Revenue from Contracts with Customers
|3 Months Ended|
Mar. 31, 2019
|Revenue from Contract with Customer [Abstract]|
|Revenue from Contracts with Customers||
Revenue from Contracts with Customers
The Company adopted ASU 2014-09 and all related amendments ("ASC 606"), effective January 1, 2018, using the modified retrospective method by recognizing the cumulative effect of initially applying ASC 606 as an adjustment to the opening balance of shareholders' equity and other affected accounts at January 1, 2018. During the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company determined that the deferred tax liability recorded on adoption of ASC 606 with respect to Highland was overstated, and the Company made an additional retained earnings adjustment of $665 to correct this item as of January 1, 2018.
Revenue from contracts with customers is recognized when, or as, the Company satisfies its performance obligations by transferring promised goods or services to customers. A good or service is transferred to a customer when, or as, the customer obtains control of that good or service. A performance obligation may be satisfied over time or at a point in time. Revenue from a performance obligation satisfied at a point in time is recognized at the point in time that the Company determines the customer obtains control over the promised good or service. The amount of revenue recognized reflects the consideration to which the Company expects to be entitled in exchange for those promised goods or services. Revenues are also analyzed to determine whether the Company acts as the principal (i.e. reports revenue on a gross basis) or agent (i.e. reports revenue on a net basis) in the arrangement with the customer. Principal or agent designations depend primarily on the control an entity has over the product or service before control is transferred to a customer. The indicators of which party exercises control include primary responsibility over performance obligations, inventory risk before the good or service is transferred and discretion in establishing the price.
The following provides detailed information on the recognition of the Company's revenue from contracts with customers:
The Company’s broker-dealer subsidiaries earn commissions by executing client transactions in stocks, mutual funds, variable annuities and other financial products and services as well as from trailing commissions which are variable. Commissions revenue is recognized at the point of sale on the trade date when the performance obligation is satisfied. Commissions revenue is paid on settlement date, which is generally two business days after trade date for equities securities and corporate bond transactions and one business day for government securities and commodities transactions. The Company records a receivable on the trade date and receives a payment on settlement date. For trailing commissions, the performance obligation is satisfied at the time of the execution of the investments but the amount to be received for trailing commissions is uncertain, as it is dependent on the value of the investments at future points in time as well as the length of time the investor holds the investments, both of which are highly susceptible to variable factors outside the Company's influence. The Company does not believe that it can overcome this constraint until the market value of the investment and the investor activities are known, which are usually monthly or quarterly. The Company's Consolidated Statements of Operations reflects trailing commissions for services performed and performance obligations satisfied in previous periods and are recognized in the period that the constraint is overcome, when clients' investment holdings and their market values become known.
The Company's broker-dealer subsidiaries act as principal in satisfying the performance obligations that generate commissions revenue and maintain relationships with the product sponsors. The Company's independent financial advisors assist the Company in performing its obligations. Accordingly, broker-dealer commissions revenue are presented on a gross basis.
The Company’s performance obligation with respect to each contract with its customer, the insurance carriers, is the sale of the insurance policies to clients. Insurance commissions revenue is received from insurance carriers and includes an initial up-front (first year) commission as well as annual trailing commission payments for each policy renewal. Commissions on insurance renewal premiums are considered variable consideration.
ASC 606 requires that, at the time of the initial sale of a policy, the Company must estimate the variable consideration (future renewal commissions) and determine the transaction price as the undiscounted sum of expected future renewal commissions to be received from the insurance carriers.
Therefore, the transaction price includes the first-year fixed commission and the variable consideration for the trailing commissions, estimated using the expected value method and a portfolio approach. The Company also estimates a reduction of the transaction price for possible future chargebacks from the carriers. The Company acts as principal in its relationship with the insurance carriers and receives commissions revenue for the sale of insurance products for the insurance carriers. The Company's financial advisors assist the Company in performing its obligations and act as an agent for the Company. Accordingly, the Company presents the first-year and trailing commissions revenue on a gross basis when each policy is bound as an enforceable contract.
Advisory fee revenue represents fees charged by registered investment advisors (“RIAs”) to their clients based upon the value of client assets under management (“AUM”). The Company records fees charged to clients as advisory fees where the Company considers itself to be the primary RIA. The Company determined that the primary RIA firm is the principal in providing advisory services to clients and will therefore recognize the corresponding advisory fee revenues on a gross basis when the advisory services are conducted using the Company's corporate RIA platform.
As a result, the portion of the advisory fees paid to the client's independent financial advisor are classified as commissions and fees expense in the consolidated statements of operations.
Certain independent financial advisors conduct their advisory business through their own RIA firm, rather than using one of the Company's corporate RIA subsidiaries. These independent entities, or Hybrid RIAs, engage the Company for clearing, regulatory and custody services, as well as for access to investment advisory platforms. The advisory fee revenue generated by these Hybrid RIAs is earned by the independent financial advisors, and is not included in the Company's advisory fee revenues. However, the Company charges separate fees to Hybrid RIAs for technology, custody and administrative services based on the AUM within the client’s accounts. These fees are recognized on a net basis and classified as advisory fees in the consolidated statements of operations. Accordingly, reported advisory revenue growth may lag behind the overall growth rate of advisory assets.
Investment banking revenues consist of underwriting revenue, strategic advisory revenue and private placement fees.
The performance obligation is the consummation of the sale of securities for each contract with a customer. The transaction price includes fixed management fees and is recognized as revenue when the performance obligation is satisfied, generally the trade date. Where Ladenburg is the lead underwriter, revenue and expenses are first allocated to other members of a syndicate because Ladenburg is acting as an agent for the syndicate. Accordingly, the Company records revenue on a net basis. When Ladenburg is not the lead underwriter, Ladenburg recognizes its share of revenue and expenses on a gross basis, because Ladenburg is acting as the principal.
Strategic Advisory Services
Performance obligations in these arrangements vary dependent on the contract, but are typically satisfied upon completion of the arrangement. Transaction fees may include retainer, management, and/or success fees, which are recognized upon completion of a deal.
Ladenburg controls the service as it is transferred to the customer, and is therefore acting as a principal. Accordingly, the Company records revenues and out-of-pocket reimbursements on a gross basis.
The performance obligation is the consummation of the sale of securities for each contract with a customer. The transaction price includes fixed management fees and is recognized as revenue when the performance obligation is satisfied, generally the trade date. Ladenburg controls the service as it is transferred to the customer, and is therefore acting as a principal. Accordingly, the Company records revenues and out-of-pocket reimbursements on a gross basis.
Service fees primarily include (1) amounts charged to independent financial advisors for securities trades and for providing administrative and compliance services; and (2) fees earned for arranging the cash sweep programs between the customers and the third-party banks, in which customers' cash deposits in their brokerage accounts at the customers' direction are swept into interest-bearing FDIC-insured deposit accounts at various third-party banks.
The service fees charged to independent financial advisors are recognized when the Company satisfies its performance obligations. Transaction revenues for the processing of securities trades are recognized at the point-in-time that a transaction is executed, which is generally the trade date. Fees charged to advisors for providing administrative and compliance services are either recognized at a point-in-time to over time depending on whether the service is provided at an identifiable point-in-time or if the service is provided continually over the the year. The cash sweep fees are earned and recognized over the period of the clients' participation in these programs.
The Company receives fees from product sponsors, primarily mutual fund and annuity companies, for marketing support and sales force education and training efforts. Compensation for these performance obligations is generally calculated as a fixed fee, or as a percentage of the average annual amount of product sponsor assets held in advisors' clients' accounts, or as a percentage of new sales, or a combination. As the value of product sponsor assets held in advisor's clients' accounts is susceptible to unpredictable market changes, this revenue includes variable consideration and is constrained until the date that the fees are determinable. The Company is the principal in these arrangements as it is responsible for and determines the level of servicing and marketing support it provides to the product sponsors.
In addition, the Company hosts certain advisor conferences that serve as training, education, sales, and marketing events, for which a fee may be charged for attendance to advisors and product sponsors. Recognition is at a point-in-time when the conference is held and the Company satisfies its performance obligations.
Disaggregation of Revenue
In the following table, revenue is disaggregated by service line and segment:
For each of its insurance policies, the Company receives an initial up-front (first year) commission as well as annual trailing commission payments for each policy renewal. The Company will incur commission expenses related to the trailing commission payments for each policy renewal as well. The timing of revenue recognition, cash collections, and commission expense on the insurance policies results in contract assets and contract liabilities.
The following table provides information about contract assets and contract liabilities from contracts with customers. Estimated trailing commissions are included in other receivables, net while estimated expenses on trailing commissions are included in commissions and fees payable on the condensed consolidated statement of financial condition:
Performance obligations related to insurance brokerage revenue are considered satisfied when the sale of the initial insurance policies are completed, including expected future trailing commissions due to the Company each year upon customer renewals of the policies sold. Upon receipt of the annual trailing commission, the Company pays a corresponding commission expense. Based on historical data, customer renewal periods are estimated at approximately eight years from the sale of the initial policy.
Increases to the contract asset were a result of $5,620 in estimated trailing commissions from new policies during the three months ended March 31, 2019, while decreases were driven by $6,202 in actual commissions received during the three months ended March 31, 2019. Increases to the contract liability were a result of $2,810 in estimated commission expense from new policies during the three months ended March 31, 2019, while decreases were driven by $3,154 in actual commissions paid during the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Costs to Obtain a Contract with a Customer
The Company capitalizes the incremental costs of obtaining a contract with a customer (independent financial advisor) if the costs (1) relate directly to an existing contract or anticipated contract, (2) generate or enhance resources that will be used to satisfy performance obligations in the future, and (3) are expected to be recovered. These costs are included in contract acquisition costs, net in the condensed consolidated statements of financial condition and are amortized over the estimated customer relationship period.
The Company uses an amortization method that is consistent with the pattern of transfer of goods or services to its customers. Any costs that are not incremental costs of obtaining a contract with a customer, such as costs of onboarding, training and support of independent financial advisors, would not qualify for capitalization.
The Company pays fees to third-party recruiters and bonuses to employees for recruiting independent financial advisors, and thereby bring their customers’ accounts to the Company, which generates ongoing advisory fee revenue, commissions revenue, and monthly service fee revenue to the Company.
An additional cost to obtain an independent financial advisor may include forgivable loans. Forgivable loans take many forms, but they are differentiated by the fact that at inception the loan is intended to be forgiven over time by the Company. The loans are given as an inducement to attract independent financial advisors to become affiliated with the Company's independent advisory and brokerage subsidiaries. Each of the Company’s independent advisory and brokerage subsidiaries may offer new independent financial advisors a forgivable loan as part of his/her affiliation offer letter. These amounts are paid upfront and are capitalized, then amortized over the expected useful lives of the independent financial advisor’s relationship period with the independent advisory and brokerage firm.
The balance of contract acquisition costs, net, was $83,784 as of March 31, 2019, an increase of $3,058 compared to December 31, 2018. Amortization on these contract acquisition costs was $2,777 during the three months ended March 31, 2019. There were no impairments or changes to underlying assumptions related to contract acquisition costs, net, for the period.
Transaction Price Allocated to Remaining Performance Obligation
Contract liabilities represent accrued commission expense associated with the accrued insurance trailing commission contract assets. The Company does not have any contract liabilities representing revenues that will be recognized in future periods upon the satisfaction of any remaining performance obligations.
The entire disclosure of revenue from contract with customer to transfer good or service and to transfer nonfinancial asset. Includes, but is not limited to, disaggregation of revenue, credit loss recognized from contract with customer, judgment and change in judgment related to contract with customer, and asset recognized from cost incurred to obtain or fulfill contract with customer. Excludes insurance and lease contracts.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef