Institutional Financial Markets' CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Institutional Financial Markets, Inc. ( IFMI)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

November 08, 2011 10:00 am ET

Executives

Daniel Cohen - Chairman, CEO and CIO, Asset Management Division

John Costas - Chairman

Joe Pooler - CFO

Analysts

Presentation

Operator

Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Institutional Financial Markets third quarter earnings conference call. My name is Melisa and I will be your operator for today. At this time, all participants have been placed in a listen-only mode. Following formal remarks, the call will be open to a question-and-answer session and instructions will be provided at that time. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

Before we begin, IFMI would like to remind everyone that some of the statements the company makes during the call may contain forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws. These statements may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in such forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements made during this call are made only as of the date of this call and the company undertakes no obligation to update such statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. IFMI advises you to read the cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements in its earnings release and its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC.

Please note also that in the company’s quarterly earnings release for the third quarter of 2011, the non-GAAP measures have been reconciled to GAAP measures in accordance with SEC regulations.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Daniel Cohen, Chairman and CEO of IFMI.

Daniel Cohen

Thank you, Melissa and thank you everybody for joining us for our third quarter 2011 earnings call. With me on the call are John Costas, Chairman of PrinceRidge; and Joe Pooler, our CFO.

As many of you know the strong headwinds that have persisted throughout our industry over the past several years remained and seem to have strengthened somewhat in the last quarter. And our results like those of many of our peers continue to be affected by the deterioration of trading volumes in the fixed income market. While they caused deterioration, we believe we are dealing with them forcefully.

The current-year periods do include revenue from our PrinceRidge and JVB operating subsidiaries which were acquired in 2011. However, the extreme weakness in the current capital markets, more than offset the impact of these acquisitions. In all, we had an adjusted operating loss of $4.3 million in the third quarter as compared to an adjusted operating income of $6.6 million in the third quarter of 2010.

While we are disappointed with our results for the quarter, we have adapted and continue to adapt and in response have implemented significant cost saving measures in the third quarter. These initiatives included the termination of staff, reduction in compensation and benefits of certain remaining staff, savings relating to the sub lease and termination of duplicative leases and termination of or reduction in pricing of subscriptions.

We merged PrinceRidge into Cohen & Company Capital Markets during the third quarter and did not react at the beginning, but rather at the end of the third quarter. Still the total results of these efforts are anticipated to result in excess of $10 million in annualized saving.

While decision like these are always difficult given the market environment, we believe lowering our fixed costs and focusing on the most profitable business lines is a prudent step that will allow us to better take advantage of the market when conditions improve. Accordingly, we’re building the foundation and team to advance our growth strategies and delivering enhanced stockholder returns in months and years to come. We believe that we have strong leadership in this business and we’ll be able to come out strongly on top.

As of September 30, 2011, our total permanent equity was $81.8 million. I will note that our principal investments continued to contribute positively and we did shrink our balance sheet by over 20% in response to difficult market environments that fail to have any direction. Despite the current quarter’s loss, we are choosing to continue to return value to our stockholders through a $0.05 dividend for the quarter. As always, we will carefully review our dividend policies going forward. With that, John will talk about our capital markets business.

John Costas

Thank you, Daniel. The capital markets business against the backdrop and environment Daniel outlined, took some aggressive measures during the quarter to orient the business for the future. The reduction in costs, both along personnel costs which reduced to approximately 20% as well the reduction of leverage in the business took place out and ahead of some of the recent market volatility of the last couple of weeks positioning the business well to be able to offset the environmental headwinds that again Daniel outlined.

The businesses that continue to do well, we continue to invest in are high-yield business, our middle-markets business and a distinct focus on heading banking capability for the investment banking business. We have also resisted as again it has been in the news over the last couple of weeks, any focus on proprietary trading and I want to stress that the business is oriented in building our client, facing and client oriented investment banking businesses.

So as we enter into the fourth quarter, the streamlined business of roughly 20%, lighter cost structure added the capability in the investment banking areas, added focus on building out the high yield sales and trading business and the middle-markets business will be in orientation that we continue to pursue throughout the remainder of the year. With that, I would like to hand it over to Joe who will talk over some of the period’s financial highlights in more detail.

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