Westwood Holdings Group, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2018 Results

Dallas, Texas, UNITED STATES

DALLAS, Feb. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Westwood Holdings Group, Inc. (NYSE: WHG) today reported fourth quarter earnings. Highlights from the quarter include:

  • Revenues of $26.1 million compared with $33.9 million a year ago and $29.9 million in the third quarter.
  • Net income of $5.4 million compared with $2.9 million in 2017's fourth quarter and was flat with the third quarter.
  • Our LargeCap, SMidCap, Emerging Markets, Emerging Markets Plus and Emerging Markets SMid strategies beat their primary benchmarks.
  • Repurchased 108,289 shares of our common stock for an aggregate purchase price of $4.0 million.
  • At year-end, Westwood had $118.2 million in cash and short-term investments, stockholders' equity of $161.1 million and no debt.

Revenues of $26.1 million decreased $7.8 million from last year's fourth quarter on lower average assets (AUM) due to net outflows, market depreciation and the sale of the Omaha-based component of our Private Wealth business. Revenues decreased $3.7 million from the third quarter on lower average AUM.

AUM at December 31, 2018 totaled $16.6 billion, compared to $24.2 billion at December 31, 2017 and $20.8 billion at September 30, 2018.

Fourth quarter net income of $5.4 million compared with $2.9 million in 2017's fourth quarter primarily due to non-recurrence of a $3.4 million incremental tax expense as a result of tax reform, and current quarter foreign currency transaction gains, lower incentive compensation costs and a lower federal tax rate, partially offset by lower revenues. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.64 compared to $0.34 for the fourth quarter of 2017. Non-GAAP Economic Earnings increased from $7.6 million, or $0.89 per share, in 2017's fourth quarter to $9.5 million, or $1.12 per share.

Fourth quarter net income of $5.4 million was flat with the third quarter. The current quarter benefited from foreign currency transaction gains and lower incentive compensation expense, offset by lower revenues. Diluted EPS of $0.64 compared to $0.62 for the third quarter. Non-GAAP Economic Earnings were flat at $9.5 million, or $1.12 per share, compared with $1.11 per share for the third quarter.

Total revenues for 2018 of $122.3 million compared with $133.8 million in 2017 due to a $9.8 million decrease in asset-based advisory fees and a $2.7 million decrease in Trust fees reflecting lower average AUM, partially offset by a $1.6 million increase in performance-based advisory fees earned in 2018.

Net income for 2018 of $26.8 million compared with $20.0 million in 2017. The current year benefited from foreign currency transaction gains, lower incentive compensation expense and a lower federal tax rate as a result of tax reform, partially offset by lower revenues. Diluted EPS was $3.13 compared with $2.38 for 2017. Economic EPS was $5.14 compared with $4.63 in 2017.

Brian Casey, Westwood’s President & CEO, commented, “Our long-standing focus on holding high-quality companies that are better positioned to withstand severe downturns proved rewarding for our clients. The fourth quarter turned out to be one of the worst on record for nearly all asset classes. Of course, our actively managed strategies were not immune to downward market pressure; however, they held up relatively well when compared to the performance of purely passive funds.

Naturally we are disappointed with the net outflows this year, but we are not standing still. Our investment teams are working hard to deliver competitive results in all market environments, and we continue to build our retail and institutional distribution teams. We are excited to introduce our LargeCap Select product this quarter following five years of incubation, and our Flexible Income product was launched as a new mutual fund late last year.”

Westwood’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.72 per common share, payable on April 1, 2019 to stockholders of record on March 8, 2019.

Economic Earnings and Economic EPS are non-GAAP performance measures and are explained and reconciled with the most comparable GAAP numbers in the attached tables.

Westwood will host a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and fiscal year 2018 results and other business matters at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time today.  To join the conference call, dial 877-303-6235 (U.S. and Canada) or 631-291-4837 (international).  The conference call can also be accessed via our Investor Relations page at westwoodgroup.com and will be available for replay through February 13, 2019 by dialing 855-859-2056 (U.S. and Canada) or 404-537-3406 (international) and entering the passcode 7483568.

About Westwood

Westwood Holdings Group, Inc. provides investment management services to institutional investors, private wealth clients and financial intermediaries. The firm has $16.6 billion in assets under management, of which $3.0 billion are in values-based and socially responsible investment mandates as of December 31, 2018.  Westwood offers a range of investment strategies including U.S. equities, Multi-Asset, Emerging Markets equities, Global Convertible securities and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs)  portfolios. Access to these strategies is available through separate accounts, the Westwood Funds® family of mutual funds, UCITS funds and other pooled vehicles. Westwood benefits from significant, broad-based employee ownership and trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “WHG.” Based in Dallas, Westwood also maintains offices in Toronto, Boston and Houston.

 For more information on Westwood, please visit westwoodgroup.com.

Forward-looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts, including, without limitation, statements about our expected future financial position, results of operations or cash flows, as well as other statements including without limitation, words such as “anticipate,” “forecast,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “should,” “could,” “goal,” “may,” “target,” “designed,” “on track,” “comfortable with,” “optimistic” and other similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Actual results and the timing of some events could differ materially from those projected in or contemplated by the forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including, without limitation: the composition and market value of our assets under management; regulations adversely affecting the financial services industry; competition in the investment management industry; our assets under management include investments in foreign companies; our ability to develop and market new investment strategies successfully; our relationships with current and potential customers; our ability to retain qualified personnel; our ability to perform operational tasks; our ability to maintain effective cyber security; our ability to identify and execute on our strategic initiatives; our ability to select and oversee third party vendors; our ability to maintain effective information systems; litigation risks; our ability to properly address conflicts of interest; our ability to maintain adequate insurance coverage; our ability to maintain an effective system of internal controls; our ability to maintain our fee structure in light of competitive fee pressures; our relationships with investment consulting firms; the significant concentration of our revenues in a small number of customers; and the other risks detailed from time to time in Westwood’s SEC filings, including, but not limited to, its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 and its quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2018, June 30, 2018, and September 30, 2018. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Except as required by law, Westwood is not obligated to publicly release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


Westwood Holdings Group, Inc.
Terry Forbes
Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
(214) 756-6900

(in thousands, except per share and share amounts)

 Three Months Ended
 December 31,
 September 30,
 December 31,
Advisory fees:     
Asset-based$19,388  $22,023  $25,576 
Trust fees6,688  7,191  8,051 
Other, net43  640  287 
Total revenues26,119  29,854  33,914 
Employee compensation and benefits13,102  14,444  16,080 
Sales and marketing535  549  595 
Westwood mutual funds842  979  1,189 
Information technology2,350  2,332  2,291 
Professional services1,106  1,372  1,421 
General and administrative2,264  2,431  2,506 
(Gain) loss on foreign currency transactions(1,968) 596  44 
Total expenses18,231  22,703  24,126 
Income before income taxes7,888  7,151  9,788 
Provision for income taxes2,475  1,783  6,891 
Net income$5,413  $5,368  $2,897 
Other comprehensive income (loss):     
Foreign currency translation adjustments(2,057) 616  85 
Total comprehensive income$3,356  $5,984  $2,982 
Earnings per share:     
Basic$0.65  $0.64  $0.35 
Diluted$0.64  $0.62  $0.34 
Weighted average shares outstanding:     
Basic8,383,972  8,402,697  8,181,546 
Diluted8,503,522  8,598,230  8,546,936 
Economic Earnings$9,515  $9,541  $7,609 
Economic EPS$1.12  $1.11  $0.89 
Dividends declared per share$0.72  $0.68  $0.68 

(in thousands, except per share and share amounts)

 Year Ended December 31,
 2018 2017
Advisory fees:   
Asset-based$89,367  $99,201 
Performance-based2,984  1,411 
Trust fees28,953  31,621 
Other, net996  1,552 
Total revenues122,300  133,785 
Employee compensation and benefits59,959  64,955 
Sales and marketing1,936  2,042 
Westwood mutual funds3,808  3,938 
Information technology9,103  7,785 
Professional services4,783  5,916 
Legal settlement  4,009 
General and administrative9,564  9,652 
(Gain) loss on foreign currency transactions(2,791) 1,595 
Total expenses86,362  99,892 
Net operating income35,938  33,893 
Gain on sale of operations524   
Income before income taxes36,462  33,893 
Provision for income taxes9,711  13,904 
Net income$26,751  $19,989 
Other comprehensive income (loss):   
Foreign currency translation adjustments(3,119) 2,523 
Total comprehensive income$23,632  $22,512 
Earnings per share:   
Basic$3.20  $2.45 
Diluted$3.13  $2.38 
Weighted average shares outstanding:   
Basic8,365,360  8,147,742 
Diluted8,547,370  8,400,022 
Economic Earnings$43,943  $38,917 
Economic EPS$5.14  $4.63 
Dividends declared per share$2.76  $2.54 

(in thousands, except par value and share amounts)

 December 31, 2018 December 31, 2017
Current Assets:   
Cash and cash equivalents$52,449  $54,249 
Accounts receivable18,429  21,660 
Investments, at fair value65,781  51,324 
Prepaid income taxes349  4,269 
Other current assets2,731  6,612 
Total current assets139,739  138,114 
Goodwill19,804  27,144 
Deferred income taxes5,102  3,407 
Intangible assets, net15,961  19,804 
Property and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation of $6,462 and $5,6734,454  4,190 
Total assets$190,485  $192,659 
Current Liabilities:   
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities$2,518  $3,501 
Dividends payable7,710  7,357 
Compensation and benefits payable15,102  19,075 
Income taxes payable365  1,598 
Total current liabilities25,695  31,531 
Accrued dividends1,576  1,717 
Noncurrent tax payable  1,017 
Deferred rent2,065  1,998 
Total liabilities29,336  36,263 
Stockholders’ Equity:   
Common stock, $0.01 par value, authorized 25,000,000 shares, issued 10,182,583 and outstanding 8,904,902 shares at December 31, 2018; issued 9,980,827 and outstanding 8,899,587 shares at December 31, 2017102  100 
Additional paid-in capital194,116  179,241 
Treasury stock, at cost – 1,277,681 shares at December 31, 2018; 1,081,240 shares at December 31, 2017(58,711) (49,788)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(4,883) (1,764)
Retained earnings30,525  28,607 
Total stockholders’ equity161,149  156,396 
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity$190,485  $192,659 

(in thousands)

 Year ended December 31,
 2018 2017
Net income$26,751  $19,989 
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:   
Depreciation867  1,044 
Amortization of intangible assets1,672  1,872 
Unrealized (gains) losses on trading investments737  (617)
Stock-based compensation expense15,283  16,430 
Deferred income taxes(1,749) 7,542 
Gain on sale of operations(524)  
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:   
Net (purchases) sales of investments – trading securities(15,194) 5,778 
Accounts receivable2,678  2,161 
Other current assets3,755  (4,234)
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities(644) 763 
Compensation and benefits payable(3,636) 2,262 
Income taxes payable1,643  (4,816)
Other liabilities(155) (165)
Net cash provided by operating activities31,484  48,009 
Purchases of property, equipment and other(991) (1,167)
Proceeds from Omaha divestiture10,013   
Purchases of investments(5,425)  
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities3,597  (1,167)
Purchases of treasury stock(4,000)  
Purchases of treasury stock for employee stock plans(726) (1,326)
Restricted stock returned for payment of taxes(4,769) (5,328)
Cash dividends(24,620) (21,923)
Net cash used in financing activities(34,115) (28,577)
Effect of currency rate changes on cash(2,766) 2,305 
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period54,249  33,679 
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period$52,449  $54,249 
Supplemental cash flow information:   
Cash paid during the period for income taxes$9,766  $10,770 
Accrued dividends$9,286  $9,074 
Tenant allowance included in Property and equipment$237  $ 
Non-cash accrued Property and equipment$  $69 

Reconciliation of Net Income to Economic Earnings
(in thousands, except per share and share amounts)

 Three Months Ended
 December 31,
 September 30,
 December 31,
Net Income$5,413 $5,368 $2,897
Add:  Stock-based compensation expense3,625 3,695 4,132
Add:  Intangible amortization417 419 423
Add:  Tax benefit from goodwill amortization60 59 157
Economic Earnings$9,515 $9,541 $7,609
Diluted weighted average shares8,503,522 8,598,230 8,546,936
Economic EPS$1.12 $1.11 $0.89

 Year Ended December 31,
 2018 2017
Net Income$26,751 $19,989
Add:  Stock-based compensation expense15,283 16,430
Add:  Intangible amortization1,672 1,872
Add:  Tax benefit from goodwill amortization237 626
Economic Earnings$43,943 $38,917
Diluted weighted average shares8,547,370 8,400,022
Economic EPS$5.14 $4.63

As supplemental information, we are providing non-GAAP performance measures that we refer to as Economic Earnings and Economic EPS. We provide these measures in addition to, not as a substitute for, net income and earnings per share, which are reported on a GAAP basis. Management reviews Economic Earnings and Economic EPS to evaluate Westwood’s ongoing performance, allocate resources, and review our dividend policy. We believe that these non-GAAP performance measures, while not substitutes for GAAP net income or earnings per share, are useful for management and investors when evaluating Westwood’s underlying operating and financial performance and its available resources. We do not advocate that investors consider these non-GAAP measures without also considering financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP.

We define Economic Earnings as net income plus non-cash equity-based compensation expense, amortization of intangible assets, and deferred taxes related to goodwill. Although depreciation on fixed assets is a non-cash expense, we do not add it back when calculating Economic Earnings because depreciation charges represent an allocation of the decline in the value of the related assets that will ultimately require replacement. In addition, we do not adjust Economic Earnings for tax deductions related to restricted stock expense or amortization of intangible assets. Economic EPS represents Economic Earnings divided by diluted weighted average shares outstanding.