital account, excluding any goodwill or going concern value of our business unless Cantor, in the case of the founding partners, and we, as the general partner of BGC Holdings, otherwise determine. Our partners can receive the right to exchange their BGC Holdings limited partnership interests for shares of our Class A common stock (if, in the case of founding partners, Cantor so determines and in the case of working partners and limited partnership unit holders, the BGC Holdings general partner, with Cantor’s consent, determines otherwise) and thereby realize any higher value associated with our Class A common stock. We believe that, having invested their own capital in us, partners feel a sense of responsibility for the health and performance of our business and have a strong incentive to maximize our revenues.

 

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Relationship Between BGC Partners and Cantor

See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Relationship with Cantor and its Affiliates.”

Regulation

Financial Services Regulatory

U.S. Regulation

The financial services industry in the United States is subject to extensive regulation under both federal and state laws. As registered broker-dealers and a Futures Commissions Merchant, certain of our subsidiaries are subject to laws and regulations which cover all aspects of financial services, including sales methods, trade practices, use and safekeeping of customers’ funds and securities, minimum capital requirements, recordkeeping, business practices, securities lending and financing of securities purchases and the conduct of associated persons. We and our subsidiaries also are subject to the various anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act, the Exchange Act, the Commodity Exchange Act, certain state securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. We also may be subject to vicarious and controlling person liability for the activities of our subsidiaries and our officers, employees and affiliated persons.

The SEC is the federal agency primarily responsible for the administration of federal securities laws, including adopting rules and regulations applicable to broker-dealers (other than government securities broker-dealers) and enforcing both its rules regarding broker-dealers and the Treasury’s rules regarding government securities broker-dealers. Broker-dealers are also subject to regulation by state securities administrators in those states in which they conduct business or have registered to do business. In addition, Treasury rules relating to trading government securities apply to such activities when engaged in by broker-dealers. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) is the federal agency primarily responsible for the administration of federal commodities future laws, including the adoption of rules applicable to Futures Commissions Merchants and Designated Contract Markets such as ELX.

Much of the regulation of broker-dealers’ operations in the United States has been delegated to self-regulatory organizations. These self-regulatory organizations adopt rules (which are subject to approval by the SEC) that govern the operations of broker-dealers and government securities broker-dealers and conduct periodic inspections and examinations of their operations. In the case of our U.S. broker-dealer subsidiaries, the principal self-regulatory organization is FINRA. FINRA is a self-regulatory organization that commenced operations in the third quarter of 2007. It was formed from the consolidation of the NASD’s member regulation operations and the regulatory arm of the NYSE Group to act as the self-regulatory organization for all broker-dealers doing business within the United States. Accordingly, our U.S. subsidiaries will be subject to both scheduled and unscheduled examinations by the SEC and FINRA. In our futures-related activities, our subsidiaries are also subject to the rules of the CFTC, futures exchanges of which they are members and the NFA, a futures self-regulatory organization.

The changing regulatory environment, new laws that may be passed by Congress, and rules that may be promulgated by the SEC, the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the CFTC, the NFA, FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations, or changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules, if adopted, may directly affect our mode of operation and profitability, of our competitors and our customers and of the securities markets in a way that could adversely affect our businesses.

The SEC, self-regulatory organizations and state securities administrators conduct informal and formal investigations of possible improprieties or illegal action by broker-dealers and their “associated persons,” which could be followed by the institution of administrative, civil and/or criminal proceedings against broker-dealers and/or “associated persons.” Among the sanctions that may result if administrative, civil or criminal proceedings

 

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were ever instituted against us or our “associated persons,” are injunctions, censure, fines, penalties, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or suspension or expulsion from the industry and, in rare instances, even imprisonment. The principal purpose of regulating and disciplining broker-dealers is to protect customers and the securities markets, rather than to protect broker-dealers, creditors and equity holders. From time to time, our “associated persons” have been and are subject to routine investigations, none of which to date, have had a material adverse effect on our business.

In light of recent events in the U.S. and global financial markets and economy, regulators and legislators in the U.S. and European Union (“EU”) continue to craft new laws and regulations for the global OTC derivatives markets, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), which became law in July 2010. The Dodd-Frank Act mandates or encourages several reforms regarding derivatives, including new regulations for swaps markets creating impartiality considerations, additional pre- and post-trade transparency requirements and heightened collateral or capital standards, as well as recommendations for the obligatory use of central clearing for most standardized derivatives. The law also requires that standardized derivatives be traded in an open and non-exclusionary manner on a regulated exchange or a SEF. The SEC and CFTC are still in the process of finalizing rules for the implementation of these requirements. The actual implementation of said rules may be phased in over a longer period.

Similarly, while the recently adopted Volcker Rule will not apply directly to us, the Volcker Rule may have a material impact on many of the banking and other institutions with which we do business or compete. There may be a continued uncertainty regarding the Volcker Rule, its impact on various affected businesses, how those businesses will respond to it, and the effect that it will have on the markets in which we do business.

On October 2, 2013, BGC Derivative Markets, L.P. (“BGC Derivative Markets”), a subsidiary of the Company, began operating our Swap Execution Facility (“SEF”). Mandatory Dodd-Frank compliant execution by Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants is scheduled to commence in February 2014 for a small number of products, and in May of 2014 for others. We have heard from many of our large bank customers that they are currently trading less while they prepare for the new rules to take effect. Although SEF activity has greatly increased in January 2014 compared with December 2013, volumes to date are not indicative of what we expect this business to look like a year from now. We anticipate improved derivatives volumes once the regulatory landscape becomes clearer for our clients. In addition, BGC maintains its ownership stake in ELX, a Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) approved designated contract market (“DCM”), which also includes several of the world’s largest banks as equity holders. ELX began Dodd-Frank compliant swap and swap-futures trading in the fourth quarter of 2013, and we expect growing volumes as market participants expand the use of ELX to comply with regulations effective in the first quarter of 2014.

U.K. and European Regulation

The Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) is the main statutory regulator for the United Kingdom financial services industry. The FCA was established in 2013, and superseded the former regulatory agency, the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”). The FCA’s objectives are to protect customers, maintain the stability of the financial services industry and promote competition between financial services providers. It has broad rule-making, investigative and enforcement powers derived from the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and subsequent and derivative legislation and regulations.

The FCA has continued to implement the far-reaching reform rules initiated by the FSA, that are designed to enhance firms’ liquidity risk management practices, based on the lessons learned since the start of the credit crisis in 2007, as well as a regulatory model with a clear internal separation of conduct of business and prudential regulation. Implications of these rules include better liquidity risk management capability (including the use of stress testing and contingency funding plans (“CFP”)), less reliance on short-term wholesale funding, and higher amounts and quality of liquid asset securities (government securities), leading to an increased likelihood of

 

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surviving a severe liquidity stress event, the overarching principles being self-sufficiency and adequacy of liquid resources. Currently, we have subsidiaries and branches regulated by the FCA (BGC Brokers L.P., and the U.K. branch of Aurel BGC).

From time to time, we have been and are subject to periodic examinations, inspections and investigations, including periodic risk assessment and related reviews of our U.K. group, the most recent of which took place in 2012. Throughout 2011 and 2012, and following a periodic risk assessment review by the FSA, BGC European Holdings, L.P., and its regulated subsidiary BGC Brokers L.P., embarked on a major review of its liquidity and capital, and control environment, pursuant to which we assessed the appropriateness of the scope and structure of the businesses in our U.K. group. We increased the liquidity and capital levels of certain of our U.K. group’s regulated businesses, and also reviewed and enhanced our policies and procedures relating to assessing risks and our liquidity and capital requirements. We also produced detailed contingency planning steps to determine the standalone viability of each of the businesses in our U.K. group as well as a theoretical orderly wind-down scenario for these businesses. Currently, at the request of the FCA, the U.K. group is continuing to enhance and embed certain aspects of its financial crime prevention framework, its operational risk framework, and its governance structures. The U.K. group anticipates that the FCA will review this work at some point during 2014, and that review may include a Skilled Person’s report.

Recent European Regulatory Developments

The European Market Infrastructure Regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (“EMIR”) was adopted in July 2012. EMIR fulfills several of the EU’s G20 commitments to reform OTC derivatives markets. The reforms reduce systemic risk and bring more transparency to both OTC and listed derivatives markets. EMIR derivatives rules will apply initially to financial and non-financial firms that are counterparties to derivatives contracts in the EU and later to those trading outside the EU under certain circumstances.

The first compliance obligations for EMIR came into force in mid-March 2013 with the adoption of the regulatory technical standards and implementing technical standards which included timely confirmations. Risk mitigation techniques for uncleared OTC derivatives became effective September 15, 2013 and comprised ISDA portfolio reconciliation, dispute resolution and disclosure protocol. The trade reporting and clearing requirements are scheduled for implementation in February 2014 and mid-2014, respectively. In July 2013, the European Commission and the CFTC announced the “Path Forward” on the alignment of OTC derivatives regulations between the two jurisdictions. For the EU, this involves the implementation of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation and proposed amendments to the European Commission’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (“MiFID”).

To achieve a high level of harmonization and strong convergence in regular supervisory reporting requirements, the Committee of European Banking Supervisors issued guidelines on prudential reporting with the aim of developing a supervisory reporting framework based on common formats, known as COREP. COREP has become part of European Banking Authorities’ implementing technical standards on reporting. In addition, guidelines on Financial Reporting covering consolidated and sub-consolidated financial reporting for supervisory purposes based on International Financial Reporting Standards are being developed, known as FINREP. These initiatives will impact the nature, timing and extent of regulatory reporting for our European regulated group.

Basel III (or the Third Basel Accord) is a global regulatory standard on bank capital adequacy, stress testing and market liquidity risk agreed upon by the members of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in 2010 and 2011, and scheduled to be introduced by bank regulators in most, if not all, of the world’s major economies between 2013 and 2019. Basel III is designed to strengthen bank capital requirements and introduces new regulatory requirements on bank liquidity and bank leverage. The adoption of these proposed rules could restrict the ability of our large bank and broker-dealer customers to raise additional capital and liquidity.

 

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The EU is currently in the process of revising the European Commission’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (“MiFID II”) and the Market Abuse Directive. Both of these directives are relevant to the Company and MiFID II will have a particularly significant impact in a number of areas, including corporate governance, transaction reporting, pre-and post-trade transparency and investor protection. MiFID II will also introduce a new catch-all trading venue category known as the organized trading facility, as well as an equivalence assessment of non-EU jurisdictions for granting access to EU markets. The timetable for implementation of these revised directives is not yet clear but the new regimes could come into effect by 2015.

We are unable to predict how any of these new laws and proposals will be implemented or in what form, or whether any additional or similar changes to statutes or regulations, including the interpretation or implementation thereof, will occur in the future. Any such action could affect us in substantial and unpredictable ways, subject us to the risk of fines, sanctions, enhanced oversight, increased financial and capital requirements and additional restrictions or limitations on our ability to conduct or grow our businesses, and could otherwise have an adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. We believe that uncertainty and potential delays around the final form such new rules might take may negatively impact trading volumes in certain markets in which we transact. Increased capital requirements may also diminish transaction velocity. While the broad framework of proposed legislation is known, we believe that it is too early for there to be clarity on the specific aspects of the proposals that may directly affect our businesses as exact rules have not yet been finalized. While we generally believe the net impact of the rules and regulations may be positive for our businesses, unintended consequences of the legislation may adversely affect us in ways yet to be determined.

 

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Other Financial Services Regulation

Our subsidiaries that have foreign operations are subject to regulation by the relevant regulatory authorities and self-regulatory organizations in the countries in which they do business. The following table sets forth certain jurisdictions, other than the United States, in which we do business and the applicable regulatory authority or authorities of each such jurisdiction:

 

Jurisdiction

  

Regulatory Authorities/Self-Regulatory Organizations

Australia    Australian Securities and Investments Commission and Australian Securities Exchange
Brazil    Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission, the Central Bank of Brazil and BM&F BOVESPA
Canada    Ontario Securities Commission
China    China Banking Regulatory Commission, State Administration of Foreign Exchange
Dubai    Dubai Financial Supervisory Authority
France    Banque de France and subsidiary agencies, CECEI (Comité des Établissements de Crédit et des Entreprises d’investissement), CCLRF (Comité Consultatif de la Législation et de la Réglementation Financière), Commission Bancaire and AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers)
Hong Kong    Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission and The Hong Kong Monetary Authority
Japan    Japanese Financial Services Agency, Japan Securities Dealers Association and the Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission
Korea    Ministry of Strategy and Finance, The Bank of Korea, The Financial Services Commission and The Financial Supervisory Service
Mexico    Banking and Securities National Commission
Russia    Federal Service for Financial Markets
Singapore    Monetary Authority of Singapore
South Africa    Johannesburg Stock Exchange
Switzerland    Swiss Federal Banking Commission
Turkey    Capital Markets Board of Turkey
United Kingdom    Financial Conduct Authority

Real Estate Services Regulation

The brokerage of real estate sales and leasing transactions, property and facilities management, construction management, conducting real estate valuation, and securing debt for clients, among other business lines, also require that we comply with regulations affecting the real estate industry and maintain licenses in various jurisdictions in which we operate. As the size and scope of real estate sales transactions have increased significantly over the past several years, market participants face corresponding greater complexity in ensuring they comply with numerous licensing regimes.

 

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We could be required to pay fines, return commissions, have a license suspended or revoked, or be subject to criminal action should we conduct regulated activities without a license, or without maintaining the necessary license or if we violate applicable rules and regulations. Licensing requirements could also impact our ability to engage in certain types of transactions, change the way in which we conduct business or affect the cost of conducting business. We and our licensed associates may be subject to various due diligence, disclosure, standard-of-care, anti-money laundering and other obligations. We could become subject to claims by participants in real estate sales or other services claiming that we did not fulfill our obligations as a service provider or broker. This could include claims with respect to alleged conflicts of interest where we act, or are perceived to be acting, for two or more clients. While management has overseen highly regulated businesses before and expects to maintain required licenses in a satisfactory manner, no assurance can be given that it will always be the case.

In addition, federal, state and local laws and regulations impose various environmental zoning restrictions, use controls, and disclosure obligations which impact the management, development, use and/or sale of real estate. Such laws and regulations tend to discourage sales and leasing activities, as well as mortgage lending availability, with respect to such properties. In our role as property or facilities manager, we could incur liability under environmental laws for the investigation or remediation of hazardous or toxic substances or wastes at properties we currently or formerly managed, or at off-site locations where wastes from such properties were disposed. Such liability can be imposed with regard for the lawfulness of the original disposal activity, or our knowledge of, or fault for, the release or contamination. Further, liability under some of these may be joint and several, meaning that one liable party could be responsible for all costs related to a contaminated site. We could also be subject to property damage or personal injury claims alleged to result from environmental contamination, or from asbestos-containing materials or lead-based paint present at the properties or facilities we manage. Certain requirements governing the removal or encapsulation of asbestos-containing materials, as well as recently enacted local ordinances obligating property or facilities managers to inspect for and remove lead-based paint in certain buildings, could increase our costs of legal compliance and potentially subject us to violations or claims.

Capital Requirements

U.S.

Every U.S.-registered broker-dealer is subject to the Uniform Net Capital Requirements. FCMs, such as BGC Financial L.P. (“BGCF”), are also subject to CFTC capital requirements. These requirements are designed to ensure financial soundness and liquidity by prohibiting a broker or dealer from engaging in business at a time when it does not satisfy minimum net capital requirements.

In the United States, net capital is essentially defined as net worth (assets minus liabilities), plus qualifying subordinated borrowings and less certain mandatory deductions that result from excluding assets that are not readily convertible into cash and from conservatively valuing certain other assets, such as a firm’s positions in securities. Among these deductions are adjustments, commonly referred to as “haircuts,” to the market value of securities positions to reflect the market risk of such positions prior to their liquidation or disposition. The Uniform Net Capital Requirements also impose a minimum ratio of debt to equity, which may include qualified subordinated borrowings.

Regulations have been adopted by the SEC that prohibit the withdrawal of equity capital of a broker-dealer, restrict the ability of a broker-dealer to distribute or engage in any transaction with a parent company or an affiliate that results in a reduction of equity capital or to provide an unsecured loan or advance against equity capital for the direct or indirect benefit of certain persons related to the broker-dealer (including partners and affiliates) if the broker-dealer’s net capital is, or would be as a result of such withdrawal, distribution, loan or advance, below specified thresholds of excess net capital. In addition, the SEC’s regulations require certain notifications to be provided in advance of such withdrawals, distributions, reductions, loans and advances that exceed, in the aggregate, 30% of excess net capital within any 30-day period. The SEC has the authority to

 

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restrict, for up to 20 business days, such withdrawal, distribution or reduction of capital if the SEC concludes that it may be detrimental to the financial integrity of the broker-dealer or may expose its customers or creditors to loss. Notice is required following any such withdrawal, distribution, reduction, loan or advance that exceeds, in the aggregate, 20% of excess net capital within any 30 day period. The SEC’s regulations limiting withdrawals of excess net capital do not preclude the payment to employees of “reasonable compensation.”

Two of our subsidiaries, BGCF and Mint Brokers (f/k/a Seminole Financial), are registered with the SEC and are subject to the Uniform Net Capital Requirements. As an FCM, BGCF is also subject to the CFTC minimum capital requirement. BGCF is also a member of the FICC, which imposes capital requirements on its members. In addition, our SEF, BGC Derivative Markets, is required to maintain sufficient financial resources to cover operating costs for at least one year, keeping at least enough cash or highly liquid securities to cover six months’ operating costs.

Compliance with the Uniform Net Capital Requirements may limit the extent and nature of our operations, requiring the use of our registered broker-dealer subsidiaries’ capital, and could also restrict or preclude our ability to withdraw capital from our broker-dealer subsidiaries or SEF.

Non-U.S.

Our international operations are also subject to capital requirements in their local jurisdictions. BGC Brokers L.P. and BGC European Holdings, L.P., which are partnerships based in the United Kingdom, are subject to capital requirements established by the U.K. FCA. The FCA applies stringent provisions with respect to capital applicable to the operation of these brokerage firms, which vary depending upon the nature and extent of their activities. The provisions relating to capital and liquidity requirements enforced by the FCA have undergone significant changes in response to the current regulatory landscape, and our U.K. businesses are now required to maintain significantly higher regulatory capital than they have in the past.

In addition, the majority of our other foreign subsidiaries are subject to similar regulation by the relevant authorities in the countries in which they do business. Additionally, certain other of our foreign subsidiaries are required to maintain non-U.S. net capital requirements. In Hong Kong, BGC Securities (Hong Kong), LLC and BGC Capital Markets (Hong Kong), Limited are regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission and The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, respectively. Both are subject to Hong Kong net capital requirements. In France, BGC France Holdings; in Australia, BGC Partners (Australia) Pty Limited; in Japan, BGC Shoken Kaisha Limited’s Japanese branch; in Singapore, BGC Partners (Singapore) Limited and BGC Securities (Singapore) Ltd; in Korea, BGC Capital Markets & Foreign Exchange Broker (Korea) Limited; and in Turkey, BGC Partners Menkul Degerler AS, all have net capital requirements imposed upon them by local regulators. In addition, the LCH (LIFFE/LME) clearing organizations, of which BGC LP is a member, also imposes minimum capital requirements.

We had equity capital for our regulated subsidiaries of $330.5 million and $324.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively.

Employees

As of December 31, 2013, we had 6,386 total employees, of which approximately 59% were primarily focused on our Real Estate Services segment and approximately 41% were primarily focused on our Financial Services segment.

As of the same date, we had 2,385 brokers, salespeople, other professionals, and other front-office personnel, of whom 1,501 worked in our Financial Services segment and 884 in our Real Estate Services segment. Approximately 58% of our brokers, salespeople, other professionals, and other front-office personnel were based in the Americas, and approximately 29% were based in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and the remaining approximately 13% were based in the Asia-Pacific region.

 

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Generally, our employees are not subject to any collective bargaining agreements, except for certain reimbursable employees within our Real Estate Services segment, and certain of our employees based in our European offices that are covered by the national, industry-wide collective bargaining agreements relevant to the countries in which they work.

Legal Proceedings

See the discussion of legal proceedings contained in Note 18— “Commitments, Contingencies and Guarantees” to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

OUR ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

Stock Ownership

As of the end of the second quarter of 2013, pursuant to our Global Partnership Restructuring Program (see “Share Count Reduction and Modifications/Extensions of Employment Agreements”), the Company redeemed or exchanged approximately 76 million limited partnership units held by partners of BGC Holdings. Pursuant to the Program, the Company has delivered and expects to deliver an aggregate of approximately 44 million shares of the Company’s Class A common stock to the partners.

During the third and fourth quarters of 2013 and in the first quarter of 2014 through January 31, 2014, the Company has issued 43,784,541 shares of the Company’s Class A common stock pursuant to the Program, with the remaining 1,011,074 shares expected to be issued in the near term. Not including the shares expected to be issued, as of January 31, 2014, there were 182,969,887 shares of our Class A common stock outstanding, of which 3,773,352 shares were held by Cantor and CFGM, Cantor’s managing general partner. Therefore, taken together with the 1,011,074 shares expected to be issued, the organizational structure diagram reflects an aggregate of 183,980,961 shares of Class A common stock outstanding as of January 31, 2014. Each share of Class A common stock is entitled to one vote on matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders.

In addition, as of January 31, 2014, Cantor and CFGM held 34,848,107 shares of our Class B common stock (which represents all of the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock), representing, together with our Class A common stock held by Cantor and CFGM, approximately 66.2% of our voting power on such date. Each share of Class B common stock is generally entitled to the same rights as a share of Class A common stock, except that, on matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders, each share of Class B common stock is entitled to ten votes. The Class B common stock generally votes together with the Class A common stock on all matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders.

Through January 31, 2014, Cantor has distributed to its current and former partners an aggregate of 20,167,112 shares of Class A common stock, consisting of (i) 18,744,424 shares to satisfy certain of Cantor’s deferred stock distribution obligations provided to such partners on April 1, 2008 (the “April 2008 distribution rights shares”), and (ii) 1,422,688 shares to satisfy certain of Cantor’s deferred stock distribution obligations provided to such partners on February 14, 2012 in connection with Cantor’s payment of previous quarterly partnership distributions (the “February 2012 distribution rights shares”). As of January 31, 2014, Cantor is still obligated to distribute to its current and former partners an aggregate of 16,432,917 shares of Class A common stock, consisting of 14,627,320 April 2008 distribution rights shares and 1,805,597 February 2012 distribution rights shares.

From time to time, we may actively continue to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock, including from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners and others.

 

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Partnership Structure

We are a holding company, and our business is operated through two operating partnerships, BGC U.S., which holds our U.S. businesses, and BGC Global, which holds our non-U.S. businesses. The limited partnership interests of the two operating partnerships are held by us and BGC Holdings, and the limited partnership interests of BGC Holdings are currently held by limited partnership unit holders, founding/working partners, and Cantor. We hold the BGC Holdings general partnership interest and the BGC Holdings special voting limited partnership interest, which entitle us to remove and appoint the general partner of BGC Holdings, and serve as the general partner of BGC Holdings, which entitles us to control BGC Holdings. BGC Holdings, in turn, holds the BGC U.S. general partnership interest and the BGC U.S. special voting limited partnership interest, which entitle the holder thereof to remove and appoint the general partner of BGC U.S., and the BGC Global general partnership interest and the BGC Global special voting limited partnership interest, which entitle the holder thereof to remove and appoint the general partner of BGC Global, and serves as the general partner of BGC U.S. and BGC Global, all of which entitle BGC Holdings (and thereby us) to control each of BGC U.S. and BGC Global. BGC Holdings holds its BGC Global general partnership interest through a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, BGC Global Holdings GP Limited.

As a result of the Global Partnership Restructuring Program described above, as of January 31, 2014, we held directly and indirectly, through wholly owned subsidiaries, BGC U.S. limited partnership interests and BGC Global limited partnership interests consisting of 218,829,068 units and 218,829,068 units, representing approximately 68.2% and 68.2% of the outstanding BGC U.S. limited partnership interests and BGC Global limited partnership interests, respectively. As of that date, BGC Holdings held BGC U.S. limited partnership interests and BGC Global limited partnership interests consisting of 101,877,504 units and 101,877,504 units, representing approximately 31.8% and 31.8% of the outstanding BGC U.S. limited partnership interests and BGC Global limited partnership interests, respectively.

Limited partnership unit holders, founding/working partners, and Cantor directly hold BGC Holdings limited partnership interests. Since BGC Holdings in turn holds BGC U.S. limited partnership interests and BGC Global limited partnership interests, limited partnership unit holders, founding/working partners, and Cantor indirectly have interests in BGC U.S. limited partnership interests and BGC Global limited partnership interests.

As described above, under the Global Partnership Restructuring Program, at the end of the second quarter of 2013 an aggregate of approximately 76 million BGC Holdings limited partnership units were redeemed or exchanged. From July 1, 2013 through January 31, 2014, an aggregate of 18,782,488 BGC limited partnership units were granted, including an aggregate of 283,206 non-exchangeable limited partnership units granted to our U.K. executives pursuant to the Program, these non-exchangeable units are not expected to become exchangeable and may be redeemed for no consideration in certain circumstances. As a result, as of January 31, 2014, outstanding BGC Holdings partnership interests included 33,050,088 limited partnership units, 20,044,483 founding/working partner units and 48,782,933 Cantor units.

We may in the future effect additional redemptions of BGC Holdings limited partnership units and founding/working partner units for shares of our Class A common stock. We may also continue our earlier partnership restructuring programs, whereby we redeemed or repurchased certain limited partnership units and founding/working partner units in exchange for new units, grants of exchangeability for Class A common stock or cash and, in many cases, obtained modifications or extensions of partners’ employment arrangements. We also generally expect to continue to grant exchange rights with respect to outstanding non-exchangeable limited partnership units and founding/working partner units, and to repurchase BGC Holdings partnership interests from time to time, including from Cantor, our executive officers, and other employees and partners, unrelated to our partnership restructuring programs.

Cantor units are generally exchangeable with us for our Class B common stock (or, at Cantor’s option or if there are no additional authorized but unissued shares of our Class B common stock, our Class A common stock) on a one-for-one basis (subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments). Upon certain circumstances, Cantor may

 

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have the right to acquire additional Cantor units in connection with the redemption of or grant of exchangeability to certain non-exchangeable founding/working partner units, none of which was redeemed/exchanged in the Global Partnership Restructuring Program. As of January 31, 2014, there were 2,669,952 non-exchangeable founding/working partner units with respect to which Cantor had the right to acquire an equivalent number of Cantor units.

On November 6, 2013, BGC GP, LLC, a subsidiary of the Company and the General Partner of the Company’s majority-owned subsidiary, BGC Holdings, and Cantor, the Majority in Interest Exchangeable Limited Partner of the Partnership, entered into the Ninth Amendment to the Agreement of Limited Partnership of the Partnership (the “Ninth Amendment”) effective as of July 1, 2013.

In order to facilitate partner compensation and for other corporate purposes, the Ninth Amendment creates new preferred partnership units (“Preferred Units”), which are working partner units that may be awarded to holders of, or contemporaneous with the grant of, PSUs, PSIs, PSEs, LPUs, APSUs, APSIs, APSEs, REUs, RPUs, AREUs, and ARPUs. These new Preferred Units carry the same name as the underlying unit, with the insertion of an additional “P” to designate them as Preferred Units.

Such Preferred Units may not be made exchangeable into our Class A common stock and accordingly will not be included in the fully diluted share count. Each quarter, the net profits of BGC Holdings will be allocated to such Units at a rate of either 0.6875% (which is 2.75% per calendar year) of the allocation amount assigned to them based on their award price, or such other amount as set forth in the award documentation (the “Preferred Distribution”), before calculation and distribution of the quarterly Partnership distribution for the remaining Partnership units. The Preferred Units will not be entitled to participate in Partnership distributions other than with respect to the Preferred Distribution. As of January 31, 2014 there were 6,798,478 such units granted and outstanding. The Ninth Amendment was approved by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and by the full Board.

 

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The following diagram illustrates our organizational structure as of January 31, 2014. The diagram does not reflect the various subsidiaries of BGC, BGC U.S., BGC Global, BGC Holdings or Cantor, or the noncontrolling interests in our consolidated subsidiaries other than Cantor’s units in BGC Holdings.*

 

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* Shares of our Class B common stock are convertible into shares of our Class A common stock at any time in the discretion of the holder on a one-for-one basis. Accordingly, if Cantor converted all of its Class B common stock into Class A common stock, Cantor would hold 17.6% of the voting power, and the public stockholders would hold 82.4% of the voting power (and Cantor’s indirect economic interests in BGC U.S. and BGC Global would remain unchanged). For purposes of the diagram, Cantor’s percentage ownership also includes CFGM’s percentage ownership. The diagram does not reflect certain Class A common stock and BGC Holdings partnership units as follows: (a) Cantor’s economic interest in our 8.75% convertible notes or the 23,738,219 shares of Class A common stock acquirable by Cantor upon conversion thereof (if Cantor converted all of the 8.75% convertible notes into shares of Class A common stock, Cantor would hold 67.6% of the voting power, and the public stockholders would hold 32.4% of the voting power (and Cantor’s indirect economic interests in each of BGC U.S. and BGC Global would be 32.3%)); (b) 16,260,160 shares of Class A common stock issuable upon conversion of our 4.50% convertibles notes; (c) any shares of Class A common stock that may become issuable upon the conversion or exchange of any convertible or exchangeable debt securities that may in the future be sold under our shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-180331); and (d) 6,798,478 Preferred Units granted to BGC Holdings partners, including 79,297 Preferred Units granted to our U.K. executives (see “Partnership Structure” herein).

The diagram reflects Class A common stock and BGC Holdings partnership unit activity through January 31, 2014 as follows: (a) an aggregate 44,421,555 Global Partnership Restructuring Program shares of Class A common stock issued and expected to be issued by us; (b) 631,576 April 2008 distribution rights shares distributed by Cantor, but not the 14,627,320 shares remaining to be distributed by Cantor; (c) 77,018 February 2012 distribution rights shares distributed by Cantor, but not the 1,805,597 shares remaining to be distributed by Cantor; (d) 1,000,000 shares of Class A common stock donated by us to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund; (e) 4,419,220 shares of Class A common stock repurchased by us; (f) 10,501,478 shares of Class A common stock sold by us under the December 2012 sales agreement pursuant to our shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-185110), but not the 8,563,612 shares remaining for sale by us under such sales agreement; (g) 1,933,566 shares issued by us under our acquisition shelf Registration Statement on Form S-4 (Registration No. 333-169232), but not the 15,363,626 shares remaining available for issuance by us under such Registration Statement; (h) 54,794 shares issued by us under our Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-173109), but not the 9,859,377 shares remaining available for issuance by us under such Registration Statement; (i) 3,163,944 shares sold by selling stockholders under our resale shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-167953), but not the 336,056 shares remaining available for sale by selling stockholders under such Registration Statement; (j) 7,744,387 shares sold by selling stockholders under our resale shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-175034), but not the 1,695,930 shares remaining available for sale by selling stockholders under such Registration Statement; (k) 2,782,644 shares sold by the Relief Fund under our resale shelf Registration Statement on Form S-3 (Registration No. 333-187875), but not the 27,356 shares remaining available for sale by the Relief Fund under such Registration Statement; (l) 13,118,004 limited partnership and founding/working partner units redeemed or repurchased by us for cash; (m) 76,474,400 limited partnership units redeemed or exchanged by us at the end of the second quarter 2013 pursuant to the Program; and (n) an aggregate of 53,024,489 limited partnership units granted by BGC Holdings, including 283,206 non-exchangeable limited partnership units granted to our U.K. executive officers pursuant to the Program.

 

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ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS

Any investment in shares of our Class A common stock, our 8.125% Senior Notes, or other securities involves risks and uncertainties. The following are important risks and uncertainties that could affect our businesses, but we do not ascribe any particular likelihood or probability to them unless specifically indicated. Any of the risks and uncertainties set forth below, should they occur, could significantly and negatively affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects and/or the trading price of our Class A common stock, our 8.125% Senior Notes, or other securities.

RISKS RELATED TO OUR BUSINESSES GENERALLY

Global Economic and Market Conditions

Our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects have been and may continue to be adversely affected by conditions in the global economy and financial markets generally.

Our businesses and results of operations have been and may continue to be adversely affected by conditions in the global economy and financial and commercial real estate markets generally. Difficult market and economic conditions and geopolitical uncertainties have in the past adversely affected and may in the future adversely affect our businesses. Such conditions and uncertainties include fluctuating levels of economic output, interest and inflation rates, employment levels, consumer confidence levels, and fiscal and monetary policy. These conditions may directly and indirectly impact a number of factors in the global markets that may be detrimental to our operating results, including the levels of trading, investing, and origination activity in the securities markets, security valuations, volatility of interest rates, changes in and uncertainty regarding tax laws and substantial fluctuations in volume and commissions on securities transactions, the absolute and relative level of currency rates, commercial real estate values and the volume of real estate transactions, and the actual and the perceived quality of issuers, borrowers and investors. For example, the actions of the U.S. Federal Reserve and international central banking authorities directly impact our cost of funds and may impact the value of financial instruments we hold. In addition, changes in monetary policy may affect the credit quality of our customers. Changes in domestic and international monetary policy are beyond our control and difficult to predict.

On a consolidated basis, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2013, 46.6% of our total revenues were generated by our Financial Services segment and 23.1% of our total revenues were generated by our Real Estate Services segment, with approximately 30.3% generated within the corporate category. As a result, our revenues and profitability are likely to decline significantly during periods of low trading volume in the financial markets in which we offer our services and may be similarly impacted by downturns in the commercial real estate market.

The financial markets, the global financial services business and the commercial real estate business are, by their nature, risky and volatile and are directly affected by many national and international factors that are beyond our control. Any one of these factors may cause a substantial decline in the U.S. and global financial services and commercial real estate markets, resulting in reduced transactional volume and profitability for our businesses. These factors include:

 

   

economic and geopolitical conditions and uncertainties in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in the world, including government deficits, debt, possible defaults and austerity measures, including the level and timing of government debt issuances and outstanding amounts;

 

   

possible shutdowns of the U.S. government, sequestrations, uncertainties regarding the federal debt ceiling and federal budget and other potential political impasses;

 

   

the effect of Federal Reserve Board quantitative easing, the tapering of quantitative easing, increased capital requirements for banks and other financial institutions, and other regulatory requirements and political impasses;

 

   

terrorism, war and other armed hostilities;

 

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inflation, deflation and wavering institutional and consumer confidence levels;

 

   

the availability of capital for borrowings and investments by our customers and their customers;

 

   

the level and volatility of interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates and trading in certain equity, debt and commodity markets;

 

   

the level and volatility of the difference between the yields on corporate securities being traded and those on related benchmark securities, which we refer to as “credit spreads”;

 

   

commercial real estate values and transaction volumes; and

 

   

margin requirements, capital requirements, credit availability, and other liquidity concerns.

Low trading or financial services or commercial real estate transaction volumes generally result in reduced revenues. Under these conditions, our profitability is adversely affected since many of our costs are fixed. In addition, although less common, some of our financial services or commercial real estate transaction revenues are determined on the basis of the value of transactions or on spreads. For these reasons, substantial decreases in trading volume or declining prices or spreads could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

In August 2011, the credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the U.S. from AAA to AA+, while maintaining a negative outlook. The downgrade reflected S&P’s view that an August 2011 agreement of U.S. lawmakers regarding the debt ceiling fell short of what would be necessary to stabilize the U.S. government’s medium-term debt dynamics. The two other major credit rating agencies did not downgrade their previously issued U.S. sovereign credit ratings. Any downgrades of the U.S. sovereign credit rating by one or more of the major credit rating agencies could have material adverse effects on financial and commercial real estate markets and economic conditions in the U.S. and throughout the world and, in turn, could have a material adverse impact on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects. Because of the unprecedented nature of any negative credit rating actions with respect to U.S. government obligations, the ultimate impacts on global markets and our businesses, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects are unpredictable and may not be immediately apparent. Additionally, the negative impact on economic conditions and global markets from further EU sovereign debt matters could adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Concerns about the EU sovereign debt have caused uncertainty and disruption for financial markets globally, and continued uncertainties loom over the outcome the EU’s financial support programs and the possibility that other EU member states may experience similar financial troubles.

Any downgrades of the long-term sovereign credit rating of the U.S. and additional EU sovereign debt crises could cause disruption and volatility of financial markets globally and have adverse effects on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Evolving Business Environments

We operate in rapidly evolving business environments. If we are unable to adapt our businesses effectively to keep pace with these changes, our ability to succeed will be adversely affected, which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

The pace of change in the industries in which we operate is extremely rapid. Operating in such rapidly changing business environments involves a high degree of risk. Our ability to succeed will depend on our ability to adapt effectively to these changing conditions. If we are unable to keep up with rapid changes, we may not be able to compete effectively.

To remain competitive, we must continue to enhance and improve the responsiveness, functionality, accessibility and features of our proprietary software, network distribution systems and technologies. Our business environments are characterized by rapid technological changes, changes in user and customer

 

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requirements and preferences, frequent product and service introductions embodying new technologies and the emergence of new industry standards and practices that could render our existing proprietary technology and systems obsolete. Our success will depend, in part, on our ability to:

 

   

develop, license and defend intellectual property useful in our businesses;

 

   

enhance our existing products and services;

 

   

develop new products and services and technologies that address the increasingly sophisticated and varied needs of our existing and prospective customers;

 

   

respond to technological advances and emerging industry standards and practices on a cost-effective and timely basis;

 

   

respond to the demand for new products, services and technologies on a cost-effective and timely basis; and

 

   

adapt to technological advancements and changing standards to address the increasingly sophisticated requirements and varied needs of our customers and prospective customers.

There can be no assurance that we will be able to respond in a timely manner to changing conditions or customer requirements. In our Financial Services businesses, the development of proprietary electronic trading technology entails significant technical, financial and business risks. Further, the adoption of new internet, networking or telecommunications technologies may require us to devote substantial resources to modify, adapt and defend our technology. There can be no assurance that we will successfully implement new technologies or adapt our proprietary technology and transaction-processing systems to customer requirements or emerging industry standards, or that we will be able to successfully defend any challenges to any technology we develop. Any failure on our part to anticipate or respond adequately to technological advancements, customer requirements or changing industry standards, or any significant delays in the development, introduction or availability of new products, services or technologies, could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Geographic Concentration

Our businesses are geographically concentrated and could be significantly affected by any adverse change in the regions in which we operate.

Historically, our business operations have been substantially located in the U.S. and the U.K. While we are expanding our businesses to new geographic areas, we are still highly concentrated in these areas. Because we derived approximately 69.7% and approximately 16.5%, respectively, of our total revenues on a consolidated basis for the year ended December 31, 2013 from our operations in the U.S. and the U.K., respectively, our businesses are exposed to adverse regulatory and competitive changes, economic downturns and changes in political conditions in these countries. Moreover, due to the concentration of our operations in these areas, such operations are less diversified and, accordingly, are subject to greater regional risks than those of some of our competitors. If we are unable to identify and successfully manage or mitigate these risks, our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected.

New Opportunities/Possible Transactions and Hires

If we are unable to identify and successfully exploit new product and service opportunities, our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected.

As more participants enter the markets in which we operate, the resulting competition often leads to lower commissions and fees. This may result in a decrease in revenues in a particular market even if the volume of transactions we handle in that market increases. As a result, our strategy is to broker more transactions, manage more properties and increase market share in existing markets and to seek out new markets and customers. We

 

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may face enhanced risks as these efforts to expand our businesses result in our transacting with a broader array of customers and counterparties and expose us to new products and services and markets. Pursuing this strategy may also require significant management attention and hiring expense. We may not be able to attract new customers or brokers or other professionals or successfully enter new markets. If we are unable to identify and successfully exploit new market opportunities, our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected.

In addition to hiring brokers and other professionals, we may pursue strategic alliances, acquisitions or joint ventures, which could present unforeseen integration obstacles or costs and could dilute our stockholders. We may also face competition in our acquisition strategy, as well as potential regulatory restrictions or limitations, which may limit our number of strategic alliances, acquisitions, joint ventures and other growth opportunities. Such transactions may adversely impact our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We have explored a wide range of strategic alliances, acquisitions and joint ventures with other financial and real estate services firms, including maintaining or developing relationships with independently owned offices in our Real Estate Services businesses, and with other companies that have interests in businesses in which there are brokerage, management, or other strategic opportunities. We also may make acquisitions outside of our existing industries, such as we did when we first entered the commercial real estate business beginning in 2011 with our acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis.

We continue to evaluate and potentially pursue possible strategic alliances, acquisitions, joint ventures and hires in both of our business segments and to explore opportunities in other industries. These transactions and new hires may be necessary in order for us to enter into or develop new products or services or geographic areas, as well as to strengthen our current ones.

Strategic alliances, acquisitions, joint ventures and new hires involve a number of risks and present financial, managerial and operational challenges, including:

 

   

potential disruption of our ongoing businesses and product and service development and distraction of management;

 

   

difficulty retaining and integrating personnel and integrating operational, financial reporting, internal control, compliance, and other systems;

 

   

the necessity of hiring additional management and other critical personnel and integrating them into current operations while maintaining legal and regulatory compliance;

 

   

litigation and/or arbitration associated with hiring brokerage and other personnel;

 

   

increasing the scope, geographic diversity and complexity of our operations;

 

   

potential dependence upon, and exposure to liability, loss or reputational damage relating to systems, controls and personnel that are not under our control;

 

   

addition of business lines in which we have not previously engaged;

 

   

potential unfavorable reaction to our strategic alliance, acquisition or joint venture strategy by our customers;

 

   

to the extent that we pursue opportunities outside the U.S., exposure to political, economic, legal, regulatory, operational and other risks that are inherent in operating in a foreign country, including risks of possible nationalization, expropriation, price controls, capital controls, exchange controls and other restrictive government actions, as well as the outbreak of hostilities;

 

   

the upfront costs associated with pursuing acquisitions and recruiting personnel, which efforts may be unsuccessful;

 

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conflicts or disagreements between any strategic alliance or joint venture partner and us;

 

   

exposure to additional liabilities of any acquired business, strategic alliance or joint venture; and

 

   

dilution resulting from any issuances of shares of our Class A common stock or limited partnership units in connection with strategic alliances, acquisitions, joint ventures or new hires.

We expect to face competition for acquisition candidates, which may limit our number of acquisitions and growth opportunities and may lead to higher acquisition prices. There can be no assurance that we will be able to identify, acquire or profitably manage additional businesses or integrate successfully any acquired businesses without substantial costs, delays or other operational, regulatory or financial difficulties.

In addition, in the U.K. we previously agreed to a voluntary limitation, which ended on March 1, 2012, on closing acquisitions of new businesses regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA,” formerly the Financial Services Authority) or entering into new regulated business lines, which had a temporary adverse impact on our ability to add financial services business to our U.K. group. While the FCA released us from this voluntary limitation, no assurance can be given that the FCA or any other regulatory body would not institute a similar limitation in the future.

In both of our business segments, any future growth will be partially dependent upon the continued availability of suitable acquisition candidates at favorable prices and upon advantageous terms and conditions, which may not be available to us, as well as sufficient liquidity and credit to fund these acquisitions. Future acquisitions and any necessary related financings also may involve significant transaction-related expenses, which include severance, lease termination and transaction and deferred financing costs, among others. In addition, there can be no assurance that such acquisitions will be accretive or generate favorable operating margins. The success of these acquisitions will also be determined in part by the ongoing performance of the acquired companies and the acceptance of acquired employees of our partnership compensation structure and other variables which may be different from the existing industry standards or practices at the acquired companies.

Management will need to successfully manage the integration of recent acquisitions and future growth effectively. The integration and additional growth may place a significant strain upon our management, administrative, operational and financial infrastructure. Our ability to grow depends upon our ability to successfully hire, train, supervise and manage additional employees, expand our operational and other control systems effectively, allocate our human resources optimally, maintain clear lines of communication between our transactional and management functions and our finance and accounting functions, and manage the pressure on our management, administrative, operational and financial infrastructure. Additionally, managing future growth may be difficult due to our new geographic locations and business lines. As a result of these risks and challenges, we may not realize the full benefits that we anticipate from strategic alliances, acquisitions, joint ventures or new hires. There can be no assurance that we will be able to accurately anticipate and respond to the changing demands we will face as we integrate and continue to expand our operations, and we may not be able to manage growth effectively or to achieve growth at all. Any failure to manage the integration of acquisitions and future growth effectively could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

Liquidity, Funding and Indebtedness

Liquidity is essential to our businesses, and insufficient liquidity could have an adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Liquidity is essential to our businesses. Failures of financial institutions have often been attributable in large part to insufficient liquidity. Liquidity is of particular importance to our trading businesses, and perceived liquidity issues may affect the willingness of our customers and counterparties to engage in transactions with us in both of our operating segments. Our liquidity could be impaired due to circumstances that we may be unable to control, such as a general market disruption or an operational problem that affects our trading customers or counterparties, other third parties or us.

 

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We are a parent holding company with no direct operations. Any dividends declared by us, any payment by us of our indebtedness or other expenses, and all applicable taxes payable in respect of our net taxable income, if any, are paid from cash on hand and funds received from distributions from BGC U.S. and BGC Global. Regulatory, tax restrictions or elections, and other legal or contractual restrictions may limit our ability to transfer funds freely from our subsidiaries. In particular, many of our subsidiaries, including our broker-dealer subsidiaries, are subject to laws, regulations, and self-regulatory organization rules that authorize regulatory bodies to block or reduce the flow of funds to a parent holding company, or that prohibit such transfers altogether in certain circumstances. These laws, regulations and rules may hinder our ability to access funds that we may need to meet our obligations. To the extent that we need funds to pay dividends, pay indebtedness and other expenses, or to pay taxes on our share of BGC U.S.’s and BGC Global’s net taxable income, and either BGC U.S. or BGC Global or their respective subsidiaries are restricted from making such distributions under applicable law or regulations, or are otherwise unable to provide such funds, it could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, including our ability to access the debt and equity capital markets.

Our ability to raise funding in the long-term or short-term debt capital markets or the equity capital markets, or to access secured lending markets, has in the past been and could in the future be adversely affected by conditions in the U.S. and international economy and markets, with the cost and availability of funding adversely affected by illiquid credit markets and wider credit spreads. To the extent we are not able to access the debt capital markets on acceptable terms in the future, we may seek to raise funding and capital through equity issuances or other means.

Future turbulence in the U.S. and international economy and markets may adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition and the willingness of certain customers and counterparties to do business with each other or with us. Acquisitions and financial reporting obligations related thereto may impact our ability to access capital markets on a timely basis and may necessitate greater short-term borrowing in the interim, which in turn may adversely affect the interest rates on our debt and our credit ratings and associated outlooks.

Our funding base consists of longer-term capital (equity, notes payable and collateralized borrowings), shorter-term liabilities and accruals that are a natural outgrowth of specific assets and/or our Financial Services business model, such as matched fails and accrued compensation. We generally have had limited need for short-term unsecured funding in our Financial Services segment. We may, however, need to access short-term capital sources to meet business needs from time to time, including, but not limited to, financing acquisitions, conducting operations, hiring or retaining brokers, providing liquidity and funding fails, including in situations where we may not be able to access the capital markets in a timely manner when desired by us. Contingent liquidity needs are largely limited to potential cash collateral that may be needed to meet clearing bank, clearinghouse and exchange margins and/or to fund fails. Current cash balances significantly exceed our unsecured bank borrowings and the amortization of our collateralized long-term debt. We have also entered into secured loan arrangements, which are repayable in consecutive monthly installments with the final payments due in December 2016. A significant portion of our cash is held in our largest regulated entities, and we believe that cash in and available to these entities, inclusive of financing provided by clearing banks, is adequate for potential cash demands of normal operations such as margin or fail financing.

In our Real Estate Services segment, we generally have had limited need for short-term unsecured funding. We may, however, have need to access short-term capital sources in order to meet business needs from time to time, including, but not limited to, financing acquisitions, conducting operations or hiring or retaining real estate brokers. Our inability to secure such short-term capital may have an adverse impact on our Real Estate Services business.

 

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We are leveraged, which could adversely affect our ability to raise additional capital to fund our operations and activities, limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or our industries, expose us to interest rate risk and prevent us from meeting our obligations under our indebtedness.

Our indebtedness, which includes $112.5 million aggregate principal amount of 8.125% Senior Notes due 2042 (the “8.125% Senior Notes”), $150.0 million aggregate principal amount of 8.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2015 (the “8.75% Convertible Notes”), and $160.0 million principal amount of 4.50% Convertible Senior Notes due 2016 (the “4.50% Convertible Notes” and together with the 8.75% Convertible Notes, the “Convertible Notes”) has important consequences, including:

 

   

it may limit our ability to borrow money, dispose of assets or sell equity to fund our working capital, capital expenditures, dividend payments, debt service, strategic initiatives or other obligations or purposes;

 

   

it may limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in the economy, the markets, or our operations or businesses;

 

   

we may be more highly leveraged than some of our competitors, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage;

 

   

it may make us more vulnerable to downturns in the economy or our businesses; and

 

   

there would be a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects if we were unable to service our indebtedness or obtain additional financing or refinance our existing debt as needed or on terms acceptable to us.

In our Financial Services businesses, we are dependent upon the availability of adequate funding and sufficient regulatory capital and clearing margin. Clearing margin is the amount of cash, guarantees or similar collateral that we must provide or deposit with our third-party clearing organizations in support of our obligations under contractual clearing arrangements with these organizations. Historically, these needs have been satisfied from internally generated funds and proceeds from debt and equity financings. We have also relied on Cantor’s support to clear our transactions in U.S. Treasury and U.S. government agency products under the clearing agreement we entered into with Cantor in November 2008. If for any reason we need to raise additional funds, including in order to meet increased regulatory capital requirements and/or increased clearing margin requirements arising from growth in our brokerage businesses, to complete acquisitions or otherwise, we may not be able to obtain additional financing when needed. If we cannot raise additional funds on acceptable terms, we may not be able to develop or enhance our businesses, take advantage of future growth opportunities or respond to competitive pressure or unanticipated requirements.

We may incur substantially more debt or take other actions which would intensify the risks discussed herein.

We may incur substantial additional debt in the future, some of which may be secured debt. We are not restricted under the terms of the indentures governing our 8.125% Senior Notes and Convertible Notes from incurring additional debt, securing existing or future debt (with certain exceptions, including to the extent already secured), recapitalizing our debt or taking a number of other actions that are not limited by the terms of our debt instruments that could have the effect of diminishing our ability to make payments on our debt when due.

We may not have the funds necessary to purchase the Convertible Notes upon a fundamental change or the 8.125% Senior Notes upon a change of control triggering event as required by the indentures governing these notes.

Holders may require us to purchase their Convertible Notes for cash upon a fundamental change as described in the indentures governing the Convertible Notes. In addition, upon the occurrence of a “change of control triggering event” (as defined in the indenture governing the 8.125% Senior Notes), unless we have exercised our right to redeem such notes, holders of the 8.125% Senior Notes will have the right to require us to

 

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repurchase all or any part of their notes at a price in cash equal to 100% of the-then outstanding aggregate principal amount of the 8.125% Senior Notes repurchased plus accrued and unpaid interest, if any. There can be no assurance that we would have sufficient financial resources, or would be able to arrange financing, to pay in cash the fundamental change purchase price in full for the Convertible Notes surrendered by the holders or to repurchase the 8.125% Senior Notes upon a “change of control triggering event.” A fundamental change may also constitute an event of default and result in the effective acceleration of the maturity of our then-existing indebtedness. Furthermore, our failure to repurchase the 8.125% Senior Notes as required under the indenture governing such notes would result in a default under that indenture, which could result in defaults under agreements governing any of our other indebtedness.

In addition, the terms of any then-existing credit facilities and financing agreements may limit our ability to pay any fundamental change purchase price. Failure by us to purchase the Convertible Notes when required will result in an event of default with respect to the notes.

The fundamental change provisions in our Convertible Notes and the requirement to offer to repurchase the 8.125% Senior Notes upon a “change of control triggering event” may delay or prevent an otherwise beneficial takeover attempt of us.

The fundamental change purchase rights in the indentures governing the Convertible Notes, which will allow noteholders to require us to purchase all or a portion of their notes upon the occurrence of a fundamental change( as defined in such indentures), along with the provisions requiring an increase in the conversion rate for conversions in connection with make-whole fundamental changes may in certain circumstances delay or prevent a takeover of us and/or the removal of our incumbent management that might otherwise be beneficial to holders of our Class A common stock. In addition, the requirement to offer to repurchase the 8.125% Senior Notes upon a “change of control triggering event” may in certain circumstances delay or prevent a takeover of us and/or the removal of incumbent management that might otherwise be beneficial to investors.

Conversion of the Convertible Notes may dilute the ownership interest of existing stockholders, and sales of the underlying shares may depress the market price of our Class A common stock.

The conversion of some or all of the Convertible Notes may dilute the ownership interests of existing Class A stockholders, including as a result of any adjustment to the conversion rate on the notes due to our payment of cash dividends above a specified rate. Any sales in the public market of any shares of our Class A common stock issuable upon conversion could depress the market price of our Class A common stock.

If we elect cash settlement or a combination settlement of the 4.50% Convertible Notes, it may have adverse consequences.

In lieu of delivery of shares of our Class A common stock in satisfaction of our obligation upon conversion of the 4.50% Convertible Notes, we may settle the notes surrendered for conversion entirely in cash or in a combination of cash and shares. This feature of the 4.50% Convertible Notes may result in noteholders receiving no shares upon conversion or fewer shares relative to the conversion value of the notes, but could reduce our liquidity if we pay the conversion price in whole or in part in cash.

The accounting method for certain convertible debt securities, such as the 4.50% Convertible Notes, could have a material adverse effect on our reported financial results.

In May 2008, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued accounting guidance for convertible debt that may be settled in cash upon conversion. Under this accounting guidance, an entity must separately account for the liability and equity components of convertible debt instruments, such as our 4.50% Convertible Notes, that may be settled in cash or partially in cash upon conversion in a manner that reflects the issuer’s economic interest cost. The guidance requires the fair value of the conversion option of the 4.50% Convertible Notes to be

 

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reported as a component of stockholders’ equity and included in additional paid-in capital on our consolidated statements of financial condition. The value of the conversion option of the 4.50% Convertible Notes has been reported as a discount to the notes. We will report lower net income in our financial results because interest will include both the current period’s amortization of the debt discount (non-cash interest), as well as the instrument’s cash interest.

Intellectual Property

We may not be able to protect our intellectual property rights or may be prevented from using intellectual property necessary for our businesses.

Our success is dependent, in part, upon our intellectual property and proprietary technology. We generally rely primarily on trade secret, contract, patent, copyright, and trademark law in the U.S. and other jurisdictions as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions to establish and protect our rights to proprietary technologies, products, services or methods, and our brand. For example, we regularly file patent applications to protect inventions arising from our research and development, and we are currently pursuing patent applications around the world. We also control access to our proprietary technology, and enter into confidentiality and invention assignment agreements with our employees and consultants and confidentiality agreements with other third parties.

It is possible that third parties may copy or otherwise obtain and use our proprietary technologies without authorization or otherwise infringe on our rights despite our precautions. Unauthorized use of our intellectual property could make it more expensive to do business and harm our operating results. We cannot ensure that our intellectual property rights are sufficient to protect our competitive advantages or that any particular patent, copyright, or trademark is valid and enforceable, and all patents ultimately expire. In addition, the laws of some foreign countries may not protect our proprietary rights to the same extent as the laws in the U.S., or at all. Any significant impairment of our intellectual property rights could harm our businesses or our ability to compete. For example, reductions in the legal protection for software intellectual property rights could adversely affect our revenues.

Protecting our intellectual property rights is costly and time consuming. Many companies including those in the computer and financial services industries own large numbers of patents, copyrights, and trademarks and sometimes file lawsuits based on allegations of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights. In addition, over the past years there has been a proliferation of patents applicable to these industries and a substantial increase in the number of such patent applications filed. Under current law, U.S. patent applications typically remain secret for 18 months or, in some cases, until a patent is issued. Because of technological changes in these industries, current extensive patent coverage, and the rapid rate of issuance of new patents, it is possible certain components of our products and services may unknowingly infringe existing patents or intellectual property rights of others. Although we have taken steps to protect ourselves, there can be no assurance that we will be aware of all patents, copyrights or trademarks that may pose a risk of infringement by our products and services. Generally, it is not economically practicable to determine in advance whether our products or services may infringe the present or future rights of others.

Accordingly, we may face claims of infringement or other violations of intellectual property rights that could interfere with our ability to use intellectual property or technology that is material to our businesses. In addition, restrictions on the distribution of some of the market data generated by our brokerage desks could limit the comprehensiveness and quality of the data we are able to distribute or sell. The number of such third-party claims may grow. Our technologies may not be able to withstand such third-party claims or rights against their use.

In the future, we may have to rely on litigation to enforce our intellectual property rights, protect our trade secrets, determine the validity and scope of the proprietary rights of others or defend against claims of infringement or invalidity. Any such claims or litigation, whether successful or unsuccessful, could result in

 

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substantial costs, the diversion of resources, and the attention of management, any of which could negatively affect our businesses. Responding to these claims could also require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements with the third parties claiming infringement, stop selling or redesign affected products or services or pay damages on our own behalf or to satisfy indemnification commitments with our customers. Such royalty or licensing agreements, if available, may not be available on terms acceptable to us, and may cause operating margins to decline.

If our software licenses from third parties are terminated or adversely changed or amended or if any of these third parties were to cease doing business, our ability to operate our businesses may be materially adversely affected.

We license databases and software from third parties, much of which is integral to our systems and our businesses. The licenses are terminable if we breach our obligations under the license agreements. If any material licenses were terminated or adversely changed or amended, or if any of these third parties were to cease doing business, we may be forced to spend significant time and money to replace the licensed software and databases, and our ability to operate our businesses may be materially adversely affected. Although we take steps to locate replacements, there can be no assurance that the necessary replacements will be available on reasonable terms, if at all. There can be no assurance that we will have an ongoing license to use all intellectual property which our systems require, the failure of which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

IT Systems and Cybersecurity Risks

If we experience computer systems failures or capacity constraints, our ability to conduct our business operations could be harmed.

If we experience computer systems failures or capacity constraints, our ability to conduct our business operations could be harmed. We support and maintain many of our computer systems and networks internally. Our failure to monitor or maintain these systems and networks or, if necessary, to find a replacement for this technology in a timely and cost-effective manner would have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business operations.

Although all of our business critical systems have been designed and implemented with fault tolerant and/or redundant clustered hardware and diversely routed network connectivity, our redundant systems or disaster recovery plans may prove to be inadequate. Although we operate four geographically disparate main data centers, they could be subject to failure due to environmental factors, power outage and other factors. Additionally, the Rochelle Park, NJ data center was transferred to NASDAQ OMX in June 2013. We continue to use that data center and have the right to do so until June 2015, by which date we will need to find a suitable replacement. We may be subject to system failures and outages which might impact our revenues and relationships with customers. In addition, we will be subject to risk in the event that systems of our partners, customers or vendors are subject to failures and outages.

We rely on third parties for various computer and communications systems, such as telephone companies, online service providers, data processors, clearance organizations and software and hardware vendors. Our systems, or those of our third-party providers, may fail or operate slowly, causing one or more of the following:

 

   

unanticipated disruptions in service to our customers;

 

   

slower response times;

 

   

delays in our customers’ trade execution;

 

   

failed settlement of trades;

 

   

incomplete or inaccurate accounting, recording or processing of trades;

 

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financial losses;

 

   

litigation or other customer claims; and

 

   

regulatory sanctions.

We may experience additional systems failures in the future from power or telecommunications failures, acts of God or war, weather-related events, terrorist attacks, human error, natural disasters, fire, power loss, sabotage, cyber attacks, hardware or software malfunctions or defects, computer viruses, intentional acts of vandalism and similar events. Any system failure that causes an interruption in service or decreases the responsiveness of our service, including failures caused by customer error or misuse of our systems, could damage our reputation, business and brand name.

Malicious attacks or related failures of our operational systems or infrastructure, or those of third parties, could disrupt our businesses, result in the disclosure of confidential information, damage our reputation and cause losses.

Our businesses require us to process and monitor, on a daily basis, a very large number of transactions, many of which are highly complex, across numerous and diverse markets in many currencies. Developing and maintaining our operational systems and infrastructure is challenging, particularly as a result of rapidly evolving legal and regulatory requirements and technological shifts. Our financial, accounting, data processing or other operating and compliance systems and facilities may fail to operate properly or become disabled as a result of events that are wholly or partially beyond our control, such as a cyber attack or other unforeseen malicious or catastrophic events, which may adversely affect our ability to process these transactions or provide services.

In addition, our operations rely on the secure processing, storage and transmission of confidential and other information on our computer systems and networks. Although we take protective measures such as software programs, firewalls and similar technology to maintain the confidentiality, integrity and availability of our and our customers’ information, and endeavor to modify these protective measures as circumstances warrant, the nature of the threats continues to evolve. As a result, our computer systems, software and networks may be vulnerable to unauthorized access, loss or destruction of data (including confidential customer information), account takeovers, unavailability or disruption of service, computer viruses, acts of vandalism, or other malicious code, cyber attacks and other events that could have an adverse security impact. Despite the defensive measures we have taken, these threats may come from external factors such as governments, organized crime, hackers, and other third parties such as outsource or infrastructure-support providers and application developers, or may originate internally from within us. Given the high volume of transactions, certain errors may be repeated or compounded before they are discovered and rectified.

We also face the risk of operational disruption, failure, termination or capacity constraints of any of the third parties that facilitate our business activities, including customers, counterparties, exchanges, clearing agents, clearinghouses or other financial intermediaries. Such parties could also be the source of an attack on or breach of our operational systems, data or infrastructure.

There have been an increasing number of malicious cyber incidents in recent years in various industries, including ours. Any such cyber incidents involving our computer systems and networks, or those of third parties important to our businesses, could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

If one or more of these events or malicious attacks occurs, it could potentially jeopardize the confidential, proprietary and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, our computer systems and networks, or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in our, as well as our customers’ or other third parties’, operations, which could result in reputational damage, financial losses, regulatory penalties and/or customer dissatisfaction or loss.

 

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Natural Disasters, Terrorist Attacks, and Other Disruptions to Infrastructure May Adversely Affect Our Businesses

Our ability to conduct our businesses may be adversely impacted by catastrophic events, including natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other disruptions.

We may encounter disruptions involving power, communications, transportation or other utilities or essential services depended on by us or by third parties with whom we conduct business, such as was the case with Hurricane Sandy in 2012. This could include disruptions as the result of natural disasters, pandemics, or weather-related or similar events, such as fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods, political instability, labor strikes or turmoil or terrorist attacks. These disruptions may occur, for example, as a result of events affecting only the buildings in which we operate (such as fires), or as a result of events with a broader impact on the communities where those buildings are located. If a disruption occurs in one location and persons in that location are unable to communicate with or travel to or work from other locations, our ability to service and interact with our customers and others may suffer, and we may not be able to successfully implement contingency plans that depend on communications or travel.

Such events can result in significant injuries and loss of life, which could result in material financial liabilities, loss of business and reputational harm. They can also impact the availability and/or loss of commercial insurance policies, both for our own businesses and for those customers whose properties we manage and who may purchase their insurance through the insurance buying programs we make available to them.

There can be no assurance that the disaster recovery and crisis management procedures we employ will suffice in any particular situation to avoid a significant loss. Given that our employees are increasingly mobile and less reliant on physical presence in our offices, our disaster recovery plans increasingly rely on the availability of the Internet (including “cloud” technology) and mobile phone technology, so the disruption of those systems would likely affect our ability to recover promptly from a crisis situation. Although we maintain insurance for liability, property damage and business interruption, subject to deductibles and various exceptions, no assurance can be given that our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects will not be negatively affected by such events in the future.

Environmental Liabilities and Regulations; Climate Risks

Our operations are affected by federal, state and/or local environmental laws in the countries in which we maintain office space for our own operations and where we manage properties for clients in our Real Estate business. We may face liability with respect to environmental issues occurring at properties that we manage or occupy. Various laws and regulations restrict the levels of certain substances that may be discharged into the environment by properties or they may impose liability on current or previous real estate owners or operators for the cost of investigating, cleaning up or removing contamination caused by hazardous or toxic substances at the property. We may face costs or liabilities under these laws as a result of our role as an on-site property manager or a manager of construction projects. Within our own operation, we face additional costs from rising fuel prices which make it more expensive to power our corporate offices.

Our own operations are generally conducted within leased office building space and, accordingly, we do not currently anticipate that regulations restricting the emissions of greenhouse gases, or taxes that may be imposed on their release, would result in material costs or capital expenditures. However, we cannot be certain about the extent to which such regulations will develop as there are higher levels of understanding and commitments by different governments around the world regarding risks related to the climate and how they should be mitigated. Regulations relating to climate change may affect the scope of services we provide to clients in their managed properties, but we expect that clients would typically bear any additional costs of doing so under applicable management agreements.

 

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We anticipate that the potential effects of climate change may impact the decisions and analysis the employees in our Real Estate business make with respect to the properties they evaluate acquiring or managing on behalf of clients since climate change considerations may impact the relative desirability of locations and the cost of operating and insuring acquired properties. Future legislation that requires specific performance levels for building operations could make non-compliant buildings more expensive, which could materially affect investments in properties we have made on behalf of clients.

We also anticipate that the potential effects of climate change may impact our own operations and those of client properties we manage, especially when they are located in coastal cities. For example, during 2012 our own operations and properties we manage for clients in the northeastern United States and in particular New York City, were impacted by Hurricane Sandy, in some cases significantly.

Key Personnel and Employees

Our ability to retain our key employees and the ability of certain key employees to devote adequate time to us are critical to the success of our businesses, and failure to do so may adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our people are our most important resource. We must retain the services of our key employees and strategically recruit and hire new talented employees to obtain customer transactions that generate most of our revenues.

Howard W. Lutnick, who serves as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, is also the Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cantor and President of CFGM, the managing partner of Cantor. Stephen M. Merkel, who serves as our Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, is employed as Executive Managing Director, General Counsel and Secretary of Cantor. In addition, Messrs. Lutnick and Merkel also hold offices at various other affiliates of Cantor. These two key employees are not subject to employment agreements with us or any of our subsidiaries.

Currently, Mr. Lutnick and Mr. Merkel each spend approximately 50% of their time on our matters, although these percentages may vary depending on business developments at us or Cantor or any of our or Cantor’s affiliates. As a result, these key employees dedicate only a portion of their professional efforts to our businesses and operations, and there is no contractual obligation for them to spend a specific amount of their time with us and/or Cantor. These two key employees may not be able to dedicate adequate time to our businesses and operations, and we could experience an adverse effect on our operations due to the demands placed on our management team by their other professional obligations. In addition, these key employees’ other responsibilities could cause conflicts of interest with us.

The BGC Holdings limited partnership agreement, which includes non-competition and other arrangements applicable to our key employees who are limited partners of BGC Holdings, may not prevent our key employees, including Messrs. Lutnick and Merkel, whose employment by Cantor is not subject to these provisions in the BGC Holdings limited partnership agreement, from resigning or competing against us. In addition, our success in the Financial Services segment has largely been dependent on the efforts of Mr. Lutnick and our President, Shaun Lynn, and other executive officers and former executive officers. In the Real Estate Services segment, our success has similarly been dependent on efforts by Mr. Lutnick in connection with acquisitions and on an ongoing basis by officers and other key employees, including some who have been hired in connection with these acquisitions. Should Mr. Lutnick leave or otherwise become unavailable to render services to us, control of us would likely pass to Cantor, and indirectly pass to the then-controlling stockholder of CFGM (which is Mr. Lutnick), Cantor’s managing general partner, or to such other managing general partner as CFGM would appoint, and as a result control could remain with Mr. Lutnick. If any of our key employees in our Financial Services or Real Estate Services segments were to join an existing competitor, form a competing company, offer services to Cantor that compete with our services or otherwise leave us, some of our customers could choose to use the services of that competitor or another competitor instead of our services, which could adversely affect our revenues and as a result could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

 

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Internal Controls

If we fail to implement and maintain an effective internal control environment, our operations, reputation and stock price could suffer, we may need to restate our financial statements, and we may be delayed or prevented from accessing the capital markets.

We are subject to the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and the applicable SEC rules and regulations that require an annual management report on our internal controls over financial reporting and an attestation report by our independent registered public accounting firm on our internal controls. The management report includes, among other matters, management’s assessment of the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting.

Internal control over financial reporting, no matter how well designed, has inherent limitations. Therefore, internal controls over financial reporting determined to be effective can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and may not prevent or detect all misstatements. Due to the inherent limitations in all control systems, no evaluation of controls can provide absolute assurance that all control issues and instances of fraud, if any, have been detected. These inherent limitations include the realities that judgments in decision-making can be faulty, and that breakdowns can occur because of simple error or mistake. Additionally, controls can be circumvented by the individual acts of some persons, by collusion of two or more people, or by management override of the internal controls. Moreover, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate due to changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate. As such, we could lose investor confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports, which may have a material adverse effect on our stock price.

Our ability to identify and remediate any material weaknesses in our internal controls could affect our ability to prepare financial reports in a timely manner, control our policies, procedures, operations, and assets, assess and manage our operational, regulatory, and financial risks, and integrate our acquired businesses. Similarly, we need to effectively manage any growth that we achieve in such a way as to ensure continuing compliance with all applicable internal control, financial reporting, and legal and regulatory requirements. Any failures to ensure full compliance with internal control and financial reporting requirements could result in restatement, delay or prevent us from accessing the capital markets, and harm our reputation and the market price for our Class A common stock.

Ongoing compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as compliance with current and future regulatory control requirements, including those imposed or expected to be imposed by the FCA, may require significant expenses and divert management resources from our operations and could require a restructuring of our internal controls over financial reporting. Any such expenses, time reallocations, or restructuring could be disruptive and have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Seasonality

The financial services and commercial real estate services markets in which we operate are generally affected by seasonality, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in a given period.

Traditionally, the financial markets around the world experience lower volume during the summer and at the end of the year due to a general slowdown in the business environment around holiday seasons, and, therefore, our transaction volume levels may decrease during those periods. The timing of local holidays also affects transaction volumes.

With respect to the commercial real estate industry, revenue and profits are generally higher in the fourth quarter of each year and lower in the first quarter. This is a result of a general focus in the real estate industry on

 

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completing or documenting transactions by calendar year-end and because certain expenses are constant through the year. While the seasonality in these two segments may be offsetting, these factors could have a material effect on our results of operations in any given period.

The seasonality of our businesses makes it difficult to determine during the course of the year whether planned results will be achieved, and thus to adjust to changes in expectations. To the extent that we are not able to identify and adjust for changes in expectations or we are confronted with negative conditions that inordinately impact seasonal norms, our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected.

RISKS RELATED TO OUR FINANCIAL SERVICES SEGMENT

General Financial Services Market Conditions

Consolidation and concentration of market share in the banking, brokerage, exchange and financial services industries could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects because we may not be able to compete successfully.

In recent years, there has been substantial consolidation and convergence among companies in the banking, brokerage, exchange and financial services industries, resulting in increasingly large existing and potential competitors, and increased concentration in markets dominated by some of our largest customers. Consolidation has occurred among our broker-dealer customers, largely as a result of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. For example, Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns were acquired by J.P. Morgan Chase; Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. declared bankruptcy and its investment banking operations were largely absorbed by Barclays in the U.S. and by Nomura elsewhere; Bank of America Corp. acquired Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Countrywide Financial; and Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia. More recently, Jefferies acquired the commodity trading business of Prudential Financial, and Getco acquired Knight Capital to form KCG.

In addition, some of our large broker-dealer customers, such as UBS, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley have announced plans to reduce their sales and trading businesses in fixed income, currency, and commodities. The combination of this consolidation and the reduction by large customers of certain businesses may lead to increased concentration among our broker-dealer customers, which may reduce our ability to negotiate pricing and other matters with our customers and lower volumes. Additionally, the sales and trading global revenue market share has become increasingly concentrated over the past five years among five of the top investment banks across equities, fixed income, currencies and commodities asset classes.

We also face existing and potential competition from large exchanges, which seek or may seek to migrate trading from the inter-dealer market to their own. Consolidation is occurring in this area as well. Recently, Hong Kong Exchange and Clearing Limited acquired the London Metal Exchange while ICE completed the acquisition of NYSE Euronext. Consolidation among exchanges may increase their financial resources and ability to compete with us.

Continued consolidation in the financial services industry and especially among our customers could lead to the exertion of additional pricing pressure by our customers, impacting the commissions and spreads we generate from our brokerage services. Further, the recent consolidation among exchanges, and expansion by these exchanges into derivative and other non-equity trading markets, will increase competition for customer trades and place additional pricing pressure on commissions and spreads. These developments have increased competition from firms with potentially greater access to capital resources than we have. Finally, consolidation among our competitors other than exchange firms could result in increased resources and product or service offerings for our competitors. If we are not able to compete successfully in the future, our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected.

Actions taken by central banks in major global economies may have a negative impact on our businesses.

In recent years, policies undertaken by certain central banks, such as the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and the Bank of England, have involved quantitative easing or the buying and selling of currencies

 

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in the foreign exchange market. Quantitative easing involves open market transactions by monetary authorities to stimulate economic activity through the purchase of assets of longer maturity and has the effect of lowering interest rates further out on the yield curve.

For example, as of January 1, 2014, the U.S. Federal Reserve held close to $3.8 trillion worth of long-dated U.S. Treasury and Federal Agency securities which are not being traded or hedged. This compares to $1.7 trillion at the beginning of 2011 and zero prior to September 2008. This has reduced volatility and volumes for listed and OTC interest rate products in the U.S. Although the Federal Reserve recently lowered the amount of repurchases from $85 billion to $65 billion per month, it expects to maintain quantitative easing activity until U.S. employment is well below 6.5% or until inflation is consistently above 2.5%. Even after achieving these targets, the Federal Reserve may use traditional methods to keep short-term interest rates very low by historical standards.

Similarly, global FX volumes were muted in 2012 and 2013, largely because certain major central banks, such as those in Japan and Switzerland, intervened to keep global currencies from appreciating, and because low interest rates (themselves partially a result of quantitative easing) in most major economies make carry-trade strategies less appealing for FX market participants. In addition, increased capital requirements for banks and other financial institutions are likely to result in increased holdings of government securities, which holdings will be less likely to be traded or hedged, thus reducing further transaction volumes in those securities. Since the new capital requirements make it more expensive for the banks and other financial institutions to hold assets other than government securities, the new requirements may also reduce their trading and hedging activities in corporate and asset-backed fixed income securities as well as in various other OTC cash and derivative instruments. These central banking policies may adversely affect our businesses, particularly our rates and FX operations. In addition, many of our large bank customers have faced increasing regulatory scrutiny of their Rates and FX businesses, and this may negatively impact industry volumes.

The migration of OTC swaps to SEF markets may impact volumes, liquidity and demand for our services in certain markets.

On October 2, 2013, BGC Derivative Markets, a subsidiary of the Company, began operating our SEF Mandatory Dodd-Frank compliant execution by Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants is scheduled to commence in February 2014 for a small number of products, and in May of 2014 for others. In addition, BGC maintains its ownership stake in ELX, a CFTC approved DCM, which also includes several of the world’s largest banks as equity holders. ELX began Dodd-Frank compliant swap and swap-futures trading in the fourth quarter of 2013. Although we believe that our SEF and ELX are in compliance with applicable rules, no assurance can be given that the market for these products will not be less robust, that there may be less volume and liquidity in these markets, or that there may be less demand for our services or the market in general or that the industry will not experience disruptions as customers or market participants transition to the new system. If such events were to occur, our business in these products could be significantly reduced and our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected.

Our commodities derivatives activities, including those related to electric, natural gas and environmental interests, subject us to extensive regulation, potential catastrophic events and other risks that may result in our incurring significant costs and liabilities.

We engage in the brokerage of commodities derivatives, including those involving electric power and natural gas, and related products and indices. These activities subject us or our customers to extensive and evolving federal, state and local and foreign commodities, energy, environmental, and other governmental laws and regulations and may result in our incurring significant costs and liabilities.

 

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We or our clients may incur substantial costs in complying with current or future laws and regulations relating to our commodities-related activities, including trading of electric, natural gas, and environmental interests. New regulation of OTC derivatives markets in the U.S. and similar legislation proposed or adopted abroad will impose significant new costs and new requirements on the commodities derivatives activities of us and our customers. We or our customers may incur substantial costs or loss of revenues in complying with current or future laws and regulations, and the overall reputation of us or our clients may be adversely affected by the current or future regulatory environment. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may result in substantial civil and criminal penalties and fines for market participants.

The commodities-related activities of us and our clients are also subject to the risk of unforeseen catastrophic events, many of which are outside of our control, which could result in significant liabilities for us or our customers. We may not be able to obtain insurance to cover these risks, and the insurance that we have may be inadequate to cover our liabilities. The occurrence of any of such events may prevent us from performing under our agreements with customers, may impair our operations, and may result in litigation, regulatory action, negative publicity or other reputational harm, which could have a negative effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Regulatory/Legal

The financial services industry in which we operate is subject to significant regulation. We are subject to regulatory capital requirements on our regulated businesses, and a significant operating loss or any extraordinary charge against capital could adversely affect our ability to expand or, depending upon the magnitude of the loss or charge, even to maintain the current level of our businesses.

Many aspects of our businesses, like those of other financial intermediary firms, are subject to significant capital requirements. In the U.S., the SEC, FINRA and various other regulatory bodies (including the CFTC and the National Futures Association (the “NFA”)) have stringent provisions with respect to capital applicable to the operation of brokerage firms, which vary depending upon the nature and extent of the broker-dealer’s activities. FCMs, such as our subsidiary, BGC Financial, L.P. (“BGCF”), are also subject to CFTC capital requirements. In addition, we hold a 49% limited partnership interest in Aqua, a U.S. registered broker-dealer. These broker-dealers are subject to SEC, FINRA, CFTC and NFA net capital requirements.

Our international operations are also subject to capital requirements. BGC Brokers L.P. and BGC European Holdings, L.P., which are partnerships based in the U.K., are currently subject to capital requirements established by the FCA, the main statutory regulator for the U.K. financial services industry. The FCA applies stringent provisions with respect to capital applicable to the operation of these brokerage firms, which vary depending upon the nature and extent of their activities. The provisions relating to capital and liquidity requirements enforced by the FCA have undergone significant change, and our U.K. businesses are now required to maintain significantly higher regulatory levels of capital than they have in the past.

In addition, the majority of our other foreign subsidiaries are subject to similar regulation by the relevant authorities in the countries in which they do business. These regulations often include minimum capital requirements, which are subject to change. Similar requirements are applied to certain of our other subsidiaries that are regulated in other countries, such as Australia, France and Hong Kong. Further, we may become subject to capital requirements in other foreign jurisdictions in which we currently operate or in which we may enter.

We expect to continue to maintain levels of capital in excess of regulatory minima. Should we fail to maintain the required capital, we may be required to reduce or suspend our broker-dealer operations during the period that we are not in compliance with capital requirements, and may be subject to suspension or revocation of registration or withdrawal of authorization or other disciplinary action from domestic and international regulators, which would have a material adverse effect on us. In addition, should we fail to maintain the capital required by clearing organizations of which we are a member, our ability to clear through those clearing organizations may be impaired, which may adversely affect our ability to process trades.

 

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If the capital rules are changed or expanded, or if there is an unusually large charge against capital, our operations that require the intensive use of capital would be limited. Our ability to withdraw capital from our regulated subsidiaries is subject to restrictions, which, in turn, could limit our ability to pay our indebtedness and other expenses, dividends on our Class A common stock, and distributions on our BGC Holdings limited partnership interests, and to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock or purchase BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, including from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners and others, and pursue strategic acquisitions or other growth opportunities. We cannot predict our future capital needs or our ability to obtain additional financing. No assurance can be given that capital levels will remain stable or that we will not incur substantial expenses in connection with maintaining current or increased capital levels or engaging in business restructurings or other activities in response to these requirements.

In addition, financial intermediary firms are subject to numerous conflicts of interests or perceived conflicts, including for example principal trading and trading to make markets. We have adopted various policies, controls and procedures to address or limit actual or perceived conflicts, and we will regularly seek to review and update our policies, controls and procedures. However, these policies, controls and procedures may result in increased costs and additional operational personnel. Failure to adhere to these policies, controls and procedures may result in regulatory sanctions or customer claims.

Our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be adversely affected by new laws or regulations or by changes in existing laws or regulations or the application thereof.

The financial services industry, in general, is heavily regulated. Proposals for additional legislation further regulating the financial services industry are periodically introduced in the U.S., the EU and other geographic areas. Moreover, the agencies regulating the financial services industry also periodically adopt changes to their rules and regulations, particularly as these agencies have increased the focus and intensity of their regulation of the financial services industry.

Changes in legislation and in the rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC, FINRA, the CFTC, the U.S. Treasury, the FCA and other domestic and international regulators and self-regulatory organizations, as well as changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules, often directly affect the method of operation and profitability of broker-dealers and could result in restrictions in the way we conduct our business. For example, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Treasury, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, SEC and the CFTC are continuing to review the nature and scope of their regulation and oversight of the government securities markets and U.S. markets. In Europe, proposals of revisions to the original MiFID are currently underway. Therefore, uncertainties resulting from the possibility of additional legislation and/or regulation, could adversely impact our businesses. Failure to comply with any of these laws, rules or regulations could result in fines, penalties, restrictions or limitations on business activity, suspension or expulsion from the industry, any of which could have a material adverse effect upon us.

In light of recent events in the U.S. and global financial markets and economy, regulators and legislators in the U.S. and EU continue to craft new laws and regulations for the global OTC derivatives markets, including the Dodd-Frank Act that became law in July 2010. The Dodd-Frank Act mandates or encourages several reforms regarding derivatives, including new regulations for swaps markets creating impartiality considerations, additional pre- and post-trade transparency requirements and heightened collateral or capital standards, as well as recommendations for the obligatory use of central clearing for most standardized derivatives. The law also requires that standardized derivatives be traded in an open and non-exclusionary manner on a regulated exchange or a SEF. In July 2013, the European Commission and the CFTC announced the “Path Forward” on the alignment of OTC derivatives regulations between the two jurisdictions. For the EU, this involves the implementation of the European Market Infrastructure Regulation and proposed amendments to MiFID. The SEC, the CFTC and the European Commission are still in the process of finalizing rules for the implementation of these requirements. The actual implementation of any such rules may be phased in over a longer period. There

 

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can be no guarantee that the final rules will not negatively impact our volumes or revenues or fundamentally alter the historical relationship between OTC wholesale brokers and our clients, which may have an adverse effect on us.

Similarly, while the recently adopted Volcker Rule will not apply directly to us, once effective, the Volcker Rule may have a material impact on many of the banking and other institutions with which we do business or compete. There may be a continued uncertainty regarding the application of the Volcker Rule, its impact on various affected businesses, how those businesses will respond to it, and the effect that it will have on the markets in which we do business.

Other regulatory initiatives include Basel III (or the Third Basel Accord), a global regulatory standard on bank capital adequacy, stress testing and market liquidity risk scheduled to be introduced by bank regulators in most, if not all, of the world’s major economies between 2013 and 2019. Basel III is designed to strengthen bank capital requirements and introduces new regulatory requirements on bank liquidity and bank leverage. The adoption of these proposed rules could restrict the ability of our large bank and broker-dealer customers to raise additional capital and liquidity. As a result, their businesses, results of operations, financial condition or prospects could be adversely affected, which might cause them to do less business. Such potential impact could adversely affect the revenues and profitability of our Financial Services segment.

In the U.K., the FCA has continued to implement the far-reaching reform rules initiated by the FSA that are designed to enhance firms’ liquidity risk management practices, based on the lessons learned since the start of the recent credit crisis in 2007, as well as a regulatory model with a clear internal separation of conduct of business and prudential regulation. Implications of these rules include better liquidity in risk management capability (including the use of stress testing and contingency funding plans), less reliance on short-term wholesale funding, and higher amounts and quality of liquid asset securities (government securities), leading to an increased likelihood of surviving a severe liquidity stress event, the overarching principles being self-sufficiency and adequacy of liquid resources. Currently, we have subsidiaries and branches regulated by the FCA (BGC Brokers L.P., and the U.K. branch of Aurel BGC).

Further, the authorities of certain EU countries may from time to time institute changes to tax law that, if applicable to us, could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Similarly, the current U.S. administration has proposed a series of changes to U.S. tax law, some of which could apply to us. It is not possible to predict if any of these new provisions will be enacted or, if they are, what form they may take. It is possible that one or more of such provisions could negatively impact our costs and our effective tax rate, which would affect our after-tax earnings. If any of such changes to tax law were implemented and/or deemed to apply to us, they could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, including on our ability to attract, compensate and retain executives and brokers.

We believe that uncertainty and potential delays around the final form such new laws and regulations might take may negatively impact trading volumes in certain markets in which we transact. Increased capital requirements may also diminish transaction velocity. While the broad framework of currently proposed laws and regulations is known, we believe that it is too early for there to be clarity on the specific aspects of the U.S. and EU proposals which may directly impact our businesses as some proposals have not yet been finalized. Additionally, unintended consequences of the laws and regulations may adversely affect us in ways yet to be determined. We are unable to predict how any of these new laws, rules, regulations and proposals will be implemented or in what form, or whether any additional or similar changes to laws or regulations, including the interpretation or implementation thereof, will occur in the future. Any such action could affect us in substantial and unpredictable ways and could have an adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

 

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Extensive regulation of our businesses restricts and limits our operations and activities and results in ongoing exposure to potential significant costs and penalties, including fines, sanctions, enhanced oversight, increased financial and capital requirements, and additional restrictions or limitations on our ability to conduct or grow our businesses.

The financial services industry, including our businesses, is subject to extensive regulation, which is very costly. The requirements imposed by regulators are designed to ensure the integrity of the financial markets and to protect customers and other third parties who deal with us and are not designed to protect our stockholders. These regulations will often serve to restrict or limit our operations and activities, including through capital, customer protection and market conduct requirements.

Our businesses are subject to regulation by governmental and self-regulatory organizations in the jurisdictions in which we operate around the world. Many of these regulators, including U.S. and non-U.S. government agencies and self-regulatory organizations, as well as state securities commissions in the U.S., are empowered to bring enforcement actions and to conduct administrative proceedings and examinations, inspections, and investigations, which may result in costs, penalties, fines, enhanced oversight, additional requirements, restrictions, or limitations, and censure, suspension, or expulsion. Self-regulatory organizations such as FINRA and the NFA, along with statutory bodies such as the SEC, the CFTC, FINRA, and the FCA, and other international regulators, require strict compliance with their rules and regulations.

Firms in the financial services industry, including us, have experienced increased scrutiny in recent years, and penalties, fines and other sanctions sought by regulatory authorities, including the SEC, the CFTC, FINRA, the NFA, state securities commissions and state attorneys general in the U.S., and the FCA in the U.K. and other international regulators, have increased accordingly. This trend toward a heightened regulatory and enforcement environment can be expected to continue for the foreseeable future, and this environment may create uncertainty.

From time to time, we have been and are subject to periodic examinations, inspections and investigations, including periodic risk assessment and related reviews of our U.K. group, the most recent of which took place in 2012. Throughout 2011 and 2012, and following a periodic risk assessment review by the FSA, BGC European Holdings, L.P., and its regulated subsidiary BGC Brokers L.P., embarked on a major review of its liquidity and capital, and control environment, pursuant to which we assessed the appropriateness of the scope and structure of the businesses in our U.K. group. We increased the liquidity and capital levels of certain of our U.K. group’s regulated businesses, and also reviewed and enhanced our policies and procedures relating to assessing risks and our liquidity and capital requirements. We also produced detailed contingency planning steps to determine the standalone viability of each of the businesses in our U.K. group as well as a theoretical orderly wind-down scenario for these businesses. Currently, at the request of the FCA, the U.K. group is continuing to enhance and embed certain aspects of its financial crime prevention framework, its operational risk framework, and its governance structures. The U.K. group anticipates that the FCA will review this work at some point during 2014, and that review may include a Skilled Person’s report.

These activities have resulted, and may in the future result, in significant costs and remediation expenses, and possible disciplinary actions by the SEC, the CFTC, the FCA, self-regulatory organizations and state securities administrators and have impacted, and may impact in the future, our acquisitions of regulated businesses or entry into new business lines.

The brokerage and financial services industries in general face substantial regulatory and litigation risks that may result in damages as well as costs, and we may face damage to our professional reputation and legal liability if our services are not regarded as satisfactory or for other reasons, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Many aspects of our current businesses involve substantial risks of liability. The expansion of our businesses, including into new areas, imposes additional risks of liability.

 

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In the normal course of business, we have been a party to investigations, administrative proceedings, lawsuits, arbitrations and other actions involving primarily claims for damages. Examinations, inspections, regulatory inquiries and subpoenas or other requests for information or testimony may cause us to incur significant expenses, including fees for legal representation and other professional advisors and costs associated with document production and remediation efforts. Such regulatory or other actions may also be directed at certain executives or employees who may be critical to our businesses or to particular brokerage desks. The risks associated with such matters often may be difficult to assess or quantify, and their existence and magnitude often remain unknown for substantial periods of time.

A settlement of, or judgment related to, any such matters could result in civil or criminal liability, penalties, fines, restrictions or limitations on our operations and activities and other sanctions and could otherwise have a material adverse effect on our businesses, results of operations, financial condition and prospects. Any such action could also cause us significant reputational harm, which, in turn, could seriously harm us. In addition, regardless of the outcome of such matters, we may incur significant legal and other costs, including substantial management time, dealing with such matters, even if we are not a party to the litigation or a target of the inquiry.

In our Financial Services segment, we depend to a large extent on our relationships with our customers and our reputation for integrity and high-caliber professional services to attract and retain customers. As a result, if our customers are not satisfied with our services, such dissatisfaction may be more damaging to our Financial Services businesses than to other types of businesses. Substantial legal liability or significant regulatory action against us could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, or cause significant reputational damage to us, which could seriously harm us.

In addition, financial intermediary firms are subject to numerous conflicts of interests or perceived conflicts, including for example principal trading and trading to make markets. We have adopted various policies, controls and procedures to address or limit actual or perceived conflicts, and we will regularly seek to review and update our policies, controls and procedures. However, these policies, controls and procedures may result in increased costs and additional operational personnel. Failure to adhere to these policies, controls and procedures may result in regulatory sanctions or customer liability.

Competition

Because competition for the services of brokers is intense, it could affect our ability to attract and retain a sufficient number of highly skilled brokers or other professional services personnel, in turn adversely impacting our revenues, resulting in a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our ability to provide high-quality brokerage and other professional services and maintain long-term relationships with our customers depends, in large part, upon our brokers and other professionals. As a result, we must attract and retain highly qualified personnel.

In recent years, we have significantly grown the number of brokers in our businesses through new hires and acquisitions of existing businesses, and we expect to continue to do so in the future. Competition for the services of brokers is intense, especially for brokers with experience in the specialized businesses in which we participate or we may seek to enter. If we are unable to hire or retain highly qualified brokers, including retaining those employed by businesses we acquire in the future, we may not be able to enter new brokerage markets or develop new products or services. If we lose one or more of our brokers in a particular market in which we participate, our revenues may decrease and we may lose market share.

In addition, recruitment and retention of qualified brokers could result in substantial additional costs. We have been and are currently a party to, or otherwise involved in, several lawsuits and arbitrations involving competitor claims in connection with employee hires and/or departures. We may also pursue our rights through litigation when competitors hire our employees who are under contract with us. We believe such proceedings are

 

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common in the financial services industry due to its highly competitive nature. An adverse settlement or judgment related to these or similar types of claims could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Regardless of the outcome of these claims, we generally incur significant costs and substantial management time in dealing with them.

If we fail to attract new personnel, or fail to retain and motivate our current personnel, or if we incur increased costs or restrictions associated with attracting and retaining personnel (such as lawsuits, arbitrations, sign-on or guaranteed bonuses or forgivable loans), our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected.

We face strong competition from brokerages, broker-dealers, financial services firms, and exchanges, many of which have greater market presence, marketing capabilities and financial, technological and personnel resources than we have, which could lead to pricing pressures that could adversely impact our revenues and as a result could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.

The financial services industry is intensely competitive, and is expected to remain so. In our Financial Services segment, we primarily compete with four major, diversified inter-dealer brokers and financial intermediaries. These inter-dealer brokers are ICAP plc, Tullett Prebon plc, GFI Group Inc. and Compagnie Financière Tradition (which is majority owned by Viel & Cie), all of which are currently publicly traded companies. Other inter-dealer broker and financial intermediary competitors include a number of smaller, privately-held firms that tend to specialize in specific products and services or geographic areas.

We also compete with companies that provide alternative products and services, such as contracts traded on futures exchanges, and trading processes, such as the direct dealer-to-dealer market for government securities and stock exchange markets for corporate equities, debt and other securities. We increasingly compete with exchanges for the execution of trades in certain products, mainly in derivatives such as futures, swaps, options and options on futures. Certain exchanges have made and will likely continue to make attempts to move certain OTC-traded products to exchange-based execution. We also compete with consortia, such as those operated by Tradeweb, which are created or funded from time to time by banks, broker-dealers and other companies involved in financial services, such as Thomson Reuters Corporation, to compete in various markets with exchanges and inter-dealer brokers. In addition, financial data firms such as Thomson Reuters Corporation and Bloomberg L.P. operate trading platforms for both OTC and listed products, and may attempt to compete with us for trade execution in the future.

Some of our competitors have greater market presence, marketing capabilities and financial, technological and personnel resources than we have and, as a result, our competitors may be able to:

 

   

develop and expand their network infrastructures and product and service offerings more efficiently or more quickly than we can;

 

   

adapt more swiftly to new or emerging technologies and changes in customer requirements;

 

   

identify and consummate acquisitions and other opportunities more effectively than we can;

 

   

hire our brokers and other key employees;

 

   

devote greater resources to the marketing and sale of their products and services;

 

   

more effectively leverage existing relationships with customers and strategic partners or exploit more recognized brand names to market and sell their products and services;

 

   

provide a lower cost structure and lower commissions and fees;

 

   

provide access to trading in products or a range of products that at any particular time we do not offer; and

 

   

develop services that are preferred by our customers.

 

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In addition, new competitors may emerge and our product and service lines may be threatened by new technologies or market trends that reduce the value of our existing product and service lines. If we are not able to compete successfully in the future, our revenues could be adversely impacted and as a result our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected.

Competition for financial brokerage transactions also has resulted in substantial commission discounting by brokers that compete with us for our brokerage business. Further discounting could adversely impact our revenues and margins and as a result could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our operations also include the sale of pricing and transactional information produced by our brokerage operations to securities information processors and/or vendors. There is a high degree of competition in pricing and transaction reporting products and services, and such businesses may become more competitive in the future. Competitors and customers of our financial brokerage businesses have together and individually offered market information products and services in competition with those offered and expected to be offered by us.

International Operations Risks

We are generally subject to various risks inherent in doing business in the international securities markets, in addition to those unique to the regulated brokerage industry, and any failure to identify and manage those risks could adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We currently provide products and services to customers in many foreign countries, and we may seek to further expand our operations into additional jurisdictions. On a consolidated basis, revenues from foreign countries were $758.0 million or 65.1% of total revenues in our Financial Services segment for the year ended December 31, 2013. In many countries, the laws and regulations applicable to the securities and financial services industries are uncertain and evolving, and it may be difficult for us to determine the exact requirements of local laws in every jurisdiction. Our inability to remain in compliance with local laws and regulations in a particular foreign jurisdiction could have a significant and negative effect not only on our businesses in that market but also on our reputation generally. If we are unable to manage any of these risks effectively, our businesses could be adversely affected.

There are also certain additional political, economic, legal, operational and other risks inherent in doing business in international securities markets, particularly in the regulated brokerage industry. These risks include:

 

   

less developed automation in exchanges, depositories and national clearing systems;

 

   

additional or unexpected changes in regulatory requirements, capital requirements, tariffs and other trade barriers;

 

   

the impact of the laws and regulations of foreign governmental and regulatory authorities of each country in which we conduct business;

 

   

possible nationalization, expropriation and regulatory, political and price controls;

 

   

difficulties in staffing and managing international operations;

 

   

capital controls, exchange controls and other restrictive governmental actions;

 

   

any failure to develop effective compliance and reporting systems, which could result in regulatory penalties in the applicable jurisdiction;

 

   

fluctuations in currency exchange rates;

 

   

reduced protections for intellectual property rights;

 

   

adverse labor and employment laws, including those related to compensation, tax, health insurance and benefits, and social security;

 

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outbreak of hostilities; and

 

   

potentially adverse tax consequences arising from compliance with foreign laws and regulations to which our international businesses are subject.

Credit Risk

Credit rating downgrades or defaults by us, Cantor or another large financial institution could adversely affect us or financial markets generally.

The commercial soundness of many financial institutions may be closely interrelated as a result of credit, trading, clearing or other relationships between the institutions. For example, we rely on Cantor as our clearing agent under the Clearing Agreement for certain securities transactions, primarily U.S. government securities, while we self-clear certain other products. A default by one of our customers could lead to liquidity concerns in our business and, to the extent that Cantor or another entity that clears for us has difficulty meeting capital requirements or otherwise meeting its obligations, we may need to provide our own liquidity.

As a result, concerns about, or a default or threatened default by, one institution could lead to significant market-wide liquidity problems, losses or defaults by other institutions. This is sometimes referred to as “systemic risk” and may adversely affect financial intermediaries, such as clearing agencies, clearing houses, banks, securities firms and exchanges, with which we interact on a daily basis, and therefore could adversely affect us. Similarly, our vendors, including insurance companies and other providers, are subject to normal business risks as well as risks related to U.S. and international economic and market conditions. Failure of any of these vendor institutions could also adversely affect us.

The credit ratings and associated outlooks of firms in our financial services industries, including us, may be critical to their reputation and operational and financial success. A firm’s credit ratings and associated outlooks are influenced by a number of factors, including but not limited to: operating environment, earnings and profitability trends, the prudence of funding and liquidity management practices, balance sheet size/composition and resulting leverage, cash flow coverage of interest, composition and size of the capital base, available liquidity, outstanding borrowing levels, the firm’s competitive position in the industry and its relationship with other firms. A credit rating and/or the associated outlook can be revised upward or downward at any time by a rating agency if such rating agency decides that circumstances of that firm or related firms warrant such a change. Any reduction in credit ratings and/or the associated outlook could adversely affect the availability of debt financing on acceptable terms, as well as the cost and other terms upon which any such financing can be obtained. In addition, credit ratings and associated outlooks may be important to customers or counterparties in certain markets and in certain transactions. Additional collateral may be required in the event of a credit ratings or outlook downgrade.

Our financial services activities are subject to credit and performance risks, which could result in us incurring significant losses that could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our activities are subject to credit and performance risks. For example, our customers may not deliver securities to one of our operating subsidiaries which has sold those securities to another customer. If the securities due to be delivered have increased in value, there is a risk that we may have to expend our own funds in connection with the purchase of other securities to consummate the transaction. While we will take steps to ensure that our customers and counterparties have high credit standings and that financing transactions are adequately collateralized, the large dollar amounts that may be involved in our broker-dealer and financing transactions could subject us to significant losses if, as a result of customer or counterparty failures to meet commitments, we were to incur significant costs in liquidating or covering our positions in the open market.

We have adopted policies and procedures to identify, monitor and manage credit risk, in both agency and principal transactions, through reporting and control procedures and by monitoring credit standards applicable to

 

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our customers and counterparties. These policies and procedures, however, may not be fully effective, particularly against fraud, unauthorized trading and similar incidents. Some of these risk management methods depend upon the evaluation of information regarding markets, customers or other matters that are publicly available or otherwise accessible by us. That information may not, in all cases, be accurate, complete, up-to-date or properly evaluated. If our policies and procedures are not fully effective or we are not always successful in monitoring or evaluating the risks to which we are, or may be, exposed, our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects could be materially adversely affected. In addition, our insurance policies do not provide coverage for these risks.

Transactions executed on a matched principal basis where the instrument has the same or similar characteristics to the counterparty may expose us to correlation risk. In this case, the counterparty’s inability to meet its obligations will also result in the value of the instrument declining. For example, if we were to enter into a transaction to sell to a customer a bond or structured note where the issuer or credit support provider was such customer’s affiliate, the value of the instrument would decline in value in tandem with the default. This correlation has the effect of magnifying the credit loss.

We are subject to financing risk in these circumstances because, if a transaction does not settle on a timely basis, the resulting unmatched position may need to be financed, either directly by us or through one of the clearing organizations, at our expense. These charges may be recoverable from the failing counterparty, but sometimes they are not. In addition, in instances where the unmatched position or failure to deliver is prolonged or widespread due to rapid or widespread declines in liquidity for an instrument, there may also be regulatory capital charges required to be taken by us, which, depending on their size and duration, could limit our business flexibility or even force the curtailment of those portions of our businesses requiring higher levels of capital. Credit or settlement losses of this nature could adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Declines in the financial markets have also led to the exposure of several cases of financial fraud. If we were to have trading activity on an agency or principal basis with an entity engaged in defrauding investors or counterparties, we could bear the risk that the counterparty would not have the financial resources to meet their obligations, resulting in a credit loss. Similarly, we may engage in financial transactions with third parties that have been victims of financial fraud that may not have the financial resources to meet their obligations to us.

In agency transactions, we charge a commission for connecting buyers and sellers and assisting in the negotiation of the price and other material terms of the transaction. After all material terms of a transaction are agreed upon, we identify the buyer and seller to each other and leave them to settle the trade directly. We are exposed to credit risk for commissions, as we bill customers for our agency brokerage services. Our customers may default on their obligations to us due to disputes, bankruptcy, lack of liquidity, operational failure or other reasons. Any losses arising from such defaults could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

In emerging market countries, we primarily conduct our financial services businesses on an agency and matched principal basis, where the risk of counterparty default, inconvertibility events and sovereign default is greater than in more developed countries.

We enter into transactions in cash and derivative instruments primarily on an agency and matched principal basis with counterparties domiciled in countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Transactions with these counterparties are generally in instruments or contracts of sovereign or corporate issuers located in the same country as the counterparty. This exposes us to a higher degree of sovereign or convertibility risk than in more developed countries.

In addition, these risks may entail correlated risks. A correlated risk arises when the counterparty’s inability to meet its obligations also corresponds to a decline in the value of the instrument traded. In the case of a

 

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sovereign convertibility event or outright default, the counterparty to the trade may be unable to pay or transfer payment of an instrument purchased out of the country when the value of the instrument has declined due to the default or convertibility event.

The recent global financial crisis has heightened the risk of sovereign or convertibility events in emerging markets similar to the events that occurred in previous financial downturns. Our risk management function monitors the creditworthiness of emerging countries and counterparties on an ongoing basis and, when the risk of inconvertibility or sovereign default is deemed to be too great, correlated transactions or all transactions may be restricted or suspended. However, there can be no assurance that these procedures will be effective in controlling these risks.

Concentration and Market Risk

Our Financial Services operations are substantially concentrated on rates products and could be significantly affected by any downturn or negative fluctuations in the rates product market.

We offer our financial services in four broad product categories: rates, credit, foreign exchange and equity and other asset classes. However, our financial services brokerage revenues are substantially derived from our rates products, which accounted for approximately 44.7% of our total financial services brokerage revenues on a consolidated basis for the year ended December 31, 2013. While we focus on expanding and diversifying our product offerings, we are currently exposed to any adverse change or condition affecting the rates product market. Accordingly, the concentration of our businesses on rates products subjects our results to a greater market risk than if we had more diversified product offerings.

Due to our current customer concentration, a loss of one or more of our significant customers could harm our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

For the year ended December 31, 2013, on a consolidated basis, our top 10 Financial Services customers collectively, accounted for approximately 20.1% of our total revenues. We have limited long-term contracts with certain of these customers. If we were to lose one or more of these significant customers for any reason, including the recent consolidation in the financial services industry, and not be compensated for such loss by doing additional business with other customers or by adding new customers, our revenues would decline significantly and our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects would suffer.

Our financial services revenues and profitability could be reduced or otherwise adversely affected by pricing plans relating to commissions and fees on our trading platform.

We negotiate from time to time with certain customers (including many of our largest customers) to enter into customized volume discount pricing plans. While the pricing plans are designed to encourage customers to be more active on our electronic trading platform, they reduce the amount of commissions and fees payable to us by certain of our most active customers for certain products, which could reduce our revenues and constrain our profitability. From time to time, these pricing plans come up for renewal. Failure of a number of our larger customers to enter into renewed agreements, or agreements on terms as favorable as existing agreements, could have a material adverse effect on volumes on our electronic trading platform, the commissions payable to us, our revenues and our profitability.

Reduced spreads in securities pricing, levels of trading activity and trading through market makers and/or specialists could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Computer-generated buy/sell programs and other technological advances and regulatory changes in the marketplace may continue to tighten securities spreads. In addition, new and enhanced alternative trading systems, such as electronic communications networks, have emerged as alternatives for individual and

 

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institutional investors, as well as broker-dealers. As such systems do not direct trades through market makers, their use could result in reduced revenues for us or for our customers. In addition, reduced trading levels could lead to lower revenues which could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We have market risk exposure from unmatched principal transactions entered into by some of our desks, as well as holdings of marketable equity securities, which could result in losses and have a disproportionate effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects for any particular reporting period. In addition, financial fraud or unauthorized trading activity could also impact our businesses, financial condition, results of operations or prospects.

On a limited basis, our desks enter into unmatched principal transactions in the ordinary course of business to facilitate transactions, add liquidity, improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue opportunities and attract additional order flow or in certain instances as the result of an error and, in a limited number of instances and subject to risk management limits, for the purpose of proprietary trading. As a result, we have market risk exposure on these unmatched principal transactions.

Market risk refers to the risk that a change in the level of one or more market prices, rates, indices, implied volatilities (the price volatility of the underlying instrument imputed from option prices), correlations or other market factors, such as market liquidity, will result in losses for a position. Our exposure varies based on the size of the overall position, the terms and liquidity of the instruments brokered and the amount of time the position is held before we dispose of the position. This exposure could be more significant in the event that any unauthorized trading activity, financial fraud or similar incidents were to occur.

All of our fully-electronic trades settle for clearing purposes against CF&Co, an affiliate of the Company. CF&Co is a member of FINRA and the FICC. We, CF&Co and other of Cantor’s and our affiliates participate in U.S. Treasuries as well as other markets by posting quotations for our accounts and by acting as principal. Such activity is intended, among other things, to assist us, CF&Co, Cantor and other affiliates in managing proprietary positions (including, but not limited to, those established as a result of combination trades and errors), facilitating transactions, framing markets, adding liquidity, increasing commissions and attracting order flow.

From a risk management perspective, we monitor risk on an end-of-day basis, and desk managers generally monitor such exposure on a continuous basis. Any unmatched positions are intended to be disposed of in the short term. However, due to a number of factors, including the nature of the position and access to the markets on which we trade, we may not be able to match the position or effectively hedge its exposure and often may be forced to hold a position overnight that has not been hedged. To the extent these unmatched positions are not disposed of intra-day, we mark these positions to market. Adverse movements in the securities underlying these positions or a downturn or disruption in the markets for these positions could result in a loss.

In the event of any unauthorized trading activity or financial fraud that is not detected by management, it is possible that these unmatched positions could be outstanding for a long period. At the time of any sales and settlements of these positions, the price we ultimately realize will depend on the demand and liquidity in the market at that time and may be materially lower than their current fair values. In addition, our estimates or determinations of the values of our various positions, assets or businesses are subject to the accuracy of our assumptions and the valuation models or multiples used. Any principal losses and gains resulting from these positions could on occasion have disproportionate effects, negative or positive, on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects for any particular reporting period.

We may not be able to realize the full value of the NASDAQ OMX Transaction, which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition results of operations and prospects and cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline.

On June 28, 2013, we sold our on-the-run, electronic benchmark U.S. Treasury platform to The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (“NASDAQ OMX”). The total consideration consisted of $750 million in cash, plus an earn-

 

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out of up to 14,883,705 shares of NASDAQ OMX common stock to be paid ratably over 15 years, provided that NASDAQ OMX, as a whole, produces at least $25 million in gross revenues each year. Of the 14,883,705 shares, 992,247 shares have been received and 13,891,458 shares remain to be earned.

This earn-out presents market risk as the value of consideration related to the NASDAQ OMX shares is subject to fluctuations based on the NASDAQ OMX common stock share price. Therefore, if NASDAQ OMX were to experience financial difficulties or a significant downturn, we may be unable to realize the full value of the NASDAQ OMX Transaction, which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, results of operations and financial condition, and could cause the price of our Class A common stock to decline.

While we seek to minimize the effect of price changes on the NASDAQ OMX shares we hold through the use of derivative contracts and have entered into a hedge with respect to the first installment of shares, no assurance can be given that we will be able to enter into hedging activities that will adequately protect us from our exposure, or that the costs of such hedging activities will not be significant. Further, any such hedging activities and other risk management techniques may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risk, including unpredicted price movements, counterparty defaults or other risks that are unidentified or unanticipated. Any such events could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

In addition, there is no assurance that we will be successful in employing any consideration that we have and will receive, including the earn-out, from the NASDAQ OMX Transaction in such a way as to provide a net benefit to us compared to the revenues, profit margins, and cash flows represented by the assets that we sold in the NASDAQ OMX Transaction. While we intend to use that consideration in ways that will be beneficial to us and our businesses, including in continuing to seek to grow the portion of the electronic platform that we retained and to make acquisitions, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in doing so, or that our failure to do so will not have an adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

We may also face credit, market and other risks in connection with the temporary or longer-term investment of our available cash, including that received from the NASDAQ OMX Transaction pending our use of the proceeds of that Transaction in our businesses, such as the risk of defaults or impairments of our investments and cash management vehicles. Such investments and cash management vehicles may be with or placed or recommended to us by Cantor and its affiliates, including CF&Co. Finally, we may face challenges in replacing the technical expertise and experience of employees who were transferred to NASDAQ OMX in connection with the NASDAQ OMX Transaction.

Other General Financial Services Segment Risks

Our Financial Services operations are global and exchange rate fluctuations and international market events impact our results.

Because our Financial Services operations are global, we are exposed to risks associated with changes in foreign exchange rates. Changes in foreign currency rates create volatility in the U.S. dollar equivalent of revenues and expenses, in particular with regard to British Pounds and Euros. In addition, changes in the remeasurement of our foreign currency denominated net assets are recorded as part of our results of operations and fluctuate with changes in foreign currency rates. We monitor our net exposure in foreign currencies and markets on a daily basis and hedge our exposure as deemed appropriate with highly rated major financial institutions. However, potential movements in the U.S. dollar against other currencies in which we earn revenues could adversely affect our financial results.

Furthermore, our revenues derived from non-U.S. operations are subject to risk of loss from social or political instability, changes in government policies or policies of central banks, downgrades in the credit ratings of sovereign countries, expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and unfavorable legislative and political developments in such non-U.S. jurisdictions. Revenues from the trading of non-U.S. securities may be

 

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subject to negative fluctuations as a result of the above factors. The impact of these fluctuations on our results could be magnified because generally non-U.S. trading markets, particularly in emerging market countries, are smaller, less liquid and more volatile than U.S. trading markets.

Employee misconduct, fraud, miscommunication or error could harm us by impairing our ability to attract and retain customers and subjecting us to significant financial losses, legal liability, regulatory sanctions and penalties and reputational harm; moreover, misconduct is difficult to detect and deter, and error is difficult to prevent.

Employee misconduct, fraud or error could subject us to financial losses, legal liability, and regulatory sanctions and penalties and could seriously harm our reputation and negatively affect us. Misconduct or fraud by employees could include engaging in improper or unauthorized transactions or activities, failing to properly supervise other employees or improperly using confidential information.

Employee errors and miscommunication, including mistakes in executing, recording or processing transactions for customers, could cause us to enter into transactions that customers may disavow and refuse to settle, which could expose us to the risk of material losses even if the errors and miscommunication are detected and the transactions are unwound or reversed. If our customers are not able to settle their transactions on a timely basis, the time in which employee errors and miscommunication are detected may be increased and our risk of material loss could be increased. The risk of employee error and miscommunication may be greater for products or services that are new or have non-standardized terms.

It is not always possible to deter and detect employee misconduct or fraud or prevent errors and miscommunications. While we have various supervisory systems and compliance processes and procedures in place, and seek to mitigate applicable risks, the precautions we take to deter and detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in all cases.

Although portions of our compensation structure are variable, significant parts of our cost structure are fixed, and if our revenues decline and we are unable to reduce our costs in the amount that our revenues decline, our profitability could be materially adversely affected.

Although portions of our compensation structure are variable, significant parts of our cost structure are fixed. We base our overall cost structure on historical and expected levels of demand for our products and services. If demand for these products and services and our resulting revenues decline, we may not be able to adjust our cost structure on a timely basis. If we are unable to reduce our costs in the amount that our revenues decline, our profitability could be materially adversely affected.

RISKS RELATED TO OUR REAL ESTATE SERVICES BUSINESS

General and Real Estate Services Market Conditions

Negative general economic conditions and commercial real estate market conditions can have a material adverse effect on our commercial real estate services businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Commercial real estate markets are cyclical. They relate to the condition of the economy or, at least, to the perceptions of investors and users as to the relevant economic outlook. For example, corporations may be hesitant to expand space or enter into long-term commitments if they are concerned about the general economic environment. Corporations that are under financial pressure for any reason, or are attempting to more aggressively manage their expenses, may reduce the size of their workforces, reduce spending on capital expenditures, including with respect to their office space, permit more of their staff to work from home offices and/or seek corresponding reductions in office space and related management services.

 

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Negative general economic conditions and declines in the demand for commercial real estate brokerage and related management services in several markets or in significant markets could also have a material adverse effect on our commercial real estate services businesses as a result of the following factors:

 

   

A general decline in acquisition, disposition or leasing activity can lead to a reduction in the commissions and fees we receive for arranging such transactions, as well as in commissions and fees we earn for arranging the financing for acquirers.

 

   

A general decline in the value and performance of commercial real estate and in rental rates can lead to a reduction in management and leasing commissions and fees. Additionally, such declines can lead to a reduction in commissions and fees that are based on the value of, or revenue produced by, the properties with respect to which we provide services. This may include commissions and fees for appraisal and valuation, sales and leasing, and property and facilities management. A significant decline in real estate values in a given market has also generally tended to result in increased litigation and claims regarding advisory work done prior to the decline.

 

   

Cyclicality in the commercial real estate markets may lead to volatility in our earnings and significant volatility for our commercial real estate business, which can be highly sensitive to market perception of the economy generally and our industry specifically. Real estate markets are also thought to “lag” the broader economy. This means that even when underlying economic fundamentals improve in a given market, it may take additional time for these improvements to translate into strength in the real estate markets.

 

   

Periods of economic weakness or recession, significantly rising interest rates, fiscal uncertainty, declining employment levels, declining demand for commercial real estate, falling real estate values, disruption to the global capital or credit markets, or the public perception that any of these events may occur, may negatively affect the performance of some or all of our NGKF business lines.

Regulatory/Legal

We may have liabilities in connection with our commercial real estate services, including appraisal and valuation, sales and leasing and property and facilities management activities.

As a licensed real estate broker and provider of commercial real estate services, we and our licensed sales professionals and independent contractors that work for us are subject to statutory due diligence, disclosure and standard-of-care obligations. Failure to fulfill these obligations could subject us or our sales professionals or independent contractors to litigation from parties who purchased, sold or leased properties that we brokered or managed. We could become subject to claims by participants in real estate sales, leasing transactions, as well as building owners and companies for whom we provide management services, claiming that we did not fulfill our statutory obligations. We could also become subject to claims made by clients for whom we provided appraisal and valuation services and/or third parties who perceive themselves as having been negatively affected by our appraisals and/or valuations. We also could be subject to audits and/or fines from various local real estate authorities if they determine that we are violating licensing laws by failing to follow certain licensing laws.

In addition, in our property and facilities management businesses we hire and supervise third-party contractors to provide construction and engineering services for our managed properties. While our role is limited to that of a supervisor, we may be subject to claims for construction defects, negligent performance of work or other similar actions by third parties we do not control. Adverse outcomes of property and facilities management disputes or litigation could have a material adverse effect on our commercial real estate services business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, particularly to the extent we may be liable on our contracts, or if our liabilities exceed the amounts of the insurance coverage procured and maintained by us. Moreover, our clients may seek to hold us accountable for the actions of contractors because of our role as property or facilities manager, construction manager or project manager, even if we have technically disclaimed liability as a legal matter, in which case we may be pressured to participate in a financial settlement for purposes of preserving the client relationship.

 

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Because we employ large numbers of building staff in facilities that we manage, we face risk in potential claims relating to employment injuries, termination and other employment matters.

As part of our properties, facilities, and construction management businesses, we may enter into agreements with clients where we manage the costs for a project. In these situations, we are responsible for managing the various other contractors required for a project, including general contractors, in order to ensure that the cost of a project does not exceed the contract price and that the project is completed on time. In the event that one of the other contractors on the project does not or cannot perform as a result of bankruptcy or for some other reason, we may be responsible for any cost overruns as well as the consequences for late delivery.

Some of these litigation risks may be mitigated by any commercial insurance we maintain in amounts we believe are appropriate. However, in the event of a substantial loss or certain types of claims, our insurance coverage and/or self-insurance reserve levels might not be sufficient to pay the full damages. Additionally, in the event of intentionally negligent or wrongful conduct, insurance policies that we may have may not cover us at all. Further, the value of otherwise valid claims we hold under insurance policies could become uncollectible in the event of the covering insurance company’s insolvency, although we seek to limit this risk by placing our commercial insurance only with highly-rated companies. In addition, in the event of intentionally negligent or wrongful conduct, we will not be covered by insurance. Any of these events could negatively impact our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

If we fail to comply with laws and regulations applicable to commercial real estate brokerage, valuation and appraisal and mortgage transactions and other real estate business lines, then we may incur significant financial penalties.

Due to the broad geographic scope of our operations and the commercial real estate services we perform, we are subject to numerous international, federal, state and local laws and regulations specific to our services. For example, the brokerage of real estate sales and leasing transactions and other related activities require us to maintain brokerage licenses in each state in which we conduct activities for which a real estate license is required. If we fail to maintain our licenses or conduct brokerage activities without a license or violate any of the regulations applicable to our licenses, then we may be subject to audits, required to pay fines (including treble damages in certain states) or be prevented from collecting commissions owed, be compelled to return commissions received or have our licenses suspended or revoked.

In addition, because the size and scope of commercial real estate sales transactions have increased significantly during the past several years, both the difficulty of ensuring compliance with the numerous state licensing regimes and the possible loss resulting from non-compliance have increased. Furthermore, the laws and regulations applicable to our business lines also may change in ways that increase the costs of compliance. The failure to comply with both foreign and domestic regulations could result in significant financial penalties which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Environmental regulations may adversely impact our commercial real estate businesses and/or cause us to incur costs for cleanup of hazardous substances or wastes or other environmental liabilities.

Federal, state and local laws and regulations impose various environmental zoning restrictions, use controls, and disclosure obligations which impact the management, development, use and/or sale of real estate. Such laws and regulations tend to discourage sales and leasing activities, as well as mortgage lending availability, with respect to some properties. A decrease or delay in such transactions may adversely affect the businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects of our Real Estate Services segment. In addition, a failure by us to disclose environmental concerns in connection with a real estate transaction may subject us to liability to a buyer/seller or lessee/lessor of property.

In addition, in our role as property or facilities manager, we could incur liability under environmental laws for the investigation or remediation of hazardous or toxic substances or wastes at properties we currently or

 

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formerly managed, or at off-site locations where wastes from such properties were disposed. Such liability can be imposed without regard for the lawfulness of the original disposal activity, or our knowledge of, or fault for, the release or contamination. Further, liability under some of these laws may be joint and several, meaning that one liable party could be held responsible for all costs related to a contaminated site. We could also be subject to property damage or personal injury claims alleged to result from environmental contamination, or from asbestos-containing materials or lead-based paint present at the properties or facilities we manage. Insurance for such matters may not be available or sufficient.

Certain requirements governing the removal or encapsulation of asbestos-containing materials, as well as recently enacted local ordinances obligating property or facilities managers to inspect for and remove lead-based paint in certain buildings, could increase our costs of legal compliance and potentially subject us to violations or claims. More stringent enforcement of existing regulations could cause us to incur significant costs in the future, and/or adversely impact our commercial real estate brokerage and management services businesses.

We are subject to substantial litigation risks and may face significant liabilities and damage to our professional reputation as a result of litigation, allegations and negative publicity.

We and our licensed sales professionals are subject to regulatory due diligence, disclosure and standard-of-care obligations. Failure to fulfill these obligations could subject us or our sales professionals to litigation.

We depend on our business relationships and our reputation for integrity and high-caliber professional services to attract and retain clients across our overall commercial real estate services businesses. As a result, allegations by private litigants or regulators of conflicts of interest or improper conduct by us, whether the ultimate outcome is favorable or unfavorable to us, as well as negative publicity and press speculation about us or our activities, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation and damage our business prospects. In addition, if any lawsuits were brought against us and resulted in a finding of substantial legal liability, it could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results and operations or prospects, and cause significant reputational harm to us.

Competition

We operate in a highly competitive commercial real estate services industry with numerous competitors, some of which may have greater financial and operational resources than we do.

We compete in a variety of service disciplines within the commercial real estate industry. Each of these business areas is highly competitive on an international and national as well as on a regional and local level. We face competition not only from other national real estate service companies, but also from global real estate service companies, boutique real estate advisory firms, consulting and appraisal firms. Depending on the product or service, we also face competition from other real estate service providers, institutional lenders, insurance companies, investment banking firms, investment managers and accounting firms, some of which may have greater financial resources than we do. Although many of our competitors are local or regional firms that are substantially smaller than we are, some of our competitors are substantially larger than us on a local, regional, national or international basis and have similar service competencies to ours, including CBRE Group, Inc., Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated, Cushman & Wakefield and Colliers International. In addition, specialized firms like HFF, Inc. and Eastdil Secured, LLC compete with us in certain areas.

In general, there can no assurance that we will be able to continue to compete effectively with respect to any of our commercial real estate business lines or on an overall basis, or to maintain current commission and fee levels or margins, or maintain or increase our market share.

 

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International Market Risk

We are expanding our commercial real estate services business to include international operations so that we may be more competitive, but in doing so we could subject ourselves to social, political and economic risks of doing business in foreign countries.

Although we do not currently conduct significant commercial Real Estate Services business outside the U.S., we are expanding our international operations so that we may be more competitive. There can be no assurances that we will be able to successfully expand our business in international markets. Current global economic conditions may limit or delay such expansion or make it less economically feasible. As we expand into international markets, circumstances and developments related to international operations that could negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects include, but are not limited to, the following factors:

 

   

Lack of substantial experience operating in international markets;

 

   

Lack of recognition of the NGKF brand name in some international markets;

 

   

Difficulties and costs of staffing and managing international operations;

 

   

Currency restrictions, which may prevent the transfer of capital and profits to the U.S.;

 

   

Foreign currency fluctuations;

 

   

Changes in regulatory requirements;

 

   

Adverse tax consequences;

 

   

The responsibility of complying with multiple and potentially conflicting laws;

 

   

The impact of regional or country-specific business cycles and economic stability;

 

   

The geographic, time zone, language and cultural differences among personnel in different areas of the world;

 

   

Political instability; and

 

   

Foreign ownership restrictions with respect to operations in certain countries.

These or other factors may negatively impact the expansion of our Real Estate Services businesses to include international operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects.

Other General Real Estate Services Risks

Due to our current customer concentration, a loss of one or more of our significant customers could harm our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

For the year ended December 31, 2013, on a consolidated basis our top 10 commercial real estate services customers, collectively, accounted for approximately 2.2% of our total revenue on a consolidated basis and our largest customer accounted for approximately 0.4% of our total revenue on a consolidated basis. We have limited long-term contracts with certain of these customers. If we were to lose one or more of these significant customers for any reason, including the recent consolidation in the financial services industry, and not be compensated for such loss by doing additional business with other customers or by adding new customers, our revenues would decline significantly and our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects would suffer.

If we experience difficulties in collecting accounts receivable or experience defaults by multiple clients or counterparties, it could adversely affect our business.

We face challenges in our ability to efficiently and/or effectively collect accounts receivable in certain geographic areas.

 

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Any of our clients or other parties obligated to make payments to us may experience a downturn in their businesses that may weaken their results of operations and financial condition. As a result, a client or other party obligated to make payments to us may fail to make payments when due, become insolvent or declare bankruptcy. Any such failure to make payments when due or the bankruptcy or insolvency of any such party could result in material losses to us. A bankruptcy of a client or other party obligated to make payments to us would delay or preclude full collection of amounts owed to us. Additionally, certain corporate services and property and facilities management agreements require that we advance payroll and other vendor costs on behalf of clients. If such a client or other party obligated to make payments to us were to file for bankruptcy, we may not be able to obtain reimbursement for those costs or for the severance obligations we would incur. The bankruptcy or insolvency of a significant counterparty (which may include co-brokers, owners, landlords, lenders, insurance companies, hedging counterparties, service providers or other organizations with which we do business), or the failure of any significant counterparty to perform its contractual commitments, may result in disruption to our businesses and material losses to us.

Additionally, any weakness in the global economy puts additional financial stress on clients and landlords, who sometimes are the parties that pay our commissions and fees where we have placed a tenant client into their buildings. This in turn has negatively impacted our ability to collect our receivables fully or in a timely manner. We cannot be sure that the procedures we use to identify and rectify slowly paid receivables, and to protect ourselves against the insolvencies or bankruptcies of clients, landlords and other third parties with which we do business, which may involve placing liens on properties or litigating, will be effective in all cases.

We may not be able to replace independently-owned partner offices when affiliation agreements are terminated, which may decrease our scope of services and geographic reach.

As of December 31, 2013, we had agreements in place to operate on a collaborative and cross-referral basis with over 50 independently-owned offices in the U.S. and elsewhere in Americas in return for contractual and referral fees paid to us and/or certain mutually beneficial co-branding and other business arrangements. These independently-owned offices generally use some variation of Newmark in their names and marketing materials. These agreements are normally multi-year contracts, and generally provide for mutual referrals in their respective markets, generating additional contract and brokerage fees. Through these independently-owned offices, our clients have access to additional brokers with local market research capabilities as well as other commercial real estate services in locations where our Real Estate Services segment does not have a physical presence. From time to time our arrangement with these independent firms may be terminated pursuant to the terms of the individual affiliation agreements. Beginning in 2012, our affiliation arrangements were terminated in a number of markets and in some cases we replaced such independently-owned offices with owned offices in lieu of entering into replacement affiliation arrangements. The opening of an owned office to replace an independently-owned office requires us to invest capital, which in some cases could be material. In the event our affiliation arrangements are terminated, we may lose our market coverage in such market if we do not enter into a replacement affiliation arrangement or open an owned office. There can be no assurance that, if we lose additional independently-owned offices that we will be able to identify suitable replacement affiliates or fund the establishment of an owned office. In addition, although we do not control the activities of these offices, we may face reputational risk if any of these independently-owned offices are involved in or accused of illegal, unethical or similar behavior. Failure to maintain coverage in important geographic markets may negatively impact our operations, reputation, and ability to attract and retain key employees and could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

RISKS RELATED TO OUR CORPORATE AND PARTNERSHIP STRUCTURE

Corporate Structure

Because our voting control is concentrated among the holders of Class B common stock, the market price of Class A common stock may be adversely affected by its disparate voting rights.

As of January 31, 2014, Cantor (including CFGM) beneficially owned all of the outstanding shares of our Class B common stock, representing approximately 65.5% of our total voting power. As long as Cantor

 

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beneficially owns a majority of our total voting power, it will have the ability, without the consent of the public holders of 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. In certain circumstances, such as when transferred to an entity controlled by Cantor or Mr. Lutnick, the shares of Class B common stock issued to Cantor may be transferred without conversion to Class A common stock.

The holders of Class A common stock and Class B common stock have substantially identical rights, except that holders of Class A common stock are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B common stock are entitled to 10 votes per share on all matters to be voted on by stockholders in general. The Class B common stock is controlled by Cantor and is not subject to conversion or termination by our board of directors or any committee thereof, or any other stockholder or third party. This differential in the voting rights of Class B common stock could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.

Delaware law may protect decisions of our board of directors that have a different effect on holders of Class A common stock and Class B common stock.

Stockholders may not be able to challenge decisions that have an adverse effect upon holders of Class A common stock compared to holders of Class B common stock if our board of directors acts in a disinterested, informed manner with respect to these decisions, in good faith and in the belief that it is acting in the best interests of our stockholders. Delaware law generally provides that a board of directors owes an equal duty to all stockholders, regardless of class or series, and does not have separate or additional duties to different groups of stockholders, subject to applicable provisions set forth in a company’s certificate of incorporation and general principles of corporate law and fiduciary duties.

Delaware law, our corporate organizational documents and other requirements may impede or discourage a takeover, which could deprive our investors of the opportunity to receive a premium for their shares.

We are a Delaware corporation, and the anti-takeover provisions of Delaware law impose various impediments to the ability of a third party to acquire control of us, even if a change of control would be beneficial to our existing stockholders. Some provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”) and our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, and amended and restated bylaws could make the following more difficult:

 

   

acquisition of us by means of a tender offer;

 

   

acquisition of us by means of a proxy contest or otherwise; or

 

   

removal of our incumbent officers and directors.

These provisions, summarized below, may discourage coercive takeover practices and inadequate takeover bids. These provisions may also encourage persons seeking to acquire control of us to first negotiate with our board of directors. We believe that the benefits of increased protection give us the potential ability to negotiate with the initiator of an unfriendly or unsolicited proposal to acquire or restructure us and outweigh the disadvantages of discouraging those proposals because negotiation of them could result in an improvement of their terms.

Our amended and restated bylaws provide that special meetings of stockholders may be called only by the Chairman of our board of directors, or in the event the Chairman of our board of directors is unavailable, by the Chief Executive Officer or by the holders of a majority of the voting power of our Class B common stock, which is held by Cantor and CFGM. In addition, our certificate of incorporation permits us to issue “blank check” preferred stock.

Our amended and restated bylaws require advance written notice prior to a meeting of our stockholders of a proposal or director nomination which a stockholder desires to present at such a meeting, which generally must

 

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be received by our Secretary not later than 120 days prior to the first anniversary of the date of our proxy statement for the preceding year’s annual meeting. In the event that the date of the annual meeting is more than 30 days before or more than 60 days after such anniversary date, notice by the stockholder to be timely must be so delivered not later than the close of business on the later of the 120th day prior to the date of such proxy statement or the tenth day following the day on which public announcement of the date of such meeting is first made by us. Our bylaws provide that all amendments to our bylaws must be approved by either the holders of a majority of the voting power of all of our outstanding capital stock entitled to vote or by a majority of our board of directors.

We are subject to Section 203 of the DGCL. In general, Section 203 of the DGCL prohibits a publicly held Delaware corporation from engaging in a “business combination” with an “interested stockholder” for a period of three years following the date the person became an interested stockholder, unless the “business combination” or the transaction in which the person became an “interested stockholder” is approved in a prescribed manner. Generally, a “business combination” includes a merger, asset or stock sale or other transaction resulting in a financial benefit to the “interested stockholder.” An “interested stockholder” is a person who, together with affiliates and associates, owns 15% or more of a corporation’s outstanding voting stock, or was the owner of 15% or more of a corporation’s outstanding voting stock at any time within the prior three years, other than “interested stockholders” prior to the time our Class A common stock was traded on NASDAQ. The existence of this provision would be expected to have an anti-takeover effect with respect to transactions not approved in advance by our board of directors, including discouraging takeover attempts that might result in a premium over the market price for shares of Class A common stock.

In addition, our brokerage businesses are heavily regulated and some of our regulators require that they approve transactions which could result in a change of control, as defined by the then-applicable rules of our regulators. The requirement that this approval be obtained may prevent or delay transactions that would result in a change of control.

Further, our Amended and Restated Long Term Incentive Plan contains provisions pursuant to which grants that are unexercisable or unvested may automatically become exercisable or vested as of the date immediately prior to certain change of control events. Additionally, change in control and employment agreements between us and our named executive officers also provide for payments in the event of certain change of control events.

The foregoing factors, as well as the significant common stock ownership by Cantor, including shares of Class B common stock, and the provisions of the indentures for our outstanding notes discussed above, could impede a merger, takeover or other business combination or discourage a potential investor from making a tender offer for our Class A common stock, which, under certain circumstances, could reduce the market value of our Class A common stock.

We are a parent holding company, and accordingly we are dependent upon distributions from BGC U.S. and BGC Global to pay dividends, taxes and indebtedness and other expenses.

We are a parent holding company with no direct operations and will be able to pay dividends, taxes and other expenses and to make repurchases only from our available cash on hand and funds received from distributions from BGC U.S. and BGC Global. As discussed above, regulatory, tax restrictions or elections, and other legal or contractual restrictions may limit our ability to transfer funds freely from our subsidiaries. In addition, any unanticipated accounting, tax or other charges against net income could adversely affect our ability to pay dividends and to make repurchases.

BGC U.S. and BGC Global intend to distribute to their limited partners, including us, on a pro rata and quarterly basis, cash that is not required to meet BGC U.S.’s and BGC Global’s anticipated business and regulatory needs. As a result, BGC U.S.’s and BGC Global’s ability, and in turn our ability, to make such distributions will depend upon the continuing profitability and strategic and operating needs of our businesses,

 

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including various capital adequacy and clearing capital requirements promulgated by federal, self-regulatory, and other authorities to which our subsidiaries are subject. We expect to pay not less than 75% of our post-tax distributable earnings per fully diluted share as cash dividends to our common stockholders, with the balance of such distributable earnings to be available to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock or purchase BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, including from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners and others.

Our board of directors and our Audit Committee have authorized repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and purchases of BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries as part of this policy, including those held by Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners. As of January 31, 2014, we had approximately $199.7 million remaining under our stock repurchase authorization and may continue to actively make repurchases or purchases, or cease to make such repurchases or purchases, from time to time. In addition, from time to time, we may reinvest all or a portion of the distributions we receive in BGC U.S.’s and BGC Global’s respective businesses, although we neither have current plans to do so nor do we expect to do so as long as we maintain our current dividend policy. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that future dividends will be paid or that dividend amounts will be retained at current or future levels.

If our dividend policy is materially different than the distribution policy of BGC Holdings, upon the exchange of any BGC Holdings limited partnership interests, such BGC Holdings limited partners could receive a disproportionate interest in the aggregate distributions by BGC U.S. and BGC Global that have not been distributed by us.

To the extent BGC Holdings distributes to its limited partners a greater share of income received from BGC U.S. and BGC Global than we distribute to our stockholders, then as founding/working partners, limited partnership unit holders and/or Cantor exercise any exchange right to acquire Class A common stock or Class B common stock, as applicable, exchanging partners may receive a disproportionate interest in the aggregate distributions by BGC U.S. and BGC Global that have not been distributed by us. The reason is that the exchanging partner could receive both (1) the benefit of the distribution that has not been distributed by us from BGC U.S. and BGC Global to BGC Holdings (in the form of a distribution by BGC Holdings to its limited partners) and (2) the benefit of the distribution from BGC U.S. and BGC Global to us (in the form of a subsequent cash dividend paid by us, a greater percentage indirect interest in BGC U.S. and BGC Global following a repurchase of Class A common stock by us or a greater value of assets following a purchase of assets by us with the cash that otherwise would be distributed to our stockholders). Consequently, if our dividend policy does not match the distribution policy of BGC Holdings, other holders of Class A common stock and Class B common stock as of the date of an exchange could experience a reduction in their interest in the profits previously distributed by BGC U.S. and BGC Global that have not been distributed by us. Our previously described intention to match the distribution policy of BGC Holdings was superseded by a decision (which we announced on May 7, 2008) by our board of directors to provide for greater flexibility by our management. Our current dividend policy could result in distributions to our common stockholders that are different from the distributions made by BGC Holdings to its unit holders.

If Cantor, we or any of our subsidiaries were deemed an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our businesses as contemplated and could materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

If Cantor ceases to hold a majority of our voting power, Cantor’s interest in us could be deemed an investment security under the Investment Company Act. If we were to cease participation in the management of BGC Holdings (or if BGC Holdings, in turn, were to cease participation in the management of BGC U.S. and BGC Global) or be deemed not to have a majority of the voting power of BGC Holdings (or if BGC Holdings, in turn, were deemed not to have a majority of the voting power of BGC U.S. and BGC Global), our interest in BGC Holdings or BGC U.S. and BGC Global could be deemed an “investment security” for purposes of the

 

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Investment Company Act. If BGC Holdings ceased to participate in the management of BGC U.S. and BGC Global or were deemed not to have a majority of the voting power of BGC U.S. or BGC Global, its interest in BGC U.S. or BGC Global could be deemed an “investment security” for purposes of the Investment Company Act.

Generally, an entity is 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. A determination that we hold more than 40% of our assets in investment securities could result in us being an investment company under the Investment Company Act and becoming subject to registration and other requirements of the Investment Company Act.

The Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder contain detailed prescriptions for the organization and operations of investment companies. Among other things, the Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder limit or prohibit transactions with affiliates, limit the issuance of debt and equity securities, prohibit the issuance of stock options and impose certain governance requirements. If anything were to happen that would cause Cantor, us, or BGC Holdings to be deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act, the Investment Company Act would limit our or its capital structure, ability to transact business with affiliates (including Cantor, BGC Holdings, or BGC U.S. and BGC Global, as the case may be) and ability to compensate key employees. Therefore, if Cantor, we, or BGC Holdings became subject to the Investment Company Act, it could make it impractical to continue our businesses, impair agreements and arrangements, and impair the transactions contemplated by those agreements and arrangements, between and among Cantor, us, BGC Holdings, and BGC U.S., and BGC Global, or any combination thereof, and materially adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Partnership Structure

Our BGC Holdings partnership structure may adversely affect our ability to recruit, retain, compensate and motivate some employee partners.

While we believe that our BGC Holdings partnership structure promotes recruitment and retention and motivation of our employee partners, some employee partners may be more attracted to the benefits of working at a privately controlled partnership, or at a public company with a different compensation structure than our own, which may adversely affect our ability to recruit, retain, compensate and motivate these persons. While BGC Holdings limited partnership interests entitle founding/working and other limited partners to participate in distributions of income from the operations of our businesses, upon leaving BGC Holdings (or upon any other redemption or purchase of such limited partnership interests, as described below), any such founding/working or other limited partners are, unless Cantor, in the case of the founding partners, and us, as the general partner of BGC Holdings, otherwise determine, only entitled to receive over time, and provided he or she does not violate certain partner obligations, an amount for his or her BGC Holdings limited partnership interests that reflects such partner’s capital account or post-termination amount, if any, and not any goodwill or going concern value of our businesses. Further, certain partner units, such as PSUs and PSIs, have no right to a post-termination payment. Moreover, until units are made exchangeable, other limited partners have no unilateral right to exchange their BGC Holdings limited partnership interests for shares of our Class A common stock.

The BGC Holdings limited partnership interests are also subject to redemption, and subject founding/working and other limited partners to non-competition and non-solicitation covenants, as well as other obligations. In addition, the exercise of Cantor’s right to purchase from BGC Holdings exchangeable limited partnership interests when founding partner units are redeemed or granted exchangeability will result in the share of distributions of income from the operations of our businesses on other outstanding BGC Holdings limited partnership interests, including those held by founding/working and other limited partners, to remain the same rather than increasing as would be the case if such interests were redeemed or granted exchangeability without such Cantor right to purchase. In addition, any purchase of exchangeable limited partnership units by Cantor from BGC Holdings following Cantor’s decision to grant exchangeability on founding partner units will result in additional dilution to the other partners of BGC Holdings.

 

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The terms of the BGC Holdings limited partnership interests held by founding/working and limited partners also provide for the following:

 

   

such units are not entitled to reinvest the distributions on their BGC Holdings limited partnership interests in additional BGC Holdings limited partnership interests at preferential or historical prices or at all; and

 

   

Cantor is entitled to receive any amounts from selected extraordinary transactions that are withheld from distributions to certain partners and forfeited by partners leaving BGC Holdings prior to their interests in such withheld distributions fully vesting, rather than any such forfeited amounts accruing to the benefit of all BGC Holdings limited partners on a pro rata basis.

In addition, the ownership of share distribution rights and shares of our Class A common stock underlying BGC Holdings exchangeable units is not dependent upon the partner’s continued employment with us or compliance with partner obligations, and such partners are therefore not restricted from leaving us by the potential loss of such shares.

We may be required to pay Cantor for a significant portion of the tax benefit relating to any additional tax depreciation or amortization deductions we claim as a result of any step up in the tax basis of the assets of BGC U.S. and BGC Global resulting from Cantor’s exchange of interests in BGC Holdings for our common stock.

Cantor’s partnership interests in BGC Holdings may be exchanged for shares of our Class A common stock or our Class B common stock, on a one for one basis (subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments). The exchanges may result in increases to our share of the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of each of BGC U.S. and BGC Global that otherwise would not have been available, although the Internal Revenue Service may challenge all or part of that tax basis increase, and a court could sustain such a challenge by the Internal Revenue Service. These increases in tax basis, if sustained, may reduce the amount of tax that we would otherwise be required to pay in the future.

We are a party to rights and obligations under a tax receivable agreement with Cantor that provides for the payment by us to Cantor of 85% of the amount of cash savings, if any, in the U.S. federal, state and local income tax or franchise tax that we actually realize as a result of these increases in tax basis and certain other tax benefits related to its entering into the tax receivable agreement, including tax benefits attributable to payments under the tax receivable agreement. It is expected that we will benefit from the remaining 15% cash savings, if any, in income tax that we realize. Cantor has not exercised this right to date but there can be no assurance that it will not do so in the future.

Risks Related to our Relationship with Cantor and Its Affiliates

We are controlled by Cantor, which has potential conflicts of interest with us and may exercise its control in a way that favors its interests to our detriment.

Cantor effectively is able to exercise control over our management and affairs and all matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of our directors and determinations with respect to acquisitions and dispositions, as well as material expansions or contractions of our businesses, entry into new lines of businesses and borrowings and issuances of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock or other securities. This control is subject to the approval of our independent directors on those matters requiring such approval. Cantor’s voting power may also have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of us. Conflicts of interest may arise between us and Cantor in a number of areas relating to our past and ongoing relationships, including:

 

   

potential acquisitions and dispositions of businesses;

 

   

the issuance or disposition of securities by us;

 

   

the election of new or additional directors to our board of directors;

 

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the payment of dividends by us (if any), distribution of profits by BGC U.S., BGC Global and/or BGC Holdings and repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock or purchases of BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, including from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners, and others;

 

   

business operations or business opportunities of ours and Cantor’s that would compete with the other party’s business opportunities, including Cantor’s and our brokerage and financial services;

 

   

intellectual property matters;

 

   

business combinations involving us;

 

   

conflicts between our agency trading for primary and secondary bond sales and Cantor’s investment banking bond origination business;

 

   

competition between our and Cantor’s other equity derivatives and cash equity inter-dealer brokerage businesses;

 

   

the nature, quality and pricing of administrative services to be provided to or by Cantor and/or Tower Bridge; and

 

   

provision of clearing capital pursuant to the Clearing Agreement and potential and existing loan arrangements.

We also expect Cantor to manage its ownership of us so that it will not be deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act, including by maintaining its voting power in us above a majority absent an applicable exemption from the Investment Company Act. This may result in conflicts with us, including those relating to acquisitions or offerings by us involving issuances of shares of our Class A, or securities convertible or exchangeable into shares of Class A common stock, that would dilute Cantor’s voting power in us.

In addition, Cantor has from time to time in the past and may in the future consider possible strategic realignments of its own businesses and/or of the relationships that exist between and among Cantor and its other affiliates and us. Any future related-party transaction or arrangement between Cantor and its other affiliates and us is subject to the prior approval by our Audit Committee, but generally does not otherwise require the separate approval of our stockholders, and if such stockholder approval is required, Cantor may retain sufficient voting power to provide any such requisite approval without the affirmative consent of the other stockholders. Further, our regulators, including the FCA, may require the consolidation, for regulatory purposes, of Cantor and its other affiliates and us with respect to our U.K. regulated entities or other entities or require other restructuring of the group. There is no assurance that such consolidation or restructuring would not result in a material expense or disruption to our businesses.

Moreover, the service of officers or partners of Cantor as our executive officers and directors, and those persons’ ownership interests in and payments from Cantor and its affiliates could create conflicts of interest when we and those directors or officers are faced with decisions that could have different implications for us and Cantor. Our ability to retain our key employees and the ability of certain key employees to devote adequate time to us are critical to the success of our businesses, and failure to do so may adversely affect our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Our agreements and other arrangements with Cantor may be amended upon agreement of the parties to those agreements upon approval of our Audit Committee. During the time that we are controlled by Cantor, Cantor may be able to require us to agree to amendments to these agreements. We may not be able to resolve any potential conflicts and, even if we do, the resolution may be less favorable to us than if we were dealing with an unaffiliated party.

In order to address potential conflicts of interest between Cantor and its representatives and us, our certificate of incorporation contains provisions regulating and defining the conduct of our affairs as they may

 

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involve Cantor and its representatives, and our powers, rights, duties and liabilities and those of our representatives in connection with our relationship with Cantor and its affiliates, officers, directors, general partners or employees. Our certificate of incorporation provides that no Cantor Company, as defined in our certificate of incorporation, or any of the representatives, as defined in our certificate of incorporation, of a Cantor Company will owe any fiduciary duty to, nor will any Cantor Company or any of their respective representatives be liable for breach of fiduciary duty to, us or any of our stockholders, including with respect to corporate opportunities. The corporate opportunity policy that is included in our certificate of incorporation is designed to resolve potential conflicts of interest between us and Cantor and its representatives.

Our certificate of incorporation provides that Cantor and its respective representatives will have no duty to refrain from:

 

   

engaging in the same or similar business activities or lines of business as us; or

 

   

doing business with any of our customers.

The BGC Holdings limited partnership agreement contains similar provisions with respect to us and/or Cantor and each of our respective representatives, and the BGC U.S. and BGC Global limited partnership agreements contain similar provisions with respect to us and/or BGC Holdings and each of our respective representatives.

If Cantor competes with us, it could materially harm our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Agreements between us and Cantor are between related parties, and the terms of these agreements may be less favorable to us than those that we could have negotiated with third parties and may subject us to litigation.

Our relationship with Cantor results in agreements with Cantor that are between related parties. As a result, the prices charged to us or by us for services provided under agreements with Cantor may be higher or lower than prices that may be charged by third parties, and the terms of these agreements may be less favorable to us than those that we could have negotiated with third parties. For example, pursuant to the separation agreement relating to our acquisition of certain of our BGC business from Cantor in 2008, Cantor has a right, subject to certain conditions, to be our customer and to pay the lowest commissions paid by any other customer, whether by volume, dollar or other applicable measure. In addition, Cantor has an unlimited right to internally use market data from us without any cost. Any future related-party transactions or arrangements between us and Cantor are subject to the prior approval by our Audit Committee, but generally do not otherwise require the separate approval of our stockholders, and if such stockholder approval were required, Cantor may retain sufficient voting power to provide any such requisite approval without the affirmative consent of the other stockholders.

These related party relationships may from time to time subject us to litigation. For example, a purported derivative action, since dismissed, was filed alleging that certain related party transactions were unfair to the Company. Plaintiffs in such action have filed a motion to reargue, which is pending oral argument.

We are controlled by Cantor, which in turn controls its wholly-owned subsidiary, CF&Co, which is acting as our sales agent in our controlled equity offerings and provides us with additional investment banking services.

We are controlled by Cantor, which in turn controls its wholly-owned subsidiary, CF&Co, which acts as our sales agent pursuant to controlled equity offering sales agreements, including the current one entered into on December 12, 2012 (collectively, the “Sales Agreements”). Pursuant to the December 2012 Sales Agreement, we may offer and sell up to an aggregate of 20 million shares of Class A common stock. Under these Sales Agreements, we have agreed to pay CF&Co 2% of the gross proceeds from the sale of shares of our Class A common stock.

 

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In selling shares of our Class A common stock under the Sales Agreements, we may determine to instruct CF&Co not to sell our shares at less than a minimum price per share designated by us. Alternatively, we may instruct CF&Co to sell our shares so as to seek to realize a designated minimum price per share for all shares sold over a designated time period, or so as to seek to raise a designated minimum dollar amount of gross proceeds from sales of all such shares over a designated time period.

CF&Co has retained independent legal advisors in connection with its role as sales agent under the Sales Agreements, but for the reasons described below it may not be in a position to provide us with independent financial input in connection with the offering of shares of our Class A common stock pursuant to the Sales Agreements. We are not required to, and have not engaged, an independent investment banking firm to act as a qualified independent underwriter or to otherwise provide us with independent input in our controlled equity offerings.

While our board of directors and Audit Committee will be involved with any future decision by us to enter into or terminate new Sales Agreements with CF&Co, our management has been delegated the authority to determine, and to so instruct CF&Co with respect to, matters involving the manner, timing, number of shares, and minimum prices per share or proceeds for sales of our shares, or the suspension thereof, in our controlled equity offering pursuant to the Sales Agreements. Our management may be expected to consult with appropriate personnel from CF&Co in making such determinations, but given the overlap between our senior management and that of Cantor and its wholly-owned subsidiary, CF&Co, it may be expected that any joint determinations by our senior management and that of CF&Co with respect to our controlled equity offering will involve the same individuals. In making such joint determinations, our Audit Committee has instructed our senior management to act in the best interests of us and our stockholders. Nevertheless, in making such determinations, such individuals will not have the benefit of input from an independent investment banking firm that is able to make its own determinations with respect to our controlled equity offering, including, but not limited to, whether to suspend sales under the Sales Agreement or to terminate a Sales Agreement.

In addition, Cantor, CF&Co and their affiliates have provided investment banking services to us and our affiliates in the past, and may be expected to do so in the future, including acting as our financial advisor in connection with business combinations, dispositions, or other transactions, and placing or recommending to us various investments or cash management vehicles. They receive customary fees and commissions for these services. They may also receive brokerage and market data and analytics products and services from us and our respective affiliates. We also provide to and receive from Cantor and its affiliates various administrative services.

Risks Related to Our Class A Common Stock

Purchasers, as well as existing stockholders, may experience significant dilution as a result of offerings of our shares of Class A common stock.

The December 2012 Sales Agreement with CF&Co currently remains in effect with respect to the issuance and sale of up to an aggregate of 20 million shares of our Class A common stock from time to time on a delayed or continuous basis. As of January 31, 2014, we have issued and sold an aggregate of approximately 11.4 million shares of Class A common stock under the Sales Agreement, with approximately 8.6million shares of Class A common stock remaining to be sold under the agreement. Further, we have an effective shelf registration statement on Form S-4 with respect to the offer and sale of up to an aggregate of 20 million shares of Class A common stock from time to time in connection with business combination transactions, including acquisitions of other businesses, assets, properties or securities. As of January 31, 2014, we have issued an aggregate of 4.6 million shares of Class A common stock under the Form S-4, all in connection with acquisitions in the real estate brokerage industry. We also have an effective shelf registration statement on Form S-3 pursuant to which we can offer and sell up to an aggregate of 10 million shares of our Class A common stock under our Dividend Reinvestment and Stock Purchase Plan. As of January 31, 2014, we have issued approximately 140,600 shares of our Class A common stock under the Plan.

 

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Because the sales of shares of our Class A common stock under the Sales Agreements have been made, and any other future sales of our Class A common stock may be made, in privately negotiated transactions or directly into the market at prevailing market prices or at prices related to such prevailing market prices, the prices at which these shares have been sold and may be sold in the future will vary, and these variations may be significant. Purchasers of these shares may suffer significant dilution if the price they pay is higher than the price paid by other purchasers of shares of our Class A common stock under the Sales Agreements and any future offerings of our shares of Class A common stock.

In addition, the sale by us of any shares of our Class A common stock may have the following effects:

 

   

our existing Class A common stockholders’ proportionate ownership interest in us will decrease;

 

   

our existing Class A common stockholders may suffer significant dilution;

 

   

the amount of cash available per share for dividends payable on shares of our Class A common stock may decrease;

 

   

the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding share of our Class A common stock may be diminished; and

 

   

the market price of our Class A common stock may decline.

Because we intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of shares of Class A common stock under the Sales Agreements, and may use the net proceeds from future offerings, for general corporate purposes, which, among other things, are expected to include repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and purchases of BGC Holdings units or other equity interests in us or in our subsidiaries from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners, and others, and/or to replenish cash used to effect such repurchases and purchases, investors should be aware that such net proceeds will not be available for other corporate purposes, and that, depending upon the timing and prices of such repurchases of shares and purchases of units and of the sales of our shares under the Sales Agreement and the liquidity and depth of our market, we may sell a greater aggregate number of shares, at a lower average price per share, under the Sales Agreement than the number of shares or units repurchased or purchased, thereby increasing the aggregate number of shares and units outstanding and decreasing our earnings per share.

We intend to use the net proceeds of the sale of shares of Class A common stock under the Sales Agreements, and may use the net proceeds from future offerings, for general corporate purposes, which among other things, are expected to include repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and purchases of BGC Holdings units or other equity interests in us or in our subsidiaries from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners, and others, and/or to replenish cash used to effect such repurchases and purchases. From January 1, 2013 to January 31, 2014, we repurchased an aggregate of 4,517,151 shares of Class A common stock at an aggregate purchase price of approximately $24.9 million with an average repurchase price of $5.52 per share. During that period, we redeemed for cash an aggregate of 0.5 million limited partnership units at an average price of $5.51 per unit and an aggregate of 0.5 million founding/working partner units at an average price of $5.54 per unit. This excludes activity with respect to the Global Partnership Restructuring Program, including the approximately 76 million units with the Company redeemed or exchanged from partners at the end of the second quarter of 2013. In the future we expect to continue to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock and purchase BGC Holdings units from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners, and others, and these repurchases and purchases may be significant.

To the extent that we continue to use the net proceeds of the sale of shares of our Class A common stock to fund repurchases of shares and purchases of units, or to replenish cash used to effect repurchases and purchases, net proceeds will not be available for other corporate purposes. In addition, to the extent that we seek to sell shares of our Class A common stock to raise net proceeds for repurchases of shares and purchases of units, depending upon the timing and prices of the repurchases of shares and purchases of units and of the sales of our shares and the liquidity and depth of our market, we may in fact sell a greater aggregate number of shares of our Class A common stock, at a lower average price per share, in our offerings than the aggregate number of shares

 

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repurchased and units purchased by us and the average price per share or unit that we are paying in such repurchases and purchases. Thus, our strategy may result in an increase in the number of our shares and units outstanding and a decrease in our earnings per share on both a basic and a fully diluted basis.

Nevertheless, our management believes that selling our shares, and using the net proceeds of such sales to repurchase shares and purchase units, is in our best interest and that of our stockholders. While we believe that we can successfully manage our strategy, and that our share price may in fact increase as we increase the amount of cash available for dividends and share repurchases and unit purchases by paying a portion of the compensation of our employees in the form of partnership units and restricted stock, gradually lowering our compensation expenses for purposes of distributable earnings, and lowering our long-term effective tax rate for distributable earnings, there can be no assurance that our strategy will be successful or that we can achieve any or all of such objectives.

The market price of our Class A common stock has fluctuated significantly and may continue to do so. In addition, future sales of shares of Class A common stock could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.

The market price of our Class A common stock has fluctuated significantly, and the market price of our Class A common stock may continue to do so depending upon many factors, including our actual results of operations and perceived prospects, the prospects of our competition and of the financial marketplaces in general, differences between our actual financial and operating results and those expected by investors and analysts, changes in analysts’ recommendations or projections, seasonality, changes in general valuations for companies in our business segment, changes in general economic or market conditions and broad market fluctuations. The market price of our Class A common stock may continue to be subject to similar market fluctuations which may be unrelated to our operating performance or prospects, and increased volatility could result in a decline in the market price of our Class A common stock. Declines in the price of our Class A common stock may adversely affect our ability to recruit and retain key employees, including our partners and other professional employees.

Future sales of our shares also could adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock. If our existing stockholders sell a large number of shares, or if we issue a large number of shares of our common stock in connection with public offerings, future acquisitions, strategic alliances, third-party investments and private placements or otherwise, the market price of common stock could decline significantly.

In addition to our sales of shares of our Class A commons tock pursuant to our controlled equity offerings, our acquisition shelf, and our dividend reinvestment plan discussed above, events which could have such an effect include the following:

 

   

Our 8.75% Convertible Notes are currently convertible into an aggregate of 23,738,219 shares of Class A common stock. In connection with the issuance of the 8.75% Convertible Notes, we entered into a registration rights agreement with Cantor, dated April 1, 2010, pursuant to which holders of the shares of Class A common stock issuable upon conversion of the 8.75% Convertible Notes have resale registration rights;

 

   

The 4.50% Convertible Notes are currently convertible into 16,260,160 million shares of Class A common stock;

 

   

We may issue shares of Class A common stock upon the conversion or exchange of any convertible or exchangeable debt securities that may be issued by us in the future;

 

   

Stockholders may resell shares of Class A common stock issuable by us in connection with (i) the conversion by Cantor of shares of its Class B common stock into shares of Class A common stock, (ii) the exchange of Cantor’s exchangeable limited partnership interests, (iii) the exchange, redemption, or purchase of partnership units for shares of Class A common stock, including in partnership restructurings, (iv) incentive compensation, including grants of restricted stock, RSUs, and options, and (v) donations of shares by us to The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund; and

 

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Stockholders may resell outstanding shares of our Class A common stock, including sales by Cantor partners who receive distribution rights shares from Cantor, The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund which may receive donated shares from Cantor or others, and our employees and partners who hold our shares, including those received in compensatory arrangements from us.

The 4.50% Convertible Notes and the capped call transactions may affect the market for and trading price of our Class A common stock.

Owners of our 4.50% Convertible Notes may employ, or seek to employ, a convertible arbitrage strategy with respect to the notes. Investors that employ a convertible arbitrage strategy with respect to the 4.50% Convertible Notes typically will implement that strategy by selling short our Class A common stock underlying the notes or by entering into cash-settled over-the-counter derivative transactions with respect to our Class A common stock that provide investors with short economic exposure to our Class A common stock.

In connection with the sale of the 4.50% Convertible Notes, we entered into capped call transactions with affiliates of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank Securities, in connection with the pricing of the notes and the overallotment option to cover the shares of our Class A common stock underlying the notes.

The capped call transactions are expected generally to reduce the potential dilution with respect to our Class A common stock upon conversion of the 4.50% Convertible Notes in the event that the volume-weighted average price per share of our Class A common stock, as measured under the terms of the capped call transactions, is greater than the strike price of the capped call transactions (which initially corresponded to the original conversion price of the notes and is subject to anti-dilution adjustments). If, however, the volume-weighted average price per share of the Class A common stock, as measured under the terms of the capped call transactions, exceeds the cap price of the capped call transactions, the value of the shares of the Class A common stock that we expect to receive upon the exercise of the capped call transactions will be capped and the dilution mitigation under the capped call transactions will be limited based on such capped value, which means there would be dilution with respect to the Class A common stock to the extent that the then volume-weighted average price per share of the Class A common stock exceeds the cap price of the capped call transactions. A failure by a hedge counterparty (due to bankruptcy or otherwise) to pay or deliver, as the case may be, to us amounts owed to us under the capped call transactions will not reduce the consideration we are required to deliver to a holder upon its conversion of the 4.50% Convertible Notes and may result in an increase in dilution with respect to our Class A common stock.

In connection with hedging the capped call transactions, we believe the hedge counterparties may enter into, or may unwind, various derivative transactions with respect to and/or purchase or sell our Class A common stock in secondary market transactions. Such arbitrage and hedging activities could have the effect of causing or avoiding an increase or decrease in the trading price of the Class A common stock, including during any cash settlement averaging period relating to a conversion of the notes and following any conversion of the notes and during the period prior to the maturity date. The effect, if any, of any of these transactions and activities on our Class A common stock will depend in part on market conditions and cannot be ascertained at this time, but any of these activities could adversely affect the market for and trading price of our Class A common stock.

 

ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. PROPERTIES

We have offices in the United States, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our principal executive offices are located at 499 Park Avenue, New York, New York. We also occupy a space at 199 Water Street, New York, New York, which serves as a trading operation for our Financial

 

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Services businesses, and space at 125 Park Avenue, New York, New York, which serves as the headquarters of our commercial Real Estate businesses. Under the Administrative Services Agreement, we are obligated to Cantor for our pro rata portion (based on square footage used) of rental expense during the terms of the leases for such spaces.

Our largest presence outside of the New York metropolitan area is in London, located at One Churchill Place, Canary Wharf.

We currently occupy concurrent computing centers in Rochelle Park, New Jersey and Trumbull, Connecticut, which primarily service our Financial Services segment. Although the Rochelle Park, New Jersey data center was transferred to NASDAQ OMX in June 2013, we continue to use that data center and have the right to do so until June 2015. In addition, we occupy two data centers in the United Kingdom located in Canary Wharf and Romford, respectively. Our U.S financial services operations also have office space in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami, and both business segments have office space in Chicago.

After completing the acquisition of Newmark in October 2011, we also have a number of other offices in several states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington) and the District of Columbia, which are used in our Real Estate Services segment. In addition, Newmark operates through license agreements in a number of states, including certain states where Newmark does not have its own offices.

 

ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS

See Note 18—“Commitments, Contingencies and Guarantees” to our consolidated financial statements in Part II, Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a description of our legal proceedings.

 

ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

 

ITEM 5. MARKET FOR THE REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES

Price Range of Class A Common Stock

Our Class A common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “BGCP.” There is no public trading market for our Class B common stock, which is held by Cantor and CFGM. The following table sets forth, for the fiscal quarters indicated, the high and low sales prices per share of Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

We declared quarterly dividends of $0.17 for the first and second quarters of 2012, and $0.12 for the third and fourth quarters of 2012 and for each of the four quarters of 2013.

 

     High      Low  

2014

     

First Quarter (through February 21, 2014)

   $ 7.01       $ 6.03   

2013

     

First Quarter

   $ 4.81       $ 3.43   

Second Quarter

   $ 5.96       $ 3.84   

Third Quarter

   $ 6.53       $ 5.44   

Fourth Quarter

   $ 6.18       $ 5.10   

2012

     

First Quarter

   $ 8.04       $ 5.88   

Second Quarter

   $ 7.56       $ 5.73   

Third Quarter

   $ 6.23       $ 4.38   

Fourth Quarter

   $ 5.22       $ 3.11   

On February 21, 2014, the closing sales price of our Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market was $7.01. As of February 21, 2014, there were 388 holders of record of our Class A common stock and two holders of record of our Class B common stock.

Dividend Policy

Our Board of Directors has authorized a dividend policy which provides that we expect to pay not less than 75% of our “post-tax distributable earnings per fully diluted share” as cash dividends to our common stockholders, with the balance of such distributable earnings to be available to repurchase shares of our Class A common stock or purchase BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, including from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners and others. Please see below for a detailed definition of “post-tax distributable earnings per fully diluted share.”

Our Board of Directors and our Audit Committee have authorized repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and redemptions of BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, including those held by Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners and others. As of January 31, 2014, we had approximately $195.6 million remaining under this authorization and may continue to actively make repurchases or redemptions, or cease to make such repurchases or redemptions, from time to time.

We expect to pay such dividends, if and when declared by our Board of Directors, on a quarterly basis. The dividend to our common stockholders is expected to be calculated based on post-tax distributable earnings allocated to us and generated over the fiscal quarter ending prior to the record date for the dividend. No assurance can be made, however, that a dividend will be paid each quarter.

 

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The declaration, payment, timing and amount of any future dividends payable by us will be at the sole discretion of our Board of Directors. We are a holding company, with no direct operations, and therefore we are able to pay dividends only from our available cash on hand and funds received from distributions from BGC U.S. and BGC Global. Our ability to pay dividends may also be limited by regulatory considerations as well as by covenants contained in financing or other agreements. In addition, under Delaware law, dividends may be payable only out of surplus, which is our net assets minus our capital (as defined under Delaware law), or, if we have no surplus, out of our net profits for the fiscal year in which the dividend is declared and/or the preceding fiscal year. Accordingly, any unanticipated accounting, tax, regulatory or other charges against net income may adversely affect our ability to declare dividends. While we intend to declare and pay dividends quarterly, there can be no assurance that our board of directors will declare dividends at all or on a regular basis or that the amount of our dividends will not change.

Partnership and Equity Repurchases

Our Board of Directors and Audit Committee have authorized repurchases of our common stock and redemptions of BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in the our subsidiaries. On July 30, 2013, our Board of Directors increased our share repurchase and unit redemption authorization to $250.0 million. As of January 31, 2014, we had approximately $195.6 million remaining from our share repurchase and unit redemption authorization. From time to time, we may actively continue to repurchase shares or redeem units.

During the year ended December 31, 2013, we repurchased 3,046,857 shares of our Class A common stock at an aggregate purchase price of approximately $15.5 million for an average price of $5.09 per share.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, we repurchased 2,047,135 shares of our Class A common stock at an aggregate purchase price of $9.8 million for an average price of $4.76 per share.

 

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PERFORMANCE GRAPH

The performance graph below shows a comparison of the cumulative total stockholder return, on a dividend reinvestment basis, of $100 invested on December 31, 2008, measured on December 31, 2009, December 31, 2010, December 31, 2011, December 31, 2012 and December 31, 2013. Peer Group 1 consists of Tullett Prebon PLC, GFI Group Inc., Compagnie Financière Tradition, and ICAP plc. Peer Group 2 consists of CBRE Group, Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated and HFF, Inc. The returns of the peer group companies have been weighted according to their stock market capitalization for purposes of arriving at a peer group average.

 

LOGO

Certain Definitions

“Revenues for distributable earnings,” “pre-tax distributable earnings” and “post-tax distributable earnings,” which are supplemental measures of operating performance that are used by management to evaluate our and our subsidiaries’ financial performance. We believe that distributable earnings best reflect the operating earnings generated by us on a consolidated basis and are the earnings which management considers available for distribution to us and our common stockholders, as well as to holders of BGC Holdings partnership units during any period.

As compared with “income (loss) from operations before income taxes,” “net income (loss) for fully diluted shares,” and “fully diluted earnings (loss) per share,” all prepared in accordance with GAAP, distributable earnings calculations primarily exclude certain non-cash compensation and other expenses which generally do not involve the receipt or outlay of cash by us, which do not dilute existing stockholders, and which do not have economic consequences, as described below. In addition, distributable earnings calculations exclude certain gains and charges that management believes do not best reflect our ordinary operating results.

 

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Revenues for distributable earnings are defined as GAAP revenues excluding the impact of our non-cash earnings or losses related to its equity investments, such as in Aqua Securities, L.P. and ELX Futures, L.P., and its holding company general partner, ELX Futures Holdings LLC. Revenues for distributable earnings include the collection of receivables which would have been recognized for GAAP other than for the effect of acquisition accounting. Revenues for distributable earnings also exclude certain one-time or unusual gains that are recognized under GAAP, because we do not believe such gains are reflective of our ongoing, ordinary operations.

Pre-tax distributable earnings are defined as GAAP income (loss) from operations before income taxes excluding items that are primarily non-cash, non-dilutive, and non-economic, such as:

 

   

Non-cash stock-based equity compensation charges for REUs granted or issued prior to the merger of BGC Partners, Inc. with and into eSpeed, as well as post-merger non-cash, non-dilutive equity-based compensation related to partnership unit exchange or conversion.

 

   

Allocations of net income to founding/working partner and other limited partnership units, including REUs, RPUs, PSUs, LPUs, and PSIs.

 

   

Non-cash asset impairment charges, if any.

Distributable earnings calculations also exclude charges related to purchases, cancellations or redemptions of partnership interests and certain unusual, one-time or non-recurring items, if any.

“Compensation and employee benefits” expense for distributable earnings will also include broker commission payouts relating to the aforementioned collection of receivables.

Our definition of distributable earnings also excludes certain gains and charges with respect to acquisitions, dispositions, or resolutions of litigation. This exclusion pertains to the one-time gain related to the NASDAQ OMX transaction. Our management believes that excluding these gains and charges best reflects our operating performance. However, because NASDAQ OMX is expected to pay us in an equal amount of stock on a regular basis for 15 years as part of the transaction, the payments associated with our receipt of such stock are expected to be included in the our calculation of distributable earnings. To make quarter-to-quarter comparisons more meaningful, one-quarter of the annual contingent earn-out amount will be included in our calculation of distributable earnings each quarter as “other revenues.”

Since distributable earnings are calculated on a pre-tax basis, management intends to also report “post-tax distributable earnings” and “post-tax distributable earnings per fully diluted share”:

 

   

“Post-tax distributable earnings” are defined as pre-tax distributable earnings adjusted to assume that all pre-tax distributable earnings were taxed at the same effective rate.

 

   

“Post-tax distributable earnings per fully diluted share” are defined as post-tax distributable earnings divided by the weighted-average number of fully diluted shares for the period.

Our distributable earnings per share calculations assume either that:

 

   

The fully diluted share count includes the shares related to the dilutive instruments, such as the Convertible Senior Notes, but excludes the associated interest expense, net of tax, when the impact would be dilutive; or

 

   

The fully diluted share count excludes the shares related to these instruments, but includes the associated interest expense, net of tax.

Each quarter, the dividend to common stockholders is expected to be determined by our Board of Directors with reference to post-tax distributable earnings per fully diluted share. In addition to our quarterly dividend to common stockholders, we expect to pay a pro-rata distribution of net income to BGC Holdings founding/working

 

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partner and other limited partnership units, including REUs, RPUs, LPUs, PSUs and PSIs, and to Cantor for its noncontrolling interest. The amount of all of these payments is expected to be determined using the above definition of pre-tax distributable earnings per share.

Certain employees who are holders of RSUs are granted pro-rata payments equivalent to the amount of dividends paid to common stockholders. Under GAAP, a portion of the dividend equivalents on RSUs is required to be taken as a compensation charge in the period paid. However, to the extent that they represent cash payments made from the prior period’s distributable earnings, they do not dilute existing stockholders and are therefore excluded from the calculation of distributable earnings.

Distributable earnings is not meant to be an exact measure of cash generated by operations and available for distribution, nor should it be considered in isolation or as an alternative to cash flow from operations or GAAP net income (loss). We view distributable earnings as a metric that is not necessarily indicative of liquidity or the cash available to fund its operations.

Pre- and post-tax distributable earnings are not intended to replace our presentation of GAAP financial results. However, management believes that they help provide investors with a clearer understanding of our financial performance and offer useful information to both management and investors regarding certain financial and business trends related to our financial condition and results of operations. Management believes that distributable earnings and the GAAP measures of financial performance should be considered together.

 

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ITEM 6. SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The following table sets forth selected consolidated financial data for the last five years ended December 31, 2013. This selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with “Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our Consolidated Financial Statements and the accompanying Notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Amounts in thousands, except per share data.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2013 (1)(2)(3)     2012 (3)     2011 (3)     2010     2009  

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

          

Revenues:

          

Commissions

   $ 1,202,244      $ 1,176,009      $ 996,263      $ 851,089      $ 693,818   

Principal transactions

     309,908        336,160        375,001        377,581        379,767   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total brokerage revenues

     1,512,152        1,512,169        1,371,264        1,228,670        1,073,585   

Real estate management services

     163,353        122,704        1,222        —          —     

Fees from related parties

     41,128        53,159        62,227        65,996        58,877   

Market data

     10,137        17,302        17,772        18,314        17,953   

Software solutions

     6,201        9,962        9,190        7,804        7,419   

Interest income

     6,833        6,506        5,441        3,308        7,252   

Other revenues

     44,643        4,495        4,174        13,960        5,923   

Gain on divestiture and sale of investments

     723,147        52,471        —          —          —     

Losses on equity investments

     (9,508     (11,775     (6,605     (6,940     (8,687
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

     2,498,086        1,766,993        1,464,685        1,331,112        1,162,322   

Expenses:

          

Compensation and employee benefits

     1,255,580        1,032,552        789,534        793,014        725,139   

Allocation of net income and grant of exchangeability to LPUs and FPUs

     423,589        140,076        126,778        69,010        16,731   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total compensation and employee benefits

     1,679,169        1,172,628        916,312        862,024        741,870   

Other expenses

     552,996        538,628        494,014        412,173        355,964   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

     2,232,165        1,711,256        1,410,326        1,274,197        1,097,834   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from operations before income taxes

     265,921        55,737        54,359        56,915        64,488   

Provision for income taxes

     92,166        20,224        15,999        11,543        23,675   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Consolidated net income

     173,755        35,513        38,360        45,372        40,813   

Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries

     102,831        11,649        18,223        24,210        20,788   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income available to common stockholders

   $ 70,924      $ 23,864      $ 20,137      $ 21,162      $ 20,025   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Per share data:

          

Basic earnings per share

   $ 0.37      $ 0.16      $ 0.17      $ 0.24      $ 0.25   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Fully diluted earnings per share

   $ 0.36      $ 0.16      $ 0.17      $ 0.24      $ 0.24   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Basic weighted-average shares of common stock outstanding

     193,694        144,886        116,132        88,294        80,350   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Fully diluted weighted-average shares of common stock outstanding

     265,348        280,809        116,514        228,568        211,036   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Dividends declared per share of common stock

   $ 0.48      $ 0.63      $ 0.65      $ 0.48      $ 0.30   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Dividends declared and paid per share of common stock

   $ 0.48      $ 0.63      $ 0.65      $ 0.48      $ 0.30   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 716,919      $ 388,409      $ 369,713      $ 364,104      $ 469,301   

Total assets

   $ 2,079,363      $ 1,638,939      $ 1,405,185      $ 1,470,314      $ 1,464,549   

Notes payable and collateralized borrowings

   $ 258,356      $ 301,444      $ 181,916      $ 39,258      $ 17,586   

Notes payable to related parties

   $ 150,000      $ 150,000      $ 150,000      $ 150,000      $ 150,000   

Total liabilities

   $ 1,309,698      $ 1,132,688      $ 904,218      $ 1,045,272      $ 1,026,651   

Total stockholders’ equity

   $ 464,368      $ 334,292      $ 316,654      $ 236,917      $ 201,889   

 

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(1) Periods after June 28, 2013 reflect the Company’s divestiture of its on-the-run, electronic benchmark U.S. Treasury platform to NASDAQ OMX on June 28, 2013.
(2) Amounts include gains related to the Company’s divestiture of its on-the-run, electronic benchmark U.S. Treasury platform to NASDAQ OMX on June 28, 2013.
(3) Information reflects the acquisition of Grubb & Ellis effective April 13, 2012 and Newmark effective October 14, 2011.

Note: Certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform with the current presentation.

 

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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion of BGC Partners, Inc.’s financial condition and results of operations should be read together with BGC Partners, Inc.’s consolidated financial statements and notes to those statements, included elsewhere in this document. When used herein, the terms “BGC Partners,” “BGC,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to BGC Partners, Inc., including consolidated subsidiaries.

This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of 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”). Such statements are based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Any statements contained herein that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. For example, words such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “possible,” “potential,” “continue,” “strategy,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “expects,” “intends” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

Our actual results and the outcome and timing of certain events may differ significantly from the expectations discussed in the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause or contribute to such a discrepancy include, but are not limited to the factors set forth below and may impact either or both of our operating segments:

 

   

market conditions, including trading volume and volatility, potential deterioration of equity and debt capital markets and markets for commercial real estate and related services, and our ability to access the capital markets;

 

   

pricing and commissions and market position with respect to our products and services and those of our competitors;

 

   

the effect of industry concentration and reorganization, reduction of customers and consolidation;

 

   

liquidity, regulatory and clearing capital requirements and the impact of credit market events;

 

   

our relationships with Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. and its affiliates (“Cantor”), including Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. (“CF&Co”) and Cantor Commercial Real Estate Company, L.P. (“CCRE”), any related conflicts of interest, any impact of Cantor’s results on our credit ratings and/or the associated outlooks, CF&Co’s acting as our sales agent under our controlled equity or other offerings, CF&Co’s acting as our financial advisor in connection with potential business combinations, dispositions, or other transactions, our participation in various investments or cash management vehicles placed by or recommended by CF&Co, and any services by CCRE with respect to finding and reviewing suitable acquisition or partner candidates, structuring transactions, negotiating and due diligence services;

 

   

economic or geopolitical conditions or uncertainties, the actions of governments or central banks, and the impact of natural disasters or weather-related or similar events, including power failures, communication and transportation disruptions, and other interruptions of utilities or other essential services;

 

   

the effect on our businesses, our clients, the markets in which we operate, and the economy in general of possible shutdowns of the U.S. government, sequestrations, uncertainties regarding the debt ceiling and the federal budget, and other potential future political impasses;

 

   

the effect on our businesses of reductions in overall industry volumes in certain of our products as a result of Federal Reserve Board quantitative easing, the tapering of quantitative easing and other factors, including the level and timing of governmental debt issuances and outstanding amounts;

 

   

the effect on our businesses of worldwide governmental debt issuances, austerity programs, increases or decreases in deficits, and potential political impasses or regulatory requirements, including increased capital requirements for banks and other financial institutions;

 

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extensive regulation of our businesses, changes in regulations relating to the financial services, real estate and other industries, and risks relating to compliance matters, including regulatory examinations, inspections, investigations and enforcement actions, and any resulting costs, fines, penalties, sanctions, enhanced oversight, increased financial and capital requirements, and changes to or restrictions or limitations on specific activities, operations, compensatory arrangements, and growth opportunities, including acquisitions, hiring, and new businesses, products, or services;

 

   

factors related to specific transactions or series of transactions, including credit, performance and unmatched principal risk, trade failures, counterparty failures, and the impact of fraud and unauthorized trading;

 

   

costs and expenses of developing, maintaining and protecting our intellectual property, as well as employment and other litigation and their related costs, including judgments or settlements paid or received;

 

   

certain financial risks, including the possibility of future losses, reduced cash flows from operations, and the need for long-term borrowings or other sources of cash, related to acquisitions, dispositions or other matters, potential liquidity and other risks relating to our ability to obtain financing or refinancing of existing debt on terms acceptable to us, if at all, and risks of the resulting leverage, including potentially causing a reduction in our credit ratings and/or the associated outlooks, increased borrowing costs, as well as interest and currency rate fluctuations;

 

   

risks associated with the temporary or longer-term investment of our available cash, including defaults or impairments on our investments or cash management vehicles and collectability of loan balances owed to us by partners, employees, or others;

 

   

our ability to enter new markets or develop new products, trading desks, marketplaces or services and to induce customers to use these products, trading desks, marketplaces or services and to secure and maintain market share;

 

   

our ability to enter into marketing and strategic alliances and business combinations or other transactions in the financial services, real estate, and other industries, including acquisitions, dispositions, reorganizations, partnering opportunities and joint ventures, and our ability to maintain or develop relationships with independently owned offices in our real estate services business, the anticipated benefits of any such transactions or relationships and the future impact of any such transactions or relationships on our financial results for current or future periods, the integration of any completed acquisitions and the use of proceeds of any completed dispositions, and the value of and any hedging entered into in connection with consideration received or to be received in connection with such dispositions;

 

   

our estimates or determinations of potential value with respect to various assets or portions of our businesses, including with respect to the accuracy of the assumptions or the valuation models or multiples used (as to which no representation is made);

 

   

our ability to hire and retain personnel, including brokers, managers and other professionals;

 

   

our ability to expand the use of technology for hybrid and fully electronic trading in our product offerings;

 

   

our ability to effectively manage any growth that may be achieved, while ensuring compliance with all applicable financial reporting, internal control, legal compliance and regulatory requirements;

 

   

our ability to identify and remediate any material weaknesses in our internal controls that could affect our ability to prepare financial statements and reports in a timely manner, control our policies, procedures, operations and assets, assess and manage our operational, regulatory, and financial risks, and integrate our acquired businesses;

 

   

the effectiveness of our risk management policies and procedures, and the impact of unexpected market moves and similar events;

 

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information technology implementation issues, capacity constraints, failures, or disruptions in our systems or those of the clients, counterparties, exchanges, clearing facilities, or other parties with which we interact, including cybersecurity risks and incidents;

 

   

the fact that the prices at which shares of our Class A common stock are sold in one or more of our controlled equity offerings or in other offerings or other transactions may vary significantly, and purchasers of shares in such offerings or transactions, as well as existing stockholders, may suffer significant dilution if the price they paid for their shares is higher than the price paid by other purchasers in such offerings or transactions;

 

   

our ability to meet expectations with respect to payments of dividends and distributions and repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and purchases or redemptions of limited partnership interests of BGC Holdings, L.P. (“BGC Holdings”), or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, including from Cantor, our executive officers, other employees, partners, and others, and the net proceeds to be realized by us from offerings of our shares of Class A common stock; and

 

   

the effect on the market for and trading price of our Class A common stock of various offerings and other transactions, including our controlled equity and other offerings of our Class A common stock and convertible or exchangeable debt securities, our repurchases of shares of our Class A common stock and purchases of BGC Holdings limited partnership interests or other equity interests in our subsidiaries, any exchanges or redemptions of limited partnership units and issuances of shares of Class A common stock in connection therewith, including in partnership restructurings, our payment of dividends on our Class A common stock and distributions on BGC Holdings limited partnership interests, convertible arbitrage, hedging, and other transactions engaged in by holders of our 4.50% convertible notes and counterparties to our capped call transactions, and resales of shares of our Class A common stock acquired from us or Cantor, including pursuant to our employee benefit plans, unit exchanges and redemptions, partnership restructurings, acquisitions, conversions of our convertible notes, conversions or exchanges of our convertible or exchangeable debt securities, and distributions from Cantor pursuant to Cantor’s distribution rights obligations and other distributions to Cantor partners, including deferred distribution rights shares.

This discussion summarizes the significant factors affecting our results of operations and financial condition during the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012. This discussion is provided to increase the understanding of, and should be read in conjunction with, our consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this Report.

OVERVIEW AND BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

We are a leading global brokerage company servicing the financial and real estate markets through our Financial Services and Real Estate Services businesses. Our Financial Services business specializes in the brokerage of a broad range of products, including fixed income securities, interest rate swaps, foreign exchange, equities, equity derivatives, credit derivatives, commodities, futures and structured products. Our Financial Services business also provides a full range of services, including trade execution, broker-dealer services, clearing, processing, information, and other back-office services to a broad range of financial and non-financial institutions. Our integrated platform is designed to provide flexibility to customers with regard to price discovery, execution and processing of transactions, and enables them to use voice, hybrid, or in many markets, fully electronic brokerage services in connection with transactions executed either over-the-counter (“OTC”) or through an exchange. Through our BGC Trader™ and BGC Market Data brands, we offer financial technology solutions, market data, and analytics related to select financial instruments and markets.

We entered into the commercial real estate business in October 2011 with the acquisition of Newmark & Company Real Estate, Inc. (“Newmark”), a leading U.S. commercial real estate brokerage and advisory firm primarily serving corporate and institutional clients. Newmark was founded in 1929 in New York City. In 2000, Newmark embarked upon a national expansion and in 2006 entered into an agreement with London-based Knight

 

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Frank to operate jointly in the Americas as “Newmark Knight Frank.” In the second quarter of 2012, we completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis Company and its direct and indirect subsidiaries, which we refer to as “Grubb & Ellis.” Grubb & Ellis was formed in 1958 and built a full-service national commercial real estate platform of property management, facilities management and brokerage services. We have completed the integration of Grubb & Ellis with Newmark Knight Frank to form the resulting brand, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (or “NGKF”). NGKF is a full-service commercial real estate platform that comprises our Real Estate Services segment, offering commercial real estate tenants, owners, investors and developers a wide range of services, including leasing and corporate advisory, investment sales and financial services, consulting, project and development management, and property and facilities management.

In connection with the Grubb & Ellis acquisition, we began, with the second quarter of 2012, reporting two segments, Financial Services and Real Estate Services. Prior to the second quarter of 2012, we had only one reportable segment. On August 8, 2012, we filed a Current Report on Form 8-K to update our financial statements and certain other information contained in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 to reflect such change in our reportable segments. These two segments continue to be reported in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Our customers include many of the world’s largest banks, broker-dealers, investment banks, trading firms, hedge funds, governments, corporations, property owners, real estate developers and investment firms. We have offices in dozens of major markets, including New York and London, as well as in Atlanta, Beijing, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Copenhagen, Dallas, Denver, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Miami, Moscow, Nyon, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Washington, D.C. and Zurich.

We remain confident in our future growth prospects as we continue to increase the scale and depth of our real estate platform and continue to seek market driven opportunities to expand our business in numerous financial asset classes. NGKF showed strong growth during the year ended December 31, 2013, as we completed the integration of Grubb & Ellis, and continued to build the NGKF brand by accretively acquiring businesses, hiring talent around the country, and winning large Global Corporate Services clients.

So far in 2014, we have announced our intention to acquire Cornish & Carey Commercial, a California-based commercial real estate broker. With approximately $135 million in revenues in 2012 and over 275 brokers, Cornish & Carey Commercial is Northern California’s preeminent full service commercial real estate company. This is a key strategic addition for NGKF. In addition, we have acquired the assets of HEAT Energy Group, a U.S.-based OTC energy broker.

In addition to these completed and planned acquisitions, over the course of 2013 we announced several key front office hires in energy and across various areas of NGKF.

In addition, as a result of our ongoing efforts to lower expenses in our Financial Services segment and corporate areas, we succeeded in lowering our non-compensation expenses on an annualized basis by approximately $60 million by the end of 2013 compared with the second half of 2012 run-rate. This puts us well on our way towards achieving our target of reducing overall expenses by at least $100 million annualized by the end of 2014.

NASDAQ OMX Transaction

On June 28, 2013, we completed the sale (the “NASDAQ OMX Transaction”) of certain assets to The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. (“NASDAQ OMX”). The Transaction occurred pursuant to a Purchase Agreement, dated as of April 1, 2013 (the “Purchase Agreement”). At the closing, NASDAQ OMX purchased certain assets and assumed certain liabilities from us and our affiliates, including the eSpeed brand name and various assets comprising the fully electronic portion of our benchmark on-the-run U.S. Treasury brokerage, market data and co-location service businesses (the “Purchased Assets” or “eSpeed”), for cash consideration of $750 million paid at closing, plus an earn-out of up to 14,883,705 shares of NASDAQ OMX common stock to be paid ratably in each of the fifteen years following the closing. The $750 million in cash paid at closing was subject to adjustment

 

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for certain pre-paid amounts and accrued costs and expenses, and the 14,883,705 shares of NASDAQ OMX common stock will be paid ratably in each of the fifteen years following the closing in which the consolidated gross revenue of NASDAQ OMX is equal to or greater than $25 million. On November 12, 2013, we received 992,247 shares of NASDAQ OMX common stock in accordance with the agreement. The contingent future issuances of NASDAQ OMX common stock are also subject to acceleration upon the occurrence of certain events, including the acquisition by any person of 50% or more of NASDAQ OMX’s stock (including by merger), NASDAQ OMX ceasing to hold Purchased Assets representing 50% or more of the aggregate revenue attributable to the Purchased Assets as of the closing, and the sale of all or substantially all of NASDAQ OMX’s assets, as well as to certain anti-dilution provisions.

As a result of the sale of eSpeed, we only sold our on-the-run, benchmark 2-, 3-, 5-, 7-, 10-, and 30-year fully electronic trading platform for U.S. Treasury Notes and Bonds. Over time, we have built these six instruments into some of the deepest and most liquid markets in the world. This platform, together with the directly related market data and co-location businesses, generated approximately $99 million in revenues in 2012, approximately $93.5 million of which was recorded in our Financial Services segment and the remainder recorded as fees from related parties in Corporate items. The platform and the directly related market data and co-location businesses generated approximately $48.4 million in revenues in the first six months of 2013, approximately $46.3 million of which was recorded in our Financial Services segment and the remainder recorded as fees from related parties in Corporate items. We retain all of our other voice, hybrid, and fully electronic trading, market data, and software businesses, including voice, hybrid and electronic brokerage of off-the-run U.S. Treasuries, as well as Treasury Bills, Treasury Swaps, Treasury Repos, Treasury Spreads, and Treasury Rolls. We also continue to offer voice brokerage for on-the-run U.S. Treasuries.

Share Count Reduction and Modifications/Extensions of Employment Agreements

At the end of the second quarter of 2013, we redeemed or exchanged approximately 76 million units from the partners of BGC Holdings (the “Global Partnership Restructuring Program”). We granted approximately 44 million shares of our Class A common stock, of which approximately 41 million were restricted shares. A portion of the units redeemed were used to pay the withholding taxes owed on behalf of these partners. The restricted shares are generally saleable by partners in five to ten years. Partners who agree to extend the lengths of their employment agreements and/or other contractual modifications sought by the Company are expected to be able to sell their restricted shares over a shorter time period. During the year ended December 31, 2013, we released the restrictions with respect to approximately 5.9 million of such shares.

Taken together, these actions resulted in reducing our fully diluted share count by approximately 32 million shares. We believe that the expected modifications of arrangements with employees and partners will also materially reduce the rate of employee/partner share issuance going forward, while maintaining our effective tax rate. The share count was also impacted by the repurchase or net redemption of another 6.0 million shares and units in 2013 at an average price of $5.08 per share or unit.

As a consequence of the Global Partnership Restructuring Program described above, we incurred non-cash, non-dilutive compensation charges of approximately $465 million related to the redemption/exchange of partnership units, issuance of restricted shares, and a reserve on compensation-related partnership loans. These charges, along with the $723.1 million gain related to the sale of eSpeed, were recognized in our consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Our cash position, which we define as cash and cash equivalents, marketable securities and unencumbered securities owned, is approximately $795.0 million, largely as a result of the $750 million in cash we received as part of the sale of eSpeed, less funds used to pay related distributions and taxes as well as cash used with respect to reducing our fully diluted share count by approximately 32 million shares during 2013 and with respect to the repayment of collateralized borrowings. We expect to continue using the remaining cash proceeds to repay debt, make accretive acquisitions and invest in organic growth in both Real Estate Services and Financial Services, and/or repurchase additional units or common shares. We also anticipate maintaining our regular $0.12 per share quarterly common stock dividend for the foreseeable future.

 

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Financial Services:

The financial intermediary sector has been a competitive area that has grown over the past decade due to several factors. One factor is the increasing use of derivatives to manage risk or to take advantage of the anticipated direction of a market by allowing users to protect gains and/or guard against losses in the price of underlying assets without having to buy or sell the underlying assets. Derivatives are often used to mitigate the risks associated with interest rates, equity ownership, changes in the value of foreign currency, credit defaults by corporate and sovereign debtors and changes in the prices of commodity products. Over the past decade, demand from financial institutions, financial services intermediaries and large corporations has increased volumes in the wholesale derivatives market, thereby increasing the business opportunity for financial intermediaries.

Another key factor in the growth of the financial intermediary sector over the past decade has been the increase in the number of new financial products. As market participants and their customers strive to mitigate risk, new types of equity and fixed income securities, futures, options and other financial instruments have been developed. These new securities and derivatives are not immediately ready for more liquid and standardized electronic markets, and generally increase the need for trading and require broker-assisted execution.

Our Financial Services business faced challenging market conditions during the year. Most of our large bank customers reported double-digit declines in their revenues from fixed income, currency, and commodity trading. They attributed their results to a number of cyclical factors, including the Federal Reserve maintaining its quantitative easing policy, the recent budget impasse in Washington and structural issues such as the higher bank capital requirements under Basel III. Consequently, volatility in rates, foreign exchange, and equities all declined from their recent highs in June, and were at or below historical averages. This contributed to lower OTC trading volumes across most asset classes. Given this backdrop, our overall Financial Services segment revenues declined by 4.7% for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012.

Regulators in the U.S. have finalized most of the new rules across a range of financial marketplaces, including OTC derivatives as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”). Many of these rules became effective during 2013 with ongoing phase-ins anticipated over the course of 2014. Legislators and regulators in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region have crafted similar rules, some of which are expected to be first implemented in 2014.

These OTC-related laws and proposed rules call for additional pre- and post-trade market transparency, heightened collateral and capital standards, the transacting of certain derivatives using authorized venues, central clearing of most standardized derivatives, specific business conduct standards and the delivery of transaction data to newly designated trade repositories for public dissemination.

On October 2, 2013, BGC Derivative Markets, L.P. (“BGC Derivative Markets”), a subsidiary of the Company, began operating our Swap Execution Facility (“SEF”). Mandatory Dodd-Frank compliant execution by Swap Dealers and Major Swap Participants is scheduled to commence in February 2014 for a small number of products, and in May of 2014 for others. We have heard from many of our large bank customers that they are currently trading less while they prepare for the new rules to take effect. Although SEF activity has greatly increased in January 2014 compared with December 2013, volumes to date are not indicative of what we expect this business to look like a year from now. We anticipate improved derivatives volumes once the regulatory landscape becomes clearer for our clients. In addition, BGC maintains its ownership stake in ELX, a Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) approved designated contract market (“DCM”), which also includes several of the world’s largest banks as equity holders. ELX began Dodd-Frank compliant swap and swap-futures trading in the fourth quarter of 2013, and we expect growing volumes as market participants expand the use of ELX to comply with regulations effective in the first quarter of 2014.

We believe that our relative competitive position is strong in this new environment, and that we will gain market share in the U.S. This is because the new rules not only require OTC market execution venues to maintain robust front-end and back-office IT capabilities and to make large and ongoing technology investments, but also

 

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because recent revisions to the execution methodology rules will allow elements of voice brokerage to flourish. We are a leader in both the breadth and scale of our hybrid and fully electronic trading capability, and we expect to outperform our competitors in such an environment.

Growth Drivers

As a wholesale intermediary, our business is driven primarily by overall industry volumes in the markets in which we broker, the size and productivity of our front-office headcount (including salespeople, brokers and other front-office professionals), regulatory issues and the percentage of our revenues related to fully electronic brokerage.

Below is a brief analysis of the market and industry volumes for some of our financial services products including our overall hybrid and fully electronic trading activities.

Overall Market Volumes and Volatility

Volume is driven by a number of items, including the level of issuance for financial instruments, the price volatility of financial instruments, macro-economic conditions, the creation and adoption of new products, the regulatory environment, and the introduction and adoption of new trading technologies. In general, increased price volatility increases the demand for hedging instruments, including many of the cash and derivative products that we broker. For example, hedge funds are increasingly making use of derivatives to protect positions and preserve the capital of their more risk-averse institutional clients, which now account for almost two-thirds of assets managed by the industry, according to a report from J.P. Morgan.

Rates volumes in particular are also influenced by market volatility, and such volatility has been dampened due to continued quantitative easing undertaken by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks. Quantitative easing entails the central banks buying government securities or other securities in the open market – particularly longer-dated instruments—in an effort to promote increased lending and liquidity and bring down long-term interest rates. When central banks hold these instruments, they tend not to trade or hedge—thus lowering rates volumes across cash and derivatives markets industry-wide. As of January 1, 2014, the U.S. Federal Reserve had approximately $3.8 trillion worth of long-dated U.S. Treasury and Federal Agency securities, compared with $1.7 trillion at the beginning of 2011 and zero prior to September 2008. Other major central banks have also greatly increased the amount of longer-dated debt on their balance sheets over the past three years.

In addition, the G-20 central banks have agreed to implement the Basel III accord. Basel III was drafted with the intention of making banks more stable in the wake of the financial crisis. The pact, which will be phased in over the next few years, will force most large banks in G-20 nations to hold about three times as much Tier 1 capital as is required under existing rules. The capital rules make it more expensive for banks to hold assets other than sovereign debt on their balance sheet, and as a result, analysts say banks have reduced or will reduce their trading activity in corporate and asset-backed fixed income securities as well as in various other OTC cash and derivative instruments. We believe that this has reduced overall industry volumes in many of the products we trade, particularly in credit.

During the year ended December 31, 2013, industry volumes were generally lower year-over-year for most of the OTC and listed products we broker in rates, credit and equities and other asset classes. For example, U.S. overall fixed income volume reported by primary dealers to the Federal Reserve decreased in the year by approximately 3% compared with a year earlier. This negatively impacted revenues industry-wide and in our Financial Services segment. In addition, our ongoing efforts to lower expenses and to improve the margins of this segment resulted in selectively reducing our front-office headcount during the year, which lowered revenues compared with a year earlier, but are expected to improve profitability over the long term. Below is a discussion of the volume and growth drivers of our various financial services brokerage product categories.

 

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Rates Volumes and Volatility

Our rates business is particularly influenced by the level of sovereign debt issuance globally. While the amount of sovereign debt outstanding continues to remain high globally by historical standards, the level of issuance has declined for many governments as budget deficits decline. For example, according to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”), issuance by the U.S. Treasury of interest-bearing debt for 2013 has declined by approximately 7% compared with a year earlier. In addition, quantitative easing has muted the impact that high levels of existing debt normally would have on secondary volumes.

Our rates revenues are not totally dependent on market volumes and therefore do not always fluctuate consistently with industry metrics. This is largely because our voice, hybrid, and fully electronic desks in rates often have volume discounts built into their price structure, which results in our rates revenues being less volatile than the overall industry volumes.

Excluding the assets we sold to NASDAQ OMX, BGC’s fully electronic rates desks increased revenues by 18.2% to $35.1 million during 2013. Largely as a result of the eSpeed sale, our overall rates revenues declined by 7.6% year-over-year to $491.7 million.

Overall, analysts and economists expect the absolute level of sovereign debt outstanding to remain at elevated levels for the foreseeable future as governments finance their future deficits and roll over their sizable existing debt. For example, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”)—which includes almost all of the advanced and developed economies of the world—reported that general government debt as a percentage of GDP will be 73.1% for the entire OECD by 2015. This would represent a slight increase from 68.3% in 2012, but is nearly double the 39.1% figure in 2007. Meanwhile, economists expect that the effects of various forms of quantitative easing will continue to negatively impact financial markets, as economic growth remains weak in most OECD countries. As a result, we expect long-term tailwinds in our rates business from continuing high levels of government debt, but near-term headwinds due to continued quantitative easing.

Credit Volumes

The cash portion of our credit business is impacted by the level of global corporate bond issuance, while both the cash and credit derivatives sides of this business are impacted by sovereign and corporate issuance. Global credit derivative market turnover has declined due to uncertainty surrounding recently enacted rules for the clearing of credit derivatives in the U.S. In addition, corporate and asset-backed bond trading has declined for many of our large bank customers as they reduce their inventory of bonds in order to comply with Basel III. This was compounded by softening corporate bond issuances during the second half of 2013, as a result of rising interest rates. The net impact of these trends was reflected in the combined Federal Reserve volumes for agency, corporate and mortgage-backed bonds—a reflection of the cash market—being down by 9% year-over-year during 2013, and by dealer-to-dealer gross notional outstanding amount of credit derivatives as reported by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (“SIFMA”)—a reflection of the inter-dealer derivatives market – being down by 14% year-over-year. Our overall credit revenues declined by 14.1%, which was reflective of mixed overall volume trends in the credit markets globally.

Foreign Exchange Volumes and Volatility

Global foreign exchange (“FX”) volume decreased in 2013 as volatility—as measured by the Deutsche Bank FX Volatility Index, or CVIX—remained below its trailing ten-year average. Our fully electronic FX volumes increased 52%, while our overall FX revenues were up by 2.0%. In comparison, FX volumes increased by 4.4% at CME, and declined by approximately 6% at both EBS and Reuters.

Equity-Related Volumes and Volatility

Global equity markets continued to be challenging during 2013. For example, U.S. equity derivatives volumes were mixed year-over-year according to the Options Clearing Corporation, but were down by

 

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approximately 12% and 28%, respectively, according to the Eurex and Euronext. Energy and commodities volumes were also generally flat or down year-over-year according to the CME and ICE. In comparison, our overall revenues from equities and other asset classes decreased by 3.4%, and we believe we continued to gain market share.

Hybrid and Fully Electronic Trading

Historically, technology-based product growth has led to higher margins and greater profits over time for exchanges and wholesale financial intermediaries alike, even if overall company revenues remain consistent. This is largely because fewer employees are needed to process the same volume of trades as trading becomes more automated. Over time, electronification of exchange-traded and OTC markets has also generally led to volumes increasing faster than commissions decline, and thus often to an overall increase in revenues. We have been a pioneer in creating and encouraging hybrid and fully electronic trading, and continually work with our customers to expand such trading across more asset classes and geographies.

Outside of U.S. Treasuries and spot FX, the banks and broker-dealers that dominate the OTC markets had generally been hesitant in adopting electronically traded products. However, in recent years, hybrid and fully electronic inter-dealer OTC markets for products, including CDS indices, FX options, and most recently interest rate swaps, have sprung up as banks and dealers have become more open to electronically traded products and as firms like us have invested in the kinds of technology favored by our customers. Recently enacted and pending regulation in Asia, Europe and the U.S. regarding banking, capital markets, and OTC derivatives is likely to hasten the spread of fully electronic trading and we expect to benefit from the new rules regarding OTC derivatives once they are finalized globally. Our understanding is that the rules that have been promulgated or are being discussed will continue to allow for trading through a variety of means, including voice, and we believe the net impact of these rules and the new bank capital requirements will encourage the growth of fully electronic trading for a number of products we broker.

The combination of more market acceptance of hybrid and fully electronic trading and our competitive advantage in terms of technology and experience has contributed to our strong gains in electronically traded products. During 2013, we continued to invest in hybrid and fully electronic technology broadly across our financial services product categories.

Excluding eSpeed, Financial Services electronic trading, market data and software solutions revenue increased by 3.9% to $80.7 million or 7.4% of segment revenue for the year, compared with $77.7 million or 6.9% for the year ended December 31, 2012. We now offer electronically traded products on more than half of our Financial Services segment’s approximately 200 desks. We expect the proportion of desks offering electronically traded products to continue to increase as we invest in technology to drive electronic trading over our platform. Over time, we expect the growth of our technology-based businesses to further improve this segment’s profitability.

Real Estate Services:

On October 14, 2011, we completed the acquisition of Newmark. On April 13, 2012, we acquired substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis Company and its direct and indirect subsidiaries (collectively “Grubb & Ellis”). Newmark, Grubb & Ellis and certain independently-owned partner offices of the two, operate as “Newmark Grubb Knight Frank” in the Americas, and are associated with London-based Knight Frank. Our discussion of financial results for “Newmark Grubb Knight Frank,” “NGKF,” or “Real Estate Services” reflects only those businesses owned by us and does not include the results for Knight Frank or for the independently-owned offices that use some variation of the NGKF name in their branding or marketing.

Our Real Estate Services segment continued to show strong growth and generated approximately 23.1% of our revenues in the year ended December 31, 2013. NGKF has completed the integration of Grubb & Ellis, while continuing to build its brand by accretively acquiring businesses, hiring talent around the country, and winning

 

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large Global Corporate Services assignments. In addition, on January 21, 2014, we announced that we have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the business of Cornish & Carey Commercial, Inc., a Northern California-based commercial real estate firm. We believe that these actions will significantly expand the earnings margins for the Real Estate Services segment.

Growth Drivers

The key drivers of revenue growth for U.S. commercial real estate brokerage services companies include the overall health of the U.S. economy, including gross domestic product and employment trends in the U.S., which drives demand for various types of commercial leases and purchases; the institutional ownership of commercial real estate as an investible asset class; and the ability to attract and retain talent to our real estate services platform. In addition, in real estate sales, also known as real estate capital markets, growth is also driven by the availability of credit to purchasers of and investors in commercial real estate.

Economic Growth in the U.S.

The U.S. economy expanded by 1.9% in 2013 according to preliminary figures from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, below the post-recession average of 2.3%. Growth in the second half of 2013 picked up noticeably, however, with GDP expanding by an annualized rate of 4.1% in the third quarter and 2.4% in the fourth quarter, aided by rising inventories, exports, consumer spending and commercial construction.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employers added 2,322,000 net new payroll jobs during 2013, about the same as the 2012 and 2011 totals of 2,193,000 and 2,103,000, respectively. The U.S. is expected to recover the last of the 8.7 million jobs lost to the recession around the middle of this year. Almost five years into the recovery, the high unemployment rate (6.7% in December 2013), long-term unemployment and the declining labor force participation rate (at a 35-year low) remain disappointing for many economists, but these indicators are less important to commercial real estate than job creation.

The 10-year Treasury yield ended 2013 at 3.04% after rising from its 2013 low of 1.66% on May 1. Fears that the Federal Reserve would reduce its monthly bond purchases of $85 billion caused bond prices to fall and interest rates to rise as traders anticipated less demand from the government. Indeed, the Federal Open Market Committee (“FOMC”) announced on December 18 that it would reduce its monthly purchases by $10 billion beginning in January 2014, but it noted that it would keep interest rates low “well past” the point when unemployment reaches the threshold rate of 6.5%.

The combination of moderate economic growth and low interest rates that has been in place since the recession ended has been a powerful stimulus for commercial real estate, delivering steady absorption of excess space and strong investor demand for the yields available through both direct ownership of assets and publicly traded funds. Steady economic growth and low interest rates helped push vacancy rates down for the office, apartment, retail and industrial markets. The low level of new construction over the past few years has meant that tenants have been funneled into existing vacant space with the exception of apartments, where construction has propelled the market into a new expansion cycle. Asking rental rates posted moderate gains across all property types in 2013, propelled by demand for Class A assets in the top submarkets. The following trends drove the commercial real estate market in 2013:

 

   

Technology, energy and healthcare powered demand for office space;

 

   

Global trade, business capital spending and supply-chain optimization created tenant and owner-user demand for warehouses and distribution centers;

 

   

The modest recovery in consumer spending was enough to create demand for well-located retail space in the best trade areas;

 

   

Apartments benefited from a pickup in household formation thanks to the steady pace of job growth and underlying demographic trends; and

 

   

Strong corporate earnings combined with increased leisure travel generated demand for hotel room-nights.

 

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Market Statistics

Following the financial crises of 2007/2008, the U.S. commercial property market saw steep declines in activity in 2009. In 2010, the market began to revive, and by the end of 2011 there were signs that the recovery was continuing, although still not at levels seen prior to the crisis. If the U.S. economy continues to expand at the moderate pace envisioned by many economists in 2014, we would expect this to fuel the continued recovery in commercial real estate.

Although overall industry metrics are not necessarily as correlated to our revenues in Real Estate Services as they are in Financial Services, they do provide some indication of the general direction of the business. According to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Research, the overall vacancy rate for office properties in the nation’s key markets ended 2013 at 15.0%, down from 15.6% a year earlier and the lowest level since the first quarter of 2009. The national vacancy rate for industrial properties was 7.9% at December 31, 2013, an improvement on the 8.7% rate measured one year ago. Rents for all property types in the U.S. continued to improve modestly. CoStar Group (a leading provider of information and analytic services) reported similar improvements in vacancy rates and rents for the national office, industrial, and retail markets.

In terms of commercial real estate sales metrics, according to CoStar’s Value-Weighted U.S. Composite Index, average prices were up 11.2% year-over-year through December 2013. In 2013, the dollar volume of significant property sales rose by 19% above the same period in 2012 according to Real Capital Analytics. In comparison, our Real Estate Services brokerage revenue increased by 24.8% year-over-year primarily due to growth resulting from the acquisition of Grubb & Ellis in the second quarter of 2012 as well as our other recent acquisitions (Frederick Ross and Smith Mack) and organic growth.

REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

See “Regulation” in Part I, Item 1 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for information related to our regulatory environment.

LIQUIDITY

See “Liquidity and Capital Resources” herein for information related to our liquidity and capital resources.

HIRING AND ACQUISITIONS

A key driver of our revenue growth is front-office headcount. We believe that our strong technology platform and unique partnership structure have enabled us to use both acquisitions and recruiting to profitably increase our front-office staff at a faster rate than our largest competitors since our formation in 2004.

We have invested significantly to capitalize on the current business environment through acquisitions, technology spending and the hiring of new brokers, salespeople and other front-office professionals. The business climate for these acquisitions has been competitive, and it is expected that these conditions will persist for the foreseeable future. We have been able to attract businesses and brokers, salespeople and other front-office professionals to our platform as we believe they recognize that we have the scale, technology, experience and expertise to succeed in the current business environment.

As of December 31, 2013, our front-office headcount was down by approximately 6.5% year-over-year to 2,385 brokers, salespeople and other front-office professionals. For the year ended December 31, 2013, average revenue generated per front-office employee was approximately $619,000, a decrease of 4% from the year ended December 31, 2012 when it was approximately $646,000. Front-office headcount included 1,501 brokers, salespeople and other front-office professionals in Financial Services, with average revenue generated per front-office employee of approximately $700,000, relatively unchanged year-over-year, and 884 brokers, salespeople and other front-office professionals in Real Estate Services, with average revenue generated per front-office employee of approximately $473,000, a decrease of 8% year-over-year.

 

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The 4% decrease in overall company revenue per front-office employee was primarily driven by a decrease in revenue per front-office employee in Real Estate, which decreased 8% year-over-year. This decrease was the result of increased average front-office headcount in Real Estate year-over-year partially offset by increased revenues. Excluding eSpeed revenues and eSpeed headcount, revenue per front-office employee in Financial Services was up by approximately 4% year-over-year.

The laws and regulations passed or proposed on both sides of the Atlantic concerning OTC trading seem likely to favor increased use of technology by all market participants, and are likely to accelerate the adoption of both hybrid and fully electronic trading. We believe these developments will favor the larger inter-dealer brokers over smaller, non-public ones, as the smaller ones generally do not have the financial resources to invest the necessary amounts in technology. We believe this will lead to further consolidation in our industry, and thus further allow us to profitably grow our front-office headcount.

Our recent acquisitions include the acquisitions of Grubb & Ellis, Wolfe & Hurst, Smith Mack, Frederick Ross Company, Ginalfi Finance and Sterling International Brokers Limited.

On April 13, 2012, we completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis. The total consideration transferred for Grubb & Ellis was approximately $47.1 million. CF&Co acted as an advisor to us in connection with this transaction and received a fee of $1.0 million. We executed employment/service and partnership arrangements with hundreds of real estate professionals from the Grubb & Ellis bankruptcy estate and completed their transfer into entities that we own.

During the year ended December 31, 2012, we completed other acquisitions for a total consideration of $24.2 million, including Wolfe & Hurst, Smith Mack, Frederick Ross Company and Ginalfi Finance. Wolfe & Hurst Bond Brokers, Inc. is a municipal bonds inter-dealer broker in North America. Smith Mack is an independent full service commercial real estate services firm operating in Philadelphia and surrounding regions. Frederick Ross Company is the oldest full-service commercial real estate firm in Denver, and partner of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank since 2010. Ginalfi Finance is an inter-dealer broker based in Paris specializing in the intermediation of money markets products, credit bonds, government bonds and swaps.

During the year ended December 31, 2013, we acquired the business and certain assets of Sterling International Brokers Limited, a London-based financial brokerage firm specializing in Pound Sterling and other major currency transactions.

So far in 2014, we have announced our intention to acquire Cornish & Carey Commercial, a Northern California-based commercial real estate broker, and have acquired the assets of HEAT Energy Group, a U.S.-based OTC energy broker.

In addition to these completed and planned acquisitions, over the course of 2013 we announced several key front-office hires in energy and across various areas of NGKF.

Financial Overview

Revenues

Our revenues are derived primarily from brokerage commissions charged for either agency or matched principal transactions, revenues from real estate management services, fees from related parties, fees charged for market data and analytics products, fees from software solutions, and interest income.

Brokerage

We earn revenues from inter-dealer voice brokerage services on both an agency and matched principal basis. In agency transactions, we charge a commission for connecting buyers and sellers and assisting in the negotiation of the price and other material terms of the transaction. After all material terms of a transaction are

 

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agreed upon, we identify the buyer and seller to each other and leave them to settle the trade directly. Principal transaction revenues are primarily derived from matched principal transactions, whereby revenues are earned on the spread between the buy and the sell price of the brokered security, commodity or derivative. Customers either see the buy or sell price on a screen or are given this information over the phone. The brokerage fee is then added to the buy or sell price, which represents the spread we earn as principal transactions revenues. On a limited basis, we enter into unmatched principal transactions to facilitate a customer’s execution needs for transactions initiated by such customers. We also provide market data products for selected financial institutions.

We offer our brokerage services in five broad product categories: rates, real estate, credit, FX, and equities and other asset classes. The chart below details brokerage revenues by product category and by voice/hybrid versus fully electronic (in thousands):

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2013     2012     2011  

Brokerage revenue by product (1):

      

Rates

   $ 491,740      $ 532,436      $ 578,453   

Real estate

     413,018        331,010        44,980   

Credit

     244,546        284,606        314,982   

Foreign exchange

     212,120        208,011        218,352   

Equities and other asset classes

     150,728        156,106        214,497   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total brokerage revenues

   $ 1,512,152      $ 1,512,169      $ 1,371,264   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Brokerage revenue by product (percentage):

      

Rates

     32.5     35.2     42.2

Real estate

     27.3        21.9        3.3   

Credit

     16.2        18.8        23.0   

Foreign exchange

     14.0        13.8        15.9   

Equities and other asset classes

     10.0        10.3        15.6   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total brokerage revenues

     100.0     100.0     100.0
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Brokerage revenue by voice/hybrid and fully electronic:

      

Voice/hybrid

   $ 1,407,004      $ 1,379,373      $ 1,235,638   

Fully electronic

     105,148        132,796        135,626   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total brokerage revenues

   $ 1,512,152      $ 1,512,169      $ 1,371,264   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Brokerage revenue by voice/hybrid and fully electronic (percentage):

      

Voice/hybrid

     93.0     91.2     90.1

Fully electronic

     7.0        8.8        9.9   
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total brokerage revenues

     100.0     100.0     100.0
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) Reclassifications of revenues across product categories may be reflected retroactively.

As the above table indicates, our brokerage operations in the rates product category produce a significant percentage of our total brokerage revenues. We expect that revenues from rates product brokerage operations will increase in absolute terms, but decline as a percentage of revenues as we continue to invest in expanding in other asset classes such as real estate, credit derivatives, foreign exchange, energy, commodities and equity-related products. These factors have enabled us to provide our client base with robust services across global markets.

Our position as a leading broker is enhanced by our hybrid brokerage platform. We believe that the more complex, less liquid markets on which we focus often require significant amounts of personal and attentive service from our brokers. In more mature markets, we offer electronic trading capabilities to our customers through our BGC Trader and eSpeed branded platforms. Our hybrid platform allows our customers to trade on a

 

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voice, hybrid or, where available, fully electronic basis, regardless of whether the trade is OTC or exchange-based, and to benefit from the experience and market intelligence of our worldwide brokerage network. Our electronic capabilities include clearing, settlement and other back-office services as well as straight-through processing for our customers across several products. Furthermore, we participate in the operational leverage from our fully electronic platform. We believe our hybrid brokerage approach provides a competitive advantage over competitors who do not offer this full range of technology.

Rates

Our rates business is focused on government debt, futures and currency and interest rate derivatives, which are among the largest, most global and most actively traded markets. The main drivers of these markets are global macroeconomic forces such as growth, inflation, government budget policies and the volume of new issuance.

Real Estate

Following our acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis, we offer a diverse range of commercial real estate brokerage and advisory services, including leasing and corporate advisory services, appraisal, investment sales and financial services.

Credit

We provide our brokerage services in a wide range of credit instruments, including asset-backed securities, convertible bonds, corporate bonds, credit derivatives and high yield bonds. The market for the most fundamental form of credit derivative, CDS, has grown significantly since its introduction in the mid-1990’s.

Foreign Exchange

The foreign exchange market is one of the largest financial markets in the world. Foreign exchange transactions can either be undertaken in the spot market, in which one currency is sold and another is bought, or in the derivative market in which future settlement of the identical underlying currencies are traded. Our experience within this market has grown since 2004 to manage increased levels of foreign exchange trading. Our foreign exchange options business now has brokers servicing banking institutions around the world. We provide full execution OTC brokerage services in most major currencies, including all G8 currencies, emerging market, cross and exotic options currencies. Equities and Other Asset Classes

We provide brokerage services in a range of markets for equity products, including cash equities, equity derivatives (both listed and OTC), equity index futures and options on equity products. In addition, we offer brokerage services through our energy and commodities desks.

Real Estate Management Services

Following our acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis, we provide commercial property management services to tenants and landlords in several key U.S. markets. In this business, we provide property and facilities management services along with project management and other consulting services to customers who utilize our commercial real estate brokerage services and other property owners.

Fees from Related Parties

We earn fees from related parties for technology services and software licenses and for certain administrative and back-office services we provide to affiliates, particularly Cantor and ELX Futures, L.P. (“ELX”). These administrative and back-office services include office space, utilization of fixed assets, accounting services, operational support, human resources, legal services and information technology.

 

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Market Data

We complement our trading services by providing our market data and analytics to our customers through our BGCantor Market Data suite of products. BGC Market Data is a specialist provider of real-time, tradable, indicative, end-of-day and historical OTC market data. Sourced directly from our global brokerage operations, this data includes the electronic brokering, global pricing systems and analytics to provide external distribution of specialized, independent and verifiable OTC pricing services. Our product suite includes data related to our transactions in fixed income, interest rate derivatives, credit derivatives, foreign exchange and options, money markets and energy and equity derivatives. BGC Market Data is made available externally via direct low latency data feeds over the internet, as well as through major vendors such as Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Interactive Data Corporation and select specialist vendors. BGC Market Data service offerings are also packaged by way of specialized service and bespoke client-specific enterprise data licensing solutions. Most of our market data revenue was historically generated by products sold to NASDAQ OMX. Over time, we expect to replace this lost revenue as we expect to sell data relating to our remaining products.

Software Solutions

Through our software solutions business, we provide customized software to broaden distribution capabilities and provide electronic solutions to financial market participants. The software solutions business leverages our global infrastructure, software, systems, portfolio of intellectual property, and electronic trading expertise to provide customers with electronic marketplaces and exchanges and real-time auctions to enhance debt issuance and to customize trading interfaces. We take advantage of the scalability, flexibility and functionality of our eSpeed branded electronic trading system to enable our customers to distribute branded products to their customers through online offerings and auctions, including private and reverse auctions, via our trading platform and global network. Using screen-based market solutions, customers are able to develop a marketplace, trade with their customers, issue debt, trade odd lots, access program trading interfaces and access our network and intellectual property.

Interest Income

We generate interest income primarily from the investment of our daily cash balances, interest earned on securities owned and reverse repurchase agreements. These investments and transactions are generally short-term in nature.

Other Revenues

We earn other revenues from various sources, including, earn-outs and industry fees. For the year ended December 31, 2013, “Other revenues” included $39.5 million recognized on the earn-out and related hedging activities related to the sale of eSpeed.

Gain on Divestiture and Sale of Investments

On June 28, 2013, we sold our on-the-run, electronic benchmark U.S. Treasury platform to NASDAQ OMX Group. The $723.1 million gain from this transaction is included in “Gain on divestiture and sale of investments” in our consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2013. For the year ended December 31, 2012, “Gain on divestiture and sale of investments” included a $52.5 million one-time gain from the Company’s sale of its investment in the London Metals Exchange (“LME”) in December 2012. The shares in LME had been granted to the Company as a result of the Company’s membership in the exchange, and as no consideration had been paid for the shares, the LME shares had no carrying value.

 

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Expenses

Compensation and Employee Benefits

The majority of our operating costs consist of cash and non-cash compensation expenses, which include base salaries, broker bonuses based on broker production, guaranteed bonuses, other discretionary bonuses, and all related employee benefits and taxes. Our employees consist of brokers, executives and other administrative support. The majority of our brokers receive a base salary and a formula bonus based primarily on a pool of brokers’ production for a particular product or sales desk, as well as on the individual broker’s performance. Members of our sales force receive either a base salary or a draw on commissions. Less experienced salespeople typically receive base salaries.

We have entered into various agreements with certain of our employees and partners whereby these individuals receive loans which may be either wholly or in part repaid from the distribution earnings that the individual receives on their limited partnership interests or may be forgiven over a period of time. The forgivable portion of these loans is recognized as compensation expense over the life of the loan. From time to time, we may also enter into agreements with employees and partners to grant bonus and salary advances or other types of loans. These advances and loans are repayable in the timeframes outlined in the underlying agreements.

In addition, we also enter into deferred compensation agreements with employees providing services to us. The costs associated with such plans are generally amortized over the period in which they vest. See Note 18—“Compensation” to our consolidated financial statements.

Beginning in 2010, we began a global program whereby partners redeem their REUs or RPUs in exchange for PSUs and PSIs and receive exchangeability or cash for certain of their limited partnership units and, in many cases, a modification or extension of their employment arrangements. A compensation charge is recorded on PSUs and PSIs if and when a right of exchange is granted on the units. This charge is based on the stock price of our Class A common stock on the date the right of exchange is granted.

At the end of the second quarter of 2013, we redeemed or exchanged approximately 76 million units from the partners of BGC Holdings (see “Share Count Reduction and Modifications/Extensions of Employment Agreements” herein). As a consequence of the Global Partnership Restructuring Program, we incurred non-cash, non-dilutive compensation charges of approximately $465 million related to the redemption/exchange of partnership units, issuance of restricted shares, and a reserve on compensation-related partnership loans. These charges were recognized in our consolidated statements of operations for the year ended December 31, 2013.

Other Operating Expenses

We have various other operating expenses. We incur leasing, equipment and maintenance expenses for our affiliates worldwide. We also incur selling and promotion expenses, which include entertainment, marketing and travel-related expenses. We incur communication expenses for voice and data connections with our clients, clearing agents and general usage; professional and consulting fees for legal, audit and other special projects; and interest expense related to short-term operational funding needs, and notes payables and collateralized borrowings.

Primarily in the U.S., we pay fees to Cantor for performing certain administrative and other support, including charges for occupancy of office space, utilization of fixed assets and accounting, operations, human resources, legal services and technology infrastructure support. Management believes that these charges are a reasonable reflection of the utilization of services rendered. However, the expenses for these services are not necessarily indicative of the expenses that would have been incurred if we had not obtained these services from Cantor. In addition, these charges may not reflect the costs of services we may receive from Cantor in the future. We incur commissions and floor brokerage fees for clearing, brokerage and other transactional expenses for clearing and settlement services. We also incur various other normal operating expenses.

 

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Provision for Income Taxes

We incur tax expenses based on the location, legal structure and jurisdictional taxing authorities of each of our subsidiaries. Certain of our entities are treated as U.S. partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As such, much of the income is not subject to U.S. federal and state income taxes because taxes related to income earned by partnerships represent obligations of the individual partners. The partners’ liability or benefit is not reflected in our consolidated financial statements. Outside of the U.S., we operate principally through subsidiary corporations subject to local income taxes. Our consolidated financial statements include U.S. federal, state and local income taxes on our allocable share of the U.S. results of operations, as well as taxes payable to jurisdictions outside the U.S.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

For the year ended December 31, 2013, we had income from operations before income taxes of $265.9 million compared to $55.7 million, an increase of $210.2 million from the year earlier period. Total revenues increased approximately $731.1 million, or 41.4%, and total expenses increased approximately $520.9 million, or 30.4%.

Total revenues were $2,498.1 million and $1,767.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively, representing a 41.4% increase. The main factors contributing to this change were:

 

   

The $723.1 million gain on divestiture recorded in the year ended December 31, 2013 related to the sale of eSpeed in the second quarter of 2013 as well as the $39.5 million recognized on the earn-out and related hedging activities.

 

   

Real estate brokerage and real estate management services revenues increased for the year ended December 31, 2013 compared to the year earlier. The increase was primarily related to the stabilization of the Grubb & Ellis brokers after the transition out of bankruptcy and a more favorable real estate environment as well as growth resulting from our recent acquisitions (Frederick Ross and Smith Mack).

Total compensation and employee benefits expense increased by $506.5 million, or 43.2%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The increase in total compensation and employee benefits expense for the year ended December 31, 2013 was primarily due to the compensation charges of approximately $465 million comprised of approximately $304 million related to the redemption/exchange of partnership units and the issuance of restricted shares, and approximately $161 million related to reserves on compensation-related partnership loans in connection with our Global Partnership Restructuring Program (see “Share Count Reduction and Modifications/Extensions of Employment Agreements” herein).

The year ended December 31, 2013 continued to be a challenging period in the financial services industry. Even in this difficult environment, we believe we are well positioned as we continue to increase the scale and depth of our real estate platform and continue to seek market driven opportunities to expand our business in numerous financial asset classes. We believe our overall performance will improve as we continue to increase the percentage of Financial Services segment revenues generated from fully electronic trading, and extend our employment agreements through our Global Partnership Restructuring Program. We believe these initiatives will continue to improve our competitive position in the marketplace and improve employee retention.

Our ongoing efforts to lower expenses in our Financial Services segment and corporate areas resulted in reduced headcount compared with a year earlier while also lowering non-compensation expenses as a percentage of revenues. We succeeded in lowering our non-compensation expenses on an annualized basis by approximately $60 million by the end of 2013 compared with the second half of 2012 run-rate. This puts us well on our way towards achieving our target of reducing overall expenses by at least $100 million annualized by the end of 2014.

 

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following table sets forth our consolidated statements of operations data expressed as a percentage of total revenues for the periods indicated (in thousands):

 

    Year Ended December 31,  
    2013     2012     2011  
    Results     Percentage
of Total
Revenues
    Results     Percentage
of Total
Revenues
    Results     Percentage
of Total
Revenues
 

Revenues:

           

Commissions

  $ 1,202,244        48.1   $ 1,176,009        66.6   $ 996,263        68.0

Principal transactions

    309,908        12.4        336,160        19.0        375,001        25.6   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total brokerage revenues

    1,512,152        60.5        1,512,169        85.6        1,371,264        93.6   

Real estate management services

    163,353        6.5        122,704        6.9        1,222        0.1   

Fees from related parties

    41,128        1.7        53,159        3.0        62,227        4.2   

Market data

    10,137        0.4        17,302        1.0        17,772        1.2   

Software solutions

    6,201        0.3        9,962        0.6        9,190        0.6   

Interest income

    6,833        0.3        6,506        0.4        5,441        0.4   

Other revenues

    44,643        1.8        4,495        0.2        4,174        0.4   

Gain on divestiture and sale of investments

    723,147        28.9        52,471        3.0        —          —     

Losses on equity investments

    (9,508     (0.4     (11,775     (0.7     (6,605     (0.5
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

    2,498,086        100.0        1,766,993        100.0        1,464,685        100.0   

Expenses:

           

Compensation and employee benefits

    1,255,580        50.3        1,032,552        58.5        789,534        53.9   

Allocation of net income and grant of exchangeability to limited partnership units and FPUs

    423,589        16.9        140,076        7.9        126,778        8.7   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total compensation and employee benefits

    1,679,169        67.2        1,172,628        66.4        916,312        62.6   

Occupancy and equipment

    154,108        6.2        155,349        8.8        129,087        8.8   

Fees to related parties

    9,443        0.4        11,792        0.7        11,635        0.8   

Professional and consulting fees

    51,384        2.1        72,777        4.1        67,746        4.6   

Communications

    92,022        3.7        90,807        5.1        86,392        5.9   

Selling and promotion

    81,007        3.2        86,040        4.9        79,087        5.4   

Commissions and floor brokerage

    22,530        0.9        22,733        1.3        25,877        1.8   

Interest expense

    38,332        1.5        34,885        2.0        24,606        1.7   

Other expenses

    104,170        4.2        64,245        3.5        69,584        4.7   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

    2,232,165        89.4        1,711,256        96.8        1,410,326        96.3   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income from operations before income taxes

    265,921        10.6        55,737        3.2        54,359        3.7   

Provision for income taxes

    92,166        3.6        20,224        1.2        15,999        1.1   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Consolidated net income

    173,755        7.0        35,513        2.0        38,360        2.6   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries

    102,831        4.2        11,649        0.6        18,223        1.2   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income available to common stockholders

  $ 70,924        2.8   $ 23,864        1.4   $ 20,137        1.4
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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Year Ended December 31, 2013 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2012

Revenues

Brokerage Revenues

Total brokerage revenues were relatively unchanged for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. Commission revenues increased by $26.2 million, or 2.2%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. Principal transactions revenues decreased by $26.3 million, or 7.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012.

Increases in real estate and FX brokerage revenues were offset by decreases in revenues in rates, credit and equities and other asset classes.

The decrease in rates revenues of $40.7 million, or 7.6%, was partially due to the sale of the eSpeed business and partially attributable to general market deterioration.

Real Estate brokerage revenues increased by $82.0 million, or 24.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2013. The increase was primarily due to growth resulting from the acquisition of Grubb & Ellis in the second quarter of 2012 as well as our other recent acquisitions (Frederick Ross and Smith Mack) and organic growth. Industry trends in sales and leasing remain favorable for the U.S. commercial real estate market.

Our fully electronic credit revenues decreased by 9.9% as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012, and our overall credit revenues decreased by 14.1% to $244.5 million in the year ended December 31, 2013. The decrease was primarily due to lower trading volumes and a general market deterioration.

Our fully electronic FX volumes increased 52%, while our overall FX revenues were up by 2.0% to $212.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2013. In comparison, FX volumes increased by 4.4% at CME, and declined by approximately 6% at both EBS and Reuters.

Global equity markets continued to be challenging during 2013. For example, U.S. equity derivatives volumes were mixed year-over-year according to the Options Clearing Corporation, but were down by approximately 12% and 28%, respectively, according to the Eurex and Euronext. Energy and commodities volumes were also generally flat or down year-over-year according to the CME and ICE. In comparison, our revenues from equities and other asset classes decreased by 3.4%.

Real Estate Management Services

Real estate management services revenues increased by $40.6 million, or 33.1%, to $163.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2013, primarily due to the acquisition of Grubb & Ellis in the second quarter of 2012.

Fees from Related Parties

Fees from related parties decreased by $12.0 million, or 22.6%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The decrease was primarily due to decreased revenues related to ELX (as a result of the sale of the eSpeed business) and lower technology service fees.

Market Data

Market data revenues decreased by $7.2 million, or 41.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. This decrease was primarily due to the sale of the eSpeed business as well as an overall decline in the U.S. Treasuries business.

 

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Software Solutions

Software solutions revenues decreased by $3.8 million, or 37.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012, primarily due to the sale of our Kleos Managed Services, Dedicated Network Access and Disaster Recovery businesses to NASDAQ OMX in June 2013.

Interest Income

Interest income increased by $0.3 million or 5.0%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012.

Other Revenues

Other revenues increased by $40.1 million, or 893.2%, to $44.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. For the year ended December 31, 2013, we recorded $39.5 million of Other revenues as a result of the earn-out related to the sale of eSpeed and the related hedging transactions.

Gain on Divestiture and Sale of Investments

The gain on divestiture related to the sale of eSpeed was $723.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2013. For the year ended December 31, 2012, we recorded $52.5 million related to the sale of our investment in the London Metal Exchange (the “LME”) as a result of Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing Limited’s acquisition of the LME in December 2012.

Losses on Equity Investments

Losses on equity investments decreased by $2.3 million, or 19.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. Losses on equity investments represent our pro rata share of the net losses on investments over which we have significant influence but which we do not control.

Expenses

Compensation and Employee Benefits

Compensation and employee benefits expense increased by $223.0 million, or 21.6%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The main driver of this increase was the compensation charge of approximately $160.5 million we incurred during the year ended December 31, 2013 related to a reserve on compensation-related partnership loans in connection with our Global Partnership Restructuring Program. In addition, a component of the increase was the result of the acquisition of Grubb & Ellis in April 2012.

Allocation of Net Income and Grant of Exchangeability to Limited Partnership Units and FPUs

Allocation of net income and grant of exchangeability to Limited Partnership Units and FPUs increased by $283.5 million, or 202.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. For the year ended December 31, 2013, we incurred compensation expense, before associated income taxes, of $361.0 million related to the redemption/exchange of partnership units and issuance of restricted shares in connection with our Global Partnership Restructuring Program (see “Share Count Reduction and Modifications/Extensions of Employment Agreements” herein) and the grant of exchangeability on partnership units. For the year ended December 31, 2012, we incurred compensation expense, before associated income taxes, of $127.1 million related to the grant of exchangeability on partnership units.

 

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Occupancy and Equipment

Occupancy and equipment expense decreased by $1.2 million, or 0.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. This decrease was primarily due to lower depreciation and amortization expenses due to the sale of eSpeed as well as lower rent in our Real Estate Services segment related to office consolidations resulting from the integration of NGKF. These decreases were partially offset by a provision recorded in the year ended December 31, 2013 related to a subleasing arrangement and other impairment charges.

Fees to Related Parties

Fees to related parties decreased by $2.3 million, or 19.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. Fees to related parties are allocations paid to Cantor for administrative and support services.

Professional and Consulting Fees

Professional and consulting fees decreased by $21.4 million, or 29.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The decrease was primarily due to decreased costs associated with legal and regulatory matters as well as lower costs related to acquisitions.

Communications

Communications expense increased by $1.2 million, or 1.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. As a percentage of total revenues, communications expense decreased across the two periods.

Selling and Promotion

Selling and promotion expense decreased by $5.0 million, or 5.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. As a percentage of total brokerage revenues, selling and promotion expenses decreased across the two periods.

Commissions and Floor Brokerage

Commissions and floor brokerage expense decreased by $0.2 million, or 0.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The decrease was primarily driven by reduced clearing and transfer costs due to the sale of the eSpeed business.

Interest Expense

Interest expense increased by $3.4 million, or 9.9%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The increase was primarily related to our issuance of the 8.125% Senior Notes in June 2012.

Other Expenses

Other expenses increased by $39.9 million, or 62.1%, for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The increase was primarily due to an increase in costs associated with hiring brokers and a commitment to make charitable contributions. In addition, the costs related to the Grubb & Ellis business were in place for the full year ended December 31, 2013, as compared to only a portion of the year ended December 31, 2012.

 

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Provision for Income Taxes

Provision for income taxes increased to $92.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to $20.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. This increase was primarily driven by an increase in U.S. taxable income in the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year earlier period as well as by an increase in taxes related to the gain on the sale of eSpeed. Our consolidated effective tax rate can vary from period to period depending on, among other factors, the geographic and business mix of our earnings.

Net Income Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest in Subsidiaries

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries increased by $91.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2012. The increase in net income attributable to noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries related to the increased income in the year ended December 31, 2013.

Year Ended December 31, 2012 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2011

Revenues

Brokerage Revenues

Total brokerage revenues increased by $140.9 million, or 10.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. Commission revenues increased by $179.7 million, or 18.0%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. Principal transactions revenues decreased by $38.8 million, or 10.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011.

The increase in brokerage revenues was driven by the addition of our Real Estate Services segment, partially offset by a decline in brokerage revenues for each of our Financial Services segment products.

Real Estate Services

Real estate brokerage revenues increased $286.0 million to $331.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. These revenues were generated by Newmark Knight Frank which was acquired in the fourth quarter of 2011, and Grubb & Ellis which was acquired in the second quarter of 2012.

Financial Services

Financial services brokerage revenues decreased $145.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to a year earlier as volatility was well below historical averages across most asset classes during the year, resulting in lower volumes industry wide. The year-over-year decrease by product was as follows: rates decreased $46.0 million, credit decreased $30.4 million, foreign exchange decreased $10.3 million, and equities and other asset classes decreased $58.4 million.

The decrease in rates revenues of $46.0 million was primarily driven by lower volumes as activity remained muted due to quantitative easing undertaken by major central banks.

Credit brokerage revenues decreased $30.4 million. Global credit market volume declined as banks adjusted to new capital requirements for credit transactions under Basel III and due to uncertainty surrounding the rules for clearing credit derivatives in the U.S.

Foreign exchange revenues decreased by $10.3 million. Global FX volumes were lower in 2012, largely as certain major central banks intervened to keep their currencies from appreciating and low interest rates in most major economies minimized the utilization of carry-trade strategies.

 

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Revenues from equities and other asset classes decreased by $58.4 million. Global equity markets continued to be difficult in 2012 as equity derivative volumes were down between 9% and 41% according to the OCC, Eurex, Deutsche Bourse, and the CME.

Real Estate Management Services

Real estate management services revenues were $122.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. The revenues associated with property and facilities management fees were earned as a consequence of the acquisitions of Newmark Knight Frank and Grubb & Ellis in the fourth quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2012, respectively.

Fees from Related Parties

Fees from related parties decreased by $9.1 million, or 14.6%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The decrease was primarily due to lower revenues related to ELX and a reduced level of support fees for services provided to Cantor.

Market Data

Market data revenues decreased by $0.5 million, or 2.6%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011.

Software Solutions

Software solutions revenues increased by $0.8 million, or 8.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily due to increases in revenue from our KLEOS business, which provides various services including co-location and the licensing of our trading technology.

Interest Income

Interest income increased by $1.1 million, or 19.6%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily due to increases in interest income on notes receivable related to the acquisition of Grubb & Ellis as well as interest income on employee loans.

Other Revenues

Other revenues increased by $0.3 million, or 7.7%, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. Contributing to this increase was a $2.4 million increase in miscellaneous income related to a legal settlement recorded in the year ended December 31, 2012, partially offset by other revenues related to Newmark in the year ended December 31, 2011.

Gain on Divestiture and Sale of Investments

For the year ended December 31, 2012, we recorded $52.5 million related to the sale of our investment in the London Metal Exchange (the “LME”) as a result of Hong Kong Exchange & Clearing Limited’s acquisition of the LME in December 2012.

Losses on Equity Investments

Losses on equity investments increased by $5.2 million, or 78.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. Losses on equity investments represent our pro rata share of the net income or losses on investments over which we have a significant influence but which we do not control.

 

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Expenses

Compensation and Employee Benefits

Compensation and employee benefits expense increased by $243.0 million, or 30.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. This increase was primarily driven by our year-over-year increase in headcount due to the acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis, which closed in October 2011 and April 2012, respectively.

Allocation of Net Income and Grants of Exchangeability to Limited Partnership Units and FPUs

Allocation of net income and grants of exchangeability to Limited Partnership Units and FPUs increased by $13.3 million, or 10.5%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The allocation of income to limited partnership units and FPUs for the year ended December 31, 2012 was $13.0 million, compared to $18.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. This decrease of $5.4 million related to decreased net income in the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year earlier period. For the year ended December 31, 2012, we incurred compensation expense, before associated income taxes, of $127.1 million related to the grant of exchangeability on partnership units, compared to $108.3 million related to the grants of exchangeability to partnership units for the year ended December 31, 2012.

Occupancy and Equipment

Occupancy and equipment expense increased by $26.3 million, or 20.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily due to increased headcount associated with the acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis in October 2011 and April 2012, respectively. Also impacting this increase were increased costs related to software licenses and maintenance also due to the increased headcount.

Fees to Related Parties

Fees to related parties increased by $0.2 million, or 1.3%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. Fees to related parties are charges to Cantor for administrative and support services.

Professional and Consulting Fees

Professional and consulting fees increased by $5.0 million, or 7.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily due to increased costs associated with the acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis.

Communications

Communications expense increased by $4.4 million, or 5.1%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. This increase was primarily driven by increased market data and communication costs associated with our increased headcount. As a percentage of total revenues, communications expense decreased across the two periods.

Selling and Promotion

Selling and promotion expense increased by $7.0 million, or 8.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was associated with our increase in Real Estate Services brokerage revenues. As a percentage of total revenues, selling and promotion expense decreased across the two periods.

 

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Commissions and Floor Brokerage

Commissions and floor brokerage expense decreased by $3.1 million, or 12.1%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011, primarily due to lower clearinghouse charges related to the equities business, due to decreased volumes during the year ended December 31, 2012.

Interest Expense

Interest expense increased by $10.3 million, or 41.8%, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase was primarily related to increased costs as a result of our issuance of the 8.125% Senior Notes in June 2012 in addition to the 4.50% Convertible Notes issued in July 2011. See Note 17—“Notes Payable, Collateralized and Short-Term Borrowings” to our consolidated financial statements.

Other Expenses

Other expenses decreased $5.3 million or 7.7% for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. This decrease was primarily due to lower costs associated with hiring new brokers and a $4.0 million reduction in impairment charges taken on marketable securities. These decreases were partially offset by increases in other expenses related to the inclusion of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis business activities.

Provision for Income Taxes

The provision for income taxes increased by $4.2 million, or 26.4%, to $20.2 million, for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase in income tax expense and the effective tax rate resulted from an increase in permanent differences related to nondeductible expenses and noncontrolling interests. This was partially offset by the net change in valuation allowance, as well as an increase in the proportion of pre-tax income subject to lower tax jurisdictions. Our consolidated effective tax rate can vary from period to period depending on, among other factors, the geographic and business mix of our earnings.

Net Income Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest in Subsidiaries

Net income attributable to noncontrolling interest in subsidiaries decreased by $6.6 million to $11.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 as compared to income of $18.2 million the year ended December 31, 2011. This decrease resulted from reduced allocations of net income to Cantor units for the year ended December 31, 2012.

Business Segment Financial Results

Following the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis, we changed our segment reporting structure. As a result, beginning with the quarter ended June 30, 2012, our operations consist of two reportable segments, Financial Services and Real Estate Services. The business segment financial results presented reflect our current organization.

The business segments are determined based on the products and services provided and reflect the manner in which financial information is evaluated by management. We evaluate the performance and review the results of the segments based on each segment’s “Income (loss) from operations before income taxes.”

Certain financial information for our segments is presented below. The amounts shown below for the Financial Services and Real Estate Services segments reflect the amounts that are used by management to allocate resources and assess performance, which is based on each segment’s “Income (loss) from operations before income taxes.” In addition to the two business segments, the tables below include a “Corporate Items”

 

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category. Corporate revenues include fees from related parties and interest income as well as gains that are not considered part of the Company’s ordinary, ongoing business such as the gain related to the sale of eSpeed. Corporate expenses include non-cash compensation expenses (such as the grant of exchangeability to limited partnership units; redemption/exchange of partnership units, issuance of restricted shares and a reserve on compensation-related partnership loans; and allocations of net income to founding/working partner units and limited partnership units) as well as unallocated expenses such as certain professional and consulting fees, executive compensation and interest expense, which are managed separately at the corporate level.

Year ended December 31, 2013 (in thousands):

 

     Financial
Services *
     Real Estate
Services *
     Corporate
Items *
     Total  

Total revenues

   $ 1,164,218       $ 577,191       $ 756,677       $ 2,498,086   

Total expenses

     960,636         531,620         739,909         2,232,165   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes

   $ 203,582       $ 45,571       $ 16,768       $ 265,921   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

* For the year ended December 31, 2013, the Financial Services segment revenues include $39.5 million related to the earn-out from the sale of eSpeed. For the year ended December 31, 2013, the Real Estate Services segment income (loss) from operations before income taxes excludes $10.6 million related to the collection of receivables and associated expenses that were recognized at fair value as part of acquisition accounting. For the year ended December 31, 2013, Corporate Items income (loss) from operations before income taxes includes a $723.1 million gain on divestiture related to the sale of eSpeed and approximately $465 million in compensation expense related to the Global Partnership Restructuring Program.

Year ended December 31, 2012 (in thousands):

 

     Financial
Services
     Real Estate
Services *
     Corporate
Items
    Total  

Total revenues

   $ 1,221,409       $ 454,616       $ 90,968      $ 1,766,993   

Total expenses

     1,007,111         431,726         272,419        1,711,256   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes

   $ 214,298       $ 22,890       $ (181,451   $ 55,737   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

* For the year ended December 31, 2012, the Real Estate Services segment income (loss) from operations before income taxes excludes $21.1 million related to the collection of receivables and associated expenses that were recognized at fair value as part of acquisition accounting.

Year ended December 31, 2011 (in thousands):

 

     Financial
Services
     Real Estate
Services *
     Corporate
Items
    Total  

Total revenues

   $ 1,369,906       $ 47,682       $ 47,097      $ 1,464,685   

Total expenses

     1,081,429         41,937         286,960        1,410,326   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes

   $ 288,477       $ 5,745       $ (239,863   $ 54,359   
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

* For the year ended December 31, 2011, the Real Estate Services segment income (loss) from operations before income taxes excludes $3.8 million related to the collection of receivables and associated expenses that were recognized at fair value as part of acquisition accounting.

 

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Segment Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2013 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2012

Revenues

 

   

Revenues for Financial Services decreased approximately $57.2 million, or 4.7%, to $1,164.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 from $1,221.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. The decrease in revenues for our Financial Services segment was primarily due to a decline in brokerage revenues in rates, credit and equities and other asset classes, partially offset by an increase in FX and the $39.5 million recognized on the earn-out related to the sale of eSpeed.

 

   

Revenues for Real Estate Services increased approximately $122.6 million, or 27.0%, to $577.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 from $454.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. The increase in revenues for our Real Estate Services segment was primarily due to the stabilization of the Grubb & Ellis brokers after the transition out of bankruptcy and a more favorable real estate environment as well as growth resulting from our recent acquisitions (Frederick Ross and Smith Mack).

Expenses

 

   

Total expenses for Financial Services decreased approximately $46.5 million, or 4.6%, to $960.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 from $1,007.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2012.

 

   

Total expenses for Real Estate Services increased approximately $99.9 million, or 23.1%, to $531.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 from $431.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. The increase in expenses for our Real Estate Services segment was primarily due to our acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis in April of 2012 and our other recent acquisitions (Frederick Ross and Smith Mack).

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes

 

   

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes for Financial Services decreased approximately $10.7 million, or 5.0%, to $203.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 from $214.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. The decrease in income (loss) from operations before income taxes for our Financial Services segment was primarily due to lower revenues, as described above, partially offset by lower expenses, as also described above.

 

   

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes for Real Estate Services increased $22.7 million, or 99.1%, to $45.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2013 from $22.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2012. The increase in income (loss) from operations before income taxes for our Real Estate Services segment was due to increased revenues, as described above, partially offset by an increase in expenses, as also described above.

Segment Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2012 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2011

Revenues

 

   

Revenues for Financial Services decreased approximately $148.5 million, or 10.8%, to $1,221.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 from $1,369.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. The decrease in revenues for our Financial Services segment was primarily due to a decline in brokerage revenues across the Financial Services asset classes.

 

   

Revenues for Real Estate Services increased approximately $406.9 million, or 853.4%, to $454.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 from $47.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase in revenues for our Real Estate Services segment was primarily due to our acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Grubb & Ellis in April of 2012, a full year of Newmark’s results, and more favorable industry metrics.

 

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Expenses

 

   

Total expenses for Financial Services decreased approximately $74.3 million, or 6.9%, to $1,007.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 from $1,081.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. The decrease in expenses for our Financial Services segment was primarily due to decreases in compensation expense as well as decreases in non-compensation expenses, including decreases in selling and promotion expenses associated with our overall decrease in financial services brokerage revenues in the year ended December 31, 2012 (which has an impact on the amount spent on client entertainment and travel) and decreases in professional and consulting fees as a result of decreases in legal expenses.

 

   

Total expenses for Real Estate Services increased approximately $389.8 million, or 929.5%, to $431.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 from $41.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. Prior to our acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis on October 14, 2011 and April 13, 2012, respectively, we had no expenses from Real Estate Services.

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes

 

   

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes for Financial Services decreased approximately $74.2 million, or 25.7%, to $214.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 from $288.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. The decrease in income (loss) from operations before income taxes for our Financial Services segment was primarily due to lower revenues, as described above, net of decreased expenses, as also described above.

 

   

Income (loss) from operations before income taxes for Real Estate Services increased $17.1 million, or 298.4%, to $22.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2012 from $5.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2011. Prior to our acquisitions of Newmark and Grubb & Ellis on October 14, 2011 and April 13, 2012, respectively, we had no income (loss) from operations before income taxes from Real Estate Services.

 

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QUARTERLY RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following table sets forth our unaudited quarterly results of operations for the indicated periods (in thousands). Results of any period are not necessarily indicative of results for a full year and may, in certain periods, be affected by seasonal fluctuations in our business. Certain reclassifications have been made to prior period amounts to conform to the current period’s presentation.

 

    December 31,
2013 (1)(2)
    September 30,
2013 (1)(2)
    June 30,
2013 (2)(3)
    March 31,
2013 (2)
    December 31,
2012 (2)
    September 30,
2012 (2)
    June 30,
2012 (2)
    March 31,
2012
 

Revenues:

               

Commissions

  $ 295,415      $ 283,293      $ 324,832      $ 298,704      $ 293,350      $ 302,874      $ 308,438      $ 271,347   

Principal transactions

    68,777        67,785        85,349        87,997        76,312        76,417        83,686        99,745   

Real estate management services

    43,745        40,447        39,823        39,338        41,141        39,672        37,930        3,961   

Fees from related parties

    7,667        8,071        12,242        13,148        14,016        13,102        13,494        12,547   

Market data

    1,191        1,178        3,643        4,125        4,182        4,166        3,990        4,964   

Software solutions

    661        444        2,530        2,566        2,541        2,485        2,487        2,449   

Interest income

    2,071        1,563        1,651        1,548        1,371        1,397        1,543        2,195   

Other revenues

    9,369        33,269        1,174        831        465        3,199        622        209   

Gain on divestiture and sale of investments

    —          —          723,147        —          52,471        —          —          —     

Losses on equity investments

    (2,291     (2,705     (1,224     (3,288     (3,672     (2,995     (2,652     (2,456
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

    426,605        433,345        1,193,167        444,969        482,177        440,317        449,538        394,961   

Expenses:

               

Compensation and employee benefits

    269,444        258,642        448,686        278,808        277,077        264,637        269,899        220,939   

Allocation of net income and grant of exchangeability to limited partnership units and FPUs

    32,125        10,365        363,077        18,022        44,039        24,088        40,039        31,910   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total compensation and employee benefits

    301,569        269,007        811,763        296,830        321,116        288,725        309,938        252,849   

Occupancy and equipment

    39,633        37,908        37,340        39,227        40,018        40,010        39,092        36,229   

Fees to related parties

    2,292        2,022        2,286        2,843        2,267        2,837        3,169        3,519   

Professional and consulting fees

    13,304        11,772        11,367        14,941        15,881        18,062        19,515        19,319   

Communications

    22,475        22,451        22,755        24,341        24,584        22,863        21,402        21,958   

Selling and promotion

    17,614        19,839        23,239        20,315        20,928        22,153        23,513        19,446   

Commissions and floor brokerage

    5,287        5,075        6,397        5,771        5,545        5,675        5,833        5,680   

Interest expense

    9,479        9,164        9,989        9,700        9,991        9,758        7,578        7,558   

Other expenses

    13,642        13,444        59,780        17,304        13,084        26,622        15,048        9,491   
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

    425,295        390,682        984,916        431,272        453,414</