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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 9, 2020

Registration No. 333-248313

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

AMENDMENT NO. 2

TO

FORM S-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

StepStone Group Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware
  6282   84-3868757
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 

(Primary Standard Industrial

Classification Code Number)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

StepStone Group Inc.

450 Lexington Avenue, 31st Floor

New York, NY 10017

Telephone: (212) 351-6100

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

Jennifer Y. Ishiguro

Chief Legal Officer & Secretary

StepStone Group Inc.

450 Lexington Avenue, 31st Floor

New York, NY 10017

Telephone: (212) 351-6100

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

 

Andrew Fabens

Edward Sopher
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
200 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10166
Telephone: (212) 351-4000
Facsimile: (212) 351-4035

 

Daniel Bursky

Andrew Barkan

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
One New York Plaza
New York, NY 10004
Telephone: (212) 859-8000
Facsimile: (212) 859-4000

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of the proposed sale of the securities to the public: As soon as practicable after the Registration Statement becomes effective.

If any of the securities being registered on this form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.  ☐

If this form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer       Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer       Smaller reporting company  
      Emerging growth company  

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☐

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of Each Class of

Securities To Be Registered

 

Shares to be

Registered(1)

 

Proposed

Maximum

Offering Price

Per Share(1)

 

Proposed

Maximum
Aggregate
Offering Price(1)(2)

  Amount of
Registration Fee(3)

Class A common stock, par value $0.001 per share

  20,125,000   $17.00   $342,125,000   $44,407.83

 

 

(1)

Estimated solely for the purpose of determining the amount of the registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(a) under the Securities Act of 1933.

(2)

Includes 2,625,000 shares subject to the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares, if any.

(3)

The registrant previously paid $12,980 in connection with a prior filing of the registration statement.

 

 

The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

 


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The information in this prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where such offer or sale is not permitted.

 

Subject to completion, dated September 9, 2020

Preliminary Prospectus

17,500,000 Shares

 

 

LOGO

CLASS A COMMON STOCK

 

 

We are offering 17,500,000 shares of Class A common stock of StepStone Group Inc. This is our initial public offering of Class A common stock.

Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our Class A common stock. The estimated initial public offering price is between $15.00 and $17.00 per share. We have applied to list our Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “STEP.”

At our request, the underwriters have reserved up to 875,000 shares of Class A common stock to be issued by us and offered by this prospectus for sale, at the initial public offering price, to directors, officers and employees. See “Underwriting.”

We intend to use a portion of the net proceeds of this offering to purchase Class B units from certain of StepStone Group LP’s unitholders, including certain members of our senior management, at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of the Class A common stock in this offering. We expect StepStone Group LP to use the remaining proceeds to repay indebtedness and for general corporate purposes. In connection with the reorganization transactions taking place contemporaneously with the closing of this offering, certain limited partners of StepStone Group LP will exchange all or a portion of their partnership units for shares of our Class A common stock and will cease to be partners of StepStone Group LP.

Each share of Class B common stock initially entitles the holder to five votes while holders of our Class A common stock are entitled to one vote. The Class B stockholders will hold 92.8% of the combined voting power of our common stock immediately after this offering, and certain of them holding collectively 73.5% of the combined voting power of our common stock will enter into a stockholders agreement pursuant to which they will agree to vote their shares of Class A common stock and Class B common stock together on all matters submitted to a vote of our common stockholders. See “Organizational Structure.”

Following this offering, we will be a “controlled company” within the meaning of the corporate governance rules of the Nasdaq Global Select Market. See “Management.”

We are an “emerging growth company” under the federal securities laws and will be subject to reduced public company reporting requirements.

 

 

Investing in our Class A common stock involves a high degree of risk. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 27 of this prospectus.

 

 

 

     Per Share      Total  

Initial public offering price of Class A common stock

   $                    $                

Underwriting discount(1)

   $        $    

Proceeds to us, before expenses

   $        $    

 

(1)

We have also agreed to reimburse the underwriters for certain FINRA-related expenses. See “Underwriting” for a description of all compensation payable to the underwriters.

We have granted the underwriters an option for a period of 30 days to purchase up to 2,625,000 additional shares of Class A common stock on the same terms and conditions set forth above.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

The underwriters expect to deliver the shares of our Class A common stock to investors on or about                     , 2020.

 

 

 

J.P. Morgan    Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC        Morgan Stanley

 

Barclays   UBS Investment Bank

                    , 2020


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

     ii  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     iv  

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

RISK FACTORS

     27  

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

     66  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     77  

DIVIDEND POLICY

     78  

CAPITALIZATION

     79  

DILUTION

     81  

UNAUDITED PRO FORMA CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND OTHER DATA

     83  

SELECTED HISTORICAL CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL AND OTHER DATA

     94  

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

     96  

BUSINESS

     128  

MANAGEMENT

     166  

COMPENSATION

     173  

RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     181  

PRINCIPAL STOCKHOLDERS

     190  

DESCRIPTION OF CAPITAL STOCK

     193  

SHARES ELIGIBLE FOR FUTURE SALE

     198  

MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL TAX CONSIDERATIONS FOR NON-U.S. HOLDERS OF CLASS A COMMON STOCK

     201  

UNDERWRITING

     205  

VALIDITY OF THE CLASS A COMMON STOCK

     212  

EXPERTS

     212  

WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION

     212  

INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     F-1  

 

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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS

Neither we nor the underwriters have authorized anyone to provide any information other than that contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectus prepared by or on behalf of us or to which we have referred. We take no responsibility for, and can provide no assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that any other person may give you. We are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, shares of our Class A common stock only in jurisdictions where such offers and sales are permitted. The information in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any sale of shares of our Class A common stock. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since that date.

We have not, and the underwriters have not, done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of this prospectus in any jurisdiction where action for that purpose is required, other than in the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of the shares of Class A common stock and the distribution of this prospectus outside the United States. See “Underwriting.”

 

 

This prospectus includes certain information regarding the historical investment performance of our focused commingled funds and separately managed accounts. An investment in shares of our Class A common stock is not an investment in any StepStone Fund (as defined below). The StepStone Funds are separate, distinct legal entities that are not our subsidiaries. In the event of our bankruptcy or liquidation, you will have no claim against the StepStone Funds. In considering the performance information relating to the StepStone Funds contained herein, prospective Class A common stockholders should bear in mind that the performance of the StepStone Funds is not indicative of the possible performance of shares of our Class A common stock and is also not necessarily indicative of the future results of the StepStone Funds, even if fund investments were in fact liquidated on the dates indicated, and we cannot assure you that the StepStone Funds will continue to achieve, or that future StepStone Funds will achieve, comparable results.

 

 

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires:

 

   

“StepStone Group Inc.” or “SSG” refers solely to StepStone Group Inc., a Delaware corporation, the company conducting the offering made by this prospectus, and not to any of its subsidiaries;

 

   

“the Partnership” refers solely to StepStone Group LP, a Delaware limited partnership, which will become a subsidiary of StepStone Group Inc. pursuant to the reorganizations described under “Organizational Structure,” and not to any of its subsidiaries;

 

   

“General Partner” refers to StepStone Group Holdings LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and the sole general partner of StepStone Group LP;

 

   

“we,” “us,” “our,” “the Company,” “our company,” “StepStone” and similar terms refer (i) for periods prior to giving effect to the reorganization transactions, to the Partnership and its consolidated subsidiaries and (ii) for periods beginning on the date of and after giving effect to such reorganization transactions, to StepStone Group Inc. and its consolidated subsidiaries, including the Partnership;

 

   

“StepStone Funds” or “our funds” refers to our focused commingled funds and our separately managed accounts, for which we act as both investment adviser and general partner or managing member;

 

   

references to “FY” or “fiscal year” are to the fiscal year ended March 31 of the applicable year;

 

   

references to “private markets allocations” or “combined AUM / AUA” refer to the aggregate amount of our assets under management and our assets under advisement;

 

   

references to “high-net-worth” individuals refer to individuals with net worth of over $5 million, excluding primary residence; and

 

   

references to “mass affluent” individuals refer to individuals with annual income over $200,000 or net worth between $1 million and $5 million, excluding primary residence.

 

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In addition, for definitions of “Invested capital,” “NAV,” “Multiple of Invested Capital,” “IRR,” “Gross IRR,” “Net IRR” and “MSCI ACWI PME+” as used in the calculation of our investment performance metrics, see “Business—Investment Performance.”

Also, unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, all information in this prospectus gives effect to the reorganization transactions. See “Organizational Structure.” We are a holding company and, upon completion of this offering, we will hold substantially all of our assets and conduct substantially all of our business through the Partnership.

 

 

Unless indicated otherwise, the information included in this prospectus assumes no exercise by the underwriters of the option to purchase up to an additional 2,625,000 shares of Class A common stock and that the shares of Class A common stock to be sold in this offering are sold at $16.00 per share, which is the midpoint of the price range indicated on the front cover of this prospectus.

TRADEMARKS, SERVICE MARKS AND TRADE NAMES

We own or have rights to trademarks, service marks or trade names that we use in connection with the operation of our business. In addition, our names, logos and website names and addresses are owned by us or licensed by us. We also own or have the rights to copyrights that protect the content of our solutions. Solely for convenience, the trademarks, service marks, trade names and copyrights referred to in this prospectus are listed without the ©, ® and symbols, but we will assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights or the rights of the applicable licensors to these trademarks, service marks, trade names and copyrights. This prospectus may include trademarks, service marks or trade names of other companies. Our use or display of other parties’ trademarks, service marks, trade names or products is not intended to, and does not imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, the trademark, service mark or trade name owners.

MARKET AND INDUSTRY DATA

Unless otherwise indicated, information contained in this prospectus concerning our industry and the markets in which we operate is based on information from independent industry and research organizations, other third-party sources (including industry publications, surveys and forecasts), and management estimates. Management estimates are derived from publicly available information released by independent industry analysts and third-party sources, as well as data from our internal research, and are based on assumptions made by us upon reviewing such data and our knowledge of such industry and markets that we believe to be reasonable. Although we believe the data from these third-party sources are reliable, we have not independently verified any third-party information. In addition, projections, assumptions and estimates of the future performance of the industry in which we operate and our future performance are necessarily subject to uncertainty and risk due to a variety of factors, including those described in “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements.” These and other factors could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in the estimates made by the independent parties and by us.

PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL AND OPERATING INFORMATION

The body of generally accepted accounting principles in the United States is commonly referred to as “GAAP.” A non-GAAP financial measure is generally defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) as one that purports to measure historical or future financial performance, financial position or cash flows but excludes or includes amounts that would not be so adjusted in the most comparable GAAP measure. In this prospectus, we disclose non-GAAP financial measures, including adjusted net income (“ANI”), adjusted revenues and fee-related earnings (“FRE”). These measures are not financial measures under GAAP and should not be considered as substitutes for net income or revenues, and they may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. We use these measures to assess the operational strength and performance of our business. These measures are further described and reconciled to net income under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

 

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding guidance, industry prospects or future results of operations or financial position made in this prospectus are forward-looking. We use words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “estimate,” “expect,” “future,” “intend,” “may,” “plan” and “will” and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect management’s current plans, estimates and expectations and are inherently uncertain. Any forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus are based upon our historical performance and on our current plans, estimates and expectations. The inclusion of any forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by us or any other person that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated will be achieved. Forward-looking statements are subject to various risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include but are not limited to global and domestic market and business conditions, our successful execution of business and growth strategies and regulatory factors relevant to our business, as well as assumptions relating to our operations, financial results, financial condition, business prospects, growth strategy and liquidity and the risks and uncertainties described in greater detail under “Risk Factors.” These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the other cautionary statements that are included in this prospectus. We undertake no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

 

 

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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

This summary highlights information contained elsewhere in this prospectus. You should read the entire prospectus carefully before making an investment decision, including the information under the headings “Risk Factors,” “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Business” and the historical consolidated financial statements and the related notes and unaudited pro forma financial information, each included elsewhere in this prospectus. The information presented in this prospectus assumes (i) an initial public offering price of $16.00 per share of Class A common stock (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus) and (ii) unless otherwise indicated, that the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock.

Our Company

We are a global private markets investment firm focused on providing customized investment solutions and advisory and data services to our clients. Our clients include some of the world’s largest public and private defined benefit and defined contribution pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies, as well as prominent endowments, foundations, family offices and private wealth clients, which include high-net-worth and mass affluent individuals. We partner with our clients to develop and build private markets portfolios designed to meet their specific objectives across the private equity, infrastructure, private debt and real estate asset classes. These portfolios utilize several types of synergistic investment strategies with third-party fund managers, including commitments to funds (“primaries”), acquiring stakes in existing funds on the secondary market (“secondaries”) and investing directly into companies (“co-investments”). As of June 30, 2020, we oversaw $292 billion of private markets allocations, including $66 billion of assets under management (“AUM”) and $226 billion of assets under advisement (“AUA”), reflecting a compound annualized growth rate (“CAGR”) of 61% since 2007. Between fiscal 2018 and fiscal 2020, our total revenues increased 69% to $447 million, our net income increased 62% to $132 million, our adjusted revenues increased 63% to $286 million and our ANI increased 41% to $63 million. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for more information and a reconciliation of revenues to adjusted revenues and of net income attributable to StepStone Group LP to ANI.

 

 

LOGO



 

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Note: Fiscal 2017-2020 reflect AUM/AUA as of March 31 of each fiscal year then ended. Prior year amounts are reported on a calendar year basis. Strategic acquisitions contributed approximately $5.6 billion, $1.8 billion, $0.9 billion, $3.6 billion and $2.4 billion of AUM and $1.0 billion, $0.0 billion, $0.0 billion, $1.0 billion and $92.5 billion of AUA in calendar year 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018, respectively. There was no incremental AUM/AUA associated with the 2014 acquisition. See “Business—Our History.” As of June 30, 2020, approximately $1.0 billion, $0.5 billion, $0.1 billion, $2.7 billion and $2.2 billion of AUM and $0.0 billion, $0.0 billion, $0.0 billion, $0.2 billion and $85.4 billion of AUA acquired in calendar year 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018, respectively, remains.

We believe our success and growth since inception in 2007 has been driven by our continued focus on providing a high level of service, tailored to our clients’ evolving needs through:

 

   

Our focus on customization. By leveraging our expertise across the private markets asset classes, investment strategies and commercial structures, we help our clients build customized portfolios that are designed to meet their specific objectives in a cost effective way.

 

   

Our global-and-local approach. With offices in 19 cities across 13 countries in five continents, we have built a global operating platform, organically and via acquisition, with strong local teams that possess valuable regional insights and deep rooted relationships. This allows us to combine the advantages of having a knowledgeable on-the-ground presence with the benefits of operating as a global organization.

 

   

Our multi-asset class expertise. We operate at scale across the private markets asset classes—private equity, infrastructure, private debt and real estate. We believe this multi-asset class expertise positions us well to compete for, win and execute tailored and complex investment solutions.

 

   

Our proprietary data and technology. Our proprietary data and technology platforms, including StepStone Private Markets Intelligence (“SPI”), our private markets intelligence database, Omni, our performance monitoring software, and Pacing, our portfolio cash flow, investment allocation and liquidity forecasting tool, provide valuable information advantages, enhance our private markets insight, improve operational efficiency and facilitate portfolio monitoring and reporting functions. These benefits accrue to our clients and to us.

 

   

Our large and experienced team. Since our inception, we have focused on recruiting and retaining the best talent. The firm is led by over 50 partners, with an average of more than 20 years of investment or industry experience. As of June 30, 2020, we had 526 total employees, including more than 190 investment professionals and more than 330 employees across our operating team and implementation teams dedicated to sourcing, executing, analyzing and monitoring private markets opportunities.



 

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We believe our scale and position in private markets provide us a distinct competitive advantage with our clients and fund managers. As we grow our client relationships, we are able to allocate additional capital, which allows us to expand our fund manager relationships, resulting in access to additional investment opportunities and data. This, in turn, helps us make better investment decisions and generate better returns, thereby attracting new clients and investment opportunities.

 

 

LOGO

 

1 

Data reflecting twelve months ended December 31, 2019.

2 

Data reflecting twelve months ended June 30, 2020.

During the last twelve months ended June 30, 2020, we reviewed over 3,100 investment opportunities and conducted approximately 4,000 meetings with fund managers across multiple geographies and all four asset classes. During the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, we allocated over $40 billion in capital to private markets on behalf of our clients, excluding legacy funds, feeder funds and research-only, non-advisory services.

We have a flexible business model whereby many of our clients engage us for solutions across multiple asset classes and investment strategies. Our solutions are typically offered in the following commercial structures:

 

   

Separately managed accounts. Owned by one client and managed according to their specific preferences, separately managed accounts (“SMAs”) integrate a combination of primaries, secondaries and co-investments across one or more asset classes. SMAs are meant to address clients’ specific portfolio objectives with respect to return, risk tolerance, diversification and liquidity. SMAs, including directly managed assets, comprised $51 billion of our AUM as of June 30, 2020.

 

   

Focused commingled funds. Owned by multiple clients, our focused commingled funds deploy capital in specific asset classes with defined investment strategies. Focused commingled funds comprised $12 billion of our AUM as of June 30, 2020.

 

   

Advisory and data services. These services include one or more of the following for our clients: (i) recurring support of portfolio construction and design; (ii) discrete or project-based due diligence, advice and investment recommendations; (iii) detailed review of existing private markets investments, including portfolio-level repositioning recommendations where appropriate; (iv) consulting on investment pacing, policies, strategic plans, and asset allocation to investment boards and committees;



 

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and (v) licensed access to SPI and Pacing. Advisory relationships comprised $226 billion of our AUA and $3 billion of our AUM as of June 30, 2020.

 

   

Portfolio analytics and reporting. We provide clients with tailored reporting packages, including customized performance benchmarks as well as associated compliance, administrative and tax capabilities. Mandates for portfolio analytics and reporting services typically include licensed access to Omni. Through Omni, we provided portfolio analytics and reporting on approximately $520 billion of client commitments as of June 30, 2020, inclusive of our combined AUM/AUA, previously exited investments and investments of former clients.

We are a global firm and believe that local knowledge, business relationships and presence are all critical to securing a competitive edge in the private markets. We deploy a local staffing model, operating from 19 offices across 13 countries in five continents. Our offices are staffed by investment professionals who bring valuable regional insights and language proficiency to enhance existing client relationships and build new client relationships. Since our inception, we have invested heavily in our platforms to drive growth and expand our investment solutions capabilities and service offerings, including through opportunistic transactions that have helped accelerate the growth of our team and capabilities. As of June 30, 2020, we had 526 total employees, including more than 190 investment professionals and more than 330 employees across our operating team and implementation teams dedicated to sourcing, executing, analyzing and monitoring private markets opportunities. Over 60 of our employees have equity interests in us, collectively owning nearly 70% of the Company on a fully-diluted basis prior to this offering.

We have developed our footprint across the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific over many years, which we believe provides us with a significant competitive advantage. During the last twelve months ended June 30, 2020, over 65% of our management and advisory fees came from clients based outside of the United States. In addition, approximately 40% of our employees were located outside of the United States as of June 30, 2020.

 

LOGO

Note: Combined AUM/AUA reflects final data for the period ending March 31, 2020, adjusted for net new client account activity through June 30, 2020. Does not include post-period investment valuation. Amounts may not sum due to rounding.

We have established a research-driven culture and have developed highly specialized data and technology platforms focused on the private markets, which we believe serve as some of our greatest competitive advantages. By developing our own proprietary data and technology platforms, we are able to achieve better



 

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outcomes for our clients, while providing them greater transparency. For example, SPI, our proprietary private markets intelligence database, serves as a powerful investment decision-making tool. As of June 30, 2020, SPI contained information on over 57,000 companies, $16 trillion of AUM across over 35,000 funds and nearly 14,000 fund managers showing fund-level performance for over 12,000 funds. SPI initially served to augment our own due diligence, investment and portfolio construction processes. In response to growing industry demand for private markets intelligence, we subsequently developed an interface for direct client access. Through SPI, our clients can access detailed, regularly updated information on managers through an intuitive, web-based user interface. Our research professionals utilize this technology to collect and develop qualitative and quantitative perspectives on fund managers.

In response to our clients’ need for customized solutions, we developed Omni, our proprietary performance monitoring software used extensively by our approximately 70 person StepStone Portfolio Analytics & Reporting (“SPAR”) team, to provide portfolio analytics and reporting on the performance of our clients’ investments. Through Omni, clients have secure online access to all of their performance and investment data via a fast and intuitive web-based user interface. As of June 30, 2020, Omni tracked detailed information on over 4,500 investments comprising more than 46,000 underlying portfolio companies. We also recently made Pacing available to clients. Pacing is our web-based tool that empowers clients to forecast portfolio cash flows and exposures using customized assumptions in determining future investment allocations and forecasting liquidity needs.

Responsible investing is a core tenet of our operating and investment philosophies. Responsible investing includes considering environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors in investment decisions, as well as impact investing strategies, which incorporates non-financial investment objectives alongside financial objectives, as described further under “Business—Responsible Investment Philosophy.” We believe that integrating ESG factors into our investment processes will improve long-term, risk-adjusted returns for our clients. This includes pre-investment screening and diligence of all material ESG risks and opportunities as well as post-investment active monitoring and engagement. We developed a responsible investment policy, became a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (“UNPRI”) and created a StepStone Responsible Investment Committee in 2017, and have since become a signatory to The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (“TCFD”) as well as a member of the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (“GRESB”) and the Sustainable Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”). See “Business—Responsible Investment Philosophy.”



 

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Our History

We were founded in 2007 to address the evolving needs of investors focused on private markets, reflecting a number of converging themes: increasing investor desire for exposure and allocations to the private markets, rising complexity within private markets driven by proliferation of fund managers and specialized strategies, the global nature of private markets asset classes and their participants and the need for customized solutions as investors’ size, sophistication and allocations to private markets investments increased.

Today, we are able to provide our clients with a diverse suite of customized solutions across private markets asset classes, investment strategies and commercial structures. We believe this positions us well to compete for, win and execute tailored and complex investment solutions. Our value proposition as a full-service firm also helps us strengthen and grow client relationships. We have sought to structure these client mandates in a way that is cost efficient for our clients and accretive to our business. The charts below highlight the growth in our AUM and fee-earning AUM (“FEAUM”), and the diversification of our AUM by asset class.

 

LOGO

  

Note: Percentages may not sum due to rounding. The above chart reflects AUM allocated to asset classes by management team.

The charts below set forth our AUM and AUA by geography as of June 30, 2020:

LOGO



 

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Our Clients

We believe the value proposition we offer across our asset management, advisory, data, portfolio monitoring and reporting services has resulted in strong relationships with our clients. Our client base includes some of the world’s largest public and private pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies, as well as prominent endowments, foundations, family offices and private wealth clients, which include high-net-worth and mass affluent individuals. During the last twelve months ended June 30, 2020, over 65% of our management and advisory fees came from clients based outside of the United States, reflecting the strength and breadth of our relationships within the global investor community.

The following charts illustrate the diversification of our client base by type and geography as measured by client contribution to our management and advisory fees over the last twelve months ended June 30, 2020:

LOGO

Note: Mass affluent individuals collectively contributed less than 1% to our management and advisory fees over the twelve months ended June 30, 2020 and are included within the figures presented for Private Wealth/Defined Contribution Plans.

Our SMAs and focused commingled funds typically have a 10 to 12-year maturity at inception, including extensions, and as of June 30, 2020, we had approximately $15 billion of committed but undeployed fee-earning capital. As of June 30, 2020, the remaining contractual life of our management fees for nearly two-thirds of our client relationships exceeded seven years.



 

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Our Market Opportunity

We operate in the large and growing private markets industry, which we believe represents one of the most attractive segments within the broader asset management landscape. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (“PwC”) 2017 report, Asset & Wealth Management Revolution: Embracing Exponential Change, total global AUM is expected to grow from approximately $84.9 trillion in 2016 to $145.4 trillion in 2025, implying a CAGR of approximately 6%. During the same period, private markets industry AUM is expected to grow from approximately $6.5 trillion to approximately $15.8 trillion, implying a CAGR of approximately 10% and representing approximately 11% of total global AUM in 2025.

 

 

LOGO

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Asset & Wealth Management Revolution: Embracing Exponential Change, 2017. Includes private equity, infrastructure and real estate. Does not include private debt due to lack of available data.

We believe our leading position in private markets and comprehensive solutions across a diversified range of asset classes place us at the center of several favorable trends, including the following:

Growth in Institutional Wealth Accompanied by a Decline in Investable Opportunities in the Public Markets

Global institutional wealth has increased significantly in recent years and is expected to continue to grow. According to PwC’s 2017 report, the total assets of institutional investors, such as pension funds, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and family offices, are expected to increase from $63 trillion in 2012 to $123 trillion in 2025, reflecting a CAGR of 5%.

Meanwhile, the universe of public and private companies in which investors can invest continues to evolve, driven by two fundamental shifts:

 

   

Shrinking universe of public companies. The composition of public markets is fundamentally shifting as more and more companies are choosing to stay privately-held or return to being privately-held. According to Pitchbook’s 2018 Annual M&A report, the number of public companies in North America and Europe has declined by 3.8% on an annualized basis between 2008 and 2017, while the number of private equity-backed companies has increased by 4.2%.



 

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Rotation in the public equity markets from actively managed strategies into passive strategies. Public equity investors continue to increase their exposure to passive strategies in search of lower fee alternatives and broad market exposure, as relative returns in active management strategies have compressed. According to Morningstar, in August 2019, the total reported AUM for passive index funds was $4.3 trillion, which exceeded that of actively managed funds for the first time. We believe this continued move away from active public equity investment strategies will support growth in private markets as investors seek higher risk-adjusted returns.

The combination of the above trends amidst growth in client assets is expected to continue to drive growth in private markets.

Globalization of Private Markets

The macroeconomic position of international markets has improved significantly over the last 20 years, driven by several monetary and structural reforms, such as floating exchange rates, fiscal restraint and trade liberalization. We expect international markets, led by stronger, more stable economies, to become a source of scalable and long term capital for private markets fundraising. According to PwC’s 2017 report, North America is expected to continue to be the biggest contributor to global private markets AUM, followed by Europe, while the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Middle East & North Africa regions are also expected to grow AUM at a significant rate over the next five years.

Democratization of Private Markets

According to PwC’s 2017 report, the growing wealth of high-net-worth and mass affluent individuals, and the shift in retirement savings from defined benefit to defined contribution plans, have propelled significant growth in the asset management industry over the last decade. At the same time, both high-net-worth and mass affluent investors continue to remain significantly under-allocated to the private markets in comparison with institutional investors.

As defined contribution pension plans in the United States continue to grow and participants in these plans become more familiar with private markets as a means to diversify their investment portfolios and achieve differentiated returns, we believe defined contribution pension plans will be a significant driver of growth in private markets. In addition, on June 3, 2020, the United States Department of Labor issued an information letter confirming that investments in private equity vehicles may be appropriate for 401(k) and other defined contribution plans as a component of the investment alternatives made available under these plans. These plans hold trillions of dollars of assets, and the guidance in the letter may help significantly expand the market for private equity investments over time.

Increasing Demand for Private Markets Assets as Investors Search for Yield in a Low Rate Environment

As global economies continue to grow and generate wealth, we believe the role of the asset management industry as a steward of this wealth is critical. Investors increasingly view allocations to private markets investments as essential for obtaining diversified exposure to global growth, resulting in strong AUM growth and continued momentum in private capital fundraising. We believe monetary policy following the most recent global financial crisis has resulted in a global interest rate regime characterized by persistently low rates. As a result, institutional investors, including pension funds and insurance companies, have been facing increasing pressure to meet their return objectives. Yield-oriented strategies, such as private debt, infrastructure and real estate, seek to generate more current income and attract investor capital because of their portfolio diversification potential and defensive characteristics that can provide returns with less volatility and lower loss ratios than can be achieved in comparable liquid markets for these asset classes.



 

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Consistent Outperformance of Private Markets Investments vis-a-vis Public Markets

Numerous academic studies have found that private markets have a track record of strong returns and outperformance versus public markets. In addition to seeking high absolute and relative returns, institutional investors have been increasing their allocations to private markets investments to attain diversification, macro hedges, stable income, and low volatility relative to traditional public market allocations.

Proliferation of Choices

According to StepStone research and data, from 2000 to 2019, the number of active institutional managers across the private markets more than doubled to approximately 6,100, with approximately 50% of the growth coming from managers based outside of North America and nearly 50% of new entrants coming from asset classes other than private equity. We believe that the growing number of private markets-focused fund managers increases the operational burdens on institutional investors and will lead to a greater reliance on highly trusted advisers to help investors navigate the complexity associated with global, multi-manager alternative portfolios. This growth increases demands on private markets investors’ in-house investment management and monitoring teams, which tend to have limited resources, leading to increased demand for third-party expertise from firms like us that offer a comprehensive view across the private markets asset classes.

Diversification Across Asset Classes Is Critical in Today’s Complex Universe of Available Investment Opportunities

The purview of private markets has meaningfully broadened over the last decade. As investors increase their allocations to private markets investments and become more sophisticated, they are demanding increased diversification across private markets asset classes. Additionally, investors are trying to limit the number of fund manager relationships they maintain by trimming duplicative strategies and consolidating similar risk and return profiles with fewer fund managers. These changes have led to an increasing focus on fund managers providing multi-asset class offerings. According to Preqin Ltd.’s H1 2020 Investor Outlook Report on Alternative Assets, approximately 74% of institutional investors invest in at least one private markets asset class, and approximately 52% invest in two or more private markets asset classes. In addition, a majority of investors in each private markets asset class expect to maintain or increase their allocations over the long-term.

Data Advantage and Technology Infrastructure Are Becoming More Important as Investors Demand Greater Analytics and Transparency

Most organizations do not have an adequate technology infrastructure to respond to escalating demands for private markets investment. As a result, investors seek to partner with firms that not only have a proven track record of investing across multiple asset classes and strategies, but also offer highly sophisticated non-investment functions, such as portfolio monitoring, customized performance benchmarking and associated compliance, administrative and tax capabilities. According to Ernst & Young’s 2019 Global Alternative Fund Survey, 37% of the fund managers surveyed reported middle- and back-office process enhancement as one of their top three priorities.

Shift Towards Customized Portfolio Construction

We believe that private markets investors have shifted their interest away from generic funds-of-funds toward long term portfolio management through SMAs. According to Bain & Company’s 2017 report, Global Private Equity Report, SMAs now comprise almost 6% of private capital raised, up from 2.5% in 2006. Commingled fund structures have historically worked successfully for investors seeking simple exposure to a fund manager’s reference fund or a diversified portfolio through a fund-of-funds. However, as private markets evolve and become more institutionalized, there is greater emphasis on the importance of fees, portfolio construction and governance standards, including increased transparency, a greater degree of customization and



 

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more advanced risk controls. For the largest, most sophisticated investors looking to achieve very specific investment objectives, a one-size-fits-all approach to portfolio selection no longer works. These investors have varying needs, depending on their existing exposure to private markets, risk thresholds, return targets, liquidity horizons and other factors.

Greater Focus on Responsible Investing

We believe responsible investing will continue to gain prominence as ESG and impact investing considerations, including climate change, increasingly intersect with, and are reflected in, asset allocation and investment decisions. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Review 2018 by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, global sustainable investment assets reached $31 trillion at the start of 2018, increasing 34% from 2016. We believe this growth will continue over the next several years, driven by investor demand and regulatory influence.

Our Competitive Strengths

Truly Global Scale with Local Teams

Since our founding, we have invested significant time and resources building a global platform that we believe is well positioned to benefit from the continued growth and globalization of the private markets. Today, we have investment and implementation professionals in 19 cities—Beijing, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dublin, Hong Kong, La Jolla, Lima, London, Luxembourg, New York, Perth, Rome, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto and Zurich—across 13 countries in five continents.

Our offices are staffed by investment professionals who bring valuable regional insights and language proficiency to enhance existing client relationships and build new client relationships. Each of our offices follows a local staffing model, with local professionals who possess valuable insights, language proficiency and client relationships specific to that market. As of June 30, 2020, approximately 55% of our investment professionals were based outside the United States. We believe our focus on hiring local talent, supported by a deep bench of experienced investment professionals, has been critical in helping us attract a blue-chip, global client base. During the last twelve months ended June 30, 2020, over 65% of our management and advisory fees came from clients based outside of the United States.

Full-Service, Customized Approach to Delivering Solutions

We have significant expertise in customized offerings given:

 

   

our scale, which enables us to maintain a proprietary database across key facets of private markets investing, and

 

   

our research-focused culture, which enables us to utilize this information advantage to inform our investment decisions and deliver highly customized insights and services to our clients.

As a result, we are able to offer a full suite of investment solutions to our clients, not only by assisting them with building customized private markets portfolios, but also offering other value-add services, such as strategic planning and research, portfolio repositioning, and portfolio monitoring and reporting. We believe our value proposition as a full-service firm also helps us strengthen and grow our client relationships. As of June 30, 2020, 38% of our advisory clients also had an AUM relationship with us, and we advised or managed assets in more than one asset class for 35% of our clients, supporting our combined AUM/AUA growth.

Our focus on offering full-service, customized solutions to our clients is reflected in our business composition. As of June 30, 2020, we had approximately 190 bespoke SMAs and focused commingled funds (including high-net-worth programs). For the twelve months ended June 30, 2020, approximately 46% of our management and advisory fees were generated from SMAs, as compared to 34% from focused commingled funds and 20% from advisory and data services.



 

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Scale Across Private Markets Asset Classes

We believe our scale across asset classes, deal flow access and dedicated operational resources is increasingly a competitive advantage in private markets solutions. We believe investors are reducing the number of fund managers they invest with, increasingly allocating capital to fund managers that have expertise across a wide range of asset classes within private markets.

 

 

LOGO

Note: Data presented as of June 30, 2020. Includes over $66 billion in AUM as of June 30, 2020, reflecting data for the period ended March 31, 2020, adjusted for net new client account activity through June 30, 2020. Allocation of AUM by asset class is presented by underlying investment asset classification. Amounts may not sum to total due to rounding.

1 

Does not include post-period investment valuation.

2 

StepStone Portfolio Analytics & Reporting.

Well Positioned to Continue to Serve and Grow Our Diverse and Global Client Base

We believe we are a leading provider of private markets solutions for a broad variety of clients. Our clients include some of the world’s largest public and private defined benefit and defined contribution pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies, as well as prominent endowments, foundations, family offices and private wealth clients. In many instances, existing clients have increased allocations to additional asset classes and commercial structures and deployed capital across our asset management, advisory and data services businesses.

Our dedicated in-house business development and client relations teams, comprising more than 75 professionals in offices across 11 countries, maintain an active and transparent dialogue with our diverse and global client base. Consistent with our staffing model on the investment side, we ensure local clients are interfacing with business development professionals who have local expertise.

According to PwC, the combined investable assets of high-net-worth and mass affluent individuals are expected to reach approximately $222 trillion by 2025. Within the private wealth market, we have raised more than $2 billion of capital, using full-service broker dealers and private bank channels to connect with clients. We also offer an investment platform designed to expand access to the private markets for private wealth investors. We work with a number of the largest defined contribution pension plans around the world, positioning us well for the continued transition to this type of plan.



 

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Preeminent Data and Analytics with Proprietary Software

Our data-driven, research-focused approach has been core to our investment philosophy since inception, which we believe is one of our biggest competitive strengths. Our data are organized around three proprietary software systems:

 

   

SPI monitors investment opportunities and is used by our investment professionals as an investment decision making tool. As of June 30, 2020, SPI contained information on over 57,000 companies, $16 trillion of AUM across over 35,000 funds and nearly 14,000 fund managers showing fund-level performance for over 12,000 funds.

 

   

Omni monitors the performance of our clients’ investments and allows users, including our clients, to generate detailed analytics. As of June 30, 2020, Omni tracked detailed information on over 4,500 investments across more than 46,000 underlying portfolio companies.

 

   

Pacing empowers clients to forecast portfolio cash flows and exposures using customized assumptions in determining future investment allocations and forecasting liquidity needs.

The combination of SPI, Omni and Pacing offers an end-to-end software technology and data solution that delivers significantly more information than most private markets investors have available, providing us with a meaningful advantage in our investment, due diligence and client relations efforts. Data science within private markets has historically been difficult due to the lack of standardization and the labor-intensive process of collecting and processing information. We have a dedicated Data Science and Engineering team with approximately 30 members, which manages and continues to develop our SPI, Omni and Pacing platforms and supports our efforts to be a market leader in an area that is essential to evaluating private markets. Our Omni platform is also used by our SPAR team to create customized performance reports for our clients.

Strong Investment Performance Track Record

Our superior track record is our primary point of sale to our clients. As shown below, we have outperformed the benchmark MSCI World Public Market Equivalent Plus (“PME+”) across all of our investment strategies on an inception-to-date basis as of March 31, 2020. See “Business—Investment Performance” for more information and explanatory footnotes.

 

($ in billions except
percentages)
                                         

Strategy

  Committed
Capital
    Cumulative
Invested
Capital
    Realized
Distributions
    NAV     Total     Multiple
of Invested
Capital
    Gross
IRR
    Net
IRR
    Gross IRR
versus
Benchmark
 

Primaries

  $ 150.5     $ 98.8     $ 61.6     $ 67.9     $ 129.5       1.3x       10.0     9.7     5.4

Secondaries

    7.0       5.8       3.6       4.4       8.1       1.4x       20.2     15.8     17.3

Co-investments

    16.9       16.3       4.3       17.2       21.5       1.3x       15.3     13.0     15.4
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

  $ 174.4     $ 120.8     $ 69.5     $ 89.5     $ 159.0       1.3x       10.7     10.1     6.6
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

         

We attribute our strong investment performance track record to numerous factors, including our scale and global reach, our selective investment process powered by our technology and data advantage and our experienced investment teams. Together, these attributes allow us to source highly attractive investment opportunities with a compelling risk-adjusted return profile for our clients’ diverse investment objectives. Our track record has attracted clients seeking exposure to investments with varying risk and return objectives and, in turn, allowed us to successfully and consistently grow assets across our platform.

Attractive Financial Profile, Supported by Longer Duration Capital Base and Scalable Platform

We have a scalable business model with two integrated revenue streams: management and advisory fees and performance fees. Our superior value proposition to clients, enabled by our global scale, expertise across private



 

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markets asset classes and investment strategies, as well as our research and analytics capabilities, drives strong growth in AUM and AUA, which in turn leads to management and advisory fee growth. Investment returns for our clients provide additional revenue opportunities to us in the form of potential performance fees and investment income.

We believe our revenue model has the following important attributes:

Sustainable and recurring

 

   

We believe we have been successful in implementing a flexible business model whereby many of our client relationships include more than one service.

 

   

We have had a high level of success in retaining our advisory clients with an over 90% retention rate since inception.

Highly predictable with strong visibility into near-term growth

 

   

Our SMAs and focused commingled funds typically have a 10 to 12-year maturity at inception, including extensions.

 

   

As of June 30, 2020, we had approximately $15 billion of committed but undeployed fee-earning capital, which we expect to generate management fees when deployed.

Diverse

 

   

As of June 30, 2020, we had over 300 revenue-generating asset management and advisory programs and therefore are not dependent upon or concentrated in any single investment vehicle, client or revenue type.

 

   

For the twelve months ended June 30, 2020, no single client contributed more than 8% of our total management and advisory fees, and our top 10 clients contributed approximately 30% of our total management and advisory fees.

Upside from performance fees

 

   

As of June 30, 2020, we had approximately 110 investment programs with performance fees, consisting of over $36 billion in committed capital.

 

   

As of June 30, 2020, our accrued carried interest allocations balance, which we view as a backlog of future carried interest allocation revenue, was $329 million with nearly 70 programs in accrued carried interest positions.

 

   

Approximately 84% of current accrued carried interest allocations is from StepStone Fund vintages of 2015 or prior.

Led by a Seasoned Team of Professionals Whose Interests Are Aligned with Clients and Our Stockholders

We believe our biggest asset is our people, and therefore we focus on consistently recruiting the best people, all of whom are proven leaders in their areas of expertise. The firm is led by over 50 partners, with an average of more than 20 years of investment or industry experience. Over 60 of our employees have equity interests in us, collectively owning nearly 70% of the Company on a fully-diluted basis prior to this offering, and more than 80 employees are entitled to participate in our carried interest allocations in one or more of the asset classes.



 

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Growth Strategy

We aim to leverage our core principles and values that have guided us since inception to continue to grow our business, using the following key strategies:

Continue to Grow with Existing Clients

 

   

Expand existing client mandates. As a customized solutions provider, we spend significant time listening to the challenges that our clients face and responding by creating solutions to meet their needs. In addition, we believe our existing clients have a growing asset base and are expanding allocations to private markets investments. As a result, we believe a large portion of our growth will come from existing clients through renewals and expansion of existing mandates with us.

 

   

Deploy already raised committed capital. As of June 30, 2020, we had approximately $15 billion of capital not yet deployed across our various investment vehicles, which we expect to generate management fees when deployed.

Grow with New Clients Globally

Over the past decade, we have invested in and grown both our in-house and third-party distribution networks. As of June 30, 2020, we had more than 75 professionals worldwide dedicated to business development and client relations. Our local business development professionals lead conversations with potential local clients.

We believe that geographically and economically diverse U.S. and non-U.S. investors will require a highly bespoke approach and will demand high levels of transparency, governance and reporting. We have seen this pattern developing across many geographies, including Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Southeast Asia and China, and have positioned ourselves to take advantage of it by establishing local presence with global investment capabilities. Since the beginning of 2017 alone, we have established offices in Charlotte, Dublin, Lima, Luxembourg, Rome and Zurich. We believe our global footprint places us in a favorable position to tap the global pools of demand for private markets.

Continue to Expand Our Distribution Channel for Private Wealth Clients

According to PwC, the combined investable assets of high-net-worth and mass affluent individuals are expected to reach approximately $222 trillion by 2025. However, many high-net-worth and mass affluent individual investors continue to have difficulty accessing private markets investment opportunities because of a lack of products currently available that satisfy regulatory and structural requirements related to liquidity, transparency and administration. As a result, average allocation to private markets investments of these individuals remains at 5%, compared to 29% for sovereign wealth funds and 27% for U.S. pensions as measured by retail wirehouse assets, according to State Street Global Advisors, Willis Towers Watson and Money Management Institute. We have developed an investment platform designed to expand access to the private markets for private wealth clients.

Leverage Our Scale to Enhance Operating Margins

Since inception we have made significant investments in our platform infrastructure through building out our investment and implementation teams across geographies and asset classes and developing technology-enabled solutions. We believe we have scaled the personnel and infrastructure of our business to support significant growth in our client base across our existing investment offerings, positioning us well to continue to drive operating margin improvement.

Monetize Our Data and Analytics Capabilities

Our proprietary database, SPI, provides access to valuable data that forms the cornerstone of our investing process. We have recently begun licensing SPI to clients in the form of a traditional licensed offering as well as



 

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an “advisory-like” service where we offer the SPI license and limited advisory-type support from our team. This has allowed us to support the private markets activities of clients that are too small to participate in our full-service advisory offerings. Omni and SPI both allow users to leverage our research data, further enhancing our client experience and services. We also strategically use SPI and Omni as a competitive product bundle, for example, by providing both offerings to clients to secure more comprehensive mandates. In addition, we also recently made Pacing available to clients. Pacing is our web-based tool that empowers clients to forecast portfolio cash flows and exposures using customized assumptions in determining future investment allocations and forecasting liquidity needs.

Pursue Accretive Transactions to Complement Our Platform

We may complement our strong organic growth with selective strategic and tactical acquisitions. We intend to remain highly disciplined in our development strategy to ensure that we are allocating management time and our capital in the most productive areas to fuel growth. Our strategy will focus on opportunities that expand our scale in existing markets, add complementary capabilities, enhance distribution, or provide access to new markets.

We have a strong track record of sourcing, executing and integrating transactions and team hires as well as incentivizing investment teams to align their interests with ours. Most recently, our acquisition of Courtland Partners in 2018 added approximately $90 billion of real estate AUA to our platform, strengthening our position as a leading global real estate solutions provider.

Selected Risk Factors Related to our Business and Industry

As part of your evaluation of our company, you should consider the risks associated with our business, industry and this offering. These risks include:

 

   

Risks related to our business, including risks related to investment performance, the availability of suitable investment opportunities, competition for client funds, our removal as a general partner for certain funds, an inability to attract and retain our senior leadership team, management of conflicts of interest, dependence on leverage by certain funds and portfolio companies, clients not satisfying their contractual obligations to fund capital calls, failure to comply with investment guidelines and clawback obligations and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

   

Risks related to our industry, including risks related to intense competition, difficult or volatile market conditions, compliance with government and tax laws and regulations, changes in such laws and regulations, obligations to pay taxes under new partnership audit rules, compliance with anti-corruption and sanctions laws, the exit of the UK from the EU (“Brexit”) and increased scrutiny of ESG costs of investments.

 

   

Risks related to our organizational structure and this offering, including risk related to our executive officers not having previously managed a public company, the expense and time required by public company financial reporting, our status as a controlled company, dependence on the Partnership for payment of distributions, the failure to obtain expected tax benefits and tax treatment and conflicts of interests between our Class A stockholders and Class B stockholders, particularly as a result of the disparity in voting rights.

Organizational Structure

In connection with this offering, we will undertake certain transactions as part of a corporate reorganization (the “Reorganization”) described under “Organizational Structure” below. Following the Reorganization and this offering, SSG will be a holding company and its sole assets will be ownership of Class A units of the Partnership and a 100% membership interest in StepStone Group Holdings LLC, which is the general partner of the Partnership. Certain limited partners of the Partnership prior to this offering will exchange all or a portion of their Partnership units for shares of Class A common stock of SSG (the “Direct StepStone Stockholders”). The limited



 

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partners of the Partnership holding Class A units prior to this offering that are not otherwise exchanged for shares of Class A common stock of SSG will exchange their partnership units for Class B units of the Partnership and will also own an equal number of Class B shares of SSG upon completion of this offering. The diagram below depicts our organizational structure following the consummation of the SIRA Exchange, the Reorganization and this offering (assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares) and does not reflect the issuances of awards pursuant to the 2020 Long-Term Incentive Plan. Certain of our consolidated subsidiaries are not wholly-owned by us. To the extent these subsidiaries are not wholly-owned, substantially all of the other owners are current StepStone professionals working for the related businesses. See “—Ownership of Our Businesses” below.

 

 

LOGO

Amounts may not sum to total due to rounding.

 

(1)

At the closing of this offering, the partners of the Partnership other than StepStone Group Inc. will be:

 

   

the General Partner, which will hold a 100% general partner interest and no economic interests;

 

   

members of management, employee owners and outside investors, all of whom owned Class A units prior to the completion of this offering, and all of whom will own Class B units of the Partnership and Class B common stock of StepStone Group Inc. after this offering (68,203,831 Class B units and an equivalent number of Class B common shares); and

 

   

members of management and employee owners, all of whom owned Class A2 units prior to the completion of this offering, and all of whom will own Class B2 units of the Partnership after this offering (2,685,926 Class B2 units and any additional Class B units issuable pursuant to anti-dilution rights in connection with the vesting of Class B2 units).

 

(2)

Each share of Class A common stock will be entitled to one vote and will vote together with the Class B common stock as a single class, except as set forth in SSG’s amended and restated certificate of incorporation or as required by law.

(3)

Each share of Class B common stock is entitled to five votes prior to a Sunset (as defined in “Organizational Structure—Voting Rights of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock”). After a Sunset becomes effective, each share of our Class B common stock will then entitle its holder to one vote. The economic rights of our Class B common stock are limited to the right to be redeemed at par value.

(4)

Certain of our pre-IPO institutional investors, which we refer to as the Direct StepStone Stockholders, hold their interests in the Partnership through entities that are taxable as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes (collectively, the “Blocker Companies”). SSG will form a new, first-tier merger subsidiary with respect to each Blocker Company. Contemporaneously with this offering, each merger subsidiary will merge with and into the respective Blocker Company, with the Blocker Company surviving (collectively, the “Blocker Mergers”). Immediately thereafter, each Blocker Company will merge with and into SSG, with SSG surviving. As a result of the Blocker Mergers, the 100% owners of the Blocker Companies will acquire an aggregate of 9,112,500 shares of newly issued Class A common stock and the Blocker Companies will cease to own any Partnership units.

(5)

StepStone Group Inc. will own all of the Class A units of the Partnership after the Reorganization, which upon the completion of this offering will represent the right to receive approximately 28.1% of the distributions made by the Partnership. While this interest represents a minority of economic interests in the Partnership, StepStone Group Inc. will act as the sole manager of the General Partner of the Partnership and, as a result, will indirectly operate and control all of the Partnership’s business and affairs and will be able to consolidate its financial results into StepStone Group Inc.’s financial statements.

(6)

The Class B stockholders will collectively hold all Class B common stock of StepStone Group Inc. outstanding after this offering. They also will collectively hold all Class B units of the Partnership, which upon the completion of this offering will represent the right to



 

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  receive approximately 71.9% of the distributions made by the Partnership. The Class B stockholders will have no voting rights in the Partnership on account of the Class B units, except for the right to approve amendments to the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement that adversely affect their rights as holders of Class B units. Class B units may be exchanged for shares of our Class A common stock or, at our election, for cash, subject to certain restrictions pursuant to the Exchange Agreement described in “Organizational Structure—Exchange Agreement.” After a Class B unit is surrendered for exchange, it will not be available for reissuance. When a Class B unit is exchanged for a share of our Class A common stock, a corresponding share of our Class B common stock will automatically be redeemed by us at par value and canceled. Certain Class B unitholders will also hold Class B2 units, which, upon vesting, will be converted into Class B units. Prior to vesting, Class B2 units will not have the right to receive any distributions from the Partnership, other than tax-related distributions.

Ownership of Our Businesses

Certain of our consolidated subsidiaries are not wholly-owned by us. To the extent these subsidiaries are not wholly-owned, substantially all of the other owners are current StepStone professionals working for the related businesses. We believe this ownership structure has benefited us by aligning our interests with the interests of our employees. We use, and expect to continue to use, a combination of our equity ownership, governance rights and other contractual arrangements to control operations of these businesses. SSG consolidates all entities that it controls due to a majority voting interest or because it is the primary beneficiary of a variable interest entity. See note 4 to the Partnership’s consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for information on variable interest entities. The diagram below summarizes the ownership structure of the Partnership’s consolidated operations on a fully diluted basis.

 

LOGO

 

(1)

Prior to the consummation of this offering, the Partnership expects to issue new Class A partnership interests to certain StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary in exchange for their partnership interests in the Infrastructure subsidiary, which is expected to increase the interest of the Partnership in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 49% and decrease the interest of the StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 51%. We refer to this as the “SIRA Exchange.”

Corporate Information

StepStone Group Inc. was incorporated in Delaware on November 20, 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Partnership. It has had no business operations prior to this offering. In connection with the consummation of this offering, StepStone Group Inc. will become the sole managing member of StepStone Group Holdings LLC, which is the general partner of the Partnership, pursuant to the Reorganization described under “Organizational Structure—The Reorganization.” Our principal executive offices are located at 450 Lexington Avenue, 31st Floor, New York, NY 10017, and our phone number is (212) 351-6100. Our website is www.stepstonegroup.com. Information contained on or accessible through our website is not incorporated by reference into this prospectus and should not be considered a part of this prospectus.



 

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Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company

As a company with less than $1.07 billion in revenue during our last fiscal year, we qualify as an emerging growth company (“EGC”) as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2013 (the “JOBS Act”). For so long as we remain an EGC, we are permitted and intend to rely on exemptions from specified disclosure requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not EGCs. These exemptions include:

 

   

being permitted to provide only two years of audited financial statements, in addition to any required unaudited interim financial statements, with correspondingly reduced “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” disclosure;

 

   

not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements in the assessment of our internal control over financial reporting;

 

   

not being required to comply with any requirement that may be adopted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board regarding mandatory audit firm rotation or a supplement to the auditor’s report providing additional information about the audit and the financial statements;

 

   

reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation; and

 

   

exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved.

We may take advantage of these provisions for up to five years or such earlier time when we are no longer an EGC. We will cease to be an EGC if we have more than $1.07 billion in annual revenue, have more than $700 million in market value of our capital stock held by non-affiliates or issue more than $1.07 billion of non-convertible debt over a three-year period. We may choose to take advantage of some, but not all, of the available exemptions. We have taken advantage of some reduced reporting burdens in this prospectus. Accordingly, the information contained herein may be different than the information you receive from other public companies in which you may hold stock.

The JOBS Act provides that an EGC may take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. This provision allows an EGC to delay the adoption of accounting standards until those standards would otherwise apply to private companies. An EGC that has elected to take advantage of the extended transition period provision may early adopt a new or revised accounting standard if permitted by the standard, without being deemed to have “opted in” for purposes of subsequent new or revised accounting standards. We are choosing to take advantage of such extended transition period, and as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards on the relevant dates on which adoption is required for private companies. In particular, we are delaying the adoption of lease accounting guidance that currently applies to public companies. The adoption of the new lease guidance is expected to materially impact our consolidated balance sheet due to the requirement to record right-of-use assets and liabilities related to leases that are currently reported as operating leases. However, we do not expect the adoption to materially affect our consolidated statement of income because substantially all of our leases are classified as operating leases, which will continue to be recognized as an expense on a straight-line basis under the new guidance. See note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for additional information.



 

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The Offering

 

Class A common stock offered by StepStone Group Inc.

17,500,000 shares.

 

Underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock from us

2,625,000 shares.

 

Class A common stock to be issued to the Direct StepStone Stockholders in the Reorganization

9,112,500 shares.

 

Class A common stock to be issued under our 2020 Long-Term Incentive Plan in connection with the Reorganization and this offering

2,502,640 shares.

 

Class A common stock outstanding immediately after this offering

26,612,500 shares of Class A common stock (or 29,237,500 shares of Class A common stock if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full). If all Class B unitholders immediately after this offering and the Reorganization were entitled, and if they so elected, to exchange their Class B units for shares of our Class A common stock, 94,816,331 shares of Class A common stock would be outstanding immediately after this offering.

 

Class B common stock outstanding immediately after this offering

68,203,831 shares of Class B common stock (or 65,578,831 shares of Class B common stock if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full). Class B common stock will be issued to holders of Class B units of the Partnership in exchange for their interests in the General Partner.

 

Use of proceeds

We estimate that our net proceeds from this offering, based on an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share of Class A common stock (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus), after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions but before deducting expenses of this offering and the Reorganization payable by us, will be approximately $261.1 million, or approximately $300.3 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock.

 

  We intend to use $186.5 million of the net proceeds from this offering to purchase newly issued Partnership units, at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering.


 

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  We intend to use approximately $74.6 million, or approximately $113.8 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock, of the net proceeds from this offering to purchase Class B units from certain of the Partnership’s unitholders, including certain members of our senior management, at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering. Accordingly, we will not retain any of this portion of the proceeds.

 

  Additionally, we intend to cause the Partnership to use approximately $147.3 million of the net proceeds to repay in full the indebtedness, including accrued interest, outstanding under our existing senior secured term loan and terminate such facility and $6.0 million to pay the expenses incurred by us in connection with this offering and the Reorganization. We intend to cause the Partnership to use any remaining net proceeds to facilitate the growth of our existing businesses, to expand into new businesses that are complementary to our existing businesses and for other general corporate purposes. See “Use of Proceeds.”

 

Voting rights

Each share of our Class A common stock will entitle its holder to one vote on all matters to be voted on by stockholders generally.

 

  Each share of our Class B common stock will entitle its holder to five votes on all matters to be voted on by stockholders generally until a Sunset becomes effective. After a Sunset becomes effective, each share of our Class B common stock will entitle its holder to one vote.

 

 

A “Sunset” is triggered upon the earliest to occur of the following: (i) Monte Brem, Scott Hart, Jason Ment, Jose Fernandez, Johnny Randel, Michael McCabe, Mark Maruszewski, Thomas Keck, Thomas Bradley, David Jeffrey and Darren Friedman (including their respective family trusts and any other permitted transferees, the “Sunset Holders”) collectively cease to maintain direct or indirect beneficial ownership of at least 10% of the outstanding shares of Class A common stock (determined assuming all outstanding Class B units have been exchanged for Class A common stock); (ii) the Sunset Holders cease collectively to maintain direct or indirect beneficial ownership of an aggregate of at least 25% of the aggregate voting power of our outstanding Class A common stock and Class B common stock, before giving effect to a Sunset; and (iii) the fifth anniversary of the completion of the offering to which this prospectus relates. In the case of a Sunset triggered by an event described in clause (i) or (ii) above, a Sunset triggered during the first two fiscal quarters of any fiscal year will become effective at the end of that fiscal year, and a Sunset triggered during the third or fourth fiscal quarters of any fiscal year will become effective at the end of the following fiscal year. Immediately after this offering, the Sunset Holders will collectively hold approximately 62.1% of the combined



 

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voting power of our common stock (or 62.2% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full).

 

  Holders of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock will vote together as a single class on all matters presented to our stockholders for their vote or approval, except as set forth in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or as otherwise required by applicable law. See “Organizational Structure—Voting Rights of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock.”

 

  Certain Class B stockholders will enter into a Stockholders Agreement (the “Stockholders Agreement”) pursuant to which they will agree to vote all shares of our voting stock, including their Class A common stock and Class B common stock, in the manner directed by the Class B Committee (as defined under “Organizational Structure—Stockholders Agreement) on all matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders. The Class B Committee will thus be able to exercise control over all matters requiring the approval of our stockholders, including the election of our directors and the approval of significant corporate transactions.

 

Exchange of Class B units

We have reserved for issuance 70,889,757 shares of our Class A common stock, which is the aggregate number of shares of our Class A common stock expected to be issued over time upon the exchanges by the Class B unitholders, subject to the limitations set forth in the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement and an Exchange Agreement to be entered into in connection with this offering. See “Organizational Structure—The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement” and “Organizational Structure—Exchange Agreement.”

 

Registration Rights Agreement

Pursuant to a Registration Rights Agreement (the “Registration Rights Agreement”) that we expect to enter into with certain of our large institutional Class A stockholders and certain Class B stockholders, we will agree, under certain circumstances, to register the resale of the shares of Class A common stock issued upon exchange of Class B units.

 

Tax Receivable Agreements

SSG will enter into a Tax Receivable Agreement (Exchanges) (the “Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement”) with certain continuing partners of the Partnership and a Tax Receivable Agreement (Reorganization) (the “Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement”) with the Direct StepStone Stockholders, which are pre-IPO institutional investors in the Partnership that hold their interests in the Partnership through Blocker Companies (collectively, the “Tax Receivable Agreements”). The Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to certain continuing partners of the Partnership (not including SSG) of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of increases in tax basis (and utilization of certain other tax benefits) resulting from (i) SSG’s acquisition of such continuing partner’s Partnership units in



 

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connection with this offering and in future exchanges and (ii) any payments SSG makes under the Tax Receivable Agreement (including tax benefits related to imputed interest). The Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to the Direct StepStone Stockholders of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of (i) the unamortized portion of the increase in tax basis in the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership resulting from the prior acquisitions of interests in the Partnership by the Blocker Companies as well as the net operating losses, capital losses or other loss carrybacks and carryforwards of the Blocker Companies generated before the Blocker Mergers and (ii) tax benefits related to imputed interest. SSG will retain the benefit of the remaining 15% of these net cash tax savings under both Tax Receivable Agreements. See “Related Party Transactions—Tax Receivable Agreements.”

 

Dividend policy

The declaration and payment by us of any future dividends to holders of our Class A common stock will generally be at the sole discretion of our board of directors. Holders of our Class B common stock will not be entitled to dividends from SSG. Following this offering and subject to funds being legally available for distribution, we intend to cause the Partnership to make distributions to each of its partners, including SSG, in an amount intended to enable each partner to pay all applicable taxes on taxable income allocable to each partner and to allow SSG to make payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements. In addition, the Partnership will reimburse SSG for corporate and other overhead expenses. If the amount of tax distributions to be made exceeds the amount of funds available for distribution, SSG shall receive the full amount of its tax distribution before the other partners receive any distribution and the balance, if any, of funds available for distribution shall be distributed to the other partners pro rata in accordance with their assumed tax liabilities.

 

Directed Share Program

At our request, the underwriters have reserved up to 875,000 shares of our Class A common stock to be issued by us and offered by this prospectus for sale, at the initial public offering price, at our discretion, to certain of our directors, officers and employees. The number of shares of Class A common stock available for sale to the general public will be reduced to the extent that such persons purchase such reserved shares. Any reserved shares that are not so purchased will be offered by the underwriters to the general public on the same basis as the other shares of Class A common stock offered by this prospectus. See “Underwriting.”

 

Risk factors

You should read “Risk Factors” beginning on page 27 for a discussion of risks to carefully consider before deciding whether to purchase any shares of our Class A common stock.


 

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Proposed ticker symbol

We have applied to list our Class A common stock on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “STEP.”

Unless otherwise noted, Class A common stock outstanding and other information based thereon in this prospectus does not reflect any of the following:

 

   

2,625,000 shares of Class A common stock issuable upon exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares;

 

   

5,000,000 shares of Class A common stock issuable under our 2020 Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “2020 LTIP”), including:

 

   

2,502,640 shares of Class A common stock underlying restricted stock units or other awards to be issued to certain employees pursuant to the 2020 LTIP immediately after the closing of this offering; and

 

   

2,497,360 additional shares of Class A common stock to be reserved for future issuance of awards under the 2020 LTIP;

 

   

68,203,831 shares of Class A common stock reserved for issuance upon exchange of the Class B units (and corresponding shares of Class B common stock) that will be outstanding immediately after this offering; and

 

   

2,685,926 shares of Class A common stock issuable upon the exchange of Class B2 units once such units vest (and corresponding shares of Class B common stock) and any additional Class B units issuable pursuant to anti-dilution rights in connection with the vesting of Class B2 units.

Unless otherwise indicated in this prospectus, all information in this prospectus assumes the completion of the Reorganization and that shares of our Class A common stock will be sold in this offering at $16.00 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus).

Throughout this prospectus, we present performance metrics and financial information regarding the Partnership’s business. This information is generally presented on an enterprise-wide basis. The new public stockholders will be entitled to receive a pro rata portion of the economics of the Partnership’s operations through their ownership of our Class A common stock. SSG’s ownership of Class A units initially will represent a minority of the economic interest in the Partnership. The existing limited partners of the Partnership initially will continue to hold a majority of the economic interest in its operations primarily through direct and indirect ownership of Class B units of the Partnership. Prospective investors should be aware that the owners of the Class A common stock initially will be entitled only to a minority economic position, and therefore should evaluate performance metrics and financial information in this prospectus accordingly. As Class B units are exchanged for Class A common stock over time, the percentage of the economic interest in the Partnership’s operations to which SSG and the public stockholders are entitled will increase proportionately.



 

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Summary Historical Consolidated Financial Information and Other Data

The following table sets forth certain summary financial and other data of the Partnership on a historical basis. The Partnership is considered our predecessor for accounting purposes and its consolidated financial statements will be our historical financial statements following this offering. The following summary historical consolidated income statement data for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of June 30, 2020 have been derived from our unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 included elsewhere in this prospectus. In the opinion of management, the unaudited consolidated financial statements for and as of the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 reflect all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring adjustments, necessary to present fairly the results of operations for such periods. The following summary historical consolidated income statement data for the years ended March 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2020 and 2019 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The summary historical consolidated financial information should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

StepStone Group LP

 

     Three Months Ended
June 30,
    Year Ended March 31,  
     2020     2019     2020     2019     2018  

Income Statement Data (in thousands)

          

Revenues

          

Management and advisory fees, net

   $ 63,500     $   50,968     $   235,205     $   190,826     $   140,952  

Performance fees:

          

Incentive fees

     3,589       1,622       3,410       1,540       1,489  

Carried interest allocation

     (128,502     46,989       207,996       63,902       121,834  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

     (61,413     99,579       446,611       256,268       264,275  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Expenses

          

Compensation and benefits:

          

Cash-based compensation

     39,653       29,668       130,730       108,340       87,005  

Equity-based compensation

     483       475       1,915       1,725       189  

Performance fee-related compensation

     (65,775     24,531       109,659       31,478       59,684  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total compensation and benefits

     (25,639     54,674       242,304       141,543       146,878  

General, administrative and other

     10,287       12,327       53,341       49,160       35,851  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

     (15,352     67,001       295,645       190,703       182,729  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other income (expense)

          

Investment income (loss)

     (3,178     1,268       6,926       4,126       5,007  

Interest income

     94       334       1,436       1,507       143  

Interest expense

     (2,057     (2,742     (10,211     (10,261     (913

Other income (loss)

     —         197       (377     662       22  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other income (expense)

     (5,141     (943     (2,226     (3,966     4,259  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income tax

     (51,202     31,635       148,740       61,599       85,805  

Income tax expense

     1,158       626       3,955       1,640       1,986  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

     (52,360     31,009       144,785       59,959       83,819  

Less: Net income attributable to non-controlling interests

     4,093       2,491       12,869       5,763       2,381  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to StepStone Group LP

   $ (56,453   $ 28,518     $ 131,916     $ 54,196     $ 81,438  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 


 

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     Three Months Ended
June 30,
     Year Ended March 31,  
     2020      2019      2020      2019      2018  

Non-GAAP Financial Measures (in thousands)(1)

              

Adjusted revenues

   $   74,273      $   65,490      $   285,591      $   229,978      $   175,323  

Fee-related earnings

     18,400        12,065        60,581        44,486        23,689  

Adjusted pre-tax net income

     20,639        16,223        66,858        53,057        46,693  

Adjusted net income

     19,481        15,597        62,903        51,417        44,707  

 

     As of June 30,
2020
     As of March 31,  
     2020      2019  

Balance Sheet Data (in thousands)

        

Assets

        

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 90,711      $ 89,939      $ 40,622  

Marketable securities

     —          —          43,388  

Investments:

        

Investments in funds

     50,448        53,386        43,269  

Accrued carried interest allocations

     328,697        460,837        299,018  

Total assets

     549,385        680,829        491,723  

Liabilities and partners’ capital

        

Accrued carried interest-related compensation

   $     168,615      $     237,737      $     150,763  

Debt obligations

     142,967        143,144        143,852  

Total liabilities

     393,324        443,862        346,061  

Partners’ capital

     134,907        216,051        128,426  

Non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

     20,848        20,738        16,953  

 

(1)

See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for more information and a reconciliation of revenues to adjusted revenues and of net income (loss) attributable to StepStone Group LP to adjusted pre-tax net income and ANI and FRE.



 

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RISK FACTORS

An investment in our Class A common stock involves risks. You should carefully consider the following discussion of significant factors, events and uncertainties, together with the other information contained in this prospectus, before investing in our Class A common stock. The events and consequences discussed in these risk factors could, in circumstances we may not be able to accurately predict, recognize or control, have a material adverse effect on our business, growth, reputation, prospects, financial condition, operating results, cash flows, liquidity and stock price.

Risks Related to Our Business

The success of our business depends on the identification and availability of suitable investment opportunities for our clients.

Our success largely depends on the identification and availability of suitable investment opportunities for our clients, and in particular the success of investments made by the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts. The availability of investment opportunities will be subject to market conditions and other factors outside of our control and the control of the fund managers with which we invest. The historical investment returns of the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts have benefited from investment opportunities and general market conditions that may not continue or reoccur, including favorable borrowing conditions in the debt markets, and we cannot assure you that the StepStone Funds, advisory accounts or the underlying funds in which we invest will be able to avail themselves of comparable opportunities and conditions. Further, we cannot assure you that the private markets funds we select will be able to identify sufficient attractive investment opportunities to meet their investment objectives.

If the investments we make on behalf of the StepStone Funds or recommend to clients perform poorly, we may suffer a decline in our investment management revenue and earnings, and our ability to raise capital for future StepStone Funds may be materially and adversely affected.

Our revenue from our investment management solutions is derived from fees earned for our management of the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts, performance fees, including incentive fees and carried interest with respect to certain of the StepStone Funds, and monitoring and reporting fees. In the event that the StepStone Funds or individual investments perform poorly, our revenues and earnings derived from performance fees will decline and make it more difficult for us to raise capital for new focused commingled funds or gain new SMA clients in the future. If we are unable to raise or are required to repay capital, our business, financial condition and results of operations would be materially and adversely affected.

Continued positive performance of investments we make on behalf of clients or we recommend to our clients is not assured and may not result in positive performance of an investment in our Class A common stock.

An investment in our Class A common stock is not an investment in any of the StepStone Funds. In addition, the historical and potential future investment returns of the StepStone Funds are not linked to returns on our Class A common stock. Positive performance of the StepStone Funds or the investments that we recommend to our advisory clients will not necessarily result in positive returns on an investment in our Class A common stock. However, poor investment performance of the StepStone Funds could cause a decline in our revenue, and have a negative effect on our performance or on an investment in our Class A common stock.

The historical investment performance of our funds should not be considered indicative of the future investment performance of these funds or of any future funds we may invest, in part because:

 

   

market conditions and investment opportunities may be significantly less favorable than in the past;

 

   

the performance of our funds is largely based on the net asset value (“NAV”) of the funds’ investments, including unrealized gains, which may never be realized;

 

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our newly established funds may generate lower investment returns during the period that they initially deploy their capital;

 

   

changes in the global tax and regulatory environment may affect both the investment preferences of our clients and the financing strategies employed by businesses in which particular funds invest, which may reduce the overall capital available for investment and the availability of suitable investments, thereby reducing our investment returns in the future;

 

   

competition for investment opportunities, resulting from the increasing amount of capital invested in private markets alternatives, may increase the cost and reduce the availability of suitable investments, thereby reducing our investment returns in the future; and

 

   

the industries and businesses in which particular funds invest will vary.

Competition for access to investment funds and other investments we make for our clients is intense.

We seek to maintain excellent relationships with fund managers, including those in which we have previously made investments for our clients and those in which we may in the future invest, as well as sponsors of investments that might provide co-investment opportunities in portfolio companies alongside the sponsoring fund manager. However, because of the number of clients seeking to gain access to investment funds and co-investment opportunities managed or sponsored by the top performing fund managers, we cannot assure you that we will be able to secure the opportunity to invest on behalf of our clients in all or a substantial portion of the investments we select, or that the size of the investment opportunities available to us will be as large as we would desire. Access to secondary investment opportunities is also highly competitive and is often controlled by a limited number of fund managers and intermediaries.

Third-party clients in many StepStone Funds have the right to remove us as the general partner of the relevant fund and to terminate the investment period under certain circumstances, leading to a decrease in our revenues, which could be substantial. In addition, the investment management agreements related to our SMAs and advisory accounts may permit the client to terminate our management of such accounts on short notice.

The governing agreements of many of the StepStone Funds provide that, subject to certain conditions, third-party clients in those funds have the right to remove us as the general partner of the relevant fund or terminate the fund, including in certain cases without cause by a simple majority vote. Any such removal or dissolution could result in a cessation in management fees we would earn from such funds or a significant reduction in the expected amounts of performance fees from those funds. We currently manage a portion of client assets through SMAs whereby we earn management fees and performance fees, and we intend to continue to seek additional SMA mandates. Clients with SMAs generally may terminate their investment management agreement with us without cause on 30 to 90 days’ notice, and in some cases, shorter notice. From time to time, we lose clients as a result of the sale or merger of a client, a change in a client’s senior management, competition from other financial institutions and other factors. Moreover, a number of our contracts with state government-sponsored clients are secured through such government’s request for proposal (“RFP”) process, and are subject to periodic renewal. If multiple clients were to exercise their termination rights or fail to renew their existing contracts and we were unable to secure new clients, our SMA and advisory account fees would decline materially. In the case of any such terminations, the management fees and performance fees we earn in connection with managing such account would immediately cease, which could result in a significant adverse effect on our revenues. If we experience a change of control (as defined under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Advisers Act”) or as otherwise set forth in the partnership agreements of our funds), continuation of the investment management agreements of our funds would be subject to client consent. We cannot assure you that required consents will be obtained if a change of control occurs.

In addition, with respect to our funds that are subject to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), each fund’s investment management agreement must be approved annually by

 

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(a) such fund’s board of directors or by a vote of the majority of such fund’s equity holders and (b) the independent members of such fund’s board of directors and, in certain cases, its equity holders, as required by law. Termination of these agreements would cause us to lose the management fees and performance fees we earn from such funds, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Our ability to retain our senior leadership team and attract additional qualified investment professionals is critical to our success.

Our success depends on our ability to retain our senior leadership team and to recruit additional qualified investment, sales and other professionals. However, we may not be successful in our efforts to retain our senior leadership team, as the market for investment professionals is extremely competitive. The individuals that comprise our senior leadership team possess substantial experience and expertise and, in many cases, have significant relationships with certain of our clients. Accordingly, the loss of any one of our senior leadership team could adversely affect certain client relationships or limit our ability to successfully execute our investment strategies, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the governing agreements of the StepStone Funds typically require the suspension of our ability to call additional investment capital if, depending on the fund, designated members of our senior leadership team cease to devote sufficient professional time to or cease to be employed by the Partnership, often called a “key person event,” or in connection with certain other events.

Our failure to appropriately manage conflicts of interest could damage our reputation and adversely affect our business.

As we expand the scope of our business, we increasingly confront potential conflicts of interest relating to our advisory and investment management businesses. Actual, potential or perceived conflicts can give rise to client dissatisfaction, litigation or regulatory enforcement actions. As a registered investment adviser, the Partnership owes its clients a fiduciary duty and are required to provide disinterested advice. Appropriately managing conflicts of interest is complex and difficult and our reputation could be damaged if we fail, or appear to fail, to deal appropriately with one or more potential or actual conflicts of interest. Enforcement action or litigation asserting improper management of conflicts of interest, even if unproven, could harm our reputation and our business in a number of ways, including affecting our ability to raise additional funds causing existing clients to reduce or terminate doing business with us.

We have obligations to clients and other third parties that may conflict with your interests.

Our subsidiaries that serve as the general partners of, or advisers to, the StepStone Funds have fiduciary and contractual obligations to the clients in those funds and accounts, and some of our subsidiaries may have contractual duties to other third parties. As a result, we may take actions with respect to the allocation of investments among the StepStone Funds (including funds and accounts that have different fee structures), the purchase or sale of investments in the StepStone Funds, the structuring of investment transactions for those StepStone Funds, the advice we provide or other actions in order to comply with these fiduciary and contractual obligations.

In addition, because our senior management and other professionals generally hold their economic interests through pass-through entities like the Partnership or other affiliated entities, which are not subject to U.S. federal and state entity-level income taxes, and our Class A common stockholders will hold their interests through StepStone Group Inc., which is subject to entity-level taxation as a corporation in the United States, conflicts relating to the selection and structuring of investments or other matters may arise between the Class B unitholders of the Partnership (who are also Class B stockholders of StepStone Group Inc.), on the one hand, and the Class A stockholders of StepStone Group Inc., on the other hand.

 

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Clients may be unwilling to commit new capital to the StepStone Funds or advisory accounts as a result of our decision to become a public company, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Some of our clients may view negatively the prospect of our becoming a publicly-traded company, including concerns that as a public company we will shift our focus from the interests of our clients to those of our public stockholders. Some of our clients may believe that we will strive for near-term profit instead of superior risk-adjusted returns for our clients over time or grow our AUM for the purpose of generating additional management fees without regard to whether we believe there are sufficient investment opportunities to effectively deploy additional capital. We cannot assure you that we will be successful in our efforts to address such concerns or to convince clients that our decision to pursue an initial public offering will not affect our longstanding priorities or the way we conduct our business. A decision by a significant number of our clients not to commit additional capital to the StepStone Funds or advisory accounts or to cease doing business with us altogether could inhibit our ability to achieve our investment objectives and may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Dependence on leverage by certain funds and portfolio companies subjects us to volatility and contractions in the debt financing markets and could adversely affect the ability of the StepStone Funds to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments.

If the StepStone Funds or the companies in which the StepStone Funds invest raise capital in the structured private debt, leveraged loan and high yield bond markets, the results of their operations may suffer if such markets experience dislocations, contractions or volatility, for instance due to future or worsening impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, it is expected that major banking institutions will transition away from use of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) after 2021, which remains a cause of significant uncertainty in the markets in which we are active. Any such events could adversely affect the availability of credit to businesses generally, the cost or terms on which lenders are willing to lend, or the strength of the overall economy.

The absence of available sources of sufficient debt financing for extended periods of time or an increase in either the general levels of interest rates or in the risk spread demanded by sources of indebtedness would make it more expensive to finance those investments. Certain investments may also be financed through fund-level debt facilities, which may or may not be available for refinancing at the end of their respective terms. Finally, the interest payments on the indebtedness used to finance our focused commingled funds’ investments are generally deductible expenses for income tax purposes, subject to limitations under applicable tax law and policy. Any change in such tax law or policy to eliminate or substantially limit these income tax deductions, as has been discussed from time to time in various jurisdictions, would reduce the after-tax rates of return on the affected investments, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Similarly, private markets fund portfolio companies regularly utilize the corporate debt markets to obtain additional financing for their operations. Leverage incurred by a portfolio company may cause the portfolio company to be vulnerable to increases in interest rates and may make it less able to cope with changes in business and economic conditions. Any adverse effect caused by the use of leverage by portfolio companies in which we directly or indirectly invest could in turn adversely affect the investment returns of the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts. If the investment returns achieved by the StepStone Funds are reduced, it could result in negative reputational effects, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Clients in the StepStone Funds with commitment-based structures may not satisfy their contractual obligation to fund capital calls when requested, which could adversely affect a fund’s operations and performance.

Clients make capital commitments to the StepStone Funds, which we are entitled to call at any time during prescribed periods that can extend for several years into the future. We depend on clients fulfilling their commitments when we call capital from them in order for those funds to consummate investments and otherwise

 

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pay their obligations when due. Any client that did not fund a capital call may be subject to penalties, potentially including forfeiting a significant amount of its existing investment in that fund. However, if a client has invested little or no capital, for instance early in the life of a fund, then the forfeiture penalty may not be a significant deterrent to default. Failure to fund capital calls may occur more frequently in the event of an economic slowdown. In addition, changes to asset allocation policies or new laws or regulations resulting from declines in public equity markets due to COVID-19 may restrict or prohibit investors from investing in new or successor StepStone Funds or funding existing commitments. If clients fail to satisfy a significant amount of capital calls for any particular fund or funds, the operation and performance of those funds could be materially and adversely affected.

Our failure to comply with investment guidelines set by our clients could result in damage awards against us or a reduction in AUM, either of which would cause our earnings to decline and adversely affect our business.

When clients retain us to manage assets on their behalf, they specify certain guidelines regarding investment allocation and strategy that we are required to observe in the management of their portfolios. Our failure to comply with these guidelines and other limitations could result in clients terminating their investment management agreement with us, as these agreements generally are terminable without cause on 30 to 90 days’ notice. Clients could also sue us for breach of contract and seek to recover damages from us. In addition, such guidelines may restrict our ability to pursue allocations or strategies that we believe would generate favorable investment returns, which could result in underperformance of, or losses to, a client account. Even when we comply with all applicable investment guidelines, a client may be dissatisfied with its investment performance or our services or fees, and may terminate their SMAs or advisory accounts or be unwilling to commit new capital to the StepStone Funds or advisory accounts. Any of these events could cause a reduction to AUM and consequently cause our earnings to decline and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Valuation methodologies for certain assets in the StepStone Funds can be significantly subjective, and the values of assets established pursuant to such methodologies may never be realized, which could result in significant losses for the StepStone Funds.

There are no readily ascertainable market prices for a large number of the investments in the StepStone Funds, advisory accounts or the funds in which we invest. The value of the investments of the StepStone Funds is determined periodically by us based on the fair value of such investments as reported by the underlying fund managers. Our valuation of the funds in which we invest is largely dependent upon the processes employed by the managers of those funds. The fair value of investments is determined using a number of methodologies described in the particular funds’ valuation policies. These policies are based on a number of factors, including the nature of the investment, the expected cash flows from the investment, the length of time the investment has been held, restrictions on transfer and other recognized valuation methodologies. The methodologies we use in valuing individual investments are based on a variety of estimates and assumptions specific to the particular investments, and actual results related to the investment may vary materially as a result of the inaccuracy of such assumptions or estimates. In addition, because illiquid investments held by the StepStone Funds, advisory accounts and the funds in which we invest may be in industries or sectors that are unstable, in distress, or undergoing some uncertainty, such investments may experience rapid changes in value caused by sudden company-specific or industry-wide developments.

Because there is significant uncertainty in the valuation of, or in the stability of the value of, illiquid investments, the fair values of such investments as reflected in a fund’s NAV do not necessarily reflect the prices that would actually be obtained if such investments were sold. Realizations at values significantly lower than the values at which investments have been reflected in fund NAVs could result in losses for the applicable fund and the loss of potential incentive fees by the fund’s manager and us. Also, a situation in which asset values turn out to be materially different from values reflected in fund NAVs could cause clients to lose confidence in us and may, in turn, result in difficulties in our ability to raise additional capital, retain clients or attract new clients.

 

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We may not be able to maintain our desired fee structure as a result of industry pressure from private markets clients to reduce fees, which could have a material adverse effect on our profit margins and results of operations.

We may not be able to maintain our current fee structure for our funds as a result of industry pressure from private markets clients to reduce fees. In order to maintain our desired fee structure in a competitive environment, we must be able to continue to provide clients with investment returns and service levels that incentivize our clients to pay our desired fee rates. We cannot assure you that we will succeed in providing investment returns and service levels that will allow us to maintain our desired fee structure. Fee reductions on existing or future new business could have a material adverse effect on our profit margins and results of operations.

We may need to pay “clawback” or “contingent repayment” obligations if and when they are triggered under the governing agreements of our funds.

Generally, if at the termination of a fund and in certain cases at interim points in the life of a fund, the fund has not achieved investment returns that exceed the preferred return threshold or we have received net profits over the life of the fund in excess of our allocable share under the applicable partnership agreement, we will be obligated to repay an amount equal to the excess of amounts previously distributed to us over the amounts to which we are ultimately entitled. This obligation is known as a “clawback” or contingent repayment obligation. Our carried interest is generally determined at the end of the period on a hypothetical liquidation basis. As of June 30, 2020, if the funds were liquidated at their fair values, no material amounts would have been subject to contingent repayment. We cannot assure you that we will not incur a contingent repayment obligation in the future. Although a contingent repayment obligation is split among the various obligors, with each responsible for only its respective share, the governing agreements of the StepStone Funds generally provide that, to the extent another party who received a distribution does not fund its respective share, we are required to fund any additional amount beyond the amount of carried interest actually allocated to us, up to the entire amount of the relevant contingent repayment obligation. We may need to use or reserve cash to repay such contingent repayment obligations instead of using the cash for other purposes.

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. We are closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and assessing any negative effects upon our business, including any increased risk of contingent repayment obligations. COVID-19 has impacted, and may further impact, our business in various ways. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Industry—The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the global financial markets and business climate and may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

Our investment management activities may involve investments in relatively high-risk, illiquid assets, and we may lose, or our clients may lose, some or all of the amounts invested in these activities or fail to realize any profits from these activities for a considerable period of time.

The investments made by the StepStone Funds and recommended by our advisory services include high-risk, illiquid assets. We have made and expect to continue to make principal investments alongside our clients, as the general partner, in existing and future StepStone Funds. The StepStone Funds invest capital in private markets funds that make investments in equity or debt securities that are not publicly traded. Even where such securities are publicly traded, many of these funds may be prohibited by contract or applicable securities laws from selling such investments for a period of time. Accordingly, the private markets funds in which we and our clients invest capital may not be able to sell investments when they desire and therefore may not be able to realize the full value of such investments. Particularly in the case of securities, such funds will generally not be able to sell these securities publicly unless their sale is registered under applicable securities laws, or unless an exemption from such registration requirements is available. Furthermore, large holdings of publicly traded equity securities can often be disposed of only over a substantial period of time, exposing the investment returns to risks of downward movement in market prices during the disposition period. Investing in private markets funds is risky, and we may lose some or the entire amount of our investment or the investment made by the StepStone Funds. Poor investment performance could lead clients to terminate their agreements with us and/or result in

 

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negative reputational effects, either of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, we may invest in businesses with capital structures that have significant leverage. The leveraged capital structure of such businesses increases the exposure of the funds’ portfolio companies to adverse economic factors, such as rising interest rates, downturns in the economy or deterioration in the condition of such business or its industry. If these portfolio companies default on their indebtedness, or otherwise seek or are forced to restructure their obligations or declare bankruptcy, we could lose some or all of our investment and suffer reputational harm. See “Dependence on leverage by certain funds and portfolio companies subjects us to volatility and contractions in the debt financing markets and could adversely affect the ability of the StepStone Funds to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments.”

The portfolio companies in which private markets funds have invested or may invest will sometimes involve a high degree of business and financial risk. These companies may be in an early stage of development, may not have a proven operating history, may be operating at a loss or have significant variations in operating results, may be engaged in a rapidly changing business with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, may be subject to extensive regulatory oversight, may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position, may have a high level of leverage, or may otherwise have a weak financial condition. In addition, these portfolio companies may face intense competition, including competition from companies with greater financial resources, more extensive development, manufacturing, marketing, and other capabilities, and a larger number of qualified managerial and technical personnel. Portfolio companies in non-U.S. jurisdictions may be subject to additional risks, including changes in currency exchange rates, exchange control regulations, risks associated with different types (and lower quality) of available information, expropriation or confiscatory taxation and adverse political developments.

In addition, during periods of difficult market conditions, including the current one triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, or slowdowns in a particular investment category, industry or region, portfolio companies may experience decreased revenues, financial losses, difficulty in obtaining access to financing and increased costs. During these periods, these companies may also have difficulty in expanding their businesses and operations and may be unable to pay their expenses as they become due. A general market downturn or a specific market dislocation may result in lower investment returns for the private markets funds or portfolio companies in which the StepStone Funds invest, which consequently would materially and adversely affect investment returns for the StepStone Funds.

The StepStone Funds may face risks relating to undiversified investments.

We cannot give assurance as to the degree of diversification that will be achieved in any of the StepStone Funds. Difficult market conditions or slowdowns affecting a particular asset class, geographic region or other category of investment could have a significant adverse effect on a given StepStone Fund if its investments are concentrated in that category, which would result in lower investment returns. Accordingly, a lack of diversification on the part of a StepStone Fund could adversely affect its investment performance and, as a result, our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The StepStone Funds make investments in funds and companies that we do not control.

Investments by most of the StepStone Funds will include debt instruments and equity securities of funds and companies that we do not control. The StepStone Funds may invest through co-investment arrangements or acquire minority equity interests and may also dispose of a portion of their equity investments in portfolio companies over time in a manner that results in their retaining a minority investment. Consequently, the performance of the StepStone Funds will depend significantly on the investment and other decisions made by third parties, which could have a material adverse effect on the returns achieved by the StepStone Funds. Portfolio companies in which the investment is made may make business, financial or management decisions with which we do not agree. In addition, the majority stakeholders or our management may take risks or

 

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otherwise act in a manner that does not serve our interests. If any of the foregoing were to occur, the values the investments we have made on behalf of clients or we recommend to our clients could decrease and our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow could suffer as a result.

Our risk management strategies and procedures may leave us exposed to unidentified or unanticipated risks.

Risk management applies to our investment management operations as well as to the investments we make for the StepStone Funds. We have developed and continue to update strategies and procedures specific to our business for managing risks, which include market risk, liquidity risk, operational risk and reputational risk. Management of these risks can be very complex. These strategies and procedures may fail under some circumstances, particularly if we are confronted with risks that we have underestimated or not identified. In addition, some of our methods for managing the risks related to our clients’ investments are based upon our analysis of historical private markets behavior. Statistical techniques are applied to these observations in order to arrive at quantifications of some of our risk exposures. Historical analysis of private markets returns requires reliance on valuations performed by fund managers, which may not be reliable measures of current valuations. These statistical methods may not accurately quantify our risk exposure if circumstances arise that were not observed in our historical data. In particular, as we enter new lines of business, our historical data may be insufficient. Failure of our risk management techniques could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, including our right to receive performance fees.

The due diligence process that we undertake in connection with investments may not reveal all facts that may be relevant in connection with an investment.

Before making or recommending investments for our clients, we conduct due diligence that we deem reasonable and appropriate based on the facts and circumstances applicable to each investment. When conducting due diligence, we may be required to evaluate important and complex business, financial, tax, accounting, environmental and legal issues. Outside consultants, legal advisors and accountants may be involved in the due diligence process in varying degrees depending on the type of investment and the parties involved. Nevertheless, when conducting due diligence and making an assessment regarding an investment, we rely on the resources available to us, including information provided by the target of the investment and, in some circumstances, third-party investigations. The due diligence investigation that we will carry out with respect to any investment opportunity may not reveal or highlight all relevant facts that are necessary or helpful in evaluating such investment opportunity. Moreover, such an investigation will not guarantee the success of an investment.

In addition, generally our underlying investments are managed by third-party sponsors and, as a result, we depend on the due diligence investigation of such third-party sponsors. We have little or no control over their due diligence process, and any shortcomings in their due diligence could be reflected in the performance of the investment we make with them on behalf of our clients. Poor investment performance could lead clients to terminate their agreements with us or result in negative reputational effects, either of which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Restrictions on our ability to collect and analyze data regarding our clients’ investments could adversely affect our business.

We rely on our proprietary data and technology platforms to provide regular reports to our clients, to research developments and trends in private markets and to support our investment processes. We depend on the continuation of our relationships with the fund managers and sponsors of the underlying funds and investments in order to maintain current data on these investments and private markets activity. The termination of such relationships by a critical mass of such fund managers and sponsors or the imposition of widespread restrictions on our ability to use the data we obtain for our reporting and monitoring services could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We and our clients depend on the reliability of our proprietary data and technology platforms and other data processing systems. Failures or interruptions of these services may disrupt our business, damage our reputation, limit our growth and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We and our clients rely heavily on our proprietary data and technology platforms, including SPI, Omni and Pacing, which form a valuable part of the services we offer to our clients. We also rely heavily on other financial, accounting, compliance, monitoring and reporting data processing systems. Our back-up procedures and capabilities in the event of a failure or interruption may not be adequate. We expect that we will need to upgrade and expand the capabilities of our data processing systems and other operating technology in the future and we will incur costs to do so. We also rely on third-party service providers for certain aspects of our information and technology platforms and systems. Any failure, interruption or deterioration of proprietary data and technology platforms or other systems, including the loss of data by fire, natural disaster, power or telecommunications failure, or the failure of third-party service providers to perform could materially adversely affect our ability to provide services to our clients, harm our reputation, business or results of operations or result in regulatory intervention.

A compromise or corruption of our systems containing confidential information could damage our business relationships and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

We collect, process and store rapidly increasing volumes of highly sensitive data, including our proprietary business information and intellectual property, and personally identifiable information of our employees, our clients and others, in our data centers and on our networks. Omni includes funds, direct investments and co-investments that we monitor and report on for the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information are critical to our operations. A significant actual or potential theft, loss, corruption, exposure, fraudulent use or misuse of client, employee or other personally identifiable or proprietary business data, whether by third parties or as a result of employee malfeasance or otherwise, non-compliance with our contractual or other legal obligations regarding such data or intellectual property or a violation of our privacy and security policies with respect to such data could result in significant remediation and other costs, fines, litigation or regulatory actions against us and significant reputational harm. Such events could damage our business relationships and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.

Cybersecurity risks could adversely affect our business by causing a disruption to our operations, which could adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.

The frequency and sophistication of the cyber and security threats we face continue to increase. As a result, we face a heightened risk of a security breach or disruption with respect to sensitive information resulting from an attack by computer hackers, foreign governments or cyber terrorists. Our reputation and our ability to operate and expand our business depend on computer hardware and software systems, including our proprietary data and technology platforms and other data processing systems, which may be vulnerable to security breaches or other cyber incidents. Our funds’ portfolio companies rely on similar systems and face similar risks, and such funds may invest in strategic assets having a national or regional profile or in infrastructure assets that face a greater risk of attack. Cyber or security incidents may be an intentional attack, such as a hacker attack, virus or worm, or an unintentional event and could involve bad actors gaining unauthorized access to our information systems for purposes of misappropriating assets, disclosing or modifying sensitive or confidential information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption.

We have implemented processes, procedures and internal controls designed to mitigate cybersecurity risks and cyber intrusions. However, these measures, as well as our increased awareness of the nature and extent of a risk of a cyber-incident, do not guarantee that a cyber-incident will not occur or that our financial results or operations will not be adversely affected by such an incident. Cyber-incident techniques change frequently, may not immediately be recognized and can originate from a wide variety of sources. We expect to be required to devote increasing levels of funding and resources to comply with evolving cybersecurity regulations and to

 

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continually monitor and enhance our information security procedures and controls. We maintain insurance intended to cover certain cybersecurity events, but such insurance may not cover all risks and losses that we experience.

Finally, we rely on third-party service providers for certain aspects of our business, including for certain information systems and technology, as well as administration of the StepStone Funds. These third-party service providers and their vendors are also susceptible to cyber and security threats. Any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties, failures of their information systems and technology or cyber and security breaches could put our sensitive information at risk or result in the shutdown of a service provider, which could impair the quality of the funds’ operations and harm our reputation, thereby adversely affecting our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The result of these adverse incidents may include the inability to provide services to our clients, other disruptions of our business, corruption or modifications to our data, fraudulent transfers or requests for transfers of money, liability for stolen assets or information, increased cybersecurity protection and insurance costs and litigation.

Employee misconduct could harm us by impairing our ability to attract and retain clients and subjecting us to significant legal liability and reputational harm.

There is a risk that our employees could engage in misconduct that adversely affects our business. We are subject to a number of obligations and standards arising from our advisory and investment management services and our discretionary authority over the assets we manage. The violation of these obligations and standards by any of our employees would adversely affect our clients and us. Our business often requires that we deal with confidential matters of great significance to companies and funds in which we may invest for our clients. If our employees were to improperly use or disclose confidential information, we could be subject to legal or regulatory action and suffer serious harm to our reputation, financial position and current and future business relationships. It is not always possible to detect or deter employee misconduct, and the extensive precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in all cases. If one of our employees were to engage in misconduct or were to be accused of such misconduct, our business and our reputation could be materially and adversely affected. See “—Evolving laws and government regulation could adversely affect us.”

We may face damage to our professional reputation if our services are not regarded as satisfactory or for other reasons and may face legal liability to our clients and third parties under securities or other laws and regulations.

As a private market solutions services firm, we depend to a large extent on our relationships with our clients and our reputation for integrity and high-caliber professional services to attract and retain clients. As a result, if a client is not satisfied with our services, such dissatisfaction may be more damaging to our business than to other types of businesses. The importance of our reputation may increase as we seek to expand our client base and into new private markets.

Our asset management and advisory activities subject us to the risk of significant legal liabilities to our clients and third parties, including our clients’ stockholders or beneficiaries. In our investment management business, we make investment decisions on behalf of our clients that could result in substantial losses. Any such losses may subject us to the risk of legal and regulatory liabilities or actions alleging negligent misconduct, breach of fiduciary duty or breach of contract. We could also be liable to our clients and third parties, including our clients’ stockholders or beneficiaries, under securities or other laws and regulations for materially false or misleading statements made in connection with securities and other transactions. These risks often are difficult to assess or quantify and their existence and magnitude often remain unknown for substantial periods of time. We may incur significant legal expenses in defending litigation. In addition, litigation or regulatory action against us may tarnish our reputation and harm our ability to attract and retain clients.

 

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Our non-U.S. operations are subject to certain risks, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our non-U.S. operations carry special financial and business risks, which include: fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates that could adversely affect our results; unexpected changes in trading policies, regulatory requirements, tariffs and other barriers; local labor conditions, protections and regulations; adverse consequences or restrictions on the repatriation of earnings; potentially adverse tax consequences, such as trapped foreign losses; less stable political and economic environments; terrorism, political hostilities, war, outbreak of disease and other civil disturbances or other catastrophic events that reduce business activity; cultural and language barriers and the need to adopt different business practices in different geographic areas; and difficulty collecting fees and, if necessary, enforcing judgments.

As part of our day-to-day operations outside the United States, we are required to create compensation programs, employment policies, compliance policies and procedures and other administrative programs that comply with the laws of multiple countries. We also must communicate and monitor standards and directives across our global operations. Our failure to successfully manage and grow our geographically diverse operations could impair our ability to react quickly to changing business and market conditions and to enforce compliance with non-U.S. standards and procedures.

Any payment of distributions, loans or advances to and from our subsidiaries could be subject to restrictions on or taxation of dividends or repatriation of earnings under applicable local law, monetary transfer restrictions, foreign currency exchange regulations in the jurisdictions in which our subsidiaries operate or other restrictions imposed by current or future agreements, including debt instruments, to which our non-U.S. subsidiaries may be a party. Our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected, possibly materially, if we are unable to successfully manage these and other risks of global operations in a volatile environment. If our non-U.S. business increases relative to our total business, these factors could have a more pronounced effect on our operating results or growth prospects.

Investments of the StepStone Funds in certain jurisdictions may be subject to heightened risks relative to investments in other jurisdictions, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A portion of the investments of the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts include private markets funds that are located in, or invest in portfolio companies located in, countries that are subject to heightened risks. Such investments may involve risks related to (i) currency exchange matters, including exchange rate fluctuations with respect to the foreign currency in which the investments are denominated, and costs associated with conversion of investment proceeds and income from one currency to another; (ii) regulations pertaining to investments and investment managers in such countries; (iii) differences in the capital markets of such countries, including, in some cases, the absence of uniform accounting, auditing, financial reporting and legal standards, practices and disclosure requirements and less government supervision and regulation; (iv) certain economic, social and political risks, including exchange control regulations and restrictions on foreign investments and repatriation of capital, and the risks of political, economic or social instability; and (v) the possible imposition of taxes with respect to such investments or confiscatory taxation. These risks could adversely affect the investment performance of the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts, which would adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Revenues from our real estate asset class are subject to the risks inherent in the ownership and operation of real estate and the construction and development of real estate.

Our real estate funds are subject to risks arising from the ownership and operation of real estate and real estate-related businesses and assets. These risks include the following: general and local economic conditions; changes in supply of and demand for competing properties in an area (as a result, for example, of overbuilding); changes in building, environmental and other laws; diminished financial resources of tenants; fluctuations in the

 

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average occupancy and room rates for hotel properties; energy and supply shortages; uninsured or uninsurable risks; liability for “slip-and-fall” and other accidents on properties held by our funds; natural disasters; changes in government regulations (such as rent control and tax laws); changes in real property tax and transfer tax rates; changes in interest rates; the reduced availability of mortgage funds which may render the sale or refinancing of properties difficult or impracticable; negative developments in the economy that depress travel activity; environmental liabilities, including under environmental laws that impose, regardless of fault, joint and several liability for the cost of remediating contamination and compensation for damages; contingent liabilities on disposition of assets; unexpected cost overruns in connection with development projects; terrorist attacks, war and other factors that are beyond our control; and dependence on local operating partners. Even in cases where we are indemnified against liabilities arising out of our real estate business, we cannot assure you as to the financial viability of the indemnifying party to satisfy such indemnities or our ability to achieve enforcement of such indemnities.

If our clients or real estate funds acquire direct or indirect interests in undeveloped land or underdeveloped real property, which may often be non-income producing, they will be subject to the risks normally associated with such assets and development activities, including risks relating to the availability and timely receipt of zoning and other regulatory or environmental approvals, the cost and timely completion of construction (including risks beyond the control of our fund, such as weather or labor conditions or material shortages) and the availability of both construction and permanent financing on favorable terms. Additionally, such investments may be managed by a third party, which makes them dependent upon such third parties. Any of these factors may cause the value of real estate investments to decline, which may have a material adverse effect on our clients or our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The investments we make on behalf of clients or we recommend to our clients in infrastructure assets may expose us to increased risks and liabilities.

Investments in infrastructure assets may expose us and our clients to increased risks and liabilities that are inherent in the ownership of infrastructure assets. For example,

 

   

Ownership of infrastructure assets may also present additional risk of liability for personal and property injury or impose significant operating challenges and costs with respect to, for example, compliance with zoning, environmental or other applicable laws.

 

   

Infrastructure asset investments may face construction risks including, without limitation: (i) labor disputes, shortages of material and skilled labor, or work stoppages; (ii) slower than projected construction progress and the unavailability or late delivery of necessary equipment; (iii) less than optimal coordination with public utilities in the relocation of their facilities; (iv) adverse weather conditions and unexpected construction conditions; (v) accidents or the breakdown or failure of construction equipment or processes; and (vi) catastrophic events, such as explosions, fires, terrorist activities and other similar events. These risks could result in substantial unanticipated delays or expenses (which may exceed expected or forecasted budgets) and, under certain circumstances, could prevent completion of construction activities once undertaken. Certain infrastructure asset investments may remain in construction phases for a prolonged period of time and, accordingly, may not generate cash during such prolonged period. Recourse against the contractor may be subject to liability caps or may be subject to default or insolvency on the part of the contractor.

 

   

The operation of infrastructure assets is exposed to potential unplanned interruptions caused by significant catastrophic or force majeure events. These risks could, among other effects, adversely affect the cash flows available from investments in infrastructure assets, cause personal injury or loss of life, damage property, or instigate disruptions of service. In addition, the cost of repairing or replacing damaged assets could be considerable. Repeated or prolonged service interruptions may result in permanent loss of customers, litigation, or penalties for regulatory or contractual noncompliance. Force majeure events that are incapable of, or too costly to, cure may also have a permanent adverse effect on an investment.

 

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The management of the business or operations of an infrastructure asset may be contracted to a third-party management company unaffiliated with us. Although it would be possible to replace any such operator, the failure of such an operator to adequately perform its duties or to act in ways that are in our best interest, or the breach by an operator of applicable agreements or laws, rules and regulations, could have an adverse effect on the investment’s financial condition or results of operations. Infrastructure investments may involve the subcontracting of design and construction activities in respect of projects, and as a result the investments we make on behalf of clients or we recommend to our clients are subject to the risks that contractual provisions passing liabilities to a subcontractor could be ineffective, the subcontractor fails to perform services which it has agreed to perform and the subcontractor becomes insolvent.

Infrastructure investments often involve an ongoing commitment to municipal, state, federal or foreign government or regulatory agencies. The nature of these obligations exposes the investments we make on behalf of clients or we recommend to our clients to a higher level of regulatory control than typically imposed on other businesses and may require complex government licenses, concessions, leases or contracts, which may be difficult to obtain or maintain. Infrastructure investments may require operators to manage such investments and such operators’ failure to comply with laws, including prohibitions against bribing of government officials, may adversely affect the value of such investments and cause serious reputational and legal harm. Revenues for such investments may rely on contractual agreements for the provision of services with a limited number of counterparties, and are consequently subject to counterparty default risk. The operations and cash flow of infrastructure investments are also more sensitive to inflation and, in certain cases, commodity price risk. Furthermore, services provided by infrastructure investments may be subject to rate regulations by government entities that determine or limit prices that may be charged. Similarly, users of applicable services or government entities in response to such users may react negatively to any adjustments in rates and thus reduce the profitability of such infrastructure investments.

The substantial growth of our business in recent years may be difficult to sustain, as it may place significant demands on our resources and employees and may increase our expenses.

The substantial growth of our business has placed, and if it continues, will continue to place, significant demands on our infrastructure, our investment team and other employees, and will increase our expenses. We will need to continuously invest in our human resources and our infrastructure as a result of becoming a public company and the increasingly complex investment management industry and increasing sophistication of clients. In addition, our recently announced launch of our private wealth platform will require ongoing development of new infrastructure. Legal and regulatory developments also contribute to the increasing level of our expenses. The future growth of our business will depend, among other things, on our ability to maintain the appropriate infrastructure and staffing levels to sufficiently address our growth and may require us to incur significant additional expenses and commit additional senior management and operational resources. We may face significant challenges in maintaining adequate financial and operational controls as well as implementing new or updated information and financial systems and procedures. Training, managing and appropriately sizing our work force and other components of our business on a timely and cost-effective basis also poses challenges. In addition, our efforts to retain or attract qualified investment professionals may result in significant additional expenses.

We may enter into new lines of business, which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our business.

We currently generate substantially all of our revenue from asset management and advisory services. However, we may grow our business by offering additional products and services and by entering into new lines of business. To the extent we enter into new lines of business, we will face numerous risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with the possibility that we have insufficient expertise to engage in such activities profitably or without incurring inappropriate amounts of risk, the required investment of capital and other resources and the loss of clients due to the perception that we are no longer focusing on our core businesses. In

 

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addition, we may from time to time explore opportunities to grow our business via acquisitions, partnerships, investments or other strategic transactions. We cannot assure you that we will successfully identify, negotiate, complete or integrate such transactions, or that any completed transactions will produce favorable financial results.

Entry into certain lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar, or from which we are currently exempt, and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. In addition, certain aspects of our cost structure, such as costs for compensation, occupancy and equipment rentals, communication and information technology services, and depreciation and amortization will be largely fixed, and we may not be able to timely adjust these costs to match fluctuations in revenue related to growing our business or entering into new lines of business. If a new business generates insufficient revenue or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Future indebtedness may expose us to substantial risks.

Although we plan to use a portion of the proceeds of this offering to repay outstanding debt under our existing senior secured term loan (“Term Loan B”), we expect to continue to utilize debt to finance our operations as a public company, which will expose us to the typical risks associated with the use of leverage. Significant future borrowings could make it more difficult for us to withstand adverse economic conditions or business plan variances, to take advantage of new business opportunities, or to make necessary capital expenditures. Any portion of our cash flow required for debt service would not be available for our operations, distributions, dividends or other purposes. Any substantial decrease in net operating cash flows or any substantial increase in expenses could make it difficult for us to meet our debt service requirements or force us to modify our operations. Restrictive covenants in agreements and instruments governing our debt may adversely affect our ability to operate our business or limit our ability to engage in certain transactions or activities, including paying dividends or making other distributions on our Class A common stock. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain leverage levels in compliance with such covenants. Any failure to comply with these financial and other covenants, if not waived, could cause a default or event of default under such indebtedness.

We are subject to risks in using custodians, counterparties, administrators and other agents.

Many of our funds depend on the services of custodians, counterparties, administrators and other agents to carry out certain securities and derivatives transactions and other administrative services. We are subject to risks of errors and mistakes made by these third parties, which may be attributed to us and subject us or our clients to reputational damage, penalties or losses. The terms of the contracts with these third-party service providers are often customized and complex, and many of these arrangements occur in markets or relate to products that are not subject to regulatory oversight. We may be unsuccessful in seeking reimbursement or indemnification from these third-party service providers.

Our funds are subject to the risk that the counterparty to one or more of these contracts defaults, either voluntarily or involuntarily, on its performance under the contract. Any such default may occur suddenly and without notice to us. Moreover, if a counterparty defaults, we may be unable to take action to cover our exposure, either because we lack contractual recourse or because market conditions make it difficult to take effective action. This inability could occur in times of market stress, which is when defaults are most likely to occur. In addition, our risk-management models may not accurately anticipate the effects of market stress or counterparty financial condition, and as a result, we may not have taken sufficient action to reduce our risks effectively. Default risk may arise from events or circumstances that are difficult to detect, foresee or evaluate. In addition, concerns about, or a default by, one large participant could lead to significant liquidity problems for other participants, which may in turn expose us to significant losses.

In the event of a counterparty default, particularly a default by a major investment bank or a default by a counterparty to a significant number of our contracts, one or more of our funds may have outstanding trades that

 

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they cannot settle or are delayed in settling. As a result, these funds could incur material losses and the resulting market impact of a major counterparty default could harm our business, financial condition and results of operation.

In the event of the insolvency of a custodian, counterparty or any other party that is holding assets of our funds as collateral, our funds might not be able to recover equivalent assets in full as they will rank among the custodian’s or counterparty’s unsecured creditors in relation to the assets held as collateral. In addition, our funds’ cash held with a custodian or counterparty generally will not be segregated from the custodian’s or counterparty’s own cash, and our funds may therefore rank as unsecured creditors in relation thereto.

Risks Related to Our Industry

The investment management and investment advisory business is intensely competitive.

The investment management and investment advisory business is intensely competitive, with competition based on a variety of factors, including investment performance, the quality of service provided to clients, brand recognition and business reputation. We compete with a variety of traditional and private markets managers, commercial banks, investment banks and other financial institutions. Many factors affect our ability to compete successfully, including:

 

   

some of our competitors have more relevant experience, greater financial and other resources and more personnel than we do;

 

   

if, as we expect, allocation of assets to private markets investment strategies increases, there may be increased competition for private markets investments and access to fund managers;

 

   

certain clients may prefer to invest with private partnerships rather than a public company; and

 

   

other industry participants from time to time recruit our investment professionals and other employees away from us.

This competitive pressure could adversely affect our ability to make successful investments and restrict our ability to raise future funds, either of which would materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Difficult or volatile market conditions can adversely affect our business by reducing the market value of the assets we manage or causing our SMA clients to reduce their investments in private markets.

The global financial markets and business climate may deteriorate, including due to rising interest rates or inflation, reduced availability of credit, changes in laws and regulation, terrorism or political uncertainty, including in connection with the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and severe public health events such as, for example, the recent global COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, volatility and disruption in the equity and credit markets can adversely affect the portfolio companies in which private markets funds invest and adversely affect the investment performance of the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts. Our ability to manage our exposure to market conditions is limited. Market deterioration could cause us, the StepStone Funds we manage or the funds in which they invest to experience reduced liquidity, earnings and cash flow, recognize impairment charges, or face challenges in raising additional capital, obtaining investment financing and making investments on attractive terms. Adverse market conditions can also affect our ability and the ability of funds in which we and our clients invest to liquidate positions in a timely and efficient manner. More costly and restrictive financing also may adversely affect the investment returns of our co-investments in leveraged buyout transactions and, therefore, adversely affect the results of operations and financial condition of our co-investment funds.

Our business could generate lower revenue in a general economic downturn or a tightening of global credit markets. A general economic downturn or tightening of global credit markets may result in reduced opportunities

 

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to find suitable investments and make it more difficult for us, or for the funds in which we and our clients invest, to exit and realize value from existing investments, potentially resulting in a decline in the value of the investments held in our clients’ portfolios. Such a decline could cause our revenue and net income to decline by causing some of our clients to reduce their investments in private markets in favor of investments they perceive as offering greater opportunity or lower risk, which would result in lower fees being paid to us.

A general economic downturn or a tightening of global credit markets may also reduce the commitments our clients are able to devote to private markets investments generally and make it more difficult for the funds in which we invest to obtain funding for additional investments at attractive rates, which would further reduce our profitability.

Our profitability may also be adversely affected by our fixed costs and the possibility that we would be unable to reduce other costs within a time frame sufficient to match any decreases in revenue relating to changes in market and economic conditions. If our revenue declines without a commensurate reduction in our expenses, our net income will be lower.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the global financial markets and business climate and may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Beginning in the fourth quarter of our fiscal year ended March 31, 2020, the global financial markets and business climate have been adversely affected by the global outbreak of COVID-19. The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world has led many countries to institute a variety of measures, including stay-at-home orders, restrictions on travel, bans on public gatherings, the closing of non-essential businesses or limiting their hours of operation, and other restrictions on businesses and their operations, in an effort to contain viral spread. These measures have in turn caused reductions in demand for certain goods and services, reductions in business activity and financial transactions, supply chain interruptions and overall economic and significant financial market volatility. While some of the initial restrictions have been relaxed or lifted in an effort to generate more economic activity, the risk of future COVID-19 outbreaks remains and restrictions have been and may continue to be reimposed to mitigate risks to public health in jurisdictions where additional outbreaks have been detected. Moreover, even where restrictions are and remain lifted, the absence of viable treatment options or a vaccine could lead people to continue to self-isolate and not participate in the economy at pre-pandemic levels for a prolonged period of time, potentially further delaying global economic recovery. As a result, we are unable to predict the ultimate duration and adverse impact of COVID-19 on our business, financial condition and results of operations. COVID-19 has impacted, and may further impact, our business in various ways. Adverse effects on our business due to COVID-19 include, but are not limited to, the following:

 

   

Management fees. A slowdown in fundraising activity could result in delayed or decreased management fees as compared to prior periods. Additionally, changes to asset allocation policies or new laws or regulations resulting from declines in public equity markets may restrict or prohibit investors from investing in new or successor StepStone Funds or funding existing commitments. If we experience a slowdown in the pace of capital deployment, it may result in delayed or decreased management fees for those funds and accounts that pay management fees based on invested capital.

 

   

Performance fees. The underlying investments in the StepStone Funds reflect valuations on a three-month lag, or as of March 31, 2020, as adjusted for capital contributions and distributions during the three-month lag period ended June 30, 2020. As a result, during the three months ended June 30, 2020, our investments in funds and accrued carried interest allocations experienced significant declines, primarily reflecting the unrealized depreciation in the fair value of certain underlying fund investments driven by the impact of COVID-19. If such declines persist over a longer period of time, our realized performance fee revenues may be adversely affected in future periods, as the ability of fund managers to exit existing investments profitably may be limited due to lower valuations from decreased operating performance of portfolio companies.

 

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Liquidity. Our liquidity and cash flows may be adversely affected by declines or delays in realized management fee revenues and performance fee revenues. As of June 30, 2020, we had $90.7 million of cash and cash equivalents and $7.2 million in availability under our revolving credit facility.

 

   

Investment opportunities. While the market dislocation caused by COVID-19 may present attractive investment opportunities due to increased volatility in the financial markets, we may not be able to complete those investments, which could negatively affect our revenue, particularly for funds that pay management fees based on invested capital.

 

   

Clients and fund managers. A significant portion of our business activity involves meeting with clients and fund managers to build and strengthen our relationships. Prior to the pandemic, much of this activity was done in person. Although we have shifted to telephone and video conferences to build and maintain our relationships, it is unclear whether this shift will have a negative impact on our ability to service our clients, connect with new clients, market our funds, source new investment opportunities and conduct due diligence on investments. We depend on clients fulfilling their commitments when we call capital from them in order for those funds to consummate investments and otherwise pay their obligations when due. Our funds’ operations and performance can be directly impacted if our clients face liquidity challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic or otherwise and are unable to fulfill their commitments.

 

   

Operations. The ability of our employees to conduct their daily work in our offices helps to ensure a level of productivity and operational security that may not be achieved when working remotely for an extended period of time. Remote working environments could strain our technology resources and introduce operational risks, including heightened cybersecurity risk, as remote working environments can be less secure and more susceptible to hacking attacks. See “—Risks Related to our Business—Cybersecurity risks could adversely affect our business by causing a disruption to our operations, which could adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.” In addition, third-party service providers on whom we may be reliant for certain aspects of our business, including fund administration activities and cloud-based services, could be affected by an inability to perform due to adverse impacts of COVID-19.

 

   

Employee well-being. We recognize that COVID-19 threatens our employees’ safety, well-being and morale. If our senior management or other key personnel become ill or are otherwise unable to perform their duties for an extended period of time, we may experience a loss of productivity or a delay in the implementation of certain strategic plans. We operate globally, with offices in 19 cities across 13 countries in five continents, with strong local teams supporting a global client base. Local COVID-19-related laws may be subject to rapid change depending on public health developments, which can lead to confusion and make compliance with laws uncertain and subject us to increased risk of litigation for non-compliance. We may also be exposed to the risk of litigation by our employees against us for, among other things, failure to take adequate steps to protect their safety or well-being, particularly in the event they become sick after returning to the office.

 

   

Portfolio companies. Operational disruptions and increased volatility and disruption in the equity and credit markets caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can adversely affect the portfolio companies in which private markets funds invest and adversely affect the investment performance of the StepStone Funds and advisory accounts.

We believe COVID-19’s adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations will be significantly driven by a number of factors that we are unable to predict or control, including, for example: the severity and duration of the pandemic, including the timing of availability of a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19; the pandemic’s impact on global financial markets and business conditions; the timing, scope and effectiveness of additional governmental responses to the pandemic; the timing and path of economic recovery; and the negative impact on our clients, third-party fund managers, counterparties, investee portfolio companies, vendors and other business partners that may indirectly adversely affect us. In addition, regulatory oversight and enforcement may become more rigorous for public companies in general, and for the financial services industry in particular, as a result of the recent volatility in the financial markets.

 

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We operate in a heavily regulated industry and any failure to comply with the government regulations to which we are subject could adversely affect us.

We are subject to numerous regulations that may impact our business model. In the United States, our advisory and investment management businesses are subject to regulation by the SEC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and other regulatory agencies, pursuant to, among other laws, the Investment Advisers Act, the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, (the “Code”), the Commodity Exchange Act, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). The SEC in particular has increased its regulation of the asset management and private equity industries in recent years, focusing on the private equity industry’s fees, allocation of expenses to funds, valuation practices, allocation of fund investment opportunities, disclosures to clients, the allocation of broken-deal expenses, the management of conflicts of interest disclosures and other fiduciary obligations. The SEC has also heightened its focus on the valuation processes employed by investment advisers. The lack of readily ascertainable market prices for many of the investments made by the StepStone Funds or the funds in which we invest could subject our valuation policies and processes to increased scrutiny by the SEC. Our failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations could result in fines, suspensions of personnel or other sanctions, including revocation of our registration as an investment adviser. Even if a sanction imposed against us or our personnel is small in monetary amount, the adverse publicity arising from the imposition of sanctions against us by regulators could harm our reputation and cause us to lose existing clients or fail to gain new clients. Additionally, legislation, including proposed legislation regarding executive compensation and taxation of carried interest, may adversely affect our ability to attract and retain key personnel. See “Business—Regulatory Environment.”

To the extent that the Partnership is a “fiduciary” under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”), with respect to benefit plan clients, it is subject to ERISA, and to regulations promulgated thereunder. ERISA and applicable provisions of the Code impose certain duties on persons who are fiduciaries under ERISA, prohibit certain transactions involving ERISA plan clients and provide monetary penalties for violations of these prohibitions. Our failure to comply with these requirements could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, a court could find that one of our co-investment funds has formed a partnership-in-fact conducting a trade or business and would therefore be jointly and severally liable for the portfolio company’s unfunded pension liabilities.

In addition, the Partnership, along with certain of our consolidated subsidiaries, is registered as an investment adviser with the SEC and is subject to the requirements and regulations of the Investment Advisers Act. Such requirements relate to, among other things, maintaining an effective compliance program, incentive fees, solicitation arrangements, allocation of investments, recordkeeping and reporting requirements, disclosure requirements, limitations on agency cross and principal transactions between an adviser and their advisory clients, as well as general anti-fraud prohibitions. As a registered investment adviser, the Partnership has fiduciary duties to its clients. A failure to comply with the obligations imposed by the Investment Advisers Act, including recordkeeping, advertising and operating requirements, disclosure obligations and prohibitions on fraudulent activities, could result in investigations, sanctions and reputational damage, and could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and business reputation.

In addition, the European General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) impose stringent data protection requirements. There are substantial financial penalties for breach of the GDPR, including up to the higher of 20 million Euros or 4% of group annual worldwide turnover. Non-compliance with GDPR, CCPA or similar regulation enacted elsewhere therefore represents a serious risk to our business.

Our private wealth investment platform is subject to additional regulatory requirements that could adversely impact its profitability. We expect that one or more funds we offer to private wealth investors will be registered investment companies under the Investment Company Act. The Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder contain detailed parameters for the organization and operation of investment companies. Among other things, the Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder limit or prohibit transactions with affiliates, impose limitations on the issuance of debt and equity securities, generally prohibit the issuance of options and impose

 

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stringent governance and board independence requirements. In addition, we will depend on third parties to assist us in complying with regulatory obligations with respect to such registered funds. Requirements imposed by the Investment Company Act, including limitations on capital structure, the ability to transact business with affiliates and the ability to compensate senior employees, or the failure of our third-party vendors to assist us with required compliance could materially and adversely affect our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.

In addition, if we fail to comply with any of the regulations that we are subject to, we could be subject to enforcement actions, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Evolving laws and government regulations could adversely affect us.

Governmental regulation of the global financial markets and financial institutions is intense and is continually evolving. This includes regulation of investment funds, as well as their managers and activities, through the implementation of compliance, risk management and anti-money laundering procedures; restrictions on specific types of investments and the provision and use of leverage; capital requirements; limitations on compensation to fund managers; and books and records, reporting and disclosure requirements. The effects on us, the StepStone Funds, or on private markets funds generally, of future regulation, or of changes in the interpretation and enforcement of existing regulation, could have an adverse effect on the StepStone Funds’ investment strategies or our business model. Policy changes and regulatory reform by the U.S. federal government may create regulatory uncertainty for our funds’ portfolio companies and our investment strategies and adversely affect the profitability of the StepStone Funds’ portfolio companies.

Ongoing political developments could adversely impact our investment management and investment advisory businesses. The financial services industry is currently experiencing an uncertain political and regulatory environment. The U.S. federal government has recently been pursuing deregulatory measures, including changes to the Volcker Rule, the U.S. Risk Retention Rules, capital and liquidity requirements, the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s authority and other aspects of the U.S. Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”). Various proposals focused on deregulation of the U.S. financial services industry may have the effect of increasing competition for our businesses. For example, increased competition from banks and other financial institutions in the credit markets could have the effect of reducing credit spreads, which may adversely affect the revenues we receive from our credit and other funds whose strategies include the provision of credit to borrowers. On the other hand, it is also possible that the financial services industry may face an increasingly difficult political and regulatory environment, especially if there is a change in administration. Some candidates for the 2020 U.S. presidential election have expressed support for policies that call for greater regulatory oversight of the financial services industry, including, in particular, the private equity industry. If these proposals were to become policy in the next administration, such developments could potentially have a material adverse effect on our business and the business of the funds in which the StepStone Funds and our other clients invest.

Governmental policy changes and regulatory or tax reform could also have a material effect on our funds. For example, regulatory or tax reform in jurisdictions where we may be conducting business (including jurisdictions in which we have established StepStone Funds, such as the Cayman Islands) and jurisdictions in which our clients or investors in StepStone Funds are located may increase administrative costs, increase taxes borne by StepStone Funds or our clients or investors, or otherwise adversely affect our funds or our ability to successfully fundraise on behalf of our funds. A prolonged environment of regulatory uncertainty may make the identification of attractive investment opportunities and the deployment of capital more challenging. In addition, our ability to identify business and other risks associated with new investments depends in part on our ability to anticipate and accurately assess regulatory and other changes that may have a material effect on the businesses in which we choose to invest. The failure to accurately predict the possible outcome of policy changes and regulatory reform could have a material adverse effect on the returns generated from our funds’ investments and our revenues.

In recent years, the United States has imposed tariffs on various products imported into the United States. These tariffs have resulted in, and may continue to trigger, retaliatory actions by affected countries, including the imposition of tariffs on the United States by other countries. Certain foreign governments have instituted or are

 

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considering imposing trade sanctions on certain U.S. goods and denying U.S. companies access to critical raw materials. Governmental actions related to the imposition of tariffs or other trade barriers or changes to international trade agreements or policies, could increase costs, decrease margins, reduce the competitiveness of products and services offered by current and future portfolio companies and adversely affect the revenues and profitability of companies whose businesses rely on goods imported from outside of the United States. In addition, if we fail to monitor and adapt to changes in policy and the regulations to which we are or may become subject, we could be subject to enforcement actions, which may materially and adversely affect our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.

Future changes to tax laws or our effective tax rate could materially adversely affect our company and reduce net returns to our stockholders.

Our tax treatment is subject to the enactment of, or changes in, tax laws, regulations and treaties, or the interpretation thereof, tax policy initiatives and reforms under consideration and the practices of tax authorities in jurisdictions in which we operate, including those related to the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (“OECD”), the European Commission’s state aid investigations and other initiatives. Such changes may include (but are not limited to) the taxation of operating income, investment income, dividends received or (in the specific context of withholding tax) dividends paid, or the taxation of partnerships and other passthrough entities. In addition, the Group of Twenty, the OECD, the U.S. Congress and Treasury Department and other government agencies in jurisdictions where we and our affiliates do business have focused on issues related to the taxation of multinational corporations, including, but not limited to, transfer pricing, country-by-country reporting and base erosion. As a result, the tax laws in the United States and other countries in which we and our affiliates do business could change on a prospective or retroactive basis, and any such changes could have an adverse effect on our worldwide tax liabilities, business, financial condition and results of operations. We are unable to predict what tax reform may be proposed or enacted in the future or what effect such changes would have on our business, but such changes, to the extent they are brought into tax legislation, regulations, policies or practices, could affect our financial position and overall or effective tax rates in the future in countries where we have operations, reduce post-tax returns to our stockholders, and increase the complexity, burden and cost of tax compliance.

Our businesses are subject to income taxation in the United States, as well as in many tax jurisdictions throughout the world. Tax rates in these jurisdictions may be subject to significant change. If our effective tax rate increases, our operating results and cash flow could be adversely affected. Our effective income tax rate can vary significantly between periods due to a number of complex factors including, but not limited to, projected levels of taxable income in each jurisdiction, tax audits conducted and settled by various tax authorities, and adjustments to income taxes upon finalization of income tax returns.

We may be required to pay additional taxes because of the new U.S. federal partnership audit rules and potentially also state and local tax rules.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 changed the rules applicable to U.S. federal income tax audits of partnerships, including entities such as limited liability companies that are taxed as partnerships. Under these rules (which generally are effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017), subject to certain exceptions, audit adjustments to items of income, gain, loss, deduction, or credit of an entity (and any holder’s share thereof) is determined, and taxes, interest, and penalties attributable thereto, are assessed and collected, at the entity level. Although it is uncertain how these rules will be implemented, it is possible that they could result in the Partnership (or any of its applicable subsidiaries or other entities in which the Partnership directly or indirectly invests that are treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes) being required to pay additional taxes, interest and penalties as a result of an audit adjustment, and we, as a partner of the Partnership (or such other entities), could be required to indirectly bear the economic burden of those taxes, interest, and penalties even though we may not otherwise have been required to pay additional corporate-level taxes as a result of the related audit adjustment. Audit adjustments for state or local tax purposes could similarly result in the Partnership (or any of its applicable subsidiaries or other entities in which the Partnership directly or indirectly

 

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invests) being required to pay or indirectly bear the economic burden of state or local taxes and associated interest, and penalties.

Under certain circumstances, the Partnership or an entity in which the Partnership directly or indirectly invests may be eligible to make an election to cause partners of the Partnership (or such other entity) to take into account the amount of any understatement, including any interest and penalties, in accordance with such partner’s share in the Partnership in the year under audit. We will decide whether or not to cause the Partnership to make this election; however, there are circumstances in which the election may not be available and, in the case of an entity in which the Partnership directly or indirectly invests, such decision may be outside of our control. If the Partnership or an entity in which the Partnership directly or indirectly invests does not make this election, the then-current partners of the Partnership (including SSG) could economically bear the burden of the understatement.

If the Partnership were to become a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, SSG and the Partnership might be subject to potentially significant tax inefficiencies, and SSG would not be able to recover payments previously made by it under the Tax Receivable Agreements, even if the corresponding tax benefits were subsequently determined to have been unavailable due to such status.

We intend to operate such that the Partnership does not become a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. A “publicly traded partnership” is a partnership the interests of which are traded on an established securities market or readily tradable on a secondary market or the substantial equivalent thereof. Under certain circumstances, exchanges of Partnership units pursuant to the Exchange Agreement or other transfers of Partnership units could cause the Partnership to be treated like a publicly traded partnership. From time to time the U.S. Congress has considered legislation to change the tax treatment of partnerships and there can be no assurance that any such legislation will not be enacted or if enacted will not be adverse to us.

If the Partnership were to become a publicly traded partnership taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, significant tax inefficiencies might result for SSG and the Partnership, including as a result of SSG’s inability to file a consolidated U.S. federal income tax return with the Partnership. In addition, SSG may not be able to realize tax benefits covered under the Tax Receivable Agreements and would not be able to recover any payments previously made by it under the Tax Receivable Agreements, even if the corresponding tax benefits (including any claimed increase in the tax basis of the Partnership’s assets) were subsequently determined to have been unavailable.

Federal, state and foreign anti-corruption and sanctions laws create the potential for significant liabilities and penalties and reputational harm.

We are subject to laws and regulations governing payments and contributions to political persons or other third parties, including restrictions imposed by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) as well as trade sanctions and export control laws administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State. The FCPA is intended to prohibit bribery of foreign governments and their officials and political parties, and requires public companies in the United States to keep books and records that accurately and fairly reflect those companies’ transactions. OFAC, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State administer and enforce various export control laws and regulations, including economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign states, organizations and individuals. These laws and regulations affect a number of aspects of our business, including servicing existing clients, finding new clients, and sourcing new investments, as well as activities by the portfolio companies in our investment portfolio or other controlled investments.

Similar laws in non-U.S. jurisdictions, such as EU sanctions or the United Kingdom (“UK”) Bribery Act, as well as other applicable anti-bribery, anti-corruption, anti-money laundering, or sanction or other export control

 

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laws in the United States and abroad, may also impose stricter or more onerous requirements than the FCPA, OFAC, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of State, and implementing them may disrupt our business or cause us to incur significantly more costs to comply with those laws. Different laws contain conflicting provisions, making compliance with all laws more difficult. If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we could face claims for damages, civil or criminal financial penalties, reputational harm, incarceration of our employees, restrictions on our operations and other liabilities, which could negatively affect our business, operating results and financial condition. In addition, we may be subject to successor liability for FCPA violations or other acts of bribery, or violations of applicable sanctions or other export control laws committed by companies in which we or our funds invest or which we or our funds acquire. While we have developed and implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure strict compliance by us and our personnel with the FCPA and other anti-corruption, sanctions and export control laws in jurisdictions in which we operate, such policies and procedures may not be effective in all instances to prevent violations. Any determination that we have violated the FCPA or other applicable anti-corruption, sanctions or export control laws could subject us to, among other things, civil and criminal penalties, material fines, profit disgorgement, injunctions on future conduct, securities litigation and a general loss of client confidence, any one of which could adversely affect our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Regulation of investment advisers outside the United States could adversely affect our ability to operate our business.

We provide investment advisory and other services and raise funds in a number of countries and jurisdictions outside the United States. In a number of these countries and jurisdictions, which include the UK, the EU, the European Economic Area (“EEA”), and certain of the individual member states of each of the EU and EEA (including Ireland and Luxembourg), Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Canada and Brazil, our operations, and in some cases our personnel, are subject to regulatory oversight and affirmative requirements. These requirements variously relate to registration, licenses for our personnel, periodic inspections, the provision and filing of periodic reports, and obtaining certifications and other approvals. In the EU, we are subject to the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”) and the Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities Directive (“UCITS”) under which we are subject to regulatory requirements regarding, among other things, registration for marketing activities, the structure of remuneration for certain of our personnel and reporting obligations. The UK, Switzerland and the individual member states of the EU have imposed additional requirements that may include internal arrangements with respect to risk management, liquidity risks, asset valuations, and the establishment and security of depository and custodial requirements. In certain other jurisdictions, we are subject to various securities and other laws relating to fundraising and other matters. Failure to maintain compliance with applicable laws and regulations could result in regulatory intervention, adversely affect our business or ability to provide services to our clients and harm our reputation.

The European Union Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (“MiFID II”), which became effective on January 3, 2018, requires, among other things, all MiFID II investment firms to comply with more prescriptive disclosure, transparency, reporting and recordkeeping obligations and enhanced obligations in relation to the receipt of investment research, best execution, product governance and marketing communications. As we operate investment firms that are subject to MiFID II (including as applicable in the UK), we will be required to implement revised policies and procedures to comply with MiFID II where relevant, including where certain rules have an extraterritorial impact on us. Compliance with MiFID II may result in greater overall complexity, higher compliance, administration and operational costs, and less overall flexibility. The complexity, operational costs and reduction in flexibility may be further compounded as a result of UK’s departure from the EU. See “—The exit of the UK from the EU (Brexit) could adversely affect our business and our operations.” This is because the UK is both: (i) no longer generally required to transpose EU law into UK law and (ii) electing to transpose certain EU legislation into UK law subject to various amendments and subject to the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s oversight rather than that of EU regulators. Taken together, this could result in divergence between the UK and EU regulatory frameworks. Outside the UK and EEA, the regulations to which we are subject relate primarily to registration and reporting obligations.

 

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It is expected that additional laws and regulations will come into force in the UK, the EEA, the EU, and other countries in which we operate over the coming years. Regulation (EU) 2019/2033 on the prudential requirements for investment firms (“IFR”) and Directive (EU) 2019/2034 on the prudential supervision of investment firms (“IFD”) entered into force on December 25, 2019, although many parts of the IFR and IFD will not apply until 2021. Together the IFR and IFD will introduce a new prudential regime for those of our EU investment firms that are subject to MiFID II, including new requirements, such as general capital requirements, liquidity requirements, remuneration requirements, requirements to conduct internal capital adequacy assessments and additional requirements on disclosures and public reporting. There remains considerable uncertainty about the implementation of the IFR and IFD, but the legislation could hinder our ability to deploy capital as freely as we would wish and to recruit and incentivize staff. Different and extended internal governance, disclosure, reporting, liquidity and group “prudential” consolidation requirements (among other things) could also have a material impact on our EU-based operations. Further, as described above, the UK’s departure from the EU and the potential resulting divergence between the UK and EU regulatory frameworks may result in additional complexity and costs in complying with regulations across both the UK and EU. The UK is also proposing to introduce a new prudential regime for investment firms that are subject to MiFID II (as implemented in the UK). The timings and impact of the new UK prudential regime are currently uncertain. In addition, there may be changes to the AIFMD and UCITS regimes and also further regulation adopted which may impact those parts of our business operating within the EU.

There have also been significant legislative developments affecting the private equity industry in Europe and there continues to be discussion regarding enhancing governmental scrutiny and/or increasing regulation of the private equity industry, which may have an adverse impact on the private equity industry in Europe (including by making it more difficult to raise capital from certain types of investors and otherwise imposing on private equity funds additional and costly regulatory compliance burdens), which could in turn adversely affect our business prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

These laws and regulations may affect our costs and manner of conducting business in one or more markets, the risks of doing business, the assets that we manage or advise, and our ability to raise capital from clients. Any failure by us to comply with either existing or new laws or regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The exit of the UK from the EU (Brexit) could adversely affect our business and our operations.

The UK left the EU on January 31, 2020 and entered into a transition period until December 31, 2020. The nature of the future relationship between the UK and the EU remains uncertain. Brexit has caused significant geo-political uncertainty and market volatility in the UK and elsewhere. Depending on the ultimate outcome of the Brexit process, the UK could lose access to the single EU market and to the global trade deals negotiated by the EU on behalf of its members, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and the operations of the portfolio companies in which our funds invest. For example, a decline in trade could affect the attractiveness of the UK as a global investment center and, as a result, could make doing business in Europe more difficult.

Under the EU single market directives, mutual access rights to markets and market infrastructure exist across the EU and the mutual recognition of insolvency, bank recovery and resolution regimes applies. In addition, certain regulated entities licensed or authorized in one EEA jurisdiction may operate on a cross-border basis in other EEA countries in reliance on passporting rights and without the need for a separate license or authorization. There is uncertainty as to whether, after the end of the transition period, a passporting regime (or similar regime in its effect) will apply (if at all). Depending on the terms of the future relationship between the EU and the UK, it is likely that UK regulated entities may lose the right to passport their services to EEA countries, and EEA entities may lose the right to reciprocal passporting into the UK. See “Business—Regulatory Environment—Foreign Regulation” for additional information about the potential effects of the loss of passporting privileges. The movement of capital, the right of establishment and the mobility of personnel may

 

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also be restricted. In addition, UK entities may no longer have access rights to market infrastructure across the EU and the recognition of insolvency, bank recovery and resolution regimes across the EU may no longer be mutual.

These and other consequences of Brexit, such as reduced availability of credit in the UK commercial real estate market, may also increase the costs of having operations, conducting business and making investments in the UK and Europe. As a result, the performance of our funds that are focused on investing in the UK and to a lesser extent across Europe may be disproportionately affected compared to those funds that invest more broadly across global geographies or are focused on different regions.

Brexit has also caused exchange rate fluctuations. In particular the British pound has weakened significantly against both the U.S. dollar and the Euro. Further exchange rate volatility may occur. Unhedged currency fluctuations have the ability to adversely affect our funds and their underlying business investments.

Further, the UK’s determination as to which, if any, EU laws to repeal, retain, replace or replicate upon its exit from the EU could exacerbate the uncertainty and result in divergent national laws and regulations. Changes to the regulatory regimes in the UK or the EU and its member states could materially affect our business prospects and opportunities and increase our costs. In addition, Brexit could potentially disrupt the tax jurisdictions in which we operate and affect the tax benefits or liabilities in these or other jurisdictions in a manner that is adverse to us and/or our funds. Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are subject to increasing scrutiny from institutional clients with respect to ESG costs of investments made by the StepStone Funds, which may constrain investment opportunities for our funds and adversely affect our ability to raise capital from such clients.

In recent years, certain institutional clients have placed increasing importance on ESG implications of investments made by private equity and other funds to which they commit capital. Certain investors have also demonstrated increased activism with respect to existing investments, including by urging asset managers to take certain actions that could adversely affect the value of an investment, or refrain from taking certain actions that could improve the value of an investment. At times, clients have conditioned future capital commitments on the taking or refraining from taking of such actions. Clients’ increased focus and activism related to ESG and similar matters may constrain our investment opportunities. In addition, institutional clients may decide to not commit capital to future fundraises as a result of their assessment of our approach to and consideration of the ESG cost of investments made by us. To the extent our access to capital from such clients is impaired, we may not be able to maintain or increase the size of our funds or raise sufficient capital for new funds, which may adversely affect our revenues.

In addition, ESG matters have been the subject of increased focus by certain regulators in the EU. For example, in May 2018, the European Commission proposed legislative reforms relating in part to formalizing the duties and disclosure obligations of companies, asset managers and asset owners in relation to ESG factors. These and other proposals have resulted in the Non-Financial Disclosure Regulation and EU Taxonomy, among other initiatives. These legislative developments, which create a common classification system and disclosure obligations focusing on ESG issues, largely apply from 2021 onwards and will require additional disclosures to clients with respect to ESG factors, which may increase our expenses and could lead clients to reduce their investment with us. Most of these obligations do not apply until after the end of the current transition period between the UK and the EU. It is likely that the UK will introduce similar legislation relating to ESG although the form and content of such legislation is currently uncertain. Our EU based business, as well as any global product sales into the EU, will be subject to these requirements.

 

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Risks Related to Our Organizational Structure and This Offering

Our executive officers have not previously managed a public company.

Our executive officers have historically operated our business as a privately owned company. The individuals who now constitute our management have not previously managed a publicly-traded company. Compliance with public company requirements will place significant additional demands on our management and will require us to enhance our public investor relations, legal, financial and tax reporting, internal audit, compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”) and corporate communications functions. These additional efforts may strain our resources and divert management’s attention from other business concerns, which could adversely affect our business and profitability.

Fulfilling our public company financial reporting and other regulatory obligations will be expensive and time consuming.

As a public company, we will incur significant public investor relations, legal, accounting and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. For example, we will be subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act, and will be required to comply with the applicable requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, as well as rules and regulations subsequently implemented by the SEC and the Nasdaq Global Select Market, including the establishment and maintenance of effective disclosure controls and internal controls over financial reporting and implementation of public company corporate governance practices. We expect that compliance with these requirements will increase our legal and financial compliance costs and will make some activities more time consuming and costly. The Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. We may need to hire additional accounting and financial staff with appropriate public company experience and technical accounting knowledge. We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur as a result of becoming a public company or the timing of such costs.

In addition, changing laws, regulations and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure are creating uncertainty for public companies, increasing legal and financial compliance costs and making some activities more time consuming. These laws, regulations and standards are subject to varying interpretations, in many cases due to their lack of specificity, and as a result, their application in practice may evolve over time as regulatory and governing bodies provide new guidance. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to disclosure and governance practices. We will continue to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations and standards, and this investment may result in increased general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities. If our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to their application and practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us, and our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

As a result of disclosure of information as a public company, our business and financial condition will become more visible, which may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors and other third parties. If the claims are successful, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. Even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could divert the resources of our management and adversely affect our business operations and financial results. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified colleagues, executive officers and members of our board of directors.

We also expect that operating as a public company will make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance on desired terms. As a result, it may be more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified people to serve on our board of directors or our board committees or to serve as executive officers.

 

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We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the Nasdaq Global Select Market listing standards and, as a result, will qualify for, and intend to rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. You will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.

After this offering, holders of our Class B common stock will continue to control a majority of the voting power of our outstanding common stock. So long as no Sunset has occurred and the Class B stockholders who are party to the Stockholders’ Agreement hold at least approximately 16.7% of all of the outstanding shares of the Company’s common stock, the Class B stockholders are expected to hold a majority of the Company’s outstanding voting power and thereby will control the outcome of matters submitted to a stockholder vote. As a result of the voting power held by those Class B stockholders who are party to the Stockholders’ Agreement, we will qualify as a “controlled company” within the meaning of the corporate governance standards of the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Under these rules, a listed company of which more than 50% of the voting power with respect to the election of directors is held by an individual, group or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements, including the requirement that (i) a majority of our board of directors consist of independent directors, (ii) director nominees be selected or recommended to the board entirely by independent directors and (iii) the compensation committee be composed entirely of independent directors.

Following this offering, we intend to rely on some or all of these exemptions. As a result, we will not have a majority of independent directors, our compensation committee will not consist entirely of independent directors and our directors will not be nominated or selected entirely by independent directors. Accordingly, you will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

Our internal controls over financial reporting do not currently meet all of the standards contemplated by Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and failure to achieve and maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 could have a material adverse effect on our business and the price of our Class A common stock.

Since we are an EGC, our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to formally attest to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“Section 404”) until the later of either the year following our first annual report required to be filed with the SEC or the date we are no longer an EGC. Our internal controls over financial reporting do not currently meet all of the standards contemplated by Section 404 that we will eventually be required to meet as a public company. We are in the process of addressing our internal controls over financial reporting and are establishing formal committees to oversee our policies and processes related to financial reporting and to the identification of key financial reporting risks, assessment of their potential effect and linkage of those risks to specific areas and activities within our organization.

We do not currently have comprehensive documentation of our system of controls, nor do we yet fully document or test our compliance with this system on a periodic basis in accordance with Section 404. Furthermore, we have not yet fully tested our internal controls in accordance with Section 404 and, due to our lack of documentation, such a test would not be possible to perform at this time. As a result, we cannot conclude in accordance with Section 404 that we do not have a material weakness, or possibly a combination of significant deficiencies that could result in the conclusion that we have a material weakness in our internal controls in accordance with such rules.

We will begin the process of documenting and testing our internal control procedures to satisfy the requirements of Section 404, which requires annual management assessments of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and a report by our independent registered public accounting firm addressing these assessments. As a public company, we will be required to complete our initial assessment in a timely manner. Matters affecting our internal controls may cause us to be unable to report our financial information on a timely basis and thereby subject us to adverse regulatory consequences, including sanctions by the SEC or

 

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violations of the Nasdaq Global Select Market listing rules. There could also be a negative reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of client confidence in us and the reliability of our financial statements. Confidence in the reliability of our financial statements is also likely to suffer if a material weakness or significant deficiency is identified in our internal control over financial reporting. This could materially and adversely affect us and lead to a decline in the price of our Class A common stock. In addition, we will incur incremental costs in order to improve our internal control over financial reporting and comply with Section 404, including increased auditing and legal fees and costs associated with hiring additional accounting, operational and administrative staff. We will need to hire additional personnel to design and apply controls to areas of significant complex transactions and technical accounting matters once we are a public company.

Reduced reporting and disclosure requirements applicable to us as an emerging growth company could make our Class A common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an EGC and, for as long as we continue to be an EGC, we may choose to continue to take advantage of exemptions from various reporting requirements applicable to other public companies. Consequently, we are not required to have our independent registered public accounting firm audit our internal control over financial reporting under Section 404, have reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and are exempt from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an EGC can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards. This allows an EGC to delay the adoption of these accounting standards until they would otherwise apply to private companies. We have elected to avail ourselves of this exemption and, therefore, we may not be subject to the same implementation timing for new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not EGCs, which may make comparison of our financials to those of other public companies more difficult. We could be an EGC for up to five years following the completion of this offering. We will cease to be an EGC upon the earliest of: (i) the end of the fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of this offering, (ii) the first fiscal year after our annual gross revenues are $1.07 billion or more, (iii) the date on which we have, during the previous three-year period, issued more than $1.07 billion in nonconvertible debt securities or (iv) the end of any fiscal year in which the market value of our Class A common stock held by non-affiliates exceeded $700 million as of the end of the second quarter of that fiscal year. We cannot predict whether investors will find our Class A common stock less attractive if we choose to rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common stock less attractive as a result of any choices to reduce future disclosure, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common stock, and the price of our Class A common stock may be more volatile.

SSG will depend on distributions from the Partnership to pay any dividends, if declared, taxes and other expenses, including payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements.

SSG will be a holding company and, following this offering, its only business will be to act as the managing member of the General Partner, and its only material assets will be Class A units representing approximately 28.1% of the partnership interests of the Partnership (or 30.8% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full) and 100% of the interests in the General Partner. SSG does not have any independent means of generating revenue. We anticipate that the Partnership will continue to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, generally will not be subject to any entity-level U.S. federal income tax. Instead, taxable income will be allocated to the partners of the Partnership. Accordingly, SSG will be required to pay income taxes on its allocable share of any net taxable income of the Partnership. We intend to cause the Partnership to make distributions to each of its partners, including SSG, in an amount intended to enable each partner to pay all applicable taxes on taxable income allocable to such partner and to allow SSG to make payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements. In addition, the Partnership will reimburse SSG for corporate and other overhead expenses. If the amount of tax distributions to be made exceeds the amount of funds available for distribution, SSG shall receive the full amount of its tax distribution before the other partners receive any distribution and the balance, if any, of funds available for distribution shall be distributed to the other partners pro rata in accordance with their assumed tax liabilities. To

 

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the extent that SSG needs funds, and the Partnership is restricted from making such distributions under applicable laws or regulations, or is otherwise unable to provide such funds, it could materially and adversely affect SSG’s ability to pay dividends and taxes and other expenses, including payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements, and affect our liquidity and financial condition.

The IRS might challenge the tax basis step-ups and other tax benefits we receive in connection with this offering and the related transactions and in connection with future acquisitions of Partnership units.

We intend to use a portion of the proceeds from this offering to cause the Partnership to purchase Partnership units from certain of the existing partners of the Partnership, which is expected to result in an increase in the tax basis of the assets of the Partnership that will be allocated to SSG and otherwise would not have been available. In addition, we intend to acquire Partnership units from the Blocker Companies and to inherit certain tax basis increments and other tax benefits in connection therewith. The Partnership units held directly by the partners of the Partnership other than SSG, including members of our senior leadership team, may in the future be exchanged for shares of our Class A common stock or, at our election, cash. Similar to our initial purchase of Partnership units, those exchanges may also result in increases in the tax basis of the assets of the Partnership that otherwise would not have been available. These increases in tax basis are expected to increase (for tax purposes) SSG’s depreciation and amortization and, together with other tax benefits, reduce the amount of tax that SSG would otherwise be required to pay, although it is possible that the IRS might challenge all or part of that tax basis increases or other tax benefits, and a court might sustain such a challenge. SSG’s ability to achieve benefits from any tax basis increases or other tax benefits will depend upon a number of factors, as discussed below, including the timing and amount of our future income.

We will not be reimbursed for any payments previously made under the Tax Receivable Agreements if the basis increases or other tax benefits described above are successfully challenged by the IRS or another taxing authority. As a result, in certain circumstances, payments could be made under the Tax Receivable Agreements in excess of our ultimate cash tax savings.

SSG will be required to pay over to the Direct StepStone Stockholders and certain continuing partners of the Partnership most of the tax benefits SSG receives from tax basis step-ups (and certain other tax benefits) attributable to its acquisition of units of the Partnership and tax attributes SSG inherits from the Blocker Companies in connection with this offering and in the future, and the amount of those payments are expected to be substantial.

SSG will enter into an Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement with certain continuing partners of the Partnership and a Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement with the Direct StepStone Stockholders. The Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to certain continuing partners of the Partnership (not including SSG) of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of increases in tax basis (and utilization of certain other tax benefits) resulting from (i) SSG’s acquisition of such continuing partner’s Partnership units in connection with this offering and in future exchanges and (ii) any payments SSG makes under the Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement (including tax benefits related to imputed interest). The Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to the Direct StepStone Stockholders of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of (i) the unamortized portion of the increase in tax basis in the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership resulting from the prior acquisitions of interests in the Partnership by the Blocker Companies as well as the net operating losses, capital losses or other loss carrybacks and carryforwards of the Blocker Companies generated before the Blocker Mergers and (ii) tax benefits related to imputed interest. SSG will retain the benefit of the remaining 15% of these net cash tax savings under both Tax Receivable Agreements.

The term of each Tax Receivable Agreement will commence upon the completion of this offering and will continue until all tax benefits that are subject to such Tax Receivable Agreement have been utilized or have expired, unless we exercise our right to terminate such Tax Receivable Agreement (or such Tax Receivable Agreement is terminated due to a change in control or our breach of a material obligation thereunder), in which case, SSG will be required to make the termination payment specified in such Tax Receivable Agreement. In

 

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addition, payments we make under such Tax Receivable Agreement will be increased by any interest accrued from the due date (without extensions) of the corresponding tax return. Based on certain assumptions, including no material changes in the relevant tax law and that we earn sufficient taxable income to realize the full tax benefit of the increased amortization of our assets and the net operating losses (and similar items), we expect that future payments to the Direct StepStone Stockholders and continuing limited partners of the Partnership (not including SSG) in respect of the Reorganization and the initial public offering will equal $37.7 million in the aggregate, based on an assumed value of the Class A common stock of $16.00 per share, although the actual future payments to the Direct StepStone Stockholders and continuing limited partners of the Partnership will vary based on the factors discussed below, and estimating the amount and timing of payments that may be made under the Tax Receivable Agreements is by its nature imprecise, insofar as the calculation of amounts payable depends on a variety of factors and future events. We expect to receive distributions from the Partnership in order to make any required payments under each Tax Receivable Agreement. However, we may need to incur debt to finance payments under either Tax Receivable Agreement to the extent such distributions or our cash resources are insufficient to meet our obligations under such Tax Receivable Agreement as a result of timing discrepancies or otherwise.

The actual increase in tax basis, as well as the amount and timing of any payments under each Tax Receivable Agreement, will vary depending on a number of factors, some of which may only be applicable to the Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement or the Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement, and some of which are applicable to both Tax Receivable Agreements, including the price of our Class A common stock at the time of the purchase or exchange; the timing of any purchases or future exchanges; the extent to which purchases or exchanges are taxable; the amount and timing of the utilization of tax attributes; the amount, timing and character of SSG’s income; the U.S. federal, state and local tax rates then applicable; the amount of each exchanging unit- holder’s tax basis in its units at the time of the relevant exchange; the depreciation and amortization periods that apply to the increases in tax basis; the timing and amount of any earlier payments that SSG may have made under each Tax Receivable Agreement and the portion of SSG’s payments under each Tax Receivable Agreement that constitute imputed interest or give rise to depreciable or amortizable tax basis. We expect that, as a result of the increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership attributable to the exchanged Partnership interests and the unamortized portion of the increase in tax basis in the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership resulting from the prior acquisitions of interests in the Partnership by the Blocker Companies as well as the net operating losses (and certain other tax assets) of the Blocker Companies generated before the Blocker Mergers, and certain other tax benefits, the payments that SSG will be required to make to the holders of rights under the Tax Receivable Agreements will be substantial. There may be a material negative effect on our financial condition and liquidity if, as described below, the payments under either Tax Receivable Agreement exceed the actual benefits SSG receives in respect of the tax attributes subject to such Tax Receivable Agreement and/or distributions to SSG by the Partnership are not sufficient to permit SSG to make payments under such Tax Receivable Agreement.

In certain circumstances, payments under each Tax Receivable Agreement may be accelerated and/or significantly exceed the actual tax benefits, if any, that SSG actually realizes.

Each Tax Receivable Agreement will provide that if (i) SSG exercises its right to early termination of such Tax Receivable Agreement in whole (that is, with respect to all benefits due to all beneficiaries under such Tax Receivable Agreement) or in part (that is, with respect to some benefits due to all beneficiaries under such Tax Receivable Agreement), (ii) SSG experiences certain changes in control, (iii) such Tax Receivable Agreement is rejected in certain bankruptcy proceedings, (iv) SSG fails (subject to certain exceptions) to make a payment under such Tax Receivable Agreement within 180 days after the due date or (v) SSG materially breaches its obligations under such Tax Receivable Agreement, SSG will be obligated to make an early termination payment to holders of rights under such Tax Receivable Agreement equal to the present value of all payments that would be required to be paid by SSG under such Tax Receivable Agreement. The amount of such payments will be determined on the basis of certain assumptions in each Tax Receivable Agreement, including (i) the assumption that SSG would have enough taxable income in the future to fully utilize the tax benefit resulting from the tax assets that are the subject of such Tax Receivable Agreement, (ii) the assumption that any item of loss deduction

 

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or credit generated by a basis adjustment or imputed interest arising in a taxable year preceding the taxable year that includes an early termination will be used by SSG ratably from such taxable year through the earlier of (x) the scheduled expiration of such tax item or (y) 15 years; (iii) in the case of the Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement, the assumption that any net operating loss (and similar items) inherited from the Blocker Companies will be used by SSG ratably from the taxable year that includes an early termination through the earlier of (x) the scheduled expiration of such net operating loss (or similar item) or (y) 15 years (or longer, to the extent that SSG is prevented from fully utilizing such net operating loss (or similar item) under certain U.S. federal income tax rules); (iv) the assumption that any non-amortizable assets are deemed to be disposed of in a fully taxable transaction on the fifteenth anniversary of the earlier of the basis adjustment and the early termination date; (v) the assumption that U.S. federal, state and local tax rates will be the same as in effect on the early termination date, unless scheduled to change and, solely with respect to the Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement; and (vi) the assumption that any units (other than those held by SSG) outstanding on the termination date are deemed to be exchanged for an amount equal to the market value of the corresponding number of shares of Class A common stock on the termination date. Any early termination payment may be made significantly in advance of the actual realization, if any, of the future tax benefits to which the termination payment relates. The amount of the early termination payment is determined by discounting the present value of all payments that would be required to be paid by SSG under such Tax Receivable Agreement at a rate equal to the lesser of (a) 6.5% and (b) the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, as reported by the Wall Street Journal (“SOFR”) plus      basis points.

Moreover, as a result of an elective early termination, a change in control or SSG’s material breach of its obligations under either Tax Receivable Agreement, SSG could be required to make payments under such Tax Receivable Agreement that exceed its actual cash savings under such Tax Receivable Agreement. Thus, SSG’s obligations under each Tax Receivable Agreement could have a substantial negative effect on its financial condition and liquidity and could have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing certain mergers, asset sales, or other forms of business combinations or changes of control. We cannot assure you that we will be able to finance any such early termination payment. It is also possible that the actual benefits ultimately realized by us may be significantly less than were projected in the computation of the early termination payment. We will not be reimbursed if the actual benefits ultimately realized by us are less than were projected in the computation of the early termination payment.

Payments under each Tax Receivable Agreement will be based on the tax reporting positions that we will determine and the IRS or another tax authority may challenge all or part of the tax basis increases or the inheritance of tax attributes from the Blocker Companies, as well as other related tax positions we take, and a court could sustain such challenge. If any tax benefits that have given rise to payments under either Tax Receivable Agreement are subsequently disallowed, SSG would be entitled to reduce future amounts otherwise payable to a holder of rights under such Tax Receivable Agreement to the extent such holder has received excess payments. However, the required final and binding determination that a holder of rights under a Tax Receivable Agreement has received excess payments may not be made for a number of years following commencement of any challenge, and SSG will not be permitted to reduce its payments under a Tax Receivable Agreement until there has been a final and binding determination, by which time sufficient subsequent payments under the Tax Receivable Agreement may not be available to offset prior payments for disallowed benefits. SSG will not be reimbursed for any payments previously made under either Tax Receivable Agreement if the basis increases described above are successfully challenged by the IRS or another taxing authority. As a result, in certain circumstances, payments could be made under either Tax Receivable Agreement that are significantly in excess of the benefit that SSG actually realizes in respect of the increases in tax basis (and utilization of certain other tax benefits) and SSG may not be able to recoup those payments, which could adversely affect SSG’s financial condition and liquidity.

 

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In certain circumstances, the Partnership will be required to make distributions to us and the existing partners of the Partnership, and the distributions that the Partnership will be required to make may be substantial.

The Partnership is expected to continue to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes and, as such, is not subject to U.S. federal income tax. Instead, taxable income will be allocated to partners, including SSG. Pursuant to the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement, the Partnership will make tax distributions to its partners, including SSG, which generally will be pro rata based on the ownership of Partnership units, calculated using an assumed tax rate, to help each of the partners to pay taxes on that partner’s allocable share of the Partnership’s net taxable income. Under applicable tax rules, the Partnership is required to allocate net taxable income disproportionately to its partners in certain circumstances. Because tax distributions will be determined based on the partner who is allocated the largest amount of taxable income on a per unit basis and on an assumed tax rate that is the highest possible rate applicable to any partner, but will be made pro rata based on ownership of Partnership units, the Partnership will be required to make tax distributions that, in the aggregate, will likely exceed the amount of taxes that it would have paid if it were taxed on its net income at the assumed rate.

Funds used by the Partnership to satisfy its tax distribution obligations will not be available for reinvestment in our business. Moreover, the tax distributions the Partnership will be required to make may be substantial, and may significantly exceed (as a percentage of the Partnership’s income) the overall effective tax rate applicable to a similarly situated corporate taxpayer. In addition, because these payments will be calculated with reference to an assumed tax rate, and because of the disproportionate allocation of net taxable income, these payments likely will significantly exceed the actual tax liability for many of the existing partners of the Partnership.

As a result of potential differences in the amount of net taxable income allocable to us and to the existing partners of the Partnership, as well as the use of an assumed tax rate in calculating the Partnership’s distribution obligations, we may receive distributions significantly in excess of our tax liabilities and obligations to make payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements. We may choose to manage these excess distributions through a number of different approaches, including through the payment of dividends to our Class A common stockholders or by applying them to other corporate purposes.

We may be required to fund withholding tax upon certain exchanges of Class B units into shares of Class A common stock by non-U.S. holders.

In the event of a transfer by a non-U.S. transferor of an interest in a partnership that is engaged in a U.S. trade or business, the transferee generally must withhold tax in an amount equal to ten percent of the amount realized (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes) by the transferor on such transfer absent an exception. Holders of Class B units may include non-U.S. holders. The continuing partners of the Partnership generally will be entitled to exchange Class B units for shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis or, at our election, for cash. To the extent withholding is required and we elect to deliver shares of Class A common stock (rather than cash), we may not have sufficient cash to satisfy such withholding obligation, and, we may be required to incur additional indebtedness or sell shares of our Class A common stock in the open market to raise additional cash in order to satisfy our withholding tax obligations.

We may incur tax and other liabilities attributable to our pre-IPO investors as a result of certain reorganization transactions.

Certain of our pre-IPO institutional investors hold their interests in the Partnership through entities that are taxable as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes. SSG will form a new, first-tier merger subsidiary with respect to each Blocker Company. Contemporaneously with this offering, each merger subsidiary will merge with and into the respective Blocker Company, with the Blocker Company surviving. Immediately thereafter, each Blocker Company will merge with and into SSG, with SSG surviving. In the Blocker Mergers, the 100% owners of the Blocker Companies will acquire an aggregate of 9,112,500 shares of newly issued Class A common stock and the Company will acquire a corresponding amount of Partnership units. See “Organizational Structure—The Reorganization.” As the successor to these merged entities, SSG will generally

 

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succeed to and be responsible for any outstanding or historical tax or other liabilities of the merged entities, including any liabilities that might be incurred as a result of the mergers described in the previous sentence. Any such liabilities for which SSG is responsible could have an adverse effect on our liquidity and financial condition.

Pursuant to recently proposed regulations issued under Section 162(m) of the Code, SSG may not be permitted to deduct its distributive share of compensation expense to the extent that the compensation was paid by the Partnership to certain of SSG’s covered employees, potentially resulting in additional U.S. federal income tax liability for SSG and reducing cash available for distribution to SSG’s stockholders and/or for the payment of other expenses and obligations of SSG.

Section 162(m) of the Code disallows the deduction by any publicly held corporation of applicable employee compensation paid with respect to any covered employee to the extent that such compensation for the taxable year exceeds $1,000,000. A “covered employee” means any employee of the taxpayer if the employee (a) is the principal executive officer (PEO) or principal financial officer (PFO) of the taxpayer at any time during the taxable year, or was an individual acting in such a capacity, (b) was among the three highest compensated officers for the taxable year (other than the PEO and PFO) required to be disclosed in the proxy statement, or (c) was a covered employee of the taxpayer (or any predecessor) for any preceding taxable year beginning after December 31, 2016. Pursuant to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with respect to Section 162(m) of the Code issued by the IRS on December 20, 2019 (the “Proposed Regulations”), SSG will not be permitted to deduct its distributive share of compensation expense allocated to it, to the extent that such distributive share plus the amount of any compensation paid directly by SSG exceeds $1,000,000 with respect to a covered employee, even if the Partnership, rather than SSG, pays the compensation to SSG’s covered employees. The Proposed Regulations will be effective upon publication of final regulations in the federal register and propose that the rule with respect to compensation paid by a partnership will apply to any deduction for compensation that is otherwise allowable for a taxable year ending on or after December 20, 2019. However, the Proposed Regulations will not apply to compensation paid pursuant to a written binding contract in effect on December 20, 2019 that is not materially modified after that date. Accordingly, to the extent that SSG is disallowed a deduction for its distributive share of compensation expense under Section 162(m) of the Code, it may result in additional U.S. federal income tax liability for SSG and/or reduce cash available for distribution to SSG’s stockholders or for the payment of other expenses and obligations of SSG.

If StepStone Group Inc. were deemed an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act of 1940 as a result of its ownership of the Partnership or the General Partner, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our business as contemplated and could have a material adverse effect on our business.

An issuer will generally be deemed to be an “investment company” for purposes of the Investment Company Act if:

 

   

it is or holds itself out as being engaged primarily, or proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities; or

 

   

absent an applicable exemption, it owns or proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of its total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis.

We believe that we are primarily engaged in the investment advisory service business, specifically that of providing customized investment solutions and advisory and data services to our clients and not in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. We also believe that the primary source of income from each of our businesses is properly characterized as income earned in exchange for the provision of services. We hold ourselves out as an asset management firm and do not propose to engage primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Accordingly, we do not believe that StepStone Group Inc., the General Partner or the Partnership is, or following this offering will be, an “orthodox” investment company as defined in

 

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section 3(a)(1)(A) of the Investment Company Act and described in the first bullet point above. Further, following this offering, a majority of the Partnership’s assets will consist of direct and indirect ownership interests as the general partner or managing member of the StepStone Funds we sponsor. We believe these interests in the StepStone Funds are not investment securities. The Partnership also will hold minority interests in certain operating subsidiaries that are consolidated on the Partnership’s financial statements as “variable interest entities.” See “Organizational Structure—Ownership of Our Business” and note 4 to the Partnership’s consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for additional information regarding our variable interest entities. The Partnership’s interests in these subsidiaries may be considered investment securities under section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act. However, the value of these subsidiaries is not large enough to cause the Partnership’s holdings in investment securities to exceed the 40% threshold under section 3(a)(1)(C). StepStone Group Inc.’s unconsolidated assets will consist primarily of Class A units of the Partnership and 100% of the interests in the General Partner. StepStone Group Inc. will be the sole managing member of the General Partner and, in such capacity, will indirectly operate and control all of the Partnership’s business and affairs. We do not believe StepStone Group Inc.’s managing member interest in the General Partner is an investment security. Therefore, we believe that less than 40% of StepStone Group Inc.’s total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis after this offering will comprise assets that could be considered investment securities. Accordingly, we do not believe StepStone Group Inc. is, or following this offering will be, an inadvertent investment company by virtue of the 40% test in section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act as described in the second bullet point above. In addition, we believe StepStone Group Inc. is not an investment company under section 3(b)(1) of the Investment Company Act because it is primarily engaged in a non-investment company business.

The Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder contain detailed parameters 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, impose limitations on the issuance of debt and equity securities, prohibit the issuance of stock options, and impose certain governance requirements. We intend to conduct our operations so that StepStone Group Inc. will not be deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act. However, if anything were to happen that would cause StepStone Group Inc. to be deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act, requirements imposed by the Investment Company Act, including limitations on our capital structure, ability to transact business with affiliates (including us) and ability to compensate key employees, could make it impractical for us to continue our business as currently conducted, impair the agreements and arrangements between and among the Partnership, the General Partner, us or our senior leadership team, or any combination thereof and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A change of control of our company, including the effect of a “Sunset,” could result in an assignment of our investment advisory agreements.

Under the Investment Advisers Act, each of the investment advisory agreements for the funds and other accounts we manage must provide that it may not be assigned without the consent of the particular fund or other client. An assignment may occur under the Investment Advisers Act if, among other things, the Partnership undergoes a change of control. After a “Sunset” becomes effective (as described in “Organizational Structure—Voting Rights of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock”), the Class B common stock will have one vote per share instead of five votes per share, and the Stockholders Agreement will expire, meaning that the Class B stockholders will no longer have the right to control the appointment of directors or to direct the vote on all matters that are submitted to our stockholders for a vote. If a third party acquired a sufficient number of shares to be able, alone or with others, to control the appointment of directors and other matters submitted to our stockholders for a vote, there could be deemed a change of control of the Partnership, and thus an assignment. If such an assignment occurs, we cannot be certain that the Partnership will be able to obtain the necessary consents from our funds and other clients, which could cause us to lose the management fees and performance fees we earn from such funds and other clients.

 

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Because members of our senior leadership team will hold their economic interest through other entities, conflicts of interest may arise between them and the holders of our Class A common stock or with us.

The Sunset Holders, who are members of our senior leadership team, will beneficially own 48.2% of the outstanding Partnership units upon completion of this offering and the Reorganization (or 46.8% if the underwriters exercise their option in this offering to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full). Because they hold their economic interest in the Partnership directly, the members of our senior leadership team may have interests that do not align with, or conflict with, those of the holders of Class A common stock or with us. For example, members of our senior leadership team will have different tax positions from Class A common stockholders, which could influence their decisions regarding whether and when to dispose of assets, whether and when to incur new or refinance existing indebtedness, and whether and when to terminate either Tax Receivable Agreement and accelerate the obligations thereunder. In addition, the structuring of future transactions and investments may take into consideration the partners’ tax considerations even where no similar benefit would accrue to us.

We rely on our equity ownership, governance rights and other contractual arrangements to control certain of our consolidated subsidiaries that are not wholly-owned, which may provide us less effective operational control than wholly owning such subsidiaries.

Certain of our consolidated subsidiaries are not wholly-owned by us. To the extent these subsidiaries are not wholly-owned by us, substantially all of the other owners are current StepStone professionals working for the related businesses. See “Organizational Structure—Ownership of Our Businesses.” We have relied, and expect to continue to rely, on a combination of our equity ownership, governance rights and other contractual arrangements to control operations of these businesses. However, these arrangements may not be as effective in providing us with control over these operations as would wholly owning these subsidiaries. For example, the other owners of these subsidiaries typically have contractual rights to be significantly represented on the board of directors or other governing body of the relevant subsidiary as well as the right to participate in certain decisions affecting the subsidiary, and may assert interests that are in conflict with the interests of StepStone with regard to significant decisions affecting these subsidiaries. As a result, the arrangements we use to control the subsidiaries that are not wholly-owned may not fully protect our interests. If control over these subsidiaries and their operations is exerted less effectively by StepStone, our ability to conduct our business and our results of operations may be adversely affected.

There may not be an active trading market for shares of our Class A common stock, which may cause our Class A common stock to trade at a discount from its initial offering price and make it difficult to sell the shares you purchase.

Prior to this offering, there has been no public trading market for shares of our Class A common stock. It is possible that, after this offering, an active trading market will not develop or continue, which would make it difficult for you to sell your shares of Class A common stock at an attractive price or at all. The initial public offering price per share of our Class A common stock will be determined by agreement among us and the representatives of the underwriters and may not be indicative of the price at which the shares of our Class A common stock will trade in the public market after this offering.

The disparity in the voting rights among the classes of our common stock and inability of the holders of our Class A common stock to influence decisions submitted to a vote of our stockholders may have an adverse effect on the price of our Class A common stock.

Holders of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock will vote together as a single class on almost all matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders. Shares of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock entitle the respective holders to identical non-economic rights, except that each share of our Class A common stock will entitle its holder to one vote on all matters to be voted on by stockholders generally, while each share of our Class B common stock will entitle its holder to five votes on all matters to be voted on by stockholders generally until a Sunset becomes effective. See “Organizational Structure—Voting Rights of the

 

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Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock.” After a Sunset becomes effective, each share of our Class B common stock will entitle its holder to one vote. Upon the closing of this offering, certain of the holders of our Class B common stock will agree to vote all of their shares in accordance with the instructions of the Class B Committee, and will therefore be able to exercise control over all matters requiring the approval of our stockholders, including the election of our directors and the approval of significant corporate transactions. See “Organizational Structure—Stockholders Agreement.” The difference in voting rights could adversely affect the value of our Class A common stock to the extent that investors view, or any potential future purchaser of our company views, the superior voting rights and implicit control of the Class B common stock to have value.

The dual class structure of our common stock may adversely affect the trading market for our Class A common stock.

Certain stock index providers, such as S&P Dow Jones, exclude companies with multiple classes of shares of common stock from being added to certain stock indices. In addition, several stockholder advisory firms and large institutional investors oppose the use of multiple class structures. As a result, the dual class structure of our common stock may prevent the inclusion of our Class A common stock in such indices, may cause stockholder advisory firms to publish negative commentary about our corporate governance practices or otherwise seek to cause us to change our capital structure and may result in large institutional investors not purchasing shares of our Class A common stock. Any exclusion from stock indices could result in a less active trading market for our Class A common stock. Any actions or publications by stockholder advisory firms or institutional investors critical of our corporate governance practices or capital structure could also adversely affect the value of our Class A common stock.

The historical and pro forma financial information in this prospectus may not permit you to assess our future performance, including our costs of operations.

The historical financial information in this prospectus does not reflect the added costs we expect to incur as a public company or the resulting changes that will occur in our capital structure and operations. In preparing our pro forma financial information, we have given effect to, among other items, the Reorganization described in “Organizational Structure” and a deduction and charge to earnings of estimated taxes based on an estimated tax rate (which may be different from our actual tax rate in the future). The estimates we used in our pro forma financial information may not be similar to our actual experience as a public company. For more information on our historical financial information and pro forma financial information, see “Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Financial Information and Other Data,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the historical consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Our share price may decline due to the large number of shares eligible for future sale and for exchange.

The market price of our Class A common stock could decline as a result of sales of a large number of shares of Class A common stock in the market after this offering or the perception that such sales could occur. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. After the consummation of this offering, we will have outstanding 26,612,500 shares of Class A common stock and 70,889,757 shares of Class A common stock that are authorized but unissued that would be issuable upon exchange of shares of our Class B common stock (in each case assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares). This number includes the shares of our Class A common stock we are selling in this offering, which may be resold immediately in the public market. Shares of Class A common stock issued in the Reorganization to the Direct StepStone Stockholders are “restricted securities” and their resale is subject to future registration or reliance on an exemption from registration. See “Shares Eligible for Future Sale.”

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after the date of this prospectus, except with the prior written consent of J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC. Subject to this agreement, we may issue and sell additional shares of Class A common stock in the future.

Our directors, executive officers and substantially all of our other pre-offering equity holders, which collectively will hold 81.5% of our Class A common stock that will be outstanding immediately after this offering (including securities immediately convertible into or redeemable, exchangeable or exercisable for shares of our Class A common stock), have agreed with the underwriters not to dispose of or hedge any of our common stock (including any shares acquired pursuant to our directed share program), subject to specified exceptions, during the period from the date of this prospectus continuing through the date 180 days after the date of this prospectus, except with the prior written consent of J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC. After the expiration of the 180-day lock-up period, the shares of Class A common stock issuable upon exchange of the Class B units that are held by Class B stockholders will be eligible for resale from time to time, subject to certain contractual, exchange timing and volume, and Securities Act restrictions. In addition, certain of our senior management, certain other senior employees and certain other of the Partnership’s unitholders have agreed with us to be subject to timing and volume limitations on their ability to exchange their Class B units, together with an equal number of shares of Class B common stock, for shares of Class A common stock. See “Organizational Structure—Exchange Agreement.”

We expect to enter into a Registration Rights Agreement with certain Class B stockholders. Under that agreement, after the expiration of the 180-day lock-up period, subject to certain limitations, these persons will have the ability to cause us to register the resale of shares of our Class A common stock that they acquire upon exchange of their Class B units of the Partnership.

We may pay dividends to our stockholders, but our ability to do so is subject to the discretion of our board of directors and may be limited by our holding company structure and applicable provisions of Delaware law.

After the consummation of this offering, we may pay cash dividends to our stockholders. Our board of directors may, in its discretion, decrease the level of dividends or discontinue the payment of dividends entirely. In addition, as a holding company, we will be dependent upon the ability of the Partnership to generate earnings and cash flows and distribute them to us so that we may pay our obligations and expenses (including our taxes and payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements) and pay dividends to our stockholders. Through our ownership of a 100% membership interest in the General Partner, we expect to cause the Partnership to make distributions to its partners, including us. However, the ability of the Partnership to make such distributions will be subject to its operating results, cash requirements and financial condition. Our ability to declare and pay dividends to our stockholders is also subject to Delaware law (which may limit the amount of funds available for dividends). If, as a consequence of these various limitations and restrictions, we are unable to generate sufficient distributions from our business, we may not be able to make, or may be required to reduce or eliminate, the payment of dividends on our Class A common stock.

The market price of our Class A common stock may be volatile, which could cause the value of your investment to decline.

Securities markets worldwide experience significant price and volume fluctuations. Market volatility, as well as general economic, market or political conditions, could reduce the market price of our Class A common stock in spite of our operating performance. In addition, our operating results could be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors, and in response, the market price of our Class A common stock could decrease significantly. You may be unable to resell your shares of our Class A common stock at or above the initial public offering price.

The following factors, in addition to other factors described in this “Risk Factors” section, may have a significant impact on the market price of our Class A common stock:

 

   

negative trends in global economic conditions or activity levels in our industry;

 

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changes in our relationship with our clients or in client needs or expectations, or trends in the markets in which we operate;

 

   

announcements concerning our competitors or our industry in general;

 

   

announcements of investigations or regulatory scrutiny of our operations or lawsuits filed against us;

 

   

our ability to implement our business strategy;

 

   

our ability to complete and integrate acquisitions;

 

   

quarterly or annual variations in our operating results compared to market expectations;

 

   

trading volume of our Class A common stock;

 

   

the failure of securities analysts to cover the Company or changes in analysts’ financial estimates;

 

   

economic, political, legal and regulatory factors unrelated to our performance;

 

   

changes in accounting principles;

 

   

the loss of any of our management or key personnel;

 

   

sales of our Class A common stock by us, our executive officers, directors or our stockholders in the future; and

 

   

overall fluctuations in the U.S. equity markets.

Anti-takeover provisions in our charter documents and under Delaware law could make an acquisition of us more difficult, limit attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management and may adversely affect the market price of our Class A common stock.

Provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and bylaws will include provisions that:

 

   

provide that vacancies on our board of directors shall be filled only by a majority of directors then in office, even though less than a quorum, or by a sole remaining director;

 

   

establish that our board of directors is divided into three classes, with each class serving three-year staggered terms, subject to a specified sunset;

 

   

provide that our directors can be removed (i) for cause only as long as our board of directors is classified and (ii) following such time as our board of directors is no longer classified, with or without cause, but only upon the affirmative vote of holders of at least 66 23% of the voting power of the outstanding shares of our capital stock entitled to vote generally in the election of directors;

 

   

provide that any action required or permitted to be taken by the stockholders must be effected at a duly called annual or special meeting of stockholders and may not be effected by any consent in writing in lieu of a meeting of such stockholders;

 

   

specify that special meetings of our stockholders can be called only by our board of directors or the chairman of our board of directors;

 

   

establish an advance notice procedure for stockholder proposals to be brought before an annual meeting, including proposed nominations of persons for election to our board of directors;

 

   

authorize our board of directors to issue, without further action by the stockholders, shares of undesignated preferred stock; and

 

   

reflect two classes of common stock, with Class B common stock having five votes per share and Class A common stock having one vote per share, until a Sunset becomes effective, as discussed above.

 

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These and other provisions may frustrate or prevent any attempts by our stockholders to replace or remove our current management by making it more difficult for stockholders to replace members of our board of directors, which is responsible for appointing the members of our management. In addition, we will be a Delaware corporation and governed by the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”). In general, Section 203 of the DGCL, an anti-takeover law, prohibits a publicly held Delaware corporation from engaging in a business combination, such as a merger, with a person or group owning 15% or more of the corporation’s voting stock, which person or group is considered an interested stockholder under the DGCL, for a period of three years following the date the person became an interested stockholder, unless (with certain exceptions) the business combination or the transaction in which the person became an interested stockholder is approved in a prescribed manner. We intend to elect in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation not to be subject to Section 203. However, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will contain provisions that have the same effect as Section 203, except that they will provide that the Sunset Holders, their affiliates and their respective successors (other than the Company or any of our subsidiaries), as well as their direct and indirect transferees, will not be deemed to be “interested stockholders,” regardless of the percentage of our voting stock owned by them, and accordingly will not be subject to such restrictions. See “Description of Capital Stock.”

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will designate the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the sole and exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, and the federal district courts as the exclusive forum for Securities Act claims, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain what such stockholders believe to be a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation will provide that, unless we select or consent to the selection of an alternative forum, all complaints asserting any internal corporate claims, which include claims in the right of our company (i) that are based upon a violation of a duty by a current or former director, officer, employee or stockholder in such capacity or (ii) as to which the DGCL confers jurisdiction upon the Court of Chancery, shall, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be exclusively brought in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware or, if such court does not have subject matter jurisdiction thereof, another state court or a federal court located within the State of Delaware. Furthermore, unless we select or consent to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America shall be the exclusive forum for the resolution of any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act. Our choice-of-forum provision will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act, and investors cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring an interest in any shares of our capital stock shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the forum provisions in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation. These choice-of-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that he, she or it believes to be favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage such lawsuits. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and board of directors.

You will experience immediate and substantial dilution as a result of this offering and may experience additional dilution in the future.

We expect the initial public offering price of our Class A common stock will be substantially higher than the pro forma net tangible book value per share of our Class A common stock, after giving effect to the exchange of all outstanding Class B units for shares of our Class A common stock as if such units were all immediately exchangeable. Therefore, investors purchasing shares of Class A common stock in this offering will pay a price per share that substantially exceeds our pro forma net tangible book value per share after this offering. As a result, investors will:

 

   

incur immediate dilution of $12.97 per share; and

 

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contribute the total amount invested to date to fund our company, but will own only approximately 18.5% of the shares of our Class A common stock outstanding, after giving effect to the exchange of all Class B units outstanding immediately after the Reorganization and this offering for shares of our Class A common stock as if such units were all immediately exchangeable. See “Dilution.”

Investors in this offering will experience further dilution upon the issuance of shares underlying awards made pursuant to any equity incentive plans, including the 2020 LTIP, and upon the vesting of Class B2 units. See “Organizational Structure—The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement—Classes of Partnership Units.”

If securities analysts do not publish research or reports about our business or if they publish negative evaluations of our Class A common stock, the price of our Class A common stock could decline.

The trading market for our Class A common stock will rely in part on the research and reports that industry or financial analysts publish about us or our business. We do not currently have and may never obtain research coverage by industry or financial analysts. If no or few analysts commence coverage of us, the trading price of our stock would likely decrease. Even if we do obtain analyst coverage, if one or more of the analysts covering our business downgrade their evaluations of our stock, the price of our Class A common stock could decline. If one or more of these analysts cease to cover our Class A common stock, we could lose visibility in the market for our stock, which in turn could cause our Class A common stock price to decline.

 

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ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE

On November 20, 2019, SSG was incorporated as a Delaware corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Partnership. Prior to this offering, SSG has had no business operations. Our business is currently conducted through the Partnership and its consolidated subsidiaries.

Historical Ownership Structure

The Partnership is owned by certain members of management, employees and institutional investors, each of whom owns Class A and/or Class A2 units. There are no Class B interests authorized or outstanding. Immediately after the SIRA Exchange and prior to the Reorganization described below, the partners of the Partnership consist of:

 

   

certain members of management and employees, holding aggregate Class A units representing a 66.6% economic interest on a fully-diluted basis and unvested Class A2 units representing a 3.0% economic interest on a fully-diluted basis;

 

   

institutional investors, holding aggregate Class A units representing a 19.6% economic interest on a fully-diluted basis; and

 

   

certain limited partners of the Partnership, whom we refer to as the Direct StepStone Stockholders, holding aggregate Class A units representing a 10.7% economic interest in the Partnership on a fully-diluted basis.

 

 

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The Reorganization

The following actions will be taken in connection with the closing of this offering:

 

   

SSG will amend and restate its certificate of incorporation to, among other things, provide for Class A common stock and Class B common stock. See “Description of Capital Stock.”

 

   

SSG will sell to the underwriters in this offering 17,500,000 shares of our Class A common stock (assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares).

 

   

We will amend and restate the limited partnership agreement of the Partnership (as amended and restated, the “StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement”) to, among other things, provide for Class A Units and Class B Units. See “—The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement.”

 

   

We will amend and restate the limited liability company agreement of the General Partner (as amended and restated, the “General Partner Operating Agreement”) to, among other things, appoint SSG as the sole managing member of the General Partner.

 

   

SSG will redeem the 100 shares of our common stock that are outstanding.

 

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SSG will use approximately $186.5 million of the net proceeds of this offering to acquire                 newly issued Class A units of the Partnership at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering. If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock, we would use the additional net proceeds to acquire additional newly issued Class A units of the Partnership.

 

   

SSG will use approximately $74.6 million of the net proceeds of this offering to purchase                 Class B units from certain of the Partnership’s unitholders, including certain members of our senior management, at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering (or $113.8 million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full). Such units will be immediately exchanged by the Partnership for an equivalent number of Class A units.

 

   

The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement will classify the interests acquired by SSG as Class A units and reclassify the interests held by the continuing partners of the Partnership as Class B units.

 

   

Certain of our pre-IPO institutional investors, which we refer to as the Direct StepStone Stockholders, hold their interests through Blocker Companies. SSG will form a new, first-tier merger subsidiary with respect to each Blocker Company. Contemporaneously with this offering, each merger subsidiary will merge with and into the respective Blocker Company, with the Blocker Company surviving. Immediately thereafter, each Blocker Company will merge with and into SSG, with SSG surviving. As a result of the Blocker Mergers, the 100% owners of the Blocker Companies will acquire an aggregate of 9,112,500 shares of newly issued Class A common stock and the Blocker Companies will cease to own any Partnership units.

 

   

We will issue to the remaining Class B unitholders one share of Class B common stock for each Class B unit that they own in exchange for their interests in the General Partner.

 

   

We will enter into an Exchange Agreement with the continuing partners of the Partnership pursuant to which they will be entitled to exchange Class B units for shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis or, at our election, for cash. When a Class B unit is exchanged for a share of our Class A common stock, a corresponding share of our Class B common stock will automatically be redeemed by us at par value and canceled. See “—Exchange Agreement.”

 

   

SSG will enter into an Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement with certain continuing partners of the Partnership and a Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement with the Direct StepStone Stockholders. The Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to certain continuing partners of the Partnership (not including SSG) of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of increases in tax basis (and utilization of certain other tax benefits) resulting from (i) SSG’s acquisition of such continuing partner’s Partnership units in connection with this offering and in future exchanges and (ii) any payments SSG makes under the Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement (including tax benefits related to imputed interest). The Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to the Direct StepStone Stockholders of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of (i) the unamortized portion of the increase in tax basis in the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership resulting from the prior acquisitions of interests in the Partnership by the Blocker Companies as well as the net operating losses, capital losses or other loss carrybacks and carryforwards of the Blocker Companies generated before the Blocker Mergers and (ii) tax benefits related to imputed interest. See “Related Party Transactions—Tax Receivable Agreements.”

 

   

We will enter into a Stockholders Agreement and a Registration Rights Agreement with certain large institutional Class A stockholders and certain Class B stockholders to provide for certain rights and restrictions after the offering. See “—Stockholders Agreement” and “—Registration Rights Agreement.”

 

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Our Class B Common Stock

For each partnership unit of the Partnership that is reclassified as a Class B unit in the Reorganization, we will issue to the Class B stockholder one corresponding share of our Class B common stock. Immediately following the Reorganization, we will have outstanding 68,203,831 shares of Class B common stock held of record by 60 stockholders. Each share of our Class B common stock will entitle its holder to five votes per share until a Sunset becomes effective. After a Sunset becomes effective, each share of Class B common stock will entitle its holder to one vote. See “—Voting Rights of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock.”

Because a Sunset may not take place for some time, it is expected that the Class B common stock will continue to entitle its holders to five votes per share, and the Class B stockholders will continue to exercise voting control over the Company, for the near future. The Class B stockholders will initially have 92.8% of the combined voting power of our common stock (or 91.8% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full). When a Class B unit is exchanged for a share of our Class A common stock, the corresponding share of our Class B common stock will automatically be redeemed by us at par value and canceled. We will not issue any further Class B units or shares of Class B common stock after the completion of the Reorganization, other than as described below.

Concurrently with the closing of this offering and the Reorganization, certain Class B stockholders will enter into a Stockholders Agreement pursuant to which they will agree to vote all shares of our voting stock, including the Class A common stock and Class B common stock, then held by them together on all matters submitted to our common stockholders for a vote in favor of the nominees for our Board of Directors proposed by the Class B Committee and otherwise in the manner directed by the Class B Committee. It is expected that the parties to the Stockholders Agreement will control approximately 73.5% of the combined voting power of our common stock immediately following this offering. Therefore, because holders of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock will vote together as a single class on almost all matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders, upon the closing of this offering the Class B Committee will be able to exercise control over all such matters requiring the approval of our stockholders, including the election of our directors and the approval of significant corporate transactions. See “—Stockholders Agreement.”

Our current partners believe that the contributions of the current ownership group and management team have been critical in the Partnership’s growth to date. We have a history of employee equity participation and believe that this practice has been instrumental in attracting and retaining a highly experienced team and will continue to be an important factor in maximizing long-term stockholder value following this offering. We believe that ensuring that our key decision-makers will continue to guide the direction of the Partnership will result in a high degree of alignment with our stockholders and that issuing to our continuing ownership group the Class B common stock with five votes per share will help maintain this continuity.

Our Class A Common Stock

We expect 26,612,500 shares of our Class A common stock to be outstanding after this offering (or 29,237,500 shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full), including:

 

   

17,500,000 shares to be sold pursuant to this offering (or 20,125,000 shares if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full), including shares reserved for our directed share program; and

 

   

9,112,500 shares to be issued to the Direct StepStone Stockholders in the Reorganization upon exchange of a corresponding number of their Partnership units.

The Class A common stock outstanding will represent 100% of the rights of the holders of all classes of our outstanding common stock to share in distributions from StepStone Group Inc., except for the right of Class B stockholders to receive the par value of the Class B common stock upon our liquidation, dissolution or winding up or an exchange of such Class B units. The 100 shares of common stock issued to the Partnership in connection with our initial capitalization will be redeemed by us concurrently with the consummation of this offering.

 

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Registration Rights

Pursuant to a Registration Rights Agreement that we will enter into with certain of our large institutional Class A stockholders and certain Class B stockholders, we will grant these holders the right to require us to file registration statements in order to register the resales of the shares of our Class A common stock that are issuable upon exchange of their Class B units. See “—Registration Rights Agreement” for a description of the timing and manner of sale limitations on resales of these shares.

Post-Offering Holding Company Structure

This offering is being conducted through what is commonly referred to as an “Up-C” structure, which is often used by partnerships and limited liability companies undertaking an initial public offering. The Up-C approach provides the existing partners with the tax advantage of continuing to own interests in a pass-through structure and provides potential future tax benefits for the public company and economic benefits for the existing partners when they ultimately exchange their pass-through interests for shares of Class A common stock. See “—Tax Receivable Agreements.”

SSG will be a holding company and, following this offering, its only business will be to act as the managing member of the General Partner, and its only material assets will be Class A units representing approximately 28.1% of the Partnership units (or 30.8% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full) and 100% of the interests in the General Partner. In its capacity as the sole managing member of the General Partner, SSG will indirectly operate and control all of the Partnership’s business and affairs. We will consolidate the financial results of the Partnership and will report non-controlling interests (“NCI”) related to the interests held by the continuing partners of the Partnership in our consolidated financial statements. The partnership interests of the Partnership owned by us will be classified as Class A units and the remaining approximately 71.9% of the Partnership units, which will continue to be held by certain of the current partners of the Partnership, will be classified as Class B/B2 units.

Certain of the Partnership’s unitholders, including certain members of our senior management, will sell 5,000,000 Class B units to the Partnership at a per-unit price equal to the price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering. Such units will be immediately exchanged by the Partnership for an equivalent number of Class A units and issued to SSG. The Direct StepStone Stockholders will exchange all or a portion of their Class B units for 9,112,500 shares of Class A common stock.

Pursuant to the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement and an Exchange Agreement that SSG will enter into with partners holding Class B units of the Partnership after this offering, each Class B unit will be exchangeable for one share of SSG’s Class A common stock or, at SSG’s election, for cash, subject to certain restrictions specified in the Exchange Agreement. When a Class B unit is surrendered for exchange, it will not be available for reissuance. When a Class B unit is exchanged for a share of SSG’s Class A common stock, a corresponding share of SSG’s Class B common stock will automatically be redeemed by SSG at par value and canceled.

 

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The diagram below illustrates our structure and anticipated ownership immediately after the consummation of the SIRA Exchange, the Reorganization and this offering (assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares) and does not reflect the issuances of awards pursuant to the 2020 Long-Term Incentive Plan.

 

 

LOGO

Amounts may not sum to total due to rounding.

 

(1)

At the closing of this offering, the partners of the Partnership other than SSG will be:

 

   

the General Partner, which will hold a 100% general partner interest and no economic interest;

 

   

members of management, employee owners and outside investors, all of whom owned Class A units prior to the completion of this offering, and all of whom will own Class B units of the Partnership and Class B common stock of StepStone Group Inc. after this offering (68,203,831 Class B units and an equivalent number of shares of Class B common stock); and

 

   

members of management and employee owners, all of whom owned Class A2 units prior to the completion of this offering, and all of whom will own Class B2 units of the Partnership after this offering (2,685,926 Class B2 units and any additional Class B units issuable pursuant to anti-dilution rights in connection with the vesting of Class B2 units).

 

(2)

Each share of Class A common stock will be entitled to one vote and will vote together with the Class B common stock as a single class, except as set forth in SSG’s amended and restated certificate of incorporation or as required by law.

 

(3)

Each share of Class B common stock is entitled to five votes prior to a Sunset. See “Organizational Structure—Voting Rights of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock.” After a Sunset becomes effective, each share of our Class B common stock will then entitle its holder to one vote. The economic rights of our Class B common stock are limited to the right to be redeemed at par value.

 

(4)

Certain of our pre-IPO institutional investors, which we refer to as the Direct StepStone Stockholders, hold their interests through Blocker Companies. SSG will form a new, first-tier merger subsidiary with respect to each Blocker Company. Contemporaneously with this offering, each merger subsidiary will merge with and into the respective Blocker Company, with the Blocker Company surviving. Immediately thereafter, each Blocker Company will merge with and into SSG, with SSG surviving. As a result of the Blocker Mergers, the 100% owners of the Blocker Companies will acquire an aggregate of 9,112,500 shares of newly issued Class A common stock and the Blocker Companies will cease to own any Partnership units.

 

(5)

SSG will own all of the Class A units of the Partnership after the Reorganization, which upon the completion of this offering will represent the right to receive approximately 28.1% of the distributions made by the Partnership. While this interest represents a minority of economic interests in the Partnership, SSG will act as the sole manager of the General Partner of the Partnership and, as a result, will indirectly operate and control all of the Partnership’s business and affairs and will be able to consolidate its financial results into StepStone Group Inc.’s financial statements.

 

(6)

The Class B Stockholders will collectively hold all Class B common stock of SSG outstanding after this offering. They also will collectively hold all Class B units of the Partnership, which upon the completion of this offering will represent the right to receive approximately 71.9% of the distributions made by the Partnership. The Class B stockholders will have no voting rights in the Partnership on account of the Class B units, except for the right to approve amendments to the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement that adversely affect their rights as holders of Class B units. Class B units may be exchanged for shares of our Class A common stock or, at our election, for cash, subject to certain restrictions pursuant to the Exchange Agreement described in “Organizational Structure—Exchange Agreement.” After a Class B unit is surrendered for exchange, it will not be available for reissuance. When a Class B unit is exchanged for a share of SSG’s Class A common stock, a corresponding share of SSG’s Class B common stock will automatically be redeemed by SSG at par value and canceled. Certain Class B unitholders will also hold Class B2 units, which, upon vesting, will be converted into Class B units. Prior to vesting, Class B2 units will not have the right to receive any distributions from the Partnership, other than tax-related distributions.

 

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Subject to the availability of net cash flow at the Partnership level, SSG intends to cause the Partnership to distribute to SSG and the other limited partners of the Partnership pro rata cash distributions for the purposes of funding tax obligations in respect of the taxable income and net capital gain that is allocated to the partners of the Partnership and SSG’s obligations to make payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements. In addition, the Partnership will reimburse SSG for corporate and other overhead expenses.

Assuming the Partnership makes distributions to its partners in any given year, the determination to pay dividends, if any, to our Class A stockholders out of the portion, if any, of such distributions remaining after our payment of taxes, Tax Receivable Agreement payments and expenses (any such portion, an “excess distribution”) will be made by our board of directors. Because our board of directors may determine to pay or not pay dividends to our Class A stockholders, our Class A stockholders may not necessarily receive dividend distributions relating to our excess distributions, even if the Partnership makes such distributions to us.

Ownership of Our Businesses

Certain of our consolidated subsidiaries are not wholly-owned by us. To the extent these subsidiaries are not wholly-owned, substantially all of the other owners are current StepStone professionals working for the related businesses. We believe this ownership structure has benefited us by aligning our interests with the interests of our employees. We use, and expect to continue to use, a combination of our equity ownership, governance rights and other contractual arrangements to control operations of these businesses. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—We rely on our equity ownership, governance rights and other contractual arrangements to control certain of our consolidated subsidiaries that are not wholly-owned, which may provide us less effective operational control than wholly owning such subsidiaries.” SSG consolidates all entities that it controls due to a majority voting interest or because it is the primary beneficiary of a variable interest entity. See note 4 to the Partnership’s consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for information on variable interest entities. The diagram below summarizes the ownership structure of the Partnership’s consolidated operations on a fully diluted basis.

 

 

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(1) 

Prior to the consummation of this offering, the Partnership expects to issue new Class A partnership interests to certain StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary in exchange for their partnership interests in the Infrastructure subsidiary, which is expected to increase the interest of the Partnership in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 49% and decrease the interest of the StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 51%. We refer to this as the “SIRA Exchange.”

 

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The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement

As a result of the Reorganization, SSG will indirectly control the business through the Partnership and its consolidated subsidiaries. The operations of the Partnership, and the rights and obligations of its partners, are set forth in the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement, a form of which has been filed as an exhibit to the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. The following is a description of certain terms of the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement.

Classes of Partnership Units

The Partnership will issue Class A units, which will be issued only to SSG, and Class B units and Class B2 units. In connection with the closing of this offering, partners holding Class A units and Class A2 units prior to the closing (other than the Direct StepStone Stockholders) will have such units reclassified into Class B units and Class B2 units. SSG does not intend to cause the Partnership to issue additional Class B units (and consequently, SSG does not intend to issue additional shares of Class B common stock) in the future, other than as described below.

The Class B2 units outstanding immediately after the closing of this offering will be held by 13 individuals. The Class B2 units will vest periodically through 2024, so long as the applicable Class B2 unitholder remains employed by the Partnership. Upon the final vesting date of all such Class B2 units, such units will automatically convert into Class B units and unitholders will be entitled to purchase from SSG one share of Class B common stock for each Class B unit at its par value. The Partnership has agreed that in connection with the vesting of Class B2 units, the Partnership also will issue additional Class B units (and related Class B common stock) to certain pre-IPO stockholders in connection with anti-dilution rights granted to them. Such rights may result in the issuance of additional Class B units up to approximately 16.8% of the Class B2 units that vest.

Economic Rights of Partners

Class A units and Class B units will have the same economic rights per unit. After the closing of this offering, the holders of SSG’s Class A common stock (indirectly through SSG) and the holders of Class B units of the Partnership will hold approximately 28.1% and 71.9%, respectively, of the economic interests in SSG’s business (or 30.8% and 69.2%, respectively, if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full).

Net profits and net losses of the Partnership will generally be allocated on a pro rata basis in accordance with the number of units held by such holder; however, under applicable tax rules, the Partnership will be required to allocate taxable income disproportionately to its partners in certain circumstances. The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement will provide for quarterly cash distributions, which we refer to as “tax distributions,” to the holders of the units generally equal to the taxable income allocated to each holder of units (with certain adjustments) multiplied by an assumed tax rate. It is intended that tax distributions by the Partnership will be made to each of its partners in an amount to enable each partner to pay all applicable taxes on taxable income allocable to such partner. The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement will generally require tax distributions to be pro rata based on the ownership of Partnership units, however, if the amount of tax distributions to be made exceeds the amount of funds available for distribution, SSG shall receive a tax distribution calculated using the corporate rate before the other partners receive any distribution, and the balance, if any, of funds available for distribution shall be distributed to the other partners pro rata in accordance with their assumed tax liabilities (also using the corporate tax rate), and then to all partners (including SSG) pro rata until each partner receives the full amount of its tax distribution using the individual tax rate. For a more complete overview of the assumed tax rate calculation, see “—Certain Tax Consequences to SSG.” In addition, the Partnership will make non-pro rata payments to reimburse SSG for corporate and other overhead expenses (which payments from the Partnership will not be treated as distributions under the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement). However, the Partnership may not make distributions or payments to its partners if doing so would violate any applicable law or result in the Partnership or any of its subsidiaries being in default under any material agreement governing indebtedness (which we do not expect to be the case upon the closing of this offering and the Reorganization).

 

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Voting Rights of Partners

After the closing of this offering, SSG will act as the managing member of the General Partner. In its capacity as the sole managing member of the General Partner, SSG will indirectly control the Partnership’s business and affairs. The Partnership will issue Class A units, which will only be issued to SSG, and Class B units and Class B2 units. Class B unitholders will have no voting rights in the Partnership, except for the right to approve amendments to the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement that adversely affect their rights as Class B unitholders.

Coordination of StepStone Group Inc. and the Partnership

At any time SSG issues a share of its Class A common stock for cash, the net proceeds received by SSG will be promptly transferred to the Partnership, and the Partnership will issue to SSG a Class A unit. If at any time SSG issues a share of its Class A common stock pursuant to our equity plan, SSG will contribute to the Partnership all of the proceeds that it receives (if any) and the Partnership will issue to SSG an equal number of its Class A units, having the same restrictions, if any, as are attached to the shares of Class A common stock issued under the plan. If at any time SSG issues a share of its Class A common stock upon an exchange of a Class B unit, described below under “—Exchange Rights,” SSG will contribute the exchanged unit to the Partnership and the Partnership will issue to SSG a Class A unit. In the event that SSG issues other classes or series of its equity securities, the Partnership will issue to SSG an equal amount of equity securities of the Partnership with designations, preferences and other rights and terms that are substantially the same as SSG’s newly issued equity securities. Conversely, if SSG retires any shares of its Class A common stock (or its equity securities of other classes or series) for cash, the Partnership will, immediately prior to such retirement, redeem an equal number of Class A units (or its equity securities of the corresponding classes or series) held by SSG, upon the same terms and for the same price, as the shares of our Class A common stock (or our equity securities of such other classes or series) are retired. In addition, Partnership units, as well as SSG’s common stock, will be subject to equivalent stock splits, dividends, reclassifications and other subdivisions.

Issuances and Transfer of Partnership Units

Class A units will be issued only to SSG and are non-transferable. Class B units will be issued only in connection with the Reorganization as described herein or to give effect to changes in SSG’s common stock as described above. Class B units may not be transferred, except with SSG’s consent or to a permitted transferee, subject to such conditions as SSG may specify. In addition, Class B unitholders may not transfer any Class B units to any person unless he, she or it transfers an equal number of shares of SSG’s Class B common stock to the same transferee.

Under the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement, SSG can require the holders of Class B units to sell all of their interests in the Partnership in the event of certain acquisitions of the Partnership and, in some circumstances, those holders may require SSG to include some or all of those interests in such a transaction.

Certain Tax Consequences to SSG

The holders of Partnership units, including SSG, generally will incur U.S. federal, state and local income taxes on their proportionate share of any net taxable income of the Partnership. Net income and net losses of the Partnership generally will be allocated to its partners pro rata in proportion to their respective partnership units, though certain non-pro rata adjustments will be made to reflect depreciation, amortization and other allocations. In accordance with the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement, we intend to cause the Partnership to make distributions to each of its partners, including SSG, in an amount intended to enable each partner to pay all applicable taxes on taxable income allocable to such partner, and to make non-pro rata payments to SSG to reimburse it for corporate and other overhead expenses (which payments from the Partnership will not be treated as distributions under the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement). If the amount of tax distributions to be made exceeds the amount of funds available for distribution, SSG shall receive a tax distribution calculated using the corporate rate before the other partners receive any distribution, and the balance, if any, of funds available for

 

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distribution shall be distributed first to the other partners pro rata in accordance with their assumed tax liabilities (also using the corporate tax rate), and then to all partners (including SSG) pro rata until each partner receives the full amount of its tax distribution using the individual tax rate. Generally, these tax distributions will be computed based on our estimate of the net taxable income of the Partnership allocable per unit (based on the partner which is allocated the largest amount of taxable income on a per unit basis) multiplied by an assumed tax rate equal to the highest combined U.S. federal and applicable state and local tax rate applicable to any natural person residing in, or corporation doing business in, New York City or San Francisco, California that is taxable on that income (taking into account the deductibility of state and local taxes for U.S. federal income tax purposes and certain other assumptions). The StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement provides that the Partnership may elect to apply an allocation method with respect to certain Partnership investment assets that are held at the time of the closing of this offering that is expected to result in the future, solely for tax purposes, in certain items of loss being specially allocated to SSG and corresponding items of gain being specially allocated to the other partners of the Partnership. In conjunction therewith, the Tax Receivable Agreements provide that SSG will pay to the Direct StepStone Stockholders and continuing partners in the Partnership 85% of the net cash tax savings to SSG attributable to those tax benefits.

The Partnership and certain of its direct or indirect subsidiaries that are treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes (other than partnerships that we cannot cause to make or that customarily do not make Section 754 elections) will have in effect an election under Section 754 of the Code for the taxable year of the offering and each taxable year in which an exchange of Partnership units for shares of our Class A common stock occurs. As a result of this election, the exchanges of Partnership units for shares of our Class A common stock, are expected to result in increases in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership, which will be allocated to SSG and are expected to increase the tax depreciation and amortization deductions available to SSG and decrease gains, or increase losses, on a sale or other taxable disposition, if any, of such assets and therefore may reduce the amount of tax that SSG would otherwise be required to pay.

Voting Rights of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock

Except as provided in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or by applicable law, holders of Class A common stock and Class B common stock vote together as a single class. Each share of our Class A common stock will entitle its holder to one vote per share. Each share of our Class B common stock will entitle its holder to five votes until a Sunset becomes effective. After a Sunset becomes effective, each share of Class B common stock will then entitle its holder to one vote.

A “Sunset” is triggered upon the earliest to occur of the following: (i) Monte Brem, Scott Hart, Jason Ment, Jose Fernandez, Johnny Randel, Michael McCabe, Mark Maruszewski, Thomas Keck, Thomas Bradley, David Jeffrey and Darren Friedman (including their respective family trusts and any other permitted transferees, the “Sunset Holders”) collectively cease to maintain direct or indirect beneficial ownership of at least 10% of the outstanding shares of Class A common stock (determined assuming all outstanding Class B units have been exchanged for Class A common stock); (ii) the Sunset Holders cease collectively to maintain direct or indirect beneficial ownership of an aggregate of at least 25% of the aggregate voting power of our outstanding Class A common stock and Class B common stock, before giving effect to a Sunset; and (iii) the fifth anniversary of the completion of the offering to which this prospectus relates. In the case of a Sunset triggered by an event described in clause (i) or (ii) above, a Sunset triggered during the first two fiscal quarters of any fiscal year will become effective at the end of that fiscal year, and a Sunset triggered during the third or fourth fiscal quarters of any fiscal year will become effective at the end of the following fiscal year.

As a result, certain of the Class B stockholders will, by virtue of their voting control of us and the Stockholders Agreement described below, continue to control us for up to five years.

Immediately after this offering, our Class B stockholders will collectively hold approximately 92.8% of the combined voting power of our common stock (or 91.8% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase

 

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additional shares in full) and the Sunset Holders will collectively hold approximately 62.1% of the combined voting power of our common stock (or 62.2% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full). When a Class B stockholder exchanges Class B units for the corresponding number of shares of our Class A common stock or, at our option, for cash, it will result in the redemption and cancellation of the corresponding number of shares of our Class B common stock in exchange for a cash payment of the par value of such shares and, therefore, will decrease the aggregate voting power of our Class B stockholders.

Stockholders Agreement

Concurrently with the closing of this offering and the Reorganization, certain of the Class B stockholders will enter into a Stockholders Agreement with respect to all shares of voting stock held by them. Pursuant to the Stockholders Agreement, these Class B stockholders will agree to vote all their shares of voting stock, including Class A common stock and Class B common stock, together and in accordance with the instructions of the Class B Committee (as described below) on any matter submitted to our common stockholders for a vote. It is expected that the parties to the Stockholders Agreement will control approximately 73.5% of the combined voting power of our common stock immediately following this offering.

The Stockholders Agreement provides for the establishment of a “Class B Committee” selected from time to time by the parties to that agreement. We expect the members of the Class B Committee initially will be Monte Brem, Scott Hart, Jason Ment, Jose Fernandez, Johnny Randel, Michael McCabe, Mark Maruszewski, Thomas Keck, Thomas Bradley, David Jeffrey and Darren Friedman.

Under the Stockholders Agreement, those Class B stockholders will agree to take all necessary action, including casting all votes such partners are entitled to cast at any annual or special meeting of stockholders, so as to ensure that the composition of our board of directors and its committees complies with the provisions of the Stockholders Agreement related to the composition of our board of directors, which are discussed under “Management—Composition of the Board of Directors after this Offering.”

Following consummation of the offering (assuming the exercise in full of the underwriter’s option to purchase additional shares) the Class B Committee will beneficially own approximately 62.2% of the aggregate voting power of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock, and the parties to the Stockholders Agreement inclusive of the Class B Committee collectively will hold approximately 73.9% of the aggregate voting power of our Class A common stock and Class B common stock. The parties to the Stockholders Agreement have agreed to vote their voting stock, including their Class A common stock and Class B common stock, as directed by the Class B Committee. As a result of these arrangements, the Class B Committee will control the outcome of any such matters that are submitted to our stockholders for up to five years.

Exchange Agreement

Concurrently with the closing of this offering and the Reorganization, we expect to enter into an Exchange Agreement with the direct partners of the Partnership that will entitle those partners (and certain permitted transferees thereof) to exchange their Class B units, together with an equal number of shares of Class B common stock, for shares of Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis or, at our election, for cash.

The Exchange Agreement will permit the Class B stockholders to exercise their exchange rights subject to certain timing and other conditions. In particular, exchanges by our senior management, certain other senior employees and certain other of the Partnership’s unitholders will be subject to timing and volume limitations as follows: no exchanges will be permitted until the first anniversary of the closing date of this offering, and then exchanges may not exceed one-third of their original holdings prior to the second anniversary of the closing and two-thirds of their original holdings prior to the third anniversary. Under the Exchange Agreement, our board of directors may waive these limitations in its discretion. After the third anniversary of the closing date, these limitations expire. These limitations will not apply to exchanges by our other employees who own Class B units or holders who may sell freely under Rule 144, subject to compliance with lock-up agreements entered into in connection with this offering and blackout periods imposed by us.

 

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In addition, the Exchange Agreement will provide that an owner will not have the right to exchange Class B units if we determine that such exchange would be prohibited by law or regulation or would violate other agreements with the Company, the Partnership or any of their subsidiaries to which the Partnership unitholder is subject. We intend to impose additional restrictions on exchanges that we determine to be necessary or advisable so that the Partnership is not treated as a “publicly traded partnership” for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

The Exchange Agreement also provides for mandatory exchanges under certain circumstances set forth in the StepStone Limited Partnership Agreement, including upon any transfer of partnership units to a person other than in a qualified transfer (as defined therein) and upon failure to comply with or material breach of the Stockholders Agreement.

Any beneficial holder exchanging Class B units must ensure that the applicable corresponding number of shares of Class B common stock are delivered to us for redemption at par value and cancellation as a condition of exercising its right to exchange Class B units for shares of our Class A common stock or, at our election, for cash. When a Class B unit is surrendered for exchange, it will not be available for reissuance.

Registration Rights Agreement

Concurrently with the closing of this offering and the Reorganization, we intend to enter into a Registration Rights Agreement with certain large institutional Class A stockholders and certain Class B stockholders. This agreement will provide these holders with certain registration rights whereby, at any time following the lockup restrictions described in this prospectus, they will have the right to require us to register under the Securities Act the shares of Class A common stock issuable upon exchange of Class B units. The Registration Rights Agreement will also provide for piggyback registration rights for the holders party thereto, subject to certain conditions and exceptions.

In August 2019, the Partnership entered into a Registration Rights Agreement with certain of its limited partners. The registration obligations under such agreement will terminate upon the closing of this offering.

Tax Receivable Agreements

SSG will enter into an Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement with certain continuing partners of the Partnership and a Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement with the Direct StepStone Stockholders. The Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to certain continuing partners of the Partnership (not including SSG) of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of increases in tax basis (and utilization of certain other tax benefits) resulting from (i) SSG’s acquisition of such continuing partner’s Partnership units in connection with this offering and in future exchanges and (ii) any payments SSG makes under the Tax Receivable Agreement (including tax benefits related to imputed interest). The Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to the Direct StepStone Stockholders of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of (i) the unamortized portion of the increase in tax basis in the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership resulting from the prior acquisitions of interests in the Partnership by the Blocker Companies as well as the net operating losses, capital losses or other loss carrybacks and carryforwards of the Blocker Companies generated before the Blocker Mergers and (ii) tax benefits related to imputed interest. SSG will retain the benefit of the remaining 15% of these net cash tax savings under both Tax Receivable Agreements. See “Related Party Transactions—Tax Receivable Agreements.”

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We estimate that our net proceeds from this offering, based on an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share of Class A common stock (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus), after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions but before deducting expenses of this offering and the Reorganization payable by us, will be approximately $261.1 million, or approximately $300.3 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock.

Each $1.00 increase or decrease in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share of Class A common stock would increase or decrease the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $16.3 million, assuming that the number of shares of Class A common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions but before deducting expenses of this offering and the Reorganization payable by us. Similarly, each increase or decrease of one million in the number of shares of Class A common stock offered by us would increase or decrease the net proceeds to us from this offering by approximately $14.9 million, assuming no change in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions but before deducting expenses of this offering and the Reorganization payable by us.

We intend to use $186.5 million of the net proceeds from this offering to purchase newly issued Partnership units, at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering.

We intend to use approximately $74.6 million, or approximately $113.8 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock, of the net proceeds from this offering to purchase Class B units from certain of the Partnership’s unitholders, including certain members of our senior management, at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering. Accordingly, we will not retain any of this portion of the proceeds.

We intend to cause the Partnership to use approximately $147.3 million of the remaining net proceeds to repay in full the indebtedness outstanding, including accrued interest, under our Term Loan B, which is scheduled to mature in March 2025 and bears an interest rate of approximately 5.0% as of June 30, 2020, and terminate such facility. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Existing Credit Agreement” for a description of the Term Loan B.

Additionally, we intend to cause the Partnership to use approximately $6.0 million of the remaining net proceeds to pay the expenses incurred by us in connection with this offering and the Reorganization.

We intend to cause the Partnership to use any remaining net proceeds to facilitate the growth of our existing businesses, to expand into new businesses that are complementary to our existing businesses and for other general corporate purposes.

 

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DIVIDEND POLICY

Historically, the Partnership has had a policy of distributing an amount sufficient to pay the income tax liabilities of all of the equity partners of the Partnership. We intend to make an ordinary course pre-offering distribution to the limited partners of the Partnership in an amount equal to approximately $25.2 million.

Following this offering and subject to funds being legally available, we intend to cause the Partnership to make distributions to each of its partners, including SSG, in an amount intended to enable each partner to pay all applicable taxes on taxable income allocable to such partner and to allow SSG to make payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements, and non-pro rata payments to SSG to reimburse it for corporate and other overhead expenses. If the amount of tax distributions to be made exceeds the amount of funds available for distribution, SSG shall receive the full amount of its tax distribution before the other partners receive any distribution and the balance, if any, of funds available for distribution shall be distributed to the other partners pro rata in accordance with their assumed tax liabilities. The declaration and payment of any other dividends by StepStone Group Inc. will generally be at the sole discretion of its board of directors, which may change our dividend policy at any time. Holders of our Class B common stock will not be entitled to dividends distributed by SSG, but will share in the distributions made by the Partnership on a pro rata basis. In connection with deciding whether to pay any dividend to our Class A stockholders, the board of directors will take into account

 

   

general economic and business conditions;

 

   

our financial condition and operating results;

 

   

our available cash and current and anticipated cash needs;

 

   

our capital requirements;

 

   

contractual, legal, tax and regulatory restrictions and implications on the payment of dividends by us to our stockholders or by our subsidiaries (including the Partnership) to us; and

 

   

such other factors as our board of directors may deem relevant.

To the extent that the tax distributions SSG receives exceed the amounts SSG actually requires to pay taxes and other expenses and make payments under the Tax Receivable Agreements (because of the lower tax rate applicable to SSG than the assumed tax rate on which such distributions are based or because a disproportionate share of the taxable income of the Partnership may be required to be allocated to partners in the Partnership other than SSG), our board of directors, in its sole discretion, will make any determination from time to time with respect to the use of any such excess cash so accumulated, including potentially causing SSG to contribute such excess cash (net of any operating expenses) to the Partnership. Concurrently with any potential contribution of such excess cash, in order to maintain the intended economic relationship between the shares of Class A common stock and the Partnership units after accounting for such contribution, the Partnership and SSG, as applicable, may undertake ameliorative actions, which may include reverse splits, reclassifications, combinations, subdivisions or adjustments of outstanding Partnership units and corresponding shares of Class A common stock, as well as corresponding adjustments to the shares of Class B common stock. To the extent that SSG contributes such excess cash to the Partnership (and undertakes such ameliorative actions), a holder of Class A common stock would not receive distributions in cash and would instead benefit through an increase in the indirect ownership interest in the Partnership represented by such holder’s Class A common stock. To the extent that SSG does not distribute such excess cash as dividends on the Class A common stock or otherwise undertake such ameliorative actions and instead, for example, holds such cash balances, the limited partners of the Partnership (not including SSG) may benefit from any value attributable to such cash balances as a result of their ownership of Class A common stock following an exchange of their Class B units for shares of the Class A common stock, notwithstanding that such limited partners may previously have participated as holders of Class B units in distributions by the Partnership that resulted in such excess cash balances at SSG.

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table sets forth the cash and capitalization as of June 30, 2020 of StepStone Group LP on a historical basis and StepStone Group Inc. on a pro forma basis to give effect to the SIRA Exchange, the Reorganization, the issuance and sale of shares of Class A common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, the midpoint of the price range listed on the cover page of this prospectus, after (i) deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and (ii) the application of the proceeds from this offering, as described under “Use of Proceeds,” and the funding of a pre-offering distribution to limited partners of the Partnership in an amount of approximately $25.2 million.

You should read this information together with our unaudited and audited financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus and the information set forth under the headings “Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Financial Information and Other Data,” “Selected Consolidated Financial and Other Data” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

 

     As of June 30, 2020  

(in thousands, except share amounts)

   Historical
StepStone Group
LP
     Pro Forma
StepStone
Group
Inc.
 

Cash

   $ 90,711      $ 104,712  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total debt

   $ 142,967      $ —    

Total equity:

     

Partners’ capital

   $ 134,907      $ —    

Class A common stock (no shares authorized, issued and outstanding, actual; 650 million shares authorized, 27 million shares issued and outstanding, pro forma)

     —          27  

Class B common stock (no shares authorized, issued and outstanding, actual; 125 million shares authorized, 68 million shares issued and outstanding, pro forma)

     —          68  

Additional paid-in capital

     —          78,612  

Accumulated other comprehensive income

     306        306  

Accumulated deficit

     —          (3,658

Non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

     20,848        20,544  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total partners’ capital / stockholders’ equity attributable to StepStone Group Inc.

   $ 156,061      $ 95,899  

Non-controlling interests(1)

     —          206,620  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total capitalization

   $ 299,028      $ 302,519  
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

On a pro forma basis, includes the Class B units not owned by us, which represents 71.9% of the Partnership’s outstanding common equity. The continuing limited partners of the Partnership will hold the non-controlling interests in the Partnership. StepStone Group Inc. will initially hold 28.1% of the economic interests in the Partnership and the continuing limited partners of the Partnership will hold 71.9% of the economic interests in the Partnership.

The above table does not include:

 

   

2,625,000 shares of Class A common stock issuable upon exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares;

 

   

5,000,000 shares of Class A common stock issuable under the 2020 LTIP, including:

 

   

2,502,640 shares of Class A common stock underlying restricted stock units or other awards to be issued to certain employees pursuant to the 2020 LTIP immediately after the closing of this offering; and

 

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2,497,360 additional shares of Class A common stock to be reserved for future issuance of awards under the 2020 LTIP;

 

   

68,203,831 shares of Class A common stock reserved for issuance upon exchange of the Class B units (and redemption of corresponding shares of Class B common stock) that will be outstanding immediately after this offering; and

 

   

2,685,926 shares of Class A common stock issuable upon the exchange of Class B2 units once such units vest (and redemption of corresponding shares of Class B common stock) and any additional Class B units issuable pursuant to anti-dilution rights in connection with the vesting of Class B2 units.

 

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DILUTION

If you invest in our Class A common stock, your interest will be diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per share of our Class A common stock and the pro forma net tangible book value per share of our Class A common stock after this offering. Dilution results from the fact that the per share offering price of the Class A common stock is substantially in excess of the book value per share attributable to the existing equity holders.

Our pro forma net tangible book value as of June 30, 2020 was approximately $107.2 million, or $1.13 per share of our Class A common stock. Pro forma net tangible book value represents the amount of total tangible assets less total liabilities, and pro forma net tangible book value per share represents pro forma net tangible book value divided by the number of shares of Class A common stock outstanding, after giving effect to the SIRA Exchange and the Reorganization and assuming that all of the Class B unitholders exchanged their Class B units outstanding immediately following the completion of the Reorganization and this offering for newly issued shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis as if such units were immediately exchangeable.

 

(in thousands)

      

Pro forma assets

   $ 591,120  

Pro forma liabilities

     288,601  
  

 

 

 

Pro forma book value

   $ 302,519  

Less:

  

Goodwill

     6,792  

Intangible assets

     7,995  
  

 

 

 

Pro forma net tangible book value after this offering

   $ 287,732  

Less:

  

Proceeds from offering net of underwriting discounts

     261,100  

Purchase of partnership units in StepStone Group LP

     (74,600

Offering expenses

     (6,000
  

 

 

 

Pro forma net tangible book value as of June 30, 2020

   $ 107,232  
  

 

 

 

After giving effect to the SIRA Exchange, the Reorganization and the sale of 17,500,000 shares of Class A common stock in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share (the midpoint of the price range on the cover of this prospectus) and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and assuming the exchange of all Class B units outstanding immediately following the completion of the SIRA Exchange, the Reorganization and this offering for shares of our Class A common stock as if such units were immediately exchangeable, our pro forma net tangible book value would have been $287.7 million, or $3.03 per share. This represents an immediate increase in pro forma net tangible book value of $1.90 per share to existing equity holders and an immediate dilution in net tangible book value of $12.97 per share to new investors.

The following table illustrates this dilution on a per share basis assuming the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional shares:

 

Assumed initial public offering price per share (the midpoint of  the price range on the cover of this prospectus)

   $ 16.00  

Pro forma net tangible book value per share as of June 30, 2020

   $ 1.13  

Increase in pro forma net tangible book value per share attributable to new investors

   $ 1.90  

Pro forma net tangible book value per share after this offering(1)

   $ 3.03  

Dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per share to new investors(1)

   $ 12.97  

 

Amounts may not sum to total due to rounding.

(1)

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share would increase (decrease) the pro forma net tangible book value per share after this offering by $0.13 and the dilution in

 

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  pro forma net tangible book value per share to new investors by $0.87, assuming the number of shares of Class A common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated expenses payable by us.

The following table summarizes, on the same pro forma basis as of June 30, 2020, the total number of shares of Class A common stock purchased from us, the total cash consideration paid to us and the average price per share paid by the existing equity holders and by new investors purchasing shares in this offering, assuming that all of the Class B unitholders exchanged their Class B units for shares of our Class A common stock on a one-for-one basis as if such units were immediately exchangeable.

 

     Shares Purchased     Total Consideration(1)        
     Number      Percent     Amount      Percent     Average Price
Per Share
 

Existing equity holders

     77,316,331        81.5   $ —          0.0   $ —    

New investors

     17,500,000        18.5     280,000,000        100.0     16.00  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

     94,816,331        100.0   $ 280,000,000        100.0   $ 2.95  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1)

A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $16.00 per share, the midpoint of the range of the estimated initial public offering price set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, would increase (decrease) total consideration paid by new investors and total consideration paid by all stockholders by $17.5 million, assuming the number of shares of Class A common stock offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same. If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full, the pro forma net tangible book value per share after this offering would be approximately $3.45 per share of Class A common stock and the dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per share to new holders of our Class A common stock would be $12.55 per share of Class A common stock.

 

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UNAUDITED PRO FORMA CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND OTHER DATA

The following unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated balance sheet as of June 30, 2020 gives pro forma effect to the Reorganization (see transactions described under “Organizational Structure”), the consummation of this offering and our intended use of proceeds therefrom after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and other costs of this offering, as though such transactions had occurred as of June 30, 2020. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of income for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and the year ended March 31, 2020 present our consolidated results of operations giving pro forma effect to the transactions described above as if they had occurred as of April 1, 2019.

The pro forma adjustments are based on available information and upon assumptions that management believes are reasonable in order to reflect, on a pro forma basis, the effect of these transactions on the historical financial information of the Partnership. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated balance sheet and unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of income may not be indicative of the results of operations or financial position that would have occurred had this offering and the related transactions taken place on the dates indicated, or that may be expected to occur in the future. The adjustments are described in the notes to the unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of income and the unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated balance sheet. The unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated financial information and other data should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

The pro forma adjustments in the Reorganization and Offering Adjustments column principally give effect to:

 

   

the SIRA Exchange and the Reorganization as described in “Organizational Structure”;

 

   

the provision for corporate income taxes on the income of StepStone Group Inc., which will be taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal and state income tax purposes; and

 

   

the allocation of income (loss) associated with non-controlling interests primarily relating to partnership interests in the Partnership, approximately 71.9% of which are held by the continuing limited partners of the Partnership after this offering, assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares.

The Partnership is considered our predecessor for accounting purposes, and its consolidated financial statements will be our historical financial statements following this offering. Because certain of the continuing limited partners of the Partnership will continue to control the entities that own and manage the Partnership after the Reorganization, we will account for the acquisition of such continuing limited partners’ interests in our business, as part of the Reorganization, as a transfer of interests under common control. Accordingly, we will carry forward unchanged the value of such continuing limited partners’ interest in the assets and liabilities recognized in the Partnership’s financial statements prior to this offering into our financial statements following this offering.

We have not made any pro forma adjustments relating to reporting, compliance and investor relations costs that we will incur as a public company. No pro forma adjustments have been made for these additional expenses as an estimate of such expenses is not determinable.

 

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Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet

As of June 30, 2020

(in thousands)

 

     StepStone
Group LP
Historical
     Reorganization
Adjustments
    As Adjusted
Before Offering
     Offering
Adjustments
    StepStone
Group Inc.
Pro Forma
 

Assets

            

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 90,711      $ (25,200 )(1)    $ 65,511      $ 39,201  (2)(3)    $ 104,712  

Fees and accounts receivable

     34,445        —         34,445        —         34,445  

Due from affiliates

     6,116        —         6,116        —         6,116  

Investments:

            

Investments in funds

     50,448        —         50,448        —         50,448  

Accrued carried interest allocations

     328,697        —         328,697        —         328,697  

Deferred tax assets

     —          —         —          32,432  (4)      32,432  

Other assets and receivables

     24,181        —         24,181        (4,698 )(5)      19,483  

Intangibles, net

     7,995        —         7,995        —         7,995  

Goodwill

     6,792        —         6,792        —         6,792  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total assets

   $ 549,385      $ (25,200   $ 524,185      $ 66,935     $ 591,120  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Liabilities and partners’ capital

            

Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other liabilities

   $ 37,322      $ —       $ 37,322      $ 628  (3)(5)    $ 37,950  

Accrued compensation and benefits

     37,547        —         37,547        —         37,547  

Accrued carried interest-related compensation

     168,615        (82 )(10)      168,533        —         168,533  

Due to affiliates

     6,873        —         6,873        37,698  (4)      44,571  

Debt obligations

     142,967        —         142,967        (142,967 )(3)      —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total liabilities

     393,324        (82     393,242        (104,641     288,601  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Partners’ capital

     134,907        (134,907 )(1)(6)(10)      —          —         —    

Class A common stock

     —          9  (7)      9        18  (7)      27  

Class B common stock

     —          73  (8)      73        (5 )(8)      68  

Additional paid-in capital

     —          11,833  (9)      11,833        66,779  (4)(5)(9)      78,612  

Accumulated other comprehensive income

     306        —         306        —         306  

Accumulated deficit

     —          —         —          (3,658 )(3)      (3,658

Non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

     20,848        (304 )(10)      20,544        —         20,544  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total partners’ capital / stockholders’ equity attributable to StepStone Group Inc.

     156,061        (123,296     32,765        63,134  (2)      95,899  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Non-controlling interests

     —          98,178  (6)      98,178        108,442  (6)      206,620  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total liabilities and partners’ capital / stockholders’ equity

   $ 549,385      $ (25,200   $ 524,185      $ 66,935     $ 591,120  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

 

Notes to Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet

 

(1)

Reflects funding of a pre-offering distribution to the limited partners of StepStone Group LP, with a corresponding decrease to partners’ capital, in an amount equal to approximately $25.2 million. This amount will not be available for the operations of StepStone Group Inc.

 

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(2)

Reflects proceeds, net of underwriting discounts, of $261.1 million from this offering, with a corresponding increase to total stockholders’ equity. We will use approximately $74.6 million of the net proceeds from this offering to cause the Partnership to purchase Partnership units from certain of its existing partners, at a per-unit price equal to the per-share price paid by the underwriters for shares of our Class A common stock in this offering.

 

(3)

Reflects the use of a portion of the proceeds from this offering to repay the indebtedness, including accrued interest, outstanding under the Term Loan B and write-down of $3.7 million of unamortized discount and debt issuance costs. This adjustment is non-recurring in nature and, as such, has not been included as an adjustment in the unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of income.

 

(4)

As described under “Related Party Transactions—Tax Receivable Agreements,” in connection with this offering, SSG will enter into an Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement with certain continuing partners of the Partnership and a Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement with the Direct StepStone Stockholders. The Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to certain continuing partners of the Partnership (not including SSG) of 85% of the amount of net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of (i) SSG’s acquisition of such continuing partner’s Partnership units in connection with this offering and in future exchanges and (ii) tax benefits attributable to payments made under the Exchanges Tax Receivable Agreement (including tax benefits related to imputed interest). The Reorganization Tax Receivable Agreement will provide for payment by SSG to the Direct StepStone Stockholders of 85% of the amount of the net cash tax savings, if any, that SSG realizes (or, under certain circumstances, is deemed to realize) as a result of (i) the unamortized portion of the increase in tax basis in the tangible and intangible assets of the Partnership resulting from the prior acquisitions of interests in the Partnership by the Blocker Companies as well as the net operating losses, capital losses or other loss carrybacks and carryforwards of the Blocker Companies generated before the Blocker Mergers and (ii) tax benefits related to imputed interest. The net deferred tax asset of $32.4 million and the $37.7 million due to affiliates for each Tax Receivable Agreement assumes: (A) only exchanges associated with the Reorganization and this offering, (B) a share price equal to $16.00 per share (the midpoint of the price range set forth on the cover of this prospectus) less any underwriting discount, (C) a constant U.S. federal and state income tax rate of 25%, (D) no material changes in tax law, (E) the ability to utilize tax attributes, (F) no adjustment for potential remedial allocations and (G) future Tax Receivable Agreement payments. We recognized a deferred tax asset in the amount of $66.6 million as of June 30, 2020, associated with the increase in tax basis as a result of the Reorganization and Exchange transactions, as well as the basis difference in SSG’s investment in the Partnership. A portion of the total basis difference will only reverse upon a sale of SSG’s interest in the Partnership, which is not expected to occur in the foreseeable future. Therefore, SSG has recognized a valuation allowance in the amount of $34.2 million against the deferred tax asset (resulting in a net deferred tax asset of $32.4 million) which is considered capital in nature as it was not more-likely-than-not that this portion of deferred tax assets would be realized. The difference between the deferred tax asset recognized and a Tax Receivable Agreement liability is recorded as a decrease to additional paid-in-capital.

 

(5)

We are deferring certain costs associated with this offering, including certain legal, accounting and other related expenses, which have been recorded in other assets and receivables in our consolidated balance sheet. Upon completion of this offering, these deferred costs will be charged against the proceeds from this offering with a corresponding reduction to additional paid-in capital. We also expect to incur additional costs through the completion of this offering which are reflected in accounts payable.

 

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(6)

Following this offering, SSG’s only business will be to act as the managing member of the General Partner, and its only material assets will be Class A units representing approximately 28.1% of the partnership interests of the Partnership (or 30.8% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full) and 100% of the interests in the General Partner. In our capacity as the sole managing member of the General Partner, we will indirectly operate and control all of the Partnership’s business and affairs. As a result, we will consolidate the financial results of the Partnership and will report non-controlling interests related to the interests held by the continuing partners of the Partnership, which will represent a majority of the economic interest in the Partnership, on our consolidated balance sheet. Following this offering, assuming the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock, StepStone Group Inc. will own 28.1% of the economic interests of the Partnership, and the continuing limited partners of the Partnership will own the remaining 71.9%.

 

     StepStone
Group LP
Partnership
Interests
         %  

StepStone Group Inc.

     26,612,500        28.1 %(a) 

Continuing limited partners of StepStone Group LP

     68,203,831        71.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     94,816,331        100.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

  (a)

Excludes 2.5 million shares of Class A common stock to be issued under the 2020 LTIP.

The computation of the pro forma non-controlling interests is shown below:

 

     Reorganization
Adjustments
    Offering
Adjustments
    StepStone
Group Inc.
Pro Forma
 

Beginning partners’ capital

   $ 134,907     $ —       $ 134,907  

Accumulated comprehensive income

     306       —         306  

Planned distribution

     (25,200     —         (25,200

SIRA Exchange

     386       —         386  

Proceeds from offering net of underwriting discounts

       261,100       261,100  

Purchase of partnership interests in StepStone Group LP

       (74,600     (74,600

Offering expenses

       (6,000     (6,000

Accumulated deficit

       (3,658     (3,658
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total partners’ capital / stockholders’ equity

   $ 110,399     $ 176,842     $ 287,241  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Continuing partners’ economic interest in the Partnership

     88.9       71.9
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Non-controlling interests

   $ 98,178     $ 108,442     $ 206,620  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(7)

Reflects 26,612,500 shares of Class A common stock with a par value of $0.001 outstanding immediately after this offering. This includes 17,500,000 shares of our Class A common stock issued in this offering, 5,000,000 shares of Class A common stock sold by continuing limited partners of the Partnership and 9,112,500 shares of Class A common stock exchanged for Partnership units by the Direct StepStone Stockholders.

 

(8)

In connection with this offering, we will issue shares of Class B common stock to the continuing limited partners of the Partnership, on a one-to-one basis with the number of Partnership Class B units they own. Each share of our Class B common stock will entitle its holder to five votes until a Sunset becomes effective. See “Organizational Structure—Voting Rights of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock.” After a Sunset becomes effective, each share of Class B common stock will then entitle its holder to one vote.

 

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(9)

The computation of the pro forma additional paid-in capital is below:

 

(in thousands)    Reorganization
Adjustments
    Offering
Adjustments
    StepStone
Group Inc.
Pro Forma
 

Planned distribution

   $ (25,200   $ —       $ (25,200

SIRA Exchange

     386       —         386  

Proceeds from offering net of underwriting discounts

     —         261,100       261,100  

Purchase of partnership interests in StepStone Group LP

     —         (74,600     (74,600

Offering expenses

     —         (6,000     (6,000

Deferred tax asset

     —         32,432       32,432  

Due to affiliates for Tax Receivable Agreement

     —         (37,698     (37,698

Reclassification of partners’ capital

     134,907       —         134,907  

Par value of Class A common stock

     (9     (18     (27

Par value of Class B common stock

     (73     5       (68

Non-controlling interests

     (98,178     (108,442     (206,620
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Additional paid-in capital

   $ 11,833     $ 66,779     $ 78,612  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(10)

Prior to the consummation of this offering, the Partnership expects to issue new Class A partnership interests to certain StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary in exchange for their partnership interests in the Infrastructure subsidiary, which is expected to increase the interest of the Partnership in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 49% from 43% and decrease the interest of the StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 51% from 57%.

 

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Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income and Other Data

For the Three Months Ended June 30, 2020

(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)

 

    StepStone
Group LP
Historical
    Reorganization
Adjustments
    As
Adjusted
Before
Offering
    Offering
Adjustments
    StepStone
Group Inc.
Pro Forma
 

Revenues

         

Management and advisory fees, net

  $ 63,500     $ —       $ 63,500     $ —       $ 63,500  

Performance fees:

         

Incentive fees

    3,589       —         3,589       —         3,589  

Carried interest allocation

    (128,502     —         (128,502     —         (128,502
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

    (61,413     —         (61,413     —         (61,413
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Expenses

         

Compensation and benefits:

         

Cash-based compensation

    39,653       —         39,653       —         39,653  

Equity-based compensation

    483       —         483       2,503  (1)      2,986  

Performance fee-related compensation

    (65,775     125  (6)      (65,650     —         (65,650
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total compensation and benefits

    (25,639     125       (25,514     2,503       (23,011

General, administrative and other

    10,287       —         10,287       —         10,287  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

    (15,352     125       (15,227     2,503       (12,724
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other income (expense)

         

Investment loss

    (3,178     —         (3,178     —         (3,178

Interest income

    94       —         94       —         94  

Interest expense

    (2,057     —         (2,057     2,053  (2)      (4

Other income

    —         —         —         —         —    
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other income (expense)

    (5,141     —         (5,141     2,053       (3,088
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Loss before income tax

    (51,202     (125     (51,327     (450     (51,777

Income tax expense (benefit)

    1,158       (1,557 )(3)      (399     (2,416 )(3)      (2,815
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss

    (52,360     1,432       (50,928     1,966       (48,962

Less: Net income attributable to non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

    4,093       (245 )(6)      3,848       —         3,848  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to StepStone Group LP

  $ (56,453   $ 1,677     $ (54,776   $ 1,966     $ (52,810
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Less: Net loss attributable to non-controlling interests

    —         (49,879 )(4)      (49,879     9,215  (4)      (40,664
     

 

 

     

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to StepStone Group Inc.

      $ (4,897     $ (12,146
     

 

 

     

 

 

 
         

Pro forma net loss per share data:(5)

         

Weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding

         

Basic

            29,306,910  

Diluted

            29,306,910  

Net loss available to Class A common stock per share

         

Basic

          $ (0.41

Diluted

          $ (0.41 )  

 

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Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income and Other Data

For the Year Ended March 31, 2020

(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)

 

    StepStone
Group LP
Historical
    Reorganization
Adjustments
    As
Adjusted
Before
Offering
    Offering
Adjustments
    StepStone
Group Inc.

Pro Forma
 

Revenues

         

Management and advisory fees, net

  $ 235,205     $ —       $ 235,205     $ —       $ 235,205  

Performance fees:

         

Incentive fees

    3,410       —         3,410       —         3,410  

Carried interest allocation

    207,996       —         207,996       —         207,996  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

    446,611       —         446,611       —         446,611  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Expenses

         

Compensation and benefits:

         

Cash-based compensation

    130,730       —         130,730       —         130,730  

Equity-based compensation

    1,915       —         1,915       10,011  (1)      11,926  

Performance fee-related compensation

    109,659       (85 )(6)      109,574       —         109,574  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total compensation and benefits

    242,304       (85     242,219       10,011       252,230  

General, administrative and other

    53,341       —         53,341       —         53,341  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

    295,645       (85     295,560       10,011       305,571  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other income (expense)

         

Investment income

    6,926       —         6,926       —         6,926  

Interest income

    1,436       —         1,436       —         1,436  

Interest expense

    (10,211     —         (10,211     9,970  (2)      (241

Other income (loss)

    (377     —         (377     —         (377
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other income (expense)

    (2,226     —         (2,226     9,970       7,744  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income before income tax

    148,740       85       148,825       (41     148,784  

Income tax expense

    3,955       3,711  (3)      7,666       5,680  (3)      13,346  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income

    144,785       (3,626     141,159       (5,721     135,438  

Less: Net income attributable to non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

    12,869       (806 )(6)      12,063       —         12,063  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income attributable to StepStone Group LP

  $ 131,916     $ (2,820   $ 129,096     $ (5,721   $ 123,375  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Less: Net income attributable to non-controlling interests

    —         118,878  (4)      118,878       (22,762 )(4)      96,116  
     

 

 

     

 

 

 

Net income attributable to StepStone Group Inc.

      $ 10,218       $ 27,259  
     

 

 

     

 

 

 

Pro forma net income per share data:(5)

         

Weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding

         

Basic

            28,681,250  

Diluted

            31,125,868  

Net income available to Class A common stock per share

         

Basic

          $ 0.95  

Diluted

          $ 0.95  

 

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Notes to Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income and Other Data

 

(1)

In connection with the offering, we will grant to employees an aggregate of 2.5 million restricted stock units or other awards that vest over a four-year period. This adjustment reflects compensation expense associated with this grant had it occurred at the beginning of the period presented.

 

(2)

Reflects an adjustment on interest expense from repayment of $147.3 million of outstanding indebtedness, including accrued interest, in full and termination of the Term Loan B using a portion of the proceeds from this offering.

 

(3)

The Partnership has been and will continue to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal and state income tax purposes. Following this offering, we will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, in addition to state, local and foreign income taxes with respect to our allocable share of any taxable income generated by the Partnership that will flow through to its interest holders, including us. As a result, the unaudited pro forma condensed consolidated statements of income reflect adjustments to our income tax expense to reflect a blended statutory tax rate of 25% at StepStone Group Inc., which was calculated assuming the U.S. federal rates currently in effect and the statutory rates applicable to each state, local and foreign jurisdiction where we estimate our income will be apportioned.

The computation of the pro forma provision for income taxes is below:

 

    Reorganization Adjustments  
(in thousands)   Three Months Ended
June 30, 2020
    Year Ended
March 31, 2020
 

Income (loss) before provision for income taxes

  $ (51,327   $ 148,825  

Less:

   

Provision for foreign income taxes

    932       3,041  

Income attributable to non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

    3,848       12,063  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Allocable income (loss)

    (56,107     133,721  

StepStone Group Inc.’s economic interest in StepStone Group LP

    11.1     11.1
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) before provision for income taxes attributable to StepStone Group Inc.

    (6,228     14,843  

StepStone Group Inc. blended statutory tax rate

    25.0     25.0
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

  $ (1,557   $ 3,711  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

    Offering Adjustments  
(in thousands)   Three Months Ended
June 30, 2020
    Year Ended
March 31, 2020
 

Income (loss) before provision for income taxes

  $ (51,777   $ 148,784  

Less:

   

Provision for foreign income taxes

    932       3,041  

Income attributable to non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

    3,848       12,063  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Allocable income (loss)

    (56,557     133,680  

StepStone Group Inc.’s economic interest in StepStone Group LP

    28.1     28.1
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) before provision for income taxes attributable to StepStone Group Inc.

    (15,893     37,564  

StepStone Group Inc. blended statutory tax rate

    25.0     25.0
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

    (3,973     9,391  

Less: Prior recorded provision (benefit) attributable to StepStone Group Inc.

    (1,557     3,711  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjustment to provision (benefit) for income taxes

  $ (2,416   $ 5,680  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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(4)

Following this offering, SSG’s only business will be to act as the managing member of the General Partner, and its only material assets will be Class A units representing approximately 28.1% of the partnership interests of the Partnership (or 30.8% if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full) and 100% of the interests in the General Partner. In our capacity as the sole managing member of the General Partner, we will indirectly operate and control all of the Partnership’s business and affairs. As a result, we will consolidate the financial results of the Partnership and will report non-controlling interests related to the interests held by the continuing limited partners of the Partnership in our consolidated statement of income. Following this offering, assuming the underwriters do not exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock, StepStone Group Inc. will own 28.1% of the economic interest of the Partnership, and the continuing limited partners of the Partnership will own the remaining 71.9%. Net income attributable to non-controlling interests will represent 71.9% of the consolidated income before income taxes of StepStone Group Inc. If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares of Class A common stock in full, StepStone Group Inc. will own 30.8% of the economic interest of the Partnership, the continuing limited partners of the Partnership will own the remaining 69.2%, and net income attributable to non-controlling interests will represent 69.2% of the consolidated income before income taxes of StepStone Group Inc.

The computation of the pro forma income attributable to non-controlling interests is below:

 

(in thousands)    Three Months Ended
June 30, 2020
    Year Ended
March 31, 2020
 

Income (loss) before provision for income taxes

   $ (51,777   $   148,784  

Less:

    

Provision for foreign income taxes

     932       3,041  

Income attributable to non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

     3,848       12,063  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Allocable income (loss)

     (56,557     133,680  

Continuing partners’ economic interest in StepStone Group LP

     71.9     71.9
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests

   $ (40,664   $ 96,116  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Reorganization adjustments

   $   (49,879   $ 118,878  

Offering adjustments

     9,215       (22,762
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests

   $ (40,664   $ 96,116  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Reorganization adjustments reflect an adjustment to record the 88.9% of non-controlling interests, net of tax, held by the continuing partners in StepStone Group LP after the Reorganization. After the Reorganization, 9,112,500 shares of Class A common stock will be outstanding in StepStone Group Inc. and 73,203,831 Class B units will be held by the continuing partners of StepStone Group Inc. Offering adjustments reflect an adjustment to record the 71.9% of non-controlling interests, net of tax, held by the continuing partners in StepStone Group LP after the offering. After the offering, 26,612,500 shares of Class A common stock will be outstanding in StepStone Group Inc. and 68,203,831 Class B units will be held by the continuing partners of StepStone Group Inc.

 

(5)

Pro forma basic net income per share is computed by dividing net income available to Class A common stockholders by the weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding during the period. The weighted-average shares outstanding excludes 2.5 million shares of Class A common stock to be issued under the 2020 LTIP as the shares are non-participating securities and subject to vesting conditions. Pro forma diluted net income per share is computed by adjusting the net income available to Class A common stockholders and the weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding to give effect to potentially dilutive securities. The calculation of diluted earnings per share excludes the 68.2 million of Class B partnership units outstanding that are convertible into Class A common stock under the “if-converted” method as the inclusion of such shares would be antidilutive to the periods presented. Other than a right to be repaid the par value upon cancellation of shares of Class B common stock, the Class B

 

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  common stock carries only a voting interest in StepStone Group Inc. and those shares are therefore not included in the computation of pro forma basic or diluted net income per share. The Company intends to make a pre-offering distribution to the limited partners of StepStone Group LP in an amount equal to approximately $25.2 million. When aggregate distributions declared during the twelve months preceding an initial public offering exceed net income during the same period, SEC rules require that pro forma earnings per share and pro forma weighted-average shares outstanding reflect the number of newly issued shares in the offering that would be required to fund the portion of distributions in excess of net income. As a result, the pro forma earnings per share for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and the year ended March 31, 2020 give effect to the deemed issuance of 2,068,750 shares of Class A common stock whose proceeds would be necessary to fund the portion of distributions in excess of net income during the twelve months preceding the initial public offering. Excluding the deemed issuance of 2,068,750 shares of Class A common stock, pro forma basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share would have been $(0.45) and $(0.45) per share, respectively, for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and $1.02 and $1.02 per share, respectively, for the year ended March 31, 2020 and pro forma basic and diluted weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding would have been 27,238,160 and 27,238,160 shares, respectively, for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 26,612,500 and 29,057,119 shares, respectively, for the year ended March 31, 2020. The following table sets forth a reconciliation of the numerators and denominators used to compute pro forma basic and diluted net income per share.

 

(in thousands, except share and per share amounts)   Three Months Ended
June 30, 2020
    Year Ended
March 31, 2020
 

Basic net income per share:

   

Numerator

   

Net income (loss)

  $ (52,810   $ 123,375  

Less: Net income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests

    (40,664     96,116  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to Class A common stockholders—Basic

  $ (12,146   $ 27,259  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Denominator

                                             

Shares of Class A common stock outstanding—Basic

    17,500,000       17,500,000  

Shares of Class A common stock to be issued to the direct StepStone Group Inc. stockholders in the Reorganization

    9,112,500       9,112,500  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Vesting of restricted share awards issued in IPO

    625,660       —    

IPO shares required to fund distribution in excess of earnings

    2,068,750       2,068,750  

Weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding—Basic

      29,306,910         28,681,250  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Basic net income (loss) per share

  $ (0.41   $ 0.95  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Diluted net income per share:

   

Numerator

   

Net income (loss) attributable to Class A common stockholders—Basic

  $ (12,146   $ 27,259  

Reallocation of net income assuming vesting of restricted share awards

    —         2,282  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to Class A common stockholders—Diluted

  $ (12,146   $ 29,541  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Denominator

   

Weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding—Basic

    29,306,910       28,681,250  

Vesting of restricted share awards

    —         2,444,618  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares of Class A common stock outstanding—Diluted

    29,306,910       31,125,868  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

Diluted net income (loss) per share

  $ (0.41   $ 0.95  
 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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In computing the dilutive effect, if any, that restricted share awards would have on earnings per share, we consider the reallocation of net income between holders of Class A common stock and non-controlling interests. For the three months ended June 30, 2020, the calculation of diluted earnings per share excludes 1,876,980 shares of Class A common stock and 2,685,926 units of Class B2 partnership units and any additional Class B units issuable pursuant to anti-dilution rights in connection with the vesting of Class B2 units that are convertible into Class A common stock under the “if-converted” method as the inclusion of such shares would be antidilutive.

 

(6)

Prior to the consummation of this offering, the Partnership expects to issue new Class A partnership interests to certain StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary in exchange for their partnership interests in the Infrastructure subsidiary, which is expected to increase the interest of the Partnership in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 49% from 43% and decrease the interest of the StepStone professionals in the Infrastructure subsidiary to approximately 51% from 57%.

 

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SELECTED HISTORICAL CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL AND OTHER DATA

The following table sets forth selected financial information and other data on a historical basis. The following selected consolidated income statement data for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of June 30, 2020 have been derived from our unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements for the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 included elsewhere in this prospectus. In the opinion of management, the unaudited consolidated financial statements for and as of the three months ended June 30, 2020 and 2019 reflect all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring adjustments, necessary to present fairly the results of operations for such periods. The following selected consolidated income statement data for the years ended March 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2020 and 2019 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected in the future. The summary historical consolidated financial information should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

    Three Months Ended
June 30,
    Year Ended March 31,  
    2020     2019     2020     2019     2018  

Income Statement Data (in thousands)

         

Revenues

         

Management and advisory fees, net

  $ 63,500     $ 50,968     $ 235,205     $ 190,826     $ 140,952  

Performance fees:

         

Incentive fees

    3,589       1,622       3,410       1,540       1,489  

Carried interest allocation

    (128,502     46,989       207,996       63,902       121,834  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenues

    (61,413     99,579       446,611       256,268       264,275  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Expenses:

         

Compensation and benefits:

         

Cash-based compensation

    39,653       29,668       130,730       108,340       87,005  

Equity-based compensation

    483       475       1,915       1,725       189  

Performance-fee related compensation

    (65,775     24,531       109,659       31,478       59,684  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total compensation and benefits

    (25,639     54,674       242,304       141,543       146,878  

General, administrative and other

    10,287       12,327       53,341       49,160       35,851  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses

    (15,352     67,001       295,645       190,703       182,729  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Other income (expense):

         

Investment income (loss)

    (3,178     1,268       6,926       4,126       5,007  

Interest income

    94       334       1,436       1,507       143  

Interest expense

    (2,057     (2,742     (10,211     (10,261     (913

Other income (loss)

    —         197       (377     662       22  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total other income (expense)

    (5,141     (943     (2,226     (3,966     4,259  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income tax

    (51,202     31,635       148,740       61,599       85,805  

Income tax expense

    1,158       626       3,955       1,640       1,986  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss)

    (52,360     31,009       144,785       59,959       83,819  

Less: Net income attributable to non-controlling interests

    4,093       2,491       12,869       5,763       2,381  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to StepStone Group LP

  $ (56,453   $ 28,518     $ 131,916     $ 54,196     $ 81,438  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

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    Three Months Ended
June 30,
    Year Ended March 31,  
    2020     2019     2020     2019     2018  

Non-GAAP Financial Measures (in thousands)(1)

         

Adjusted revenues

  $ 74,273     $ 65,490     $ 285,591     $ 229,978     $ 175,323  

Fee-related earnings

    18,400       12,065       60,581       44,486       23,689  

Adjusted pre-tax net income

    20,639       16,223       66,858       53,057       46,693  

Adjusted net income

    19,481       15,597       62,903       51,417       44,707  

 

     As of June 30,
2020
     As of March 31,  
     2020      2019  

Balance Sheet Data (in thousands)

        

Assets

        

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 90,711      $ 89,939      $ 40,622  

Marketable securities

     —          —          43,388  

Investments:

        

Investments in funds

     50,448        53,386        43,269  

Accrued carried interest allocations

     328,697        460,837        299,018  

Total assets

     549,385        680,829        491,723  

Liabilities and partner’s capital

        

Accrued carried interest-related compensation

   $     168,615      $     237,737      $     150,763  

Debt obligations

     142,967        143,144        143,852  

Total liabilities

     393,324        443,862        346,061  

Partners’ capital

     134,907        216,051        128,426  

Non-controlling interests in StepStone Group LP subsidiaries

     20,848        20,738        16,953  

 

(1)

See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures” for more information and a reconciliation of revenues to adjusted revenues and of net income (loss) attributable to StepStone Group LP to adjusted pre-tax net income and ANI and FRE.

 

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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION

AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements of StepStone Group LP and StepStone Group, Inc. and the related notes included within this prospectus. The historical consolidated financial data discussed below reflect the historical results of operations and financial position of StepStone Group LP. The consolidated financial statements of StepStone Group LP, our predecessor for accounting purposes, will be our historical financial statements following this offering. The historical financial data discussed below relate to periods prior to the Reorganization described in “Organizational Structure” and do not give effect to pro forma adjustments. As a result, the following discussion does not reflect the significant effects that such events will have on us. See “Organizational Structure” and “Unaudited Pro Forma Condensed Consolidated Financial Information and Other Data” for more information. Unless otherwise indicated, references in this prospectus to fiscal 2020, fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2018 are to our fiscal years ended March 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively.

Business Overview

We are a global private markets investment firm focused on providing customized investment solutions and advisory and data services to our clients. Our clients include some of the world’s largest public and private defined benefit and defined contribution pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies, as well as prominent endowments, foundations, family offices and private wealth clients, which include high-net-worth and mass affluent individuals. We partner with our clients to develop and build private markets portfolios designed to meet their specific objectives across the private equity, infrastructure, private debt and real estate asset classes. These portfolios utilize several types of synergistic investment strategies with third-party fund managers, including commitments to funds (primaries), acquiring stakes in existing funds on the secondary market (secondaries) and investing directly into companies (co-investments). As of June 30, 2020, we oversaw approximately $292 billion of private markets allocations, including $66 billion of AUM and $226 billion of AUA.

We are a global firm and believe that local knowledge, business relationships and presence are all critical to securing a competitive edge in the private markets. We deploy a local staffing model, operating from 19 offices across 13 countries in five continents. Our offices are staffed by investment professionals who bring valuable regional insights and language proficiency to enhance existing client relationships and build new client relationships. Since our inception, we have invested heavily in our platforms to drive growth and expand our investment solutions capabilities and service offerings, including through opportunistic transactions that have helped accelerate the growth of our team and capabilities. As of June 30, 2020, we had 526 total employees, including more than 190 investment professionals and more than 330 employees across our operating team and implementation teams dedicated to sourcing, executing, analyzing and monitoring private markets opportunities. Over 60 of our employees have equity interests in us, collectively owning nearly 70% of the Company on a fully-diluted basis prior to this offering.

We have a flexible business model whereby many of our clients engage us for solutions across multiple asset classes and investment strategies. Our solutions are typically offered in the following commercial structures:

 

   

Separately managed accounts. Owned by one client and managed according to their specific preferences, SMAs integrate a combination of primaries, secondaries and co-investments across one or more asset classes. SMAs are meant to address clients’ specific portfolio objectives with respect to return, risk tolerance, diversification and liquidity. SMAs, including directly managed assets, comprised $51 billion of our AUM as of June 30, 2020.

 

   

Focused commingled funds. Owned by multiple clients, our focused commingled funds deploy capital in specific asset classes with defined investment strategies. Focused commingled funds comprised $12 billion of our AUM as of June 30, 2020.

 

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Advisory and data services. These services include one or more of the following for our clients: (i) recurring support of portfolio construction and design; (ii) discrete or project-based due diligence, advice and investment recommendations; (iii) detailed review of existing private markets investments, including portfolio-level repositioning recommendations where appropriate; (iv) consulting on investment pacing, policies, strategic plans, and asset allocation to investment boards and committees; and (v) licensed access to SPI and Pacing. Advisory relationships comprised $226 billion of our AUA and $3 billion of our AUM as of June 30, 2020.

 

   

Portfolio analytics and reporting. We provide clients with tailored reporting packages, including customized performance benchmarks as well as associated compliance, administrative and tax capabilities. Mandates for portfolio analytics and reporting services typically include licensed access to our proprietary performance monitoring software, Omni. Through Omni, we provided portfolio analytics and reporting on approximately $520 billion of client commitments as of June 30, 2020, inclusive of our combined AUM/AUA, previously exited investments and investments of former clients.

We generate revenues from management and advisory fees and performance fees earned pursuant to contractual arrangements with our funds and our clients. We also invest our own capital in the StepStone Funds we manage to align our interests with those of our clients. Through these investments, we earn a pro rata share of the results of such funds and may also be entitled to an allocation of performance-based fees from the limited partners in the StepStone Funds, commonly referred to as carried interest.

Trends Affecting Our Business

Our business is affected by a variety of factors, including conditions in the financial markets and economic and political conditions. Changes in global economic conditions and regulatory or other governmental policies or actions can materially affect the values of the StepStone Funds’ holdings and the ability to source attractive investments and completely utilize the capital that we have raised. However, we believe our disciplined investment philosophy across our diversified investment strategies has historically contributed to the stability of our performance throughout market cycles.

In addition to these macroeconomic trends and market factors, we believe our future performance will be influenced by the following factors:

 

   

The extent to which clients favor private markets investments. Our ability to attract new capital is partially dependent on clients’ views of private markets relative to traditional asset classes. We believe our fundraising efforts will continue to be subject to certain fundamental asset management trends, including (1) the increasing importance and market share of private markets investment strategies to clients of all types as clients focus on lower-correlated and absolute levels of return, (2) the increasing demand for private markets from private wealth clients, (3) shifting asset allocation policies of institutional clients and (4) increasing barriers to entry and growth for potential competitors.

 

   

Our ability to generate strong, stable returns. Our ability to raise and retain capital is partially dependent on the investment returns we are able to generate for our clients and drives growth in our FEAUM and management fees. Although our FEAUM and management fees have grown significantly since our inception, adverse market conditions or an outflow of capital in the private markets management industry in general could affect our future growth rate. In addition, market dislocations, contractions or volatility could put pressure on our returns in the future which could in turn affect our fundraising abilities.

 

   

Our ability to maintain our data advantage relative to competitors. Our proprietary data and technology platforms, analytical tools and deep industry knowledge allow us to provide our clients with customized investment solutions, including asset management services and tailored reporting packages, such as customized performance benchmarks as well as compliance, administration and tax capabilities. Our ability to maintain our data advantage is dependent on a number of factors, including our continued access to a broad set of private market information and our ability to grow our relationships with fund managers and clients of all types.

 

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Our ability to source investments with attractive risk-adjusted returns. The continued growth in our revenues is dependent on our ability to identify attractive investments and deploy the capital that we have raised. However, the capital deployed in any one quarter may vary significantly from period to period due to the availability of attractive opportunities and the long-term nature of our investment strategies. Our ability to identify attractive investments is dependent on a number of factors, including the general macroeconomic environment, valuation, transaction size, and the liquidity of such investment opportunity. A significant decrease in the quality or quantity of potential opportunities could adversely affect our ability to source investments with attractive risk-adjusted returns.

 

   

Increased competition and clients’ desire to work with fewer managers. There has been an increasing desire on the part of larger clients to build deeper relationships with fewer private markets managers. At times, this has led to certain funds being oversubscribed due to the increasing flow of capital. Our ability to invest and maintain our relationships with high-performing fund managers across private markets asset classes is critical to our clients’ success and our ability to maintain our competitive position and grow our revenue.

Business Combinations

On April 1, 2018, we closed a transaction to acquire 100% of Courtland Partners, Ltd. (“Courtland”). Courtland is an institutional real estate investment adviser to pension funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, funds-of-funds and banks located in the United States, Europe and Asia. The results of Courtland’s operations have been included in the consolidated financial statements effective April 1, 2018. See note 14 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus for more information about the Courtland transaction.

Reorganization

In connection with this offering, we intend to effect a Reorganization as described under “Organizational Structure—The Reorganization.”

Impact of COVID-19

In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) a global pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 throughout the world has led many countries to institute a variety of measures in an effort to contain viral spread, which has led to significant disruption and uncertainty in the global financial markets. While some of the initial restrictions have been relaxed or lifted in an effort to generate more economic activity, the risk of future COVID-19 outbreaks remains and restrictions have been and may continue to be reimposed to mitigate risks to public health in jurisdictions where additional outbreaks have been detected. Moreover, even where restrictions are and remain lifted, the absence of viable treatment options or a vaccine could lead people to continue to self-isolate and not participate in the economy at pre-pandemic levels for a prolonged period of time, potentially further delaying global economic recovery.

We are closely monitoring developments related to COVID-19 and assessing any negative impacts to our business. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected, and may further affect, our business in various ways. In particular, it is possible that our future results may be adversely affected by slowdowns in fundraising activity and the pace of capital deployment, which could result in delayed or decreased management fees, or if fund managers are unable or less able to profitably exit existing investments, which could result in delayed or decreased performance fee revenues. The underlying investments in the StepStone Funds reflect valuations on a three-month lag, or as of March 31, 2020, as adjusted for capital contributions and distributions during the three-month lag period ended June 30, 2020. As a result, during the three months ended June 30, 2020, our investments in funds and accrued carried interest allocations experienced significant declines, primarily reflecting the unrealized depreciation in the fair value of certain underlying fund investments driven by the impact of COVID-19. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Industry—The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the global financial markets and business climate and may adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.”

 

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Segments

We operate as one business, a fully-integrated private markets solutions provider. Our chief operating decision maker, which consists of our co-chief executive officers together, utilizes a consolidated approach to assess performance and allocate resources. As such, we operate in one business segment.

Key Financial Measures

Our key financial and operating measures are discussed below. Additional information regarding our significant accounting policies can be found in note 2 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Revenues

We generate revenues primarily from management and advisory fees, incentive fees and allocations of carried interest.

Management and Advisory Fees, Net

Management and advisory fees, net, consist of fees received from managing SMAs and focused commingled funds, advisory and data services, and portfolio analytics and reporting.

 

   

Management fees from SMAs are generally based on a contractual rate applied to committed capital or net invested capital under management. These fees will vary over the life of the contract due to changes in the fee basis or contractual rate changes or thresholds, built-in declines in applicable contractual rates, and/or changes in net invested capital balances. The weighted-average management fee rate from SMAs was approximately 0.41% and 0.39% of average FEAUM in fiscal 2019 and 2020, respectively, and primarily reflected shifts in asset class mix.

 

   

Management fees from focused commingled funds are generally based on a specified fee rate applied against client capital commitments during a defined investment or commitment period. Thereafter, management fees are typically calculated based on a contractual rate applied against net invested capital, or a stepped-down fee rate applied against the initial commitment. The weighted-average management fee rate from focused commingled funds was approximately 0.87% and 0.89% of average FEAUM in fiscal 2019 and 2020, respectively, and primarily reflected the timing of new funds and shifts in asset class mix.

 

   

The weighted-average management fee rate across SMAs and focused commingled funds was approximately 0.53% and 0.51% of average FEAUM in fiscal 2019 and 2020, respectively.

 

   

Fee revenues from advisory, SPAR or SPI services are generally annual fixed fees, which vary based on the scope of services we provide. We also provide certain project-based or event-driven advisory services. The fees for these services are negotiated and typically paid upon successful delivery of services or on the execution of the event-driven service. Because advisory fees are negotiated and typically paid upon successful delivery of services or on the execution of the event-driven service, advisory fees do not necessarily correlate with the total size of our AUA.

 

   

Man