National Financial Partners, Corp. (NFP)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 27, 2012, 8:30 a.m. ET


Abbe Goldstein – SVP, IR and Corporate Communications

Jessica Bibliowicz – Chairman, President, CEO

Doug Hammond – COO, President

Donna Blank – EVP, CFO


Matt Rohrmann - KBW



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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the First Quarter 2012 National Financial Partners Earning conference call. My name is Dianna and I’ll be the operator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, today’s conference is being recorded for replay purposes.

And I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Ms. Jessica Bibliowicz, Chairman and CEO. Please proceed.

Abbe Goldstein

Hi, good morning. This is Abbe Goldstein. Thank you for joining us on our first quarter 2012 earnings conference call. During this call, management may make certain statements regarding their expectations and projections for NFP, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current views and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and events to differ materially from those contemplated by a forward-looking statement. We refer you to the risk factors described in NFP’s filings with the SEC such as NFP’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which they are made and NFP expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Our first quarter earnings conference call will be accompanied by a presentation that is available for download on the Investor Relations section of NFP’s website or upon connecting to the audio webcast of this call at the same website. A reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures discussed on this call can be found in the presentation or in the quarterly financial supplement, which is available at the same website.

At this time, I’d like to turn the call over to our CEO, Jessica Bibliowicz.

Jessica Bibliowicz

Great, thanks, Abbe, and good morning, everyone. I’m pleased to talk about our first quarter results, but first, I will comment on the succession plan that we announced yesterday afternoon.

I have informed the Board that I intend to step down as CEO at the end of the first quarter of 2013. Doug Hammond, our COO, has been promoted to President, effective immediately. It is expected that Dough will assume the role of CEO in April, 2013, at such time, at the request of the Board, it is expected that I will become the non-executive Chairman.

We have accomplished a lot at NFP over the past 13 years, with the right leadership in place in our core businesses, a strong strategy, a sound financial position and a deep talent bench, NFP is well positioned for continued growth. We believe that now is the right time for us to begin the implementation of a smooth year-long trans-management transition.

Doug has been with NFP since its inception, serving it various key management positions. As our Chief Operating Officer since 2008, he has been instrumental in defining and implementing our strategy, including the reorganization of our business into client-centric segments, our balanced capital allocation approach and our focus on recurring revenues as well as our transition to a more unified brand. He is a proven leader with a deep understanding of our core businesses.

The Board’s long-term succession plan was developed with external experts to ensure that our process was complete and thorough. Doug’s promotion is well deserved and reflects the important role he has had at NFP for a number of years.

We are all confident that Doug, along with our very talented senior management team, principals and employees will continue to build on NFP’s strength, provide outstanding service to clients and enhance value for our shareholder, and lead NFP successfully into the future.

With that, I’d like to turn your attention to our first quarter.

Turning to Slide 7, the first quarter 2012 included solid contributions from each of our business segments. For the quarter, we reported revenue growth of 8.9% and organic revenue growth of 5.9%, and adjusted EBITDA over 30% and margin expansion.

Now turning to Slide 8. We plan to continue executing on our balanced capital allocation strategy in 2012, which includes acquisitions, a repurchase program beginning in May and investments in our company. We believe these actions will continue to enhance shareholder value and NFP’s client value proposition as well as our leadership position in our core market of benefits, insurance and wealth management. We remain committed to our strategy, which is to continue to build shareholder value by delivering the highest quality client service, expanding our offering, maintaining our financial flexibility and growing recurring revenue and profitability.

Strategic acquisitions complement our existing businesses, especially in P&C, Corporate Benefits and Wealth Management. With these transactions, we are growing and strengthening our client offerings and the NFP brand by adding management strength and diversification of products and geographies. We are focused on regional consolidation. Our pipeline for acquisitions is strong and continues to build. Based on our current stock price, we expect to continue to use cash for acquisition.

Turning to Slide 9, a key focus of ours over the last several years has been to enhance the stability of our revenues and earnings. For the first quarter 2012, recurring revenue accounted for 65.8% of total revenue, an increase from 63% in 2011. For 2012, we are reiterating our guidance and expectations for our businesses.

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