Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2016
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]|
|Summary of Significant Accounting Policies||
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Principles of Consolidation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its subsidiaries, all of which are wholly owned, except for one subsidiary organized in 2013, which is 80% owned, after elimination of all significant intercompany balances and transactions.
Certain amounts in the prior period financial statements were reclassified to conform with the current period financial statement presentation.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of these consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP") requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
The Company considers all highly liquid financial instruments with an original maturity of three months or less to be cash equivalents. Cash equivalents at December 31, 2016 and 2015 consist of money market funds which are carried at fair value of $43,484 and $31,894, respectively. Fair value is based on quoted prices in active markets (Level 1).
Commissions revenue results from transactions in equity securities, mutual funds, variable annuities and other financial products and services. Most of the commission and advisory fee revenue generated by independent contractor financial advisors is paid to the advisors as commissions and fees for initiating the transactions.
Commission revenue is generated from front-end sales commissions that occur at the point of sale, as well as trailing commissions. Front-end sales commission revenue and related clearing and other expenses on transactions introduced to its clearing broker are recognized on a trade date basis. Front-end sales commissions and related expenses on transactions initiated directly between the financial advisors and product sponsors are recognized upon receipt of notification from sponsors of the commission earned. Commission revenue also includes 12b-1 fees, and fixed and variable product trailing fees, collectively considered as trailing fees, which are recurring in nature. These trailing fees are earned based on a percentage of the current market value of clients' investment holdings in trail eligible assets. Because trail commission revenues are generally paid in arrears, management estimates commission revenues earned during each period. These estimates are based on a number of factors including investment holdings and the applicable commission rate and the amount of trail commission revenue received in prior periods. Estimates are subsequently adjusted to actual based on notification from the sponsors of trail commissions earned.
Commissions are also earned on the sale of insurance policies. Commissions are generally paid each year as long as the client continues to use the product. Commissions paid by insurance companies are based on a percentage of the premium that the insurance company charges to the policyholder. First-year commissions are calculated as a percentage of the first twelve months’ premium on the policy and earned in the year that the policy is originated. In many cases, renewal commissions are received for a period following the first year, if the policy remains in force. Insurance commissions are recognized as revenue when the following criteria are met: (1) the policy application and other carrier delivery requirements are substantially complete, (2) the premium is paid and (3) the insured party is contractually committed to the purchase of the insurance policy. Carrier delivery requirements may include additional supporting documentation, signed amendments and premium payments. Commissions earned on renewal premiums are generally recognized upon receipt from the carrier, since that is typically when notification is first received that such commissions have been earned.
Advisory fee revenue represents fees charged by registered investment advisors to their clients based upon the value of advisory assets. Advisory fees are recorded as earned. Since advisory fees are based on assets under management, significant changes in the fair value of these assets will have an impact on the fees earned in future periods. Incentive fees are also earned based upon the performance of investment funds and accounts.
Investment banking revenue consists of underwriting revenue, strategic advisory revenue and private placement fees. Underwriting revenues arise from securities offerings in which Ladenburg acts as an underwriter and include management fees, selling concessions and underwriting fees, net of related syndicate expenses. Underwriting revenues are recorded at the time the underwriting is completed and the income is reasonably determined. Strategic advisory revenue primarily consists of success fees on completed mergers and acquisitions transactions, and retainer and periodic fees earned by advising buyers and sellers in transactions. Fees are also earned for related strategic advisory work and other services such as providing fairness opinions and valuation analyses. Strategic advisory revenues are recorded when the transactions or the services (or, if applicable, separate components thereof) to be performed are substantially complete, the fees are determinable and collection is reasonably assured. Private placement fees, net of expenses, are recorded on the closing date of the transaction.
Principal transactions revenue includes realized and unrealized net gains and losses resulting from investments in equity securities and equity-linked warrants received from certain investment banking assignments.
Interest is recorded on an accrual basis and dividends are recorded on an ex-dividend date basis.
Service fees and other income principally includes amounts charged to independent financial advisors for processing of securities trades and for providing administrative and compliance services and also includes marketing allowances earned from product sponsor programs. All such amounts are recorded as earned.
Fixed assets are carried at cost net of accumulated depreciation and amortization. Depreciation is provided by the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the related assets. Leasehold improvements are amortized on a straight-line basis over the lease term, or their estimated useful lives, whichever is shorter.
The Company measures the cost of employee, officer and director services received in exchange for an award of equity instruments, including stock options and restricted stock, based on the grant-date fair value of the award. The cost is recognized as compensation expense over the service period, which would normally be the vesting period of the equity instruments.
Compensation expense for share-based awards granted to independent contractors is measured at their vesting date fair value. The compensation expense recognized each period is based on the awards' estimated value at the most recent reporting date.
Intangible assets are amortized over their estimated useful lives, generally on a straight-line basis. Intangible assets subject to amortization are tested for recoverability whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. The Company assesses the recoverability of its intangible assets by determining whether the unamortized balance can be recovered over the assets’ remaining life through undiscounted forecasted cash flows. If undiscounted forecasted cash flows indicate that the unamortized amounts will not be recovered, an adjustment will be made to reduce such amounts to fair value determined based on forecasted future cash flows discounted at a rate commensurate with the risk associated with achieving such cash flows. Future cash flows are based on trends of historical performance and the Company’s estimate of future performance, giving consideration to existing and anticipated competitive and economic conditions. See Note 7.
Goodwill, which was recorded in connection with acquisitions of subsidiaries (see Notes 3 and 8), is not subject to amortization and is tested for impairment annually, or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the asset may be impaired. The impairment test consists of a comparison of the fair value of the reporting unit with its carrying amount. Fair value is typically based upon forecasted future cash flows discounted at a rate commensurate with the risk involved or market based comparables. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value then an analysis will be performed to compare the implied fair value of goodwill with the carrying amount of goodwill. An impairment loss will be recognized in an amount equal to the excess of the carrying amount over the implied fair value. After an impairment loss is recognized, the adjusted carrying amount of goodwill is its new accounting basis. Accounting guidance on the testing of goodwill for impairment allows entities the option of performing a qualitative assessment to determine the likelihood of goodwill impairment and whether it is necessary to perform such two-step quantitative impairment test.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In July 2013, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2013-11. Presentation of an Unrecognized Tax Benefit When a Net Operating Loss Carryforward, a similar Tax Loss, or Tax Credit Carryforward Exists. The update requires the netting of unrecognized tax benefits against a deferred tax asset for the loss or other carryforward that would apply in settlement of an uncertain tax positions. The Company adopted the amended accounting guidance effective as of January 1, 2014, which did not have any impact on the Company's 2014 financial statements.
In April 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-08 which changes the requirements for reporting discontinued operations. A disposal of a component of an entity or a group of components of an entity is required to be reported in discontinued operations if the disposal represents a strategic shift that has, or will have, a major effect on an entity's operations and financial results. ASU 2014-08, which is to be applied prospectively to all new disposals of components and new classifications as held for sale, became effective in annual periods beginning on or after December 15, 2014 and interim periods within those annual periods with early adoption allowed. The Company adopted ASU 2014-08 effective as of January 1, 2015, which did not have any impact on the Company's 2015 financial statements.
In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606), which completes the joint effort by the FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board to improve financial reporting by creating common revenue recognition guidance for GAAP and the International Financial Reporting Standards. ASU 2014-09 will become effective for fiscal years and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2017, with early adoption permitted for fiscal years and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2016, the original effective date of the standard. The Company is currently assessing the impact that the adoption of ASU 2014-09 will have on its consolidated financial statements.
In June 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-12, Compensation-Stock Compensation (Topic 718), which requires that a performance target that affects vesting and that could be achieved after the requisite service period be treated as a performance condition. ASU 2014-12 became effective for the Company for annual periods and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2015. The adoption of ASU 2014-12 in the quarter ended March 31, 2016 did not have any impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.
In February 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-02, Amendments to the Consolidation Analysis, which is effective for fiscal years and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2015. Early adoption is permitted. ASU 2015-02 amends: the assessment of whether a limited partnership is a variable interest entity; the effect that fees paid to a decision maker have on the consolidation analysis; how variable interests held by a reporting entity's related parties or de facto agents affect its consolidation conclusion; and for entities other than limited partnerships, clarifies how to determine whether the equity holders as a group have power over an entity. In 2015, the Company adopted ASU 2015-02, which did not have any impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements and footnote disclosure.
In April 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-03, Interest - Imputation of Interest (Subtopic 835-30): Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs, which requires that debt issuance costs related to a recognized debt liability be presented in the balance sheet as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of that debt liability, consistent with debt discounts. The ASU requires retrospective adoption and is effective for interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2015. The adoption of ASU 2015-03 in the quarter ended March 31, 2016 did not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated statement of financial condition.
In September 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-16, Business Combination (Topic 805): Simplifying the Accounting for Measurement Period Adjustments, which requires adjustments to provisional amounts initially recorded in a business combination that are identified during the measurement period to be recognized in the reporting period in which the adjustment amounts are determined. This includes any effect on earnings of changes in depreciation, amortization, or other income effects as a result of the change to the provisional amounts, calculated as if the accounting had been completed at the acquisition date. ASU 2015-16 also requires the disclosure of the nature and amount of measurement-period adjustments recognized in the current period, including separately the amounts in current-period income statement line items that would have been recorded in previous reporting periods if the adjustment to the provisional amounts had been recognized as of the acquisition date. The guidance is effective for the Company beginning January 1, 2016. The adoption of ASU 2015-16 in the quarter ended March 31, 2016 did not have any impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.
In January 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-01, Financial Instruments--Overall (Subtopic 825-10): Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities, which amends the guidance in U.S. GAAP on the classification and measurement of financial instruments. Changes to the current guidance primarily affect the accounting for equity investments, financial liabilities under the fair value option, and the presentation and disclosure requirements for financial instruments. In addition, the ASU clarifies guidance related to the valuation allowance assessment when recognizing deferred tax assets resulting from unrealized losses on available-for-sale debt securities. The new standard is effective for fiscal years and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2017, and upon adoption, an entity should apply the amendments by means of a cumulative-effect adjustment to the balance sheet at the beginning of the first reporting period in which the guidance is effective. Early adoption is not permitted except for the provision to record fair value changes for financial liabilities under the fair value option resulting from instrument-specific credit risk in other comprehensive income. The Company is evaluating the effect that this guidance will have on its consolidated financial statements.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which supersedes the existing guidance for lease accounting, Leases (Topic 840). ASU 2016-02 requires lessees to recognize leases on their balance sheets, and leaves lessor accounting largely unchanged. The amendments in this ASU are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018 and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early application is permitted for all entities. ASU 2016-02 requires a modified retrospective approach for all leases existing at, or entered into after, the date of initial application, with an option to elect to use certain transition relief. The Company is currently assessing the impact that the adoption of ASU 2016-02 will have on its consolidated financial statements.
In March 2016, the FASB amended the existing accounting standards for stock-based compensation, ASU 2016-09, Compensation-Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting. The amendments impact several aspects of accounting for share-based payment transactions, including the income tax consequences, forfeitures, classification of awards as either equity or liabilities, and classification on the statement of cash flows. The Company is required to adopt the amendments in the first quarter of 2017, with early adoption permitted. The manner of application varies by the various provisions of the guidance, with certain provisions applied on a retrospective or modified retrospective approach, while others are applied prospectively. The Company has not elected early adoption and is currently assessing the impact that the adoption of these amendments and the transition alternatives will have on its consolidated financial statements.
In August 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-15, Classification of Certain Cash Receipts and Cash Payments (“ASU 2016-15”). ASU 2016-15 is intended to reduce diversity in practice on how certain cash receipts and payments are presented and classified in the statement of cash flows. The standard provides guidance in a number of situations including, among others, settlement of zero-coupon bonds, contingent consideration payments made after a business combination, proceeds from the settlement of insurance claims, and distributions received from equity method investees. ASU 2016-15 also provides guidance for classifying cash receipts and payments that have aspects of more than one class of cash flows. ASU 2016-15 is effective for the Company's fiscal year beginning January 1, 2018. Early adoption is permitted. The standard requires application using a retrospective transition method. The Company is currently assessing the impact the adoption of ASU 2016-15 will have on its consolidated financial statements.
In November 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-18, Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230) ("ASU 2016-18"). ASU 2016-18 provides guidance on the classification of restricted cash to be included with cash and cash equivalents when reconciling the beginning of period and end of period total amounts on the statement of cash flows. This pronouncement is effective for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2017 using a retrospective adoption method and early adoption is permitted. The Company is currently assessing the impact the adoption of ASU 2016-18 will have on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-01, Business Combinations (Topic 805): Clarifying the Definition of a Business (“ASU 2017-01”). ASU 2017-01 provides that when substantially all the fair value of the assets acquired is concentrated in a single identifiable asset or a group of similar identifiable assets, the set is not a business. ASU 2017-01 will be effective for transactions beginning in the first quarter of 2017 and will be applied prospectively. The adoption of ASU 2017-01 is not expected to have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-04, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other (Topic 350): Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment, an amendment to simplify the subsequent quantitative measurement of goodwill by eliminating step two from the goodwill impairment test. As amended, an entity will recognize an impairment charge for the amount by which the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, not to exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to the reporting unit. An entity still has the option to perform the qualitative test for a reporting unit to determine if the quantitative impairment test is necessary. This amendment is effective for annual or interim goodwill impairment tests in fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019. Entities should apply the amendment prospectively. Early adoption is permitted, including in an interim period, for impairment tests performed after January 1, 2017. The Company is currently assessing the impact the adoption of ASU 2017-04 will have on its consolidated financial statements.
The entire disclosure for all significant accounting policies of the reporting entity.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef