Company Quick10K Filing
AssetMark
Price25.94 EPS-0
Shares72 P/E-3,825
MCap1,878 P/FCF75
Net Debt31 EBIT14
TEV1,909 TEV/EBIT137
TTM 2019-09-30, in MM, except price, ratios
10-K 2020-12-31 Filed 2021-03-10
10-Q 2020-09-30 Filed 2020-11-13
10-Q 2020-06-30 Filed 2020-08-11
10-Q 2020-03-31 Filed 2020-05-13
10-K 2019-12-31 Filed 2020-03-13
10-Q 2019-09-30 Filed 2019-11-06
10-Q 2019-06-30 Filed 2019-08-28
S-1 2019-06-24 Public Filing
8-K 2021-02-23 Officers, Other Events
8-K 2021-02-11 Earnings, Exhibits, Exhibits
8-K 2020-12-30 Enter Agreement, Leave Agreement, Off-BS Arrangement, Exhibits
8-K 2020-12-08 Regulation FD, Exhibits
8-K 2020-11-10
8-K 2020-08-27
8-K 2020-08-04
8-K 2020-06-08
8-K 2020-05-12
8-K 2020-05-05
8-K 2020-04-21
8-K 2020-03-26
8-K 2020-03-02
8-K 2020-02-26
8-K 2019-12-05
8-K 2019-11-05
8-K 2019-09-30
8-K 2019-08-28
8-K 2019-08-28
8-K 2019-07-22

AMK 10K Annual Report

Part I
Item 1. Business
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Part II
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Item 6. Selected Consolidated Financial Data
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Note 1. Overview
Note 2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Note 3. Prepaid Expenses and Other Current Assets
Note 4. Business Combinations
Note 5. Variable Interest Entities
Note 6. Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets
Note 7. Accrued Liabilities and Other Current Liabilities
Note 8. Other Long - Term Liabilities
Note 9. Fair Value Measurements
Note 10. Debt
Note 11. Asset - Based Expenses
Note 12. Income Taxes
Note 13. Stockholders' Equity
Note 14. Share - Based Employee Compensation
Note 15. Employee Benefit Plan
Note 16. Commitments and Contingencies
Note 17. Net Capital and Minimum Capital Requirements
Note 18. Related Party Transactions
Note 19. Net Income (Loss) per Share Attributable To Common Stockholders
Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure
Item 9A. Controls and Procedures
Item 9B. Other Information
Part III
Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance
Item 11. Executive Compensation
Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters
Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence
Item 14. Principal Accounting Fees and Services
Part IV
Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules
Item 16. Form 10 - K Summary
EX-4.3 amk-ex43_12.htm
EX-21.1 amk-ex211_13.htm
EX-23.1 amk-ex231_6.htm
EX-31.1 amk-ex311_10.htm
EX-31.2 amk-ex312_8.htm
EX-32.1 amk-ex321_11.htm
EX-32.2 amk-ex322_9.htm

AssetMark Earnings 2020-12-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow
1.21.00.70.50.20.02018201820192020
Assets, Equity
0.20.10.10.0-0.0-0.12018201820192020
Rev, G Profit, Net Income
0.10.10.0-0.0-0.1-0.12018201820192020
Ops, Inv, Fin

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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

 

OR

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from _____ to ______

 

Commission File Number: 001-38980

 

ASSETMARK FINANCIAL HOLDINGS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

 

 

30-0774039

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1655 Grant Street, 10th Floor

Concord, California 94520

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(925) 521-2200

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

 

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934:

 

Title of each class

Trading symbol(s)

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common stock, par value $0.001 per share

AMK

New York Stock Exchange

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issued, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933. Yes   No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1913. Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

 

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

 

Smaller reporting company

 

 

 

Emerging growth company

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. Yes    No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes    No  

The aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the Registrant, based on the closing price of $27.29 per share of the Registrant’s common stock on June 30, 2020, the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, as reported by the New York Stock Exchange on such date, was approximately $0.5 billion. Shares of the Registrant’s common stock held by each executive officer, director and holder of 5% or more of the outstanding common stock have been excluded in that such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This calculation does not reflect a determination that certain persons are affiliates of the registrant for any other purpose. The Registrant has no non-voting equity.

As of February 28, 2021, the number of shares of the registrant’s common stock outstanding was 72,459,255.

Documents Incorporated by Reference: Certain information required in response to Item 5 of Part II of Form 10-K and Part III of Form 10-K is hereby incorporated by reference to portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held in 2021. The Proxy Statement will be filed by the Registrant with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than 120 days after the end of the Registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.

 

 

 

 


ASSETMARK FINANCIAL HOLDINGS, INC.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page No.

 

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

2

 

Summary of Risk Factors

3

 

 

 

 

PART I

 

 

 

 

Item 1.

Business

4

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

12

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

31

Item 2.

Properties

31

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

31

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

31

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

 

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

32

Item 6.

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

34

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

35

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

55

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

56

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

84

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

84

Item 9B.

Other Information

84

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

 

 

 

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

85

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

85

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

85

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

85

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

85

 

 

 

 

PART IV

 

 

 

 

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

86

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

86

 

 

 

1


SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including statements regarding our future results of operations or financial condition, business strategy and plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify these statements by forward-looking words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts,” “potential” or “continue,” the negative of these terms and other comparable terminology that conveys uncertainty of future events or outcomes. These forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions about us, may include projections of our future financial performance and financial results, our anticipated growth strategies and anticipated trends in our business, our expectations regarding our industry outlook, market position, liquidity and capital resources, acquisition targets, addressable market, investments in new products, services and capabilities, our ability to close and execute on strategic transactions, our ability to comply with existing, modified and new laws and regulations applying to our business, and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our operations, demand from our customers and end investors and our operating results. These statements are only predictions based on our current expectations and projections about future events. There are important factors that could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from the results, level of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including those factors discussed in section titled “Risk Factors.” Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, level of activity, performance or achievements. Moreover, neither we nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of any of these forward-looking statements. We are under no duty to update any of these forward-looking statements after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to conform our prior statements to actual results or revised expectations, except as required by law. In addition, “we believe” and similar statements reflect our beliefs and opinions on the relevant subject. These statements are based upon information available to us as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and while we believe such information forms a reasonable basis for such statements, such information may be limited or incomplete, and our statements should not be read to indicate that we have conducted an exhaustive inquiry into, or review of, all potentially available relevant information. These statements are inherently uncertain and investors are cautioned not to unduly rely upon these statements as predictions of future events.


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SUMMARY OF RISK FACTORS

Our business is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, any one of which could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business. These risks include, but are not limited to, those listed below. This list is not complete, and should be read together with the section titled “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as the other information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and the other filings that we make with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).

 

 

Our revenue may fluctuate from period to period, which could cause our share price to fluctuate.

 

 

We operate in an intensely competitive industry, and this competition could hurt our financial performance.

 

 

We derive nearly all of our revenue from clients in the financial advisory industry and our revenue could suffer if that industry experiences a downturn.

 

 

Our clients that pay us an asset-based fee may seek to negotiate a lower fee percentage, choose to use lower-revenue products or cease using our services, which could limit the growth of our revenue or cause our revenue to decrease.

 

 

Investors may redeem or withdraw their investment assets generally at any time. Significant changes in investing patterns or large-scale withdrawal of investment funds could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

 

Changes in market and economic conditions (including as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) could lower the value of assets on which we earn revenue and could decrease the demand for our investment solutions and services.

 

We are exposed to data and cybersecurity risks that could result in data breaches, service interruptions, harm to our reputation, protracted and costly litigation or significant liability.

 

 

Our controlling stockholder is subject to supervision by regulatory authorities in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) and must comply with certain PRC laws and regulations that may influence our controlling stockholder’s decisions relating to our business.

 

 

We are subject to extensive government regulation in the United States, and our failure or inability to comply with these regulations or regulatory action against us could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

 

 

Control by our principal stockholder could adversely affect our other stockholders.

 

 

We may be subject to liability for losses that result from a breach of our fiduciary duties.

 

 

Failure to properly disclose conflicts of interest could harm our reputation, results of operations or business.

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PART I

Item 1. Business

Overview

AssetMark is a leading provider of extensive wealth management and technology solutions that power independent financial advisers and their clients. Our platform enables advisers to outsource high-cost and specialty services that would otherwise require significant investments of time and money—helping to level the playing field for independent financial advisers of all sizes. We provide an end-to-end experience, spanning nearly all elements of an adviser’s engagement with his or her client—from initial conversations to ongoing financial planning discussions, including performance reporting and billing. In addition, our platform provides tools and capabilities for advisers to better manage their day-to-day business activities, giving them more time for meaningful conversations with investors.

We believe that independent financial advisers who have a deep understanding of their communities and put the needs of investors first provide the best path for investors to achieve their long-term financial goals. We empower these adviser-entrepreneurs to start, run and grow independent advisory businesses.

The compelling value of our tools for advisers and their clients has facilitated our rapid growth. From December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2020, our platform assets(1) grew from $29 billion to $75 billion, representing a compounded annual growth rate of 21%, and more recently grew 66% from December 31, 2018 to December 31, 2020. Further, our investors value the services they receive from advisers as evidenced by the growth in our net flows(2) from $2.6 billion in 2015 to $5.5 billion in 2020, representing 10% and 9% of beginning platform assets, respectively. As of December 31, 2020, our platform served over 186,000 investor Households (as defined in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Operating Metrics”) through our approximately 8,400 adviser relationships.

Our platform provides advisers with an integrated suite of products and services that facilitates growth, streamlines workflows and provides scale to advisers’ businesses so they can better serve their clients, who are large and small investors. Highlights of our platform include:

 

Fully integrated technology platform: Our integrated platform is built for advisers, providing advisers access to a broad range of highly automated processes, including new account opening, portfolio construction, streamlined financial planning, customer billing, investor reporting, progress to goal analysis and client activity tracking. Our dual focus on technology utility and design has resulted in a platform that is accessible, easy-to-use, intuitive and expansive.

 

Personalized and scalable adviser service: We surround our advisers with highly experienced consulting and service support. We provide a full spectrum of services for many aspects of the adviser’s firm. These services include high-value day-to-day business support from field professionals, operations and service support teams and specialty teams including business management consultants, investment specialists and retirement consultants. Our offering is guided by extensive intellectual capital and well-established business performance benchmarking tools and responsive back- and middle-office outsourcing support from highly tenured service and operations professionals. We aim for every adviser to feel that their AssetMark service and consulting team is an integral part of their business.

 

Curated investment platform: We provide independent advisers with a curated set of over 25 thoroughly vetted specialty and leading third-party asset managers, in addition to our two proprietary investment providers. Our due diligence team narrows the universe of potential investment solutions to a select group of time-tested and emerging investment choices. In effect, we equip each adviser with a team of skilled investment professionals that act as a virtual extension of their investment staff, who deliver our solutions through an array of technology-enabled tools that assist in the creation and monitoring of goal-based portfolios. Further, the flexibility and breadth of our platform allows us to offer custom portfolios designed to meet the unique needs of investors, specifically mass-affluent and high-net-worth investors.

 

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We define platform assets as all assets on the AssetMark platform, whether these are assets for which we provide advisory services, referred to as assets under management, or non-advisory assets under administration, assets held in cash accounts or assets otherwise not managed.

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We define net flows for a period as production (the amount of new assets that are added to existing and new client accounts in the period) minus redemptions (the amount of assets that are terminated or withdrawn from client accounts in the period), excluding the impact of changes in the market value of investments held in client accounts and fees charged to advisers and end-investors.

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Our offering’s distinctive combination of a compelling technology platform, extensive and scalable value-added services and curated investment solutions has been a key driver of our market share expansion from 8% to 11% from December 31, 2014 to September 30, 2020. We define our market share based on assets managed by third-party vendors as calculated by Cerulli Associates (“Cerulli”), excluding non-advisory assets managed by Schwab’s Marketplace and Fidelity’s Separate Account Network, and, for SEI Investments, including only assets reported in Advisor Network, their third-party asset management segment. Additionally, our platform can act as a critical accelerant for the success of our advisers’ businesses, which in turn can result in an increase in assets on our platform; the success of our advisers is reflected in our continued strong net flows of $5.5 billion in 2020. Further, given that our platform and services are tightly integrated into our advisers’ businesses, we believe that we have engendered and will continue to engender deep loyalty from our advisers.

 

 

 

Our revenue model is almost entirely composed of fees that are recurring in nature, which provides a high level of visibility into our near-term financial performance. The two main components of our revenue are asset-based revenue and spread-based revenue. We generate asset-based revenue from fees billed to investors on a bundled basis in advance of each quarter. The quarterly nature of our asset-based revenue provides significant visibility into near-term revenue and helps minimize unexpected revenue fluctuations stemming from market volatility. Our spread-based revenue is driven by interest rates on the cash assets held by investors at our proprietary trust company. In the year ended December 31, 2020, we generated $412.0 million in asset-based revenue and $16.6 million in spread-based revenue.

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In the year ended December 31, 2020, we generated total revenue of $432.1 million, net loss of $7.8 million, adjusted EBITDA of $115.0 million and adjusted net income of $73.2 million. We generated total revenue of $417.9 million, net loss of $0.4 million, adjusted EBITDA of $109.9 million and adjusted net income of $66.1 million in the year ended December 31, 2019. From January of 2016 to December 31, 2020, our total revenue has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 15%.

See the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Key Operating Metrics—Non-GAAP Financial Metrics” for the definitions of adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income as well as reconciliations of net income to adjusted EBITDA and net income to adjusted net income.

We were incorporated in the State of Delaware in 2013.

Market Opportunity

We serve fee-based, independent advisers who provide wealth management advice to U.S. investors. The wealth management market is large and has a long history of rapid growth fueled by several secular trends. According to Cerulli, in aggregate across the United States, approximately 291,600 advisers managed $22.7 trillion in assets as of December 31, 2019, and total industry assets have grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.7% over the five years ended December 31, 2019. Cerulli expects these assets to grow to $26.5 trillion by 2024. Our current offering and growth plans are built to capitalize on favorable industry trends, which we expect will continue to support our growth.

 

Total U.S. investible wealth is massive and growing: According to Cerulli, U.S. households had $96.1 trillion in net worth as of December 31, 2019, which has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 7% over the six years ended December 31, 2019. As of December 31, 2019, advisers managed $22.7 trillion (approximately 24%) of this wealth, indicating ample runway for future growth of the financial advisory industry.

 

Investor demand for financial advisers is expanding: As investors have aged and their financial goals have become more complex, the demand for financial advice has expanded. According to Cerulli, demand for financial advice has increased from 35% to 39% from 2013 to 2019 measured by the percentage of investor households surveyed receiving assistance or direction from financial advisers relative to investor households self-managing their financial affairs.

 

Advisers are transitioning to an independent model, and we expect this trend to continue: The U.S. wealth management industry consists primarily of two types of channels, independent and traditional. We consider the “independent” channel to comprise registered investment advisers (“RIAs”), hybrid RIAs, independent broker-dealers and insurance broker-dealer advisers, and the “traditional” channel to comprise national and regional broker-dealers, bank broker-dealers and wirehouse advisers. According to Cerulli data and internal estimates of expected growth of the wealth management industry, from 2014 to 2019, independent channels have grown faster than traditional channels in terms of market share measured by assets, expanding by 7.9% annually at the expense of traditional channels. This trend is expected to continue, with independent assets forecasted to grow from $9.4 trillion in 2019 to $12.6 trillion in 2024, from 42% to 48% of total adviser-managed assets over the same period.

 

Shift from commissions to fee-based models: According to PriceMetrix, in 2019, advisers received over 60% of their total revenue from fees, which represented a record level relative to commissions. The long-term adviser trend towards a fiduciary standard of advice, catalyzed in part by the 2016 Department of Labor (“DOL”) rule (later vacated) that would have expanded the definition of “fiduciary investment advice” to include all financial professionals providing retirement advice, has helped drive this shift to a fee-based revenue model. The shift may also have been accelerated by the SEC Regulation Best Interest, adopted in 2019, which elevated the standard of conduct applicable to broker-dealers (which are typically compensated through commissions) when providing investment recommendations to retails investors.

 

Advisers are increasingly reliant on technology to remain price competitive and achieve scale while serving evolving client needs: Individual investors are increasingly turning to independent financial advisers for their wealth management and investment needs. From 2013 to 2017, the average number of investors served by an RIA adviser increased by 20% according to Fidelity. Advisers are increasingly relying on technology to meet the needs of an expanding client base while continuing to scale their advisory businesses, as indicated by a 24% increase in the average number of software solutions used by advisers from 2013 to 2017, according to the 2017 InvestmentNews Adviser Technology Study. Investor preferences for service models delivered via mobile applications and online portals are also increasing advisers’ focus on the quality of their technology. 61% of investors surveyed recently stated that they prefer an advice model that combines human and digital elements to one that is either purely digital or limited to direct interaction with an adviser, according to the Fidelity 2017 Digital Advisor Adoption Study Update.

 

Advisers are rapidly expanding their use of model portfolios: Advisers are increasingly choosing to outsource key components of the asset management aspect of their role as financial advisers, including the choice of investment manager. As such, the use of model portfolios (which we define as mutual fund advisory, ETF advisory, unified managed

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account and separate account assets) among financial advisers grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 12.9% from 2014 to 2019, based on data from Cerulli and internal estimates.

Our offering is built around technology, investment solutions and expert support, positioning us to benefit from these trends. Combined with our scalable, fee-based platform and services that help advisers put investors’ needs first, we believe that these favorable industry trends will give us the opportunity to continue to gain market share. Our gains in market share since 2014 have been due largely to organic growth, an area on which we plan to continue to focus.

Our Offering and Business Model

AssetMark’s purpose

Our over 700 employees come to work focused on our mission: to make a difference in the lives of our advisers and the investors they serve. Our mission is guided by a singular focus on successful outcomes for those investors. We strive to execute our mission through our stated corporate values of heart, integrity, excellence and respect, in everything that we do.

The AssetMark offering to advisers and the investors they serve

We provide independent financial advisers with an array of tools and services designed to streamline their workflow, help them develop and expand their businesses and provide goal-oriented investment solutions. We believe that the quality of our offering, coupled with our deep relationships with our advisers, has generated significant adviser satisfaction, as measured by our exceptional Net Promoter Score (“NPS”) of 64 as of June 30, 2020. Our offering is defined by solutions in three focus areas:

 

Fully integrated technology platform: Independent financial advisers and their teams are faced with a multitude of marketing, administrative and business management tasks. We offer a compelling technology suite that fully integrates leading third-party technology solutions with our core proprietary technology and helps advisers perform these tasks. Our solution helps advisers streamline their operations while providing a superior experience for their staff and clients. The combined capabilities of our technology platform support advisers throughout the investor life cycle, from initial prospecting and onboarding through ongoing service and reporting, and replace a complex array of technologies with a single, streamlined solution. With less time spent navigating multiple systems and technologies, advisers are able to focus on enhancing productivity. As advisers come to rely on our integrated platform, it becomes integral to their daily practices. This reliance, in conjunction with high adviser satisfaction due to our platform’s ability to optimize adviser workflow, has contributed to our strong growth in assets and net flows.

 

 

We are dedicated to innovation and strive to continually improve our offering through the development of new tools and services. From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2020, we invested over $243 million in technology development and our dedicated technology team, and we have a proven track record of delivering innovative solutions that deepen our advisers’ offerings to their investor clients while also enhancing advisers’ scale. Recent innovations include a new portfolio construction and analysis tool that assists advisers in creating and monitoring investor portfolios, a streamlined account

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opening solution that reduces the time to onboard new accounts on our platform, a goals-based investor portal that serves as a hub for communications between advisers and their clients and a fully automated digital advice tool that connects our advisers with their clients.

 

Personalized and scalable adviser service: Providing advisers access to high-quality service is a critical component of our value proposition. We develop deep, multi-level relationships with advisers’ firms, helping to ensure that, at all levels, advisers and their teams are connected with AssetMark. We tailor our services to the size of the adviser, allowing us to provide high service levels to a wide-range of adviser business sizes while also maintaining our operating leverage.

The “Regional Consultant” is the centerpiece of an adviser’s relationship with AssetMark. Our highly experienced Regional Consultants ensure that advisers can draw from a wide array of resources and institutional knowledge as they build and grow their businesses. These professionals are the single point of contact for the adviser and bring in expertise to help the adviser grow and compete. As of December 31, 2020, our Regional Consultants in the field and phone-based consultants served approximately 8,400 advisers. Depending on the adviser’s business needs, our consultants introduce advisers to investment experts, business development professionals, retirement consultants and business consultants who can help the adviser reach his or her goals. For example, investment experts provide advisers with insights into portfolio construction and how specific investments help investors reach their goals, and our team of business consultants helps advisers build more efficient and scalable businesses. This relationship model provides each adviser with a trusted colleague whom the adviser can contact with questions and who can provide access to an array of specialty resources. The value our clients place on our sales model is reflected in our high Sales NPS of 68 as of June 30, 2020.

The “Relationship Manager” is at the heart of the back-office professional’s relationship with us. Our Relationship Managers work to ensure operational activity is accurately executed and seek to promptly resolve any issues investors may encounter. We feature high-touch, accurate and rapid client servicing from dedicated teams who strive to enhance the responsiveness of the adviser’s back office. In addition, our Relationship Managers provide productivity and client-service best practices, gained through deep industry experience, to the adviser’s back office teams. Like our Regional Consultants, our Relationship Managers are go-to resources for our advisers and their offices. Depending on the size of the office, we offer a range of service models. Our largest advisers receive support from a dedicated Relationship Manager, while smaller offices are served by a centralized team of professionals. Our service model is highly valued by advisers of all sizes, as demonstrated by our high Service NPS of 69 as of June 30, 2020.

 

Curated investment solutions: Financial planning is the core competency and value proposition for most wealth managers. The various investment management functions that compose this role, such as formulating capital market assumptions, conducting manager due diligence, constructing portfolios and monitoring markets, managers and portfolios, can take time away from advisers’ ability to help their investors stay on track to reach their goals. As a result, many advisers outsource these activities to independent platforms like AssetMark.

We perform this challenging work for the adviser through our dedicated team of investment professionals who assess markets, conduct due diligence on asset managers and construct model portfolios for advisers to offer to their clients. We deliver these capabilities through a portfolio construction methodology that can be broadly described in three categories:

 

Core markets: Strategies that provide exposure to growth in domestic and global economies.

 

Tactical strategies: Supplemental equity strategies that can augment core performance or provide risk mitigation in periods of market decline.

 

Diversifying strategies: Equity alternative or bond and bond alternative strategies that offer lower volatility or lower correlation to help smooth portfolio performance or allow for greater equity exposure.

Our portfolios feature a wide range of investment vehicles including ETFs, mutual funds, equities, individual bonds and options strategies. In addition, we provide turnkey solutions for advisers who would prefer to fully outsource a selection of investments, and portfolio components and construction tools for advisers who would prefer to build or customize portfolios themselves using our curated list of strategists.

The AssetMark business model

To achieve our mission, we have built a business model that allows us to reinvest in our advisers’ and their clients’ success. Our business model has delivered a track record of attractive revenue growth and adjusted EBITDA margin expansion, both driven by strong fundamentals including:

 

Strong asset growth: We have experienced (1) platform asset growth from existing clients of approximately 68% from December 31, 2015 to December 31, 2020, (2) $20.7 billion in assets attracted from new advisers to the platform over the same period and (3) $5.9 billion in assets added to our platform through acquisitions of competitors over the same period, measured at the date of acquisition.

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Recurring and resilient revenue model: In the year ended December 31, 2020, 99% of our total revenue was recurring in nature (based on revenue generated from assets that are under contract and not dependent on trading activity) and derived from either asset-based revenue or spread-based revenue from investor cash held at our proprietary custodian. In the year ended December 31, 2020, 95% of our total revenue was derived from asset-based revenue and 4% of our total revenue was derived from spread-based revenue. Since asset-based revenue is influenced by sector, asset class and market returns, while spread-based revenue is influenced by Federal Reserve movements and the amount of cash investors hold, our two sources of revenue are relatively uncorrelated, which has helped us establish a sustainable business model through various market fluctuations.

 

Attractive margin profile driven by a mix of proprietary and third-party solutions: Our open-architecture technology, investment solutions and custodial platform offer choice and superior capabilities for advisers. In addition, since we offer a balance of third-party and proprietary solutions, we capture incremental economics, which has led to enhanced margins. By offering proprietary solutions alongside third-party technology, asset management and custody solutions, we foster competition across our offering. This competition drives participants (including us) to improve their offerings or risk losing favor with advisers. Each solution competes on its own value proposition and merits, and we do not promote or advantage our proprietary offerings above those of third parties. Our trust company held approximately 72% of our platform assets, and our proprietary strategists served 27% of our platform assets, as of December 31, 2020, evidencing the strength of our proprietary offerings.

 

Consistently strong net flows: Because our platform offers an array of solutions to advisers and our technology is deeply integrated into advisers’ businesses, our net flows grew from $2.6 billion in 2015 to $5.5 billion in 2020, representing 10% and 9% of beginning platform assets, respectively.

 

Significant operating leverage: Our purpose-built platform and upfront investments in our business have positioned us to benefit from upside growth and continued scale with meaningful operating leverage, while continuing to deliver enhanced platform capabilities and solutions to advisers. Our net income margin decreased from (0.1)% for the year ended December 31, 2019 to (1.8)% for the year ended December 31, 2020, primarily driven by non-cash share-based compensation expense as a result of the growth in the valuation of our business, non-recurring acquisition costs and interest expense under our Term Loan, as defined in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources.” Although our net income margin has decreased, the power of the operating leverage in our model is most apparent from our ability to expand our adjusted net income margin (defined as adjusted net income divided by total revenue), which expanded from 15.8% for the year ended December 31, 2019 to 16.9% for the year ended December 31, 2020.

Our strengths

For more than 20 years, we have focused on providing solutions that enhance and simplify the lives of our advisers and the investors they serve. We believe that this approach distinguishes us from many of our competitors. The following strengths underpin our competitive advantage:

 

Our mission-driven, client-focused culture: We believe that our exceptional client-centric culture has driven our historical performance. The AssetMark team is dedicated to its mission of making a difference in the lives of advisers and investors through a culture that rests on our core pillars of heart, integrity, excellence and respect. We are also committed to helping advisers and the communities they serve. Through our Summer of Service and Community Inspiration Awards we seek to ensure that our firm’s and our advisers’ communities benefit from our charitable contributions. We believe that our focus on doing the right thing while also running a great business not only results in higher adviser loyalty and referrals, but also increases our employee tenure.

 

A deep understanding of fee-based, independent advisers: Our frequent, value-added interactions with our diverse group of advisers help us tailor offerings to meet their needs, at scale and in the context of their business opportunities and challenges. We also benefit from tracking and evaluating advisers’ extensive activity in our ecosystem. This allows us to create responsive service models, operational processes and solutions that help advisers reduce the time associated with administrative tasks. In addition, members of our community of advisers have access to each other’s best practices as well as data about their specific business activity, which helps our advisers grow their businesses and drives our extensive best practices library.

 

Proven ability to execute superior outsource solutions facilitated by a leading technology offering: We create outsource solutions that transform advisers’ businesses. We believe the transformation that we enable for the advisers on our platform is the result of our deeply integrated service model and robust, user-friendly technology, which together help advisers improve responsiveness to investors. Collectively, our outsource offerings optimize advisers’ time and, as a result, help improve investor outcomes.

 

We are a scale provider: We are an established leader as an outsource service provider for independent, fee-based financial advisers. Our scale and access enable us to establish favorable partnerships with technology and asset management institutions and provide attractive pricing for our advisers’ clients. In addition, scale allows us to consistently invest in our core offering of a fully integrated technology platform, personalized and scalable adviser service and curated investment solutions to address the evolving needs of investors and advisers. Our feature-rich technology solution scales

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to serve a broad-range of business sizes, from solo practices to ensemble firms. The scope and scale of our offering has made us an essential part of our advisers’ businesses, in turn making us the third largest outsource provider of the components of a managed account platform (known in the industry as a Turnkey Asset Management Program, or TAMP) in terms of platform assets as of September 30, 2020, according to WealthAdvisor’s 2020 America’s Best TAMPs report. As of September 30, 2020, our market share among U.S. TAMPs was 11%.

 

We are a disciplined acquirer: Growth through acquisition of small, subscale, outsource providers is a core competency of our business. Our value creation through acquisition is generated by purchase price discipline and our ability to grow relationships formed through these acquisitions. In 2014 and 2015, respectively, we acquired the platform assets of two firms that collectively added $3.5 billion in assets to our platform at the time of acquisition. On average, three years post-acquisition, these acquired assets had grown by 17% compounded annually. Subsequently, in April 2019, we closed our acquisition of Global Financial Private Capital for a cash purchase price of $35.9 million, which added another $3.8 billion in platform assets. In September 2019, we announced our agreement to acquire WBI OBS Financial, Inc. (“OBS”), which closed on February 29, 2020 and which added approximately $2.1 billion in platform assets.

Our Growth Strategy

 

Increase the adviser base: Through our marketing efforts and the outreach of our field force, we expect to continue building on our existing relationships with advisers and growing business from new relationships.

 

Expand share of wallet from existing adviser clients: According to our internal share of wallet study, as of May 15, 2020, we had approximately 34% of the total assets and 59% of the total advisory assets of our advisers with at least $5 million in net contributions on our platform. We plan to work with existing advisers to add investment solutions to our platform that they otherwise obtain elsewhere. This work aims to help advisers further their operational efficiencies and improve their investor experience by shifting an increasing portion of their business to AssetMark.

 

Help advisers grow their businesses: Our turnkey, holistic platform and adviser engagement model are designed to help advisers grow and build sustainable businesses. We plan to continue to help advisers grow through our deep business consulting engagements and comprehensive platform support.

 

Enhance digital platform capabilities: Our integrated platform is designed to maximize adviser efficiency and scale. While we continue to focus on adviser workflows, we also strive to build deeper adviser – investor relationships through meaningful conversations that connect investors’ goals, concerns, and financial dreams with their portfolios. We aim to build a Financial Wellness Program that empowers advisers with enhanced capabilities to serve the specific needs of their clients.

 

Expand our services to new segments: We are focused on introducing new products and enhancing services and capabilities in areas including cash management, business consulting and trading to further expand our reach into the RIA market, retirement services, bank trusts and the high-net-worth segment. We believe that these solutions will enhance our offering to existing advisers while also deepening and extending our relationships with high-growth segments of advisers.

 

Continue to pursue strategic transactions: We expect to continue to selectively pursue acquisitions that we believe will enhance the scale and operating leverage of our business. In addition, we may pursue acquisitions that expand the appeal of our offering to independent, fee-based advisers and the investors they serve.

Competition

We compete with a broad range of wealth management firms that offer services to independent investment advisers. The principal factors on which participants in our industry compete are: 1) technological capabilities, 2) consulting and back-office servicing and 3) investment solutions. We believe that we compete favorably on each of these factors.

Our competitors offer a variety of products and services that compete with one or more of the investment solutions and services provided through our platform. Our principal competitors include:

 

Other turnkey asset management platform providers: Most providers of turnkey asset management platforms typically provide financial advisers with one or more types of products and services, and vary in the number of choices offered in terms of custodians, technology features, investments and quality of service.

 

Independent broker-dealer proprietary wealth platforms: Many broker-dealers provide integrated proprietary wealth management platforms that offer an array of asset management solutions to their affiliated financial advisers.

 

Providers of specific service applications: Several of our competitors provide financial advisers with a product or service designed to address one or a limited number of specific needs, such as financial planning or performance reporting.

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Adviser-built solutions: Some financial advisers have developed in-house solutions that overlap with some or all of the technology or services that we currently provide, including portfolio construction, portfolio analytics and model management.

While we anticipate that we will see increased competition and experience fee pressure, we believe that our technology platform, along with our personalized service and curated investment solutions, will continue to drive revenue expansion.

Employees

As of December 31, 2020, we had 732 employees. Our human capital resources objective is to foster community among our employees by identifying, recruiting, retaining, incentivizing, and integrating our existing and new employees. Talent management activities provide consultation and support for employee engagement, while our human resources team ensures that benefit programs meet employee needs. The principal purposes of our equity incentive plans are to attract, retain, and motivate selected employees, consultants, and directors through the granting of stock-based compensation awards. We also provide additional incentives to our employees, including a health and wellness stipend and technology reimbursements. None of our employees is represented by a labor union, and we consider our employee relations to be good.

We measure our employee engagement annually through a survey of all associates. Our overall engagement score increased during 2020 and we believe the score illustrates our commitment to our mission, values and culture in action. We are especially proud of this accomplishment despite the unprecedented global health crisis and its impact on market volatility.

Currently our diversity by gender is 57% male and 43% female. Our diversity by race/ethnicity is 66% white, and underrepresented minorities (Hispanic, African American and other races/ethnicities) make up 19% of our employee population.

 

In 2020, we launched our formal diversity and inclusion program, Respect at AssetMark – aligned with our core value of respect. The goals of our Respect at AssetMark program is to bring new diverse talent into the financial services industry through our internship program and to focus on recruiting and developing the talent that we already have within our organization to enable our associates to meet their fullest potential.

2020 was an unprecedented year due to the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis. In late March, we shifted our workforce to fully remote, except for a small number of essential in-office staff. This shift to remote has protected our associates’ safety and significantly limited the spread of COVID-19 within our workforce. Currently our offices remain open only to essential staff and a small handful of volunteers, who have asked to return. Across all of our offices, safety precautions have been put in place, including: mask requirements in common spaces, a COVID-19 symptom checker website which must be completed before entering the building, enhanced cleaning, higher cubicle and other physical barriers, sanitizer stations at key access and high traffic points, limitations on capacity in public spaces, and signage to remind associates of safety precautions and manage traffic flow to limit crowding.

We also understand this is a time of unprecedented challenges for our associates as they work from home and juggle additional family and other commitments. To help support our employees, we enhanced our virtual wellness programs – adding weekly meditation sessions, virtual step challenges, wellness-focused events on topics like stress, nutrition, and financial management, and additional counseling sessions available through our Employee Assistance Program. We have also adapted our Day 1 onboarding processes to help ensure that new employees hit the ground running; our new virtual employee orientation will launch in the first quarter of 2021 to give those joining us a deeper understanding of our business, beyond just the functional area in which they work.

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Available Information

We make our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K, as well as amendments to those reports, available free of charge at our corporate website as soon as reasonably practicable after they have been filed with the SEC. Our corporate website address is ir.assetmark.com. Information on or available through our website is not incorporated by reference into nor does it form a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and our reference to the URL for our website is intended to be an inactive textual reference only. The SEC maintains a website that contains the materials we file with the SEC at www.sec.gov.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business and Operations

Our revenue may fluctuate from period to period, which could cause our share price to fluctuate.

Our revenue may fluctuate from period to period in the future due to a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. Factors relating to our business that may contribute to these fluctuations include the following events, as well as other factors described elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K:

 

a decline or slowdown of the growth in the value of financial market assets or changes in the mix of assets on our platform, which may reduce the value of our platform assets and therefore our revenue and cash flows;

 

a lowering of interest rates, which would directly and proportionately impact our spread-based revenue;

 

significant fluctuations in securities prices affecting the value of assets on our platform, including as a result of public health concerns or epidemics such as the COVID-19 pandemic;

 

negative public perception and reputation of the financial services industry, which would reduce demand for our investment solutions and services;

 

unanticipated acceleration of client investment preferences to lower-fee options;

 

downward pressure on fees we charge our investor clients, which would reduce our revenue;

 

changes in laws or regulations that could impact our ability to offer investment solutions and services;

 

failure to obtain new clients or retain existing clients on our platform, or changes in the mix of clients on our platform;

 

failure by our financial adviser clients to obtain new investor clients or retain their existing investor clients;

 

failure to adequately protect our proprietary technology and intellectual property rights;

 

reduction in the suite of investment solutions and services made available by third-party providers to existing clients;

 

reduction in fee percentage or total fees for future periods, which may have a delayed impact on our results given that our asset-based fees are billed to advisers in advance of each quarter;

 

changes in our pricing policies or the pricing policies of our competitors to which we have to adapt; or

 

general domestic and international economic and political conditions that may decrease investor demand for financial advisers or investment services.

As a result of these and other factors, our results of operations for any quarterly or annual period may differ materially from our results of operations for any prior or future quarterly or annual period and should not be relied upon as indications of our future performance.

We operate in an intensely competitive industry, with many firms competing for business from financial advisers on the basis of the quality and breadth of investment solutions and services, ability to innovate, reputation and the prices of services, among other factors, and this competition could hurt our financial performance.

We compete with many different types of companies that vary in size and scope, including other TAMPs. In addition, some of our adviser clients have developed or may develop the in-house capability to provide the technology or investment advisory services they have retained us to perform. These clients may also offer internally developed services to their financial advisers, obviating the need to hire us, and they may offer these services to third-party financial advisers or financial institutions, thereby competing directly with us for that business.

Some of our competitors have greater name recognition or greater resources than we do, and may offer a broader range of services across more markets. These resources may allow our competitors to respond more quickly to new technologies or changes in demand for investment solutions and services, devote greater resources to developing and promoting their services and make more

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attractive offers to potential clients and strategic partners, which could hurt our financial performance. Further, some of our competitors operate in a different regulatory environment than we do, which may give them certain competitive advantages in the services they offer.

We compete on a number of bases including the performance of our technology, the level of fees charged, the quality of our services, our reputation and position in the industry, our ability to adapt to technological developments or unforeseen market entrants and our ability to address the complex and changing needs of our clients. Our failure to successfully compete on the basis of any of these factors could result in a significant decline in market share, revenue and net income.

We derive nearly all of our revenue from the delivery of investment solutions and services to clients in the financial advisory industry and our revenue could suffer if that industry experiences a downturn.

We derive nearly all of our revenue from the delivery of investment solutions and services to clients in the financial advisory industry and we are therefore subject to the risks affecting that industry. A decline or lack of growth in demand for financial advisory services would adversely affect the financial advisers who work with us and, in turn, our results of operations, financial condition or business. For example, the availability of free or low-cost investment information and resources, including research and information relating to publicly traded companies and mutual funds available on the Internet or on company websites, could lead to lower demand by investors for the services provided by financial advisers. In addition, demand for our investment solutions and services among financial advisers could decline for many reasons. Consolidation or limited growth in the financial advisory industry could reduce the number of financial advisers and their potential clients. Events that adversely affect financial advisers’ businesses, rates of growth or the numbers of customers they serve, including decreased demand for their products and services, adverse conditions in the markets or adverse economic conditions generally, could decrease demand for our investment solutions and services and thereby decrease our revenue. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Investors that pay us an asset-based fee may seek to negotiate a lower fee percentage, choose to use lower revenue products or cease using our services, which could limit the growth of our revenue or cause our revenue to decrease.

We derive a significant portion of our revenue from asset-based fees. Individual advisers or their clients may seek to negotiate a lower asset-based fee percentage. In particular, recent trends in the broker-dealer industry towards zero-commission trading may make self-directed brokerage services comparatively less expensive, and therefore more attractive to investors, than investment adviser services, which could prompt our investment adviser clients to attempt to renegotiate the fees they pay to us. In addition, clients may elect to use products that generate lower revenue, which may result in lower total fees being paid to us. For example, one of our broker-dealer clients recently decided to limit its advisers’ access to certain of our retail share class strategies, which may cause these advisers to shift to lower-revenue products offered on our platform. If other broker-dealer clients similarly limit access to certain of our strategies such that advisers shift to our lower-revenue products, we may be required to shift our service offering towards lower-revenue products, which would lead to a decline in asset-based revenue. In addition, in June 2020, we completed the transition of certain third-party mutual fund strategies from retail to institutional share classes, which have lower operating expense ratios than the retail share class mutual fund offerings. This has resulted in a lower overall cost of investment for most clients, and, coupled with changes in pricing for these products, has negatively impacted our revenue and net income. Further, as competition among financial advisers increases, financial advisers may be required to lower the fees they charge to their end investors, which could cause them to seek lower fee options on our platform or to more aggressively negotiate the fees we charge. Any reduction in asset-based fees could persist beyond the near term given the recurring quarterly nature of our asset-based fee arrangements. Any of these factors could result in a fluctuation or decline in our asset-based revenue, which would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Investors may redeem or withdraw their investment assets generally at any time. Significant changes in investing patterns or large-scale withdrawal of investment funds could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

The clients of our financial advisers are generally free to change financial advisers, forgo the advice and other services provided by financial advisers or withdraw the funds they have invested with financial advisers. These clients of financial advisers may elect to change their investment strategies, including by withdrawing all or a portion of their assets from their accounts to avoid securities markets-related risks. These actions by investors are outside of our control and could materially adversely affect the market value of our platform assets, which could materially adversely affect the asset-based revenue we receive.

Changes in market and economic conditions (including as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic) could lower the value of assets on which we earn revenue and could decrease the demand for our investment solutions and services.

Asset-based revenue makes up a significant portion of our revenue, representing 95% and 90% of our total revenue for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. In addition, given our fee-based model, we expect that asset-based revenue will

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continue to account for a significant percentage of our total revenue in the future. Spread-based revenue accounted for 4% and 8% of our total revenue for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively. Significant fluctuations in securities prices, as well as recent and potential decreases in interest rates, have and will continue to materially affect the value of the assets managed by our clients and has and may continue to cause a decrease in our spread-based revenue. In particular, our spread-based revenue is directly correlated with changes in interest rates; in the fourth quarter of 2020, interest rates in the U.S. remained near zero after declining in the first quarter of 2020, and our spread-based revenue has similarly declined significantly. Changes in interest rates may also influence financial adviser and investor decisions regarding whether to invest in, or maintain an investment in, one or more of our investment solutions. If such fluctuations in securities prices or decreases in interest rates were to lead to decreased investment in the securities markets, our revenue and earnings derived from asset-based and spread-based revenue could be simultaneously materially adversely affected.

We provide our investment solutions and services to the financial services industry. The financial markets, and in turn the financial services industry, are affected by many factors, such as U.S. and foreign economic and geopolitical conditions and general trends in business and finance that are beyond our control, and could be adversely affected by changes in the equity or debt marketplaces, unanticipated changes in currency exchange rates, interest rates, inflation rates, the yield curve, financial crises, war, terrorism, natural disasters, pandemics and outbreaks of disease or similar public health concerns such as the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors that are difficult to predict. In the event that the U.S. or international financial markets suffer a severe or prolonged downturn, investments may lose value and investors may choose to withdraw assets from financial advisers and use the assets to pay expenses or transfer them to investments that they perceive to be more secure, such as bank deposits and Treasury securities. Any prolonged downturn in financial markets, or increased levels of asset withdrawals could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

We must continue to introduce new investment solutions and services, and enhancements thereon, to address our clients’ changing needs, market changes and technological developments, and a failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

The market for our investment solutions and services is characterized by shifting client demands, evolving market practices and, for many of our investment solutions and services, rapid technological change, including an increased use of and reliance on web and social network properties. Changing client demands (including increased reliance on technology), new market practices or new technologies can render existing investment solutions and services obsolete and unmarketable. As a result, our future success will continue to depend upon our ability to develop and enhance investment solutions and services that address the future needs of our target markets and respond to technological and market changes. We may not be able to accurately estimate the impact of new investment solutions and services on our business or how their benefits will be perceived by our clients. Further, we may not be successful in developing, introducing and marketing our new investment solutions or services or enhancements on a timely and cost effective basis, or at all, and our new investment solutions and services and enhancements may not adequately meet the requirements of the marketplace or achieve market acceptance. In addition, clients may delay purchases in anticipation of new investment solutions or services or enhancements. Any of these factors could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

We could face liability or incur costs to remediate operational errors or to address possible customer dissatisfaction.

Operational risk generally refers to the risk of loss resulting from our operations, including, but not limited to, improper or unauthorized execution and processing of transactions, deficiencies in our operating systems, business disruptions and inadequacies or breaches in our internal control processes. Operational risk may also result from potential inefficiencies driven by the implementation of a remote workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. We operate in diverse markets and are reliant on the ability of our employees and systems to process large volumes of transactions often within short time frames. In the event of a breakdown or improper operation of systems (including due to extreme market volumes or volatility or the failure or delay of systems supporting a remote workforce), human error or improper action by employees, we could suffer financial loss, regulatory sanctions or damage to our reputation. In addition, there may be circumstances when our customers are dissatisfied with our investment solutions and services, even in the absence of an operational error. In such circumstances, we may elect to make payments or otherwise incur increased costs or lower revenue to maintain customer relationships. In any of the forgoing circumstances, our results of operations, financial condition or business could be materially adversely affected.

We may make future acquisitions which may be difficult to integrate, divert management resources, result in unanticipated costs or dilute our stockholders.

We have in the past, and may in the future, choose to grow our business in part through acquisitions, which could pose a number of risks to our operations. We may not be able to complete acquisitions, or integrate the operations, products, technologies or personnel gained through any such acquisition, such as our recent acquisitions of GFPC and OBS, without a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business. Assimilating the acquired businesses may divert significant management attention and financial resources from our other operations and could disrupt our ongoing business. We may have difficulty integrating the acquired operations, products, technologies or personnel, and may incur substantial unanticipated integration costs. Financing an

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acquisition could result in dilution from issuing equity securities or a weaker balance sheet from using cash or incurring debt. Any debt securities that we issue or credit agreements into which we enter to finance an acquisition may contain covenants that would restrict our operations, impair our ability to pay dividends or limit our ability to take advantage of other strategic opportunities. Further, we may fail to realize the potential cost savings or other financial benefits of the acquisition. In addition, acquisitions, including our recent acquisitions of GFPC and OBS, may result in the loss of key employees or customers, particularly those of the acquired operations. Acquisitions, including our recent acquisitions of GFPC and OBS, could further adversely affect our existing business relationships with third parties and/or cause us to incur regulatory, legal or other liabilities from the acquired businesses, including claims for infringement of intellectual property rights, for which we may not be indemnified in full or at all.

We may be subject to liability for losses that result from a breach of our fiduciary duties.

Certain of our investment advisory services involve fiduciary obligations that require us to act in the best interests of our clients, and we may be sued and face liabilities, regulatory investigations or enforcement actions for actual or claimed breaches of our fiduciary duties. Because we provide investment advisory services with respect to substantial assets, we could face substantial liability to our clients if it is determined that we have breached our fiduciary duties. In certain circumstances, which generally depend on the types of investment solutions and services we are providing, we may enter into client agreements jointly with advisers and retain third-party investment money managers and strategists on behalf of clients. We are responsible for conducting due diligence on the investment solutions and strategies offered by such third parties with whom we partner, and a failure to adequately conduct due diligence or to adequately disclose material conflicts of interest could subject us to liability for misstatements or omissions contained in disclosures, marketing materials and other materials describing the investment solutions and strategies offered by such third parties to our investor clients. As such, we may be included as a defendant in lawsuits against financial advisers, strategists and third-party investment money managers that involve claims of breaches of the duties of such persons, and we may face liabilities for the improper actions and/or omissions of such advisers and third-party investment money managers and strategists. In addition, we may face claims based on the results of our investment advisory services, even in the absence of a breach of our fiduciary duty. Such claims and liabilities could therefore have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

If our reputation is harmed, our results of operations, financial condition or business could be materially adversely affected.

Our reputation, which depends on earning and maintaining the trust and confidence of our clients, is critical to our business. Our reputation is vulnerable to many threats that can be difficult or impossible to control, and costly or impossible to remediate. Regulatory inquiries or investigations, lawsuits initiated by our clients, employee misconduct, perceptions of conflicts of interest and rumors, among other developments, could substantially damage our reputation, even if they are baseless or satisfactorily addressed. Potential, perceived and actual conflicts of interest are inherent in our business activities and could give rise to client dissatisfaction or litigation. In particular, we offer both proprietary and third-party mutual funds, portfolios of mutual funds and custodial services on our platform, and financial advisers or their clients could conclude that we favor our proprietary investment products or services over those of third parties. In addition, any perception that the quality of our investment solutions and services may not be the same or better than that of other providers can also damage our reputation. Any damage to our reputation could harm our ability to attract and retain clients, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

If our investment solutions and services fail to perform properly due to undetected errors or similar problems, our results of operations, financial condition or business could be materially adversely affected.

Investment solutions and services we develop or maintain may contain undetected errors or defects despite testing. Such errors can exist at any point in the life cycle of our investment solutions or services, but are typically found after introduction of new investment solutions and services or enhancements to existing investment solutions or services. We continually introduce new investment solutions and services and new versions of existing solutions and services. Our third-party providers, including asset managers whose products our clients access through our platform, could fail to detect errors or defects in the offered products that our clients use. Despite internal testing and testing by current and prospective clients, our current and future investment solutions and services may contain serious defects or malfunctions. If we detect any errors before release, we might be required to delay the release of the investment solution or service for an extended period of time while we address the problem. We might not discover errors that affect our new or current investment solutions, services or enhancements until after they are deployed, and we may need to provide enhancements to correct such errors. Errors may occur that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business and could result in harm to our reputation, lost sales, delays in commercial release, third-party claims, contractual disputes, contract terminations or renegotiations or unexpected expenses and diversion of management and other resources to remedy errors. In addition, negative public perception and reputational damage caused by such claims would adversely affect our client relationships and our ability to enter into new contracts. Any of these problems could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

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Our failure to successfully execute the conversion of our clients’ assets from their existing technology platform to our platform in a timely and accurate manner could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

When we begin working with a new client, or acquire new client assets through an acquisition or other transaction, we may be required to convert the new assets from the clients’ existing technology platform to our technology platform. These conversions sometimes present significant technological and operational challenges, can be time-consuming, may result in the loss of the target company’s clients and may divert management’s attention from other operational challenges. If we fail to successfully complete our conversions in a timely and accurate manner, we may be required to expend more time and resources than anticipated, which could erode the profitability of the client relationship. In addition, any such failure may harm our reputation and may cause financial advisers or their clients to move their assets off of our platform or make it less likely that prospective clients will commit to working with us. Any of these risks could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Our business relies heavily on computer equipment, electronic delivery systems and the Internet. Any failures, disruptions or other adverse impacts could result in reduced revenue and the loss of customers.

The success of our business depends upon our ability to deliver time-sensitive, up-to-date data and information. Our business relies heavily on computer equipment (including servers), electronic delivery systems and the Internet, but these technologies are vulnerable to disruptions, failures or slowdowns caused by fire, earthquake, power loss, telecommunications failure, terrorist attacks, wars, Internet failures, cyber-attacks and other events beyond our control. In addition to such vulnerabilities, there can be no assurance that the Internet’s infrastructure will continue to be able to support the demands placed on it by sustained growth in the number of users and amount of traffic, in particular during periods of office closure necessitating the implementation of an entirely remote workforce relying largely upon home broadband and internet access, and, to the extent that the Internet’s infrastructure is unable to support the demands placed on it, our business may be impacted. Similarly, the reduction in the growth of, or a decline in, broadband and Internet access poses a risk to us.

Furthermore, we rely on agreements with our suppliers, such as our current data hosting and service providers, to provide us with access to certain computer equipment, electronic delivery systems and the Internet. We are unable to predict whether a future contractual dispute may arise with one of our suppliers that could cause a disruption in service, or whether our agreements with our suppliers can be obtained or renewed on acceptable terms, or at all. An unanticipated disruption, failure or slowdown affecting our key technologies or facilities may have significant ramifications, such as data-loss, data corruption, damaged software codes or inaccurate processing of transactions. We maintain off-site back-up facilities for our electronic information and computer equipment, but these facilities could be subject to the same interruptions that may affect our primary facilities. Any significant disruptions, failures, slowdowns, data-loss or data corruption could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business and result in the loss of customers.

If government regulation of the Internet changes, or if consumer attitudes towards the Internet change, we may need to change the manner in which we conduct our business or incur greater operating expenses.

We rely heavily on the Internet in conducting our business. The adoption, modification or interpretation of laws or regulations relating to the Internet could adversely affect the manner in which we conduct our business. Such laws and regulations may cover sales practices, taxes, user privacy, data protection, pricing, content, copyrights, distribution, electronic contracts, consumer protection, broadband residential Internet access and the characteristics and quality of services. Moreover, it is not clear how existing laws governing these matters apply to the Internet. If we are required to comply with new regulations or legislation or new interpretations of existing regulations or legislation, we may be required to incur additional expenses or alter our business model, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Inadequacy or disruption of our disaster recovery plans and procedures in the event of a catastrophe could adversely affect our business.

We have made a significant investment in our infrastructure, and our operations are dependent on our ability to protect the continuity of our infrastructure against damage from catastrophe or natural disaster, breach of security, cyber-attack, loss of power, telecommunications failure, or other natural or man-made events, including regional or global health events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a catastrophic event could have a direct negative impact on us by adversely affecting financial advisers, our employees or facilities and our ability to serve clients using an entirely remote workforce, or an indirect impact on us by adversely affecting the financial markets or the overall economy. While we have implemented business continuity and disaster recovery plans and maintain business interruption insurance, it is impossible to fully anticipate and protect against all potential catastrophes, in particular those affecting a dispersed remote workforce. If our business continuity and disaster recovery plans and procedures were disrupted, inadequate or unsuccessful in the event of a catastrophe, we could experience a material adverse interruption of our operations. We serve financial advisers and their clients using third-party data centers and cloud services. While we have electronic access to the infrastructure and components of our platform that are hosted by third parties, we do not control the operation of these facilities. Consequently, we may be subject to service disruptions as well as failures to provide adequate support for reasons that are outside of our direct control. These data centers and cloud services are vulnerable to damage or interruption from a variety of sources,

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including earthquakes, floods, fires, power loss, system failures, cyber-attacks, physical or electronic break-ins, human error or interference (including by employees, former employees or contractors), and other catastrophic events, including regional or global health events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Our data centers may also be subject to local administrative actions, changes to legal or permitting requirements and litigation to stop, limit or delay operations. Despite precautions taken at these facilities, such as disaster recovery and business continuity arrangements, the occurrence of a natural disaster or an act of terrorism, a decision to close the facilities without adequate notice or other unanticipated problems at these facilities could result in interruptions or delays in our services, impede our ability to scale our operations or have other adverse impacts upon our business.

We are reliant on our relationships with certain broker-dealers and strategists, the loss of which could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

We maintain relationships with certain broker-dealers who serve clients on our platform. The loss of these relationships likely would result in a loss of adviser and investor clients. Likewise, we engage strategists who offer certain investment products on our platform. The loss of certain strategists and their investment products could cause our investor clients to leave our platform to follow such strategists and investment products to our competitors or otherwise. Additionally, the engagement contracts governing our relationships with these broker-dealers and strategists are terminable by either us or the broker-dealer or strategist, as applicable, upon short-notice with or without cause. Loss of our investor clients, whether due to termination of a significant number of engagement contracts or otherwise, may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and result in harm to our business.

We are dependent on third-party service providers in our operations.

We utilize numerous third-party service providers in our operations, including for the development of new product offerings, the provision of custodial, strategy and other services and the maintenance of our proprietary systems. A failure by a third-party service provider could expose us to an inability to provide contractual services to our clients in a timely manner. Additionally, if a third-party service provider is unable to provide these services, we may incur significant costs to either internalize some of these services or find a suitable alternative. We serve as the investment adviser for several of the products offered through our investment management programs and utilize the services of investment sub-advisers to manage many of these assets. A failure in the performance of our due diligence processes and controls related to the supervision and oversight of these firms in detecting and addressing conflicts of interest, fraudulent activity, data breaches and cyber-attacks, noncompliance with relevant securities and other laws could cause us to suffer financial loss, regulatory sanctions or damage to our reputation.

We are dependent on third-party pricing services for the valuation of securities invested in our investment products.

The majority of the securities held by our investment products are valued using quoted prices from active markets gathered by external third-party pricing services. Securities for which market prices are not readily available are valued in accordance with procedures applicable to that investment product. These procedures may utilize unobservable inputs that are not gathered from any active markets and involve considerable judgment. If these valuations prove to be inaccurate, our revenue and earnings from platform assets could be adversely affected.

We rely on our key personnel and principals.

We depend on the efforts of our executive officers, other management team members, employees and principals. Our executive officers, in particular, play an important role in the stability and growth of our business, and our future success depends, in part, on our ability to continue to attract and retain highly skilled personnel. The loss of any key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Principal, employee or third-party provider misconduct could expose us to significant legal liability and reputational harm.

We are vulnerable to reputational harm because we and our investment adviser clients operate in an industry in which personal relationships, integrity and the confidence of clients are of critical importance. Our management team and employees, as well as the management teams and employees at our investment adviser clients or our third-party service providers, could engage in misconduct that adversely affects our business. For example, if a member of management or an employee were to engage in illegal or suspicious activities, we or our investment adviser clients could be subject to regulatory sanctions and we could suffer serious harm to our reputation (as a consequence of the negative perception resulting from such activities), our financial position or financial advisers’ client relationships and ability to attract new clients. In addition, certain of our third-party providers may engage in illegal activities, which could result in disruptions to our platform or solutions, subject us to liability, fines, penalties, regulatory orders or reputational harm or require us to be involved in regulatory investigations. Further, our business and that of our financial adviser clients often require that we deal with confidential information, personal information and other sensitive data. If principals, employees or third-party providers were to improperly use or disclose this information, even if inadvertently, we or our financial adviser clients could be subject to legal or regulatory investigations or action and suffer serious harm to our reputation, financial position and current and

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future business relationships or those of our financial adviser clients. It is not always possible to deter misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not always be effective. Misconduct by management, employees or third-party providers, or even unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct, could result in an adverse effect on our reputation and our business.

Further, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have transitioned to a fully remote workforce. While we are continually reviewing state, local and federal rules and guidance regarding workplace health and safety and have employed measures to comply with the same, such rules, guidance and measures may be insufficient, may not be followed, and unanticipated risks may occur that could pose a threat to our business.

We may become subject to liability based on the use of our investment solutions and services by our clients.

Our investment solutions and services support the investment processes of our clients, which, in the aggregate, manage billions of dollars of assets. Our client agreements have provisions designed to limit our exposure to potential liability claims brought by our adviser clients, their clients or other third parties based on the use of our investment solutions and services. However, these provisions have certain exceptions and could be invalidated by unfavorable judicial decisions or by federal, state, foreign or local laws. Use of our products as part of the investment process creates the risk that clients, or the parties whose assets are managed by our clients, may pursue claims against us for significant dollar amounts. Any such claim, even if the outcome were to be ultimately favorable to us, would involve a significant commitment of our management, personnel, financial and other resources and could have a negative impact on our reputation. Such claims and lawsuits could therefore have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Furthermore, our clients may use our investment solutions and services together with software, data or products from other companies. As a result, when problems occur, it might be difficult to identify the source of the problem. Even when our investment solutions and services do not cause these problems, the existence of these errors might cause us to incur significant costs and divert the attention of our management and technical personnel, any of which could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Lack of liquidity or access to capital could impair our business and financial condition.

We expend significant resources investing in our business, particularly with respect to our technology and service platforms. In addition, we must maintain certain levels of required capital. As a result, reduced levels of liquidity could have a significant negative effect on us. Some potential conditions that could negatively affect our liquidity include diminished access to debt or capital markets, unforeseen or increased cash or capital requirements, adverse legal settlements or judgments or illiquid or volatile markets.

The capital and credit markets continue to experience varying degrees of volatility and disruption and can be particularly sensitive in times of uncertainty. In some cases, the markets have exerted downward pressure on availability of liquidity and credit capacity for businesses similar to ours. Such market conditions may limit our ability to satisfy statutory capital requirements, generate fee and other market-related revenue to meet liquidity needs and access the capital necessary to grow our business. As such, we may be forced to delay raising capital, issue different types of capital than we would otherwise, less effectively deploy such capital or bear an unattractive cost of capital, which could decrease our profitability and significantly reduce our financial flexibility.

In the event that our current resources are insufficient to satisfy our needs, we may need to rely on financing sources such as bank debt. The availability of additional financing will depend on a variety of factors such as market conditions, the general availability of credit, the volume of trading activities, the overall availability of credit to the financial services industry, our credit ratings and credit capacity and the possibility that our stockholders, advisers or lenders could develop a negative perception of our long- or short-term financial prospects if the level of our business activity decreases due to a market downturn. Similarly, our access to funds may be impaired if regulatory authorities or rating organizations take negative actions against us.

We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service our indebtedness and may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our New Revolving Credit Facility, which may not be successful.

As of December 31, 2020, we had total indebtedness of $75 million. Our ability to make scheduled payments on or to refinance our indebtedness depends on our financial condition and operating performance, which are subject to prevailing economic and competitive conditions and certain financial, business and other factors beyond our control. We may not be able to maintain a level of cash flow from operating activities sufficient to permit us to pay the principal and interest on our indebtedness. If our cash flows and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we may be forced to reduce or delay acquisitions and capital expenditures, sell assets, seek additional capital or restructure or refinance our indebtedness. Our ability to restructure or refinance indebtedness will depend on the condition of the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. Any refinancing of indebtedness could be at higher interest rates and may require us to comply with more onerous covenants, which could further restrict our business operations. The terms of existing or future debt instruments may restrict us from adopting some of these alternatives. In

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addition, any failure to make payments of interest and principal on our outstanding indebtedness on a timely basis could harm our ability to incur additional indebtedness. In the absence of sufficient cash flows and capital resources, we could face substantial liquidity problems and might be required to dispose of material assets or operations to meet our debt service and other obligations. Our New Revolving Credit Facility (as defined in the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources”) currently restricts our ability to dispose of assets and our use of the proceeds from such disposition. We may not be able to consummate those dispositions, and the proceeds of any such disposition may not be adequate to meet any debt service obligations then due. Any of these circumstances could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Restrictions in our existing and future debt agreements could limit our growth and our ability to engage in certain activities.

Our New Revolving Credit Facility contains a number of covenants that impose operating and financial restrictions on us, including restrictions on our ability to incur additional indebtedness, create liens, make acquisitions, dispose of assets and make restricted payments, among others. In addition, our New Revolving Credit Facility may require us to maintain certain financial ratios. These restrictions may also limit our ability to obtain future financings, to withstand a future downturn in our business or the economy in general, or to otherwise conduct necessary corporate activities. We may also be prevented from taking advantage of acquisitions or other business opportunities that arise because of the limitations that the restrictive covenants under our New Revolving Credit Facility impose on us. A breach of any covenant in our New Revolving Credit Facility would result in a default under the applicable agreement after any applicable grace periods. A default, if not waived, could result in acceleration of the indebtedness outstanding and our inability to borrow under the New Revolving Credit Facility. The accelerated indebtedness would become immediately due and payable. If that occurs, we may not be able to make all of the required payments or borrow on short notice sufficient funds to refinance such indebtedness. Even if new financing were available at that time, it may not be on terms that are acceptable to us.

Our insurance coverage may be inadequate or expensive.

We maintain voluntary and required insurance coverage, including, among others, general liability, property, director and officer, errors and omissions, network cybersecurity and privacy, employee practices liability, fidelity bond and fiduciary liability insurance and insurance required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”). Recently in the insurance industry, premiums and deductible costs associated with certain insurance coverage have increased, and the number of insurers has decreased. If such trends continue, our insurance costs may increase, which may affect our financial condition. Further, while we endeavor to purchase coverage that is appropriate to our assessment of our risk, we are unable to predict with certainty the frequency, nature or magnitude of claims for direct or consequential damages. Our business may be negatively affected if in the future our insurance proves to be inadequate or unavailable. In addition, insurance claims may harm our reputation or divert management resources away from operating our business.

We are a holding company and rely on dividends, distributions and other payments, advances and transfers of funds from our subsidiaries to meet our debt service and other obligations.

We have no direct operations and derive all of our cash flow from our subsidiaries. Because we conduct our operations through our subsidiaries, we depend on those entities for dividends and other payments or distributions to meet any existing or future debt service and other obligations. The deterioration of the earnings from, or other available assets of, our subsidiaries for any reason could limit or impair their ability to pay dividends or other distributions to us. In addition, SEC and FINRA regulations may under certain circumstances restrict the payment of dividends by a registered broker-dealer. Compliance with this regulation may impede our ability to receive dividends from AssetMark Brokerage, LLC.

Our controls and procedures may fail or be circumvented, our risk management policies and procedures may be inadequate and operational risks could adversely affect our reputation and financial condition.

We have adopted policies and procedures to identify, monitor and manage our operational risk. These policies and procedures, however, may not be fully effective. Some of our risk evaluation methods depend upon information provided by others and public information regarding markets, clients or other matters that are otherwise accessible by us. If our policies and procedures are not fully effective or we are not successful in capturing all risks to which we are or may be exposed, we may suffer harm to our reputation or be subject to litigation or regulatory actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations or financial condition.

Risks Related to Intellectual Property, Data Privacy and Cybersecurity

We could face liability related to our storage of personal information about our users.

We store extensive amounts of personal investment and financial information for consumers, including portfolio holdings, on our systems. We could be subject to liability if we were to inappropriately disclose any personal information or if third parties were

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able to penetrate our network security or otherwise access or misappropriate any personally identifiable information or portfolio holdings. Any such disclosure, security incident or breach could subject us to regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, the imposition of fines or other significant penalties and significant remediation costs, as well as claims for financial loss, impersonation or other similar fraud claims, claims under data protection laws, claims for other misuses of personal information, such as unauthorized marketing or unauthorized access to personal portfolio information, or indemnity claims by our clients for fines, penalties or other assessments arising from third-party claims. Further, any real or perceived defects, errors or vulnerabilities in our security systems could harm our reputation or otherwise adversely impact our business, financial position and results of operations. While we have taken extensive precautions to protect personal information, these risks are heightened due to our recent implementation of an entirely remote workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We could face liability for certain information we provide, including information based on data we obtain from other parties.

We may be subject to claims for securities law violations, negligence, breach of fiduciary duties or other claims relating to the information we provide. For example, individuals may take legal action against us if they rely on information we have provided and it contains an error. In addition, we could be subject to claims based upon the content that is accessible from our website through links to other websites. Moreover, we could face liability based on inaccurate information provided to us by others. Defending any such claims could be expensive and time-consuming, and any such claim could materially adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

We are exposed to data and cybersecurity risks that could result in data breaches, service interruptions, harm to our reputation, protracted and costly litigation or significant liability.

In connection with the products and services that we provide, we collect, use, store, transmit and otherwise process certain confidential, proprietary and sensitive information, including the personal information of end-users, third-party service providers and employees. We rely on the efficient, uninterrupted and secure operation of complex information technology systems and networks to operate our business and securely store, transmit and otherwise process such information. In the normal course of business, we also share information with our service providers and other third parties. A failure to safeguard the integrity, confidentiality, availability and authenticity of personal information, client data and our proprietary data from cyber-attacks, unauthorized access, fraudulent activity (e.g., check “kiting” or fraud, wire fraud or other dishonest acts), data breaches and other security incidents that we, our third-party service providers or our clients may experience may lead to modification, destruction, loss of availability or theft of critical and sensitive data pertaining to us, our clients or other third parties. While we have taken extensive precautions to protect such confidential, proprietary and sensitive information, including personal information, these risks are heightened due to our recent implementation of an entirely remote workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have established a strategy designed to protect against threats and vulnerabilities containing preventive and detective controls including, but not limited to, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, computer forensics, vulnerability scanning, server hardening, penetration testing, anti-virus software, data leak prevention, encryption and centralized event correlation monitoring. All such protective measures, as well as additional measures that may be required to comply with rapidly evolving data privacy and security standards and protocols imposed by law, regulation, industry standards or contractual obligations, have and will continue to cause us to incur substantial expenses. Failure to timely upgrade or maintain computer systems, software and networks as necessary could also make us or our third-party service providers susceptible to breaches and unauthorized access and misuse. We may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify, investigate or remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures arising from data and cybersecurity risks.

Improper access to our or our third-party service providers’ systems or databases could result in the theft, publication, deletion or modification of confidential, proprietary or sensitive information, including personal information. An actual or perceived breach of our security systems or those of our third-party service providers may require notification under applicable data privacy regulations or contractual obligations. The accidental or unauthorized access to or disclosure, loss, destruction, disablement, corruption or encryption of, use or misuse of or modification of our, our clients’ or other third parties’ confidential, proprietary or sensitive information, including personal information, by us or our third-party service providers could result in significant fines, penalties, orders, sanctions and proceedings or actions against us by governmental bodies and other regulatory authorities, customers or third parties, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Any such proceeding or action, and any related indemnification obligations, could damage our reputation, force us to incur significant expenses in defense of such proceeding or action, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business or result in the imposition of financial liability.

Despite our efforts to ensure the integrity, confidentiality, availability, and authenticity of our proprietary systems and information, it is possible that we may not be able to anticipate or to implement effective preventive measures against all cyber threats. No security solution, strategy, or measures can address all possible security threats or block all methods of penetrating a network or otherwise perpetrating a security incident. The risk of unauthorized circumvention of our security measures or those of our third-party providers, clients and partners has been heightened by advances in computer and software capabilities and the increasing sophistication of hackers, including those operating on behalf of nation-state actors, who employ complex techniques involving the theft or misuse of personal and financial information, counterfeiting, “phishing” or social engineering incidents, account takeover

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attacks, denial or degradation of service attacks, malware, fraudulent payment and identity theft. Because the techniques used by hackers change frequently and are increasingly complex and sophisticated, and new technologies may not be identified until they are launched against a target, we and our third-party service providers may be unable to anticipate these techniques or detect an incident, assess its severity or impact, react or appropriately respond in a timely manner or implement adequate preventative measures. Our systems are also subject to compromise from internal threats, such as theft, misuse, unauthorized access or other improper actions by employees, service provides and other third parties with otherwise legitimate access to our systems or databases. The latency of a compromise is often measured in months, but could be years, and we may not be able to detect a compromise in a timely manner.

Due to applicable laws and regulations or contractual obligations, we may also be held responsible for any failure or cybersecurity breaches attributed to our third-party service providers as they relate to the information we share with them. Although we generally have agreements relating to data privacy and security in place with our third-party service providers, they are limited in nature and we cannot guarantee that such agreements will prevent the accidental or unauthorized access to or disclosure, loss, destruction, disablement, corruption or encryption of, use or misuse of or modification of confidential, proprietary or sensitive information, including personal information, or enable us to obtain reimbursement from third-party service providers in the event we should suffer incidents resulting in accidental or unauthorized access to or disclosure, loss, destruction, disablement or encryption of, use or misuse of or modification of confidential, proprietary or sensitive information, including personal information. In addition, because we do not control our third-party service providers and our ability to monitor their data security is limited, we cannot ensure the security measures they take will be sufficient to protect confidential, proprietary or sensitive information (including personal information).

Regardless of whether a security incident or act of fraud involving our solutions is attributable to us or our third-party service providers, such an incident could, among other things, result in improper disclosure of information, harm our reputation and brand, reduce the demand for our products and services, lead to loss of client business or confidence in the effectiveness of our security measures, disrupt normal business operations or result in our systems or products and services being unavailable. In addition, such incidents may require us to spend material resources to investigate or correct the incident and to prevent future security incidents, expose us to uninsured liability, increase our risk of regulatory scrutiny, expose us to protracted and costly litigation, trigger indemnity obligations, result in damages for contract breach, divert the attention of management from the operation of our business and otherwise cause us to incur significant costs or liabilities, any of which could affect our financial condition, results of operations and reputation. Moreover, there could be public announcements regarding any such incidents and any steps we take to respond to or remediate such incidents, and if securities analysts or investors perceive these announcements to be negative, it could, among other things, have a substantial adverse effect on the price of our common stock. In addition, our remediation efforts may not be successful. Further, any adverse findings in security audits or examinations could result in reputational damage to us, which could reduce the use and acceptance of our solutions, cause our customers to cease doing business with us or have a significant adverse impact on our revenue and future growth prospects. Furthermore, even if not directed at us specifically, attacks on other financial institutions could disrupt the overall functioning of the financial system or lead to additional regulation and oversight by federal and state agencies, which could impose new and costly compliance obligations.

If we are not able to satisfy data protection, security, privacy and other government- and industry-specific requirements or regulations, our results of operations, financial condition or business could be harmed.

Personal privacy, data protection, information security and other regulations are significant issues in the United States. We are subject to a variety of laws and regulations that apply to our collection, use, retention, protection, disclosure, transfer and other processing of personal information, and our handling of personal data is regulated by the U.S. federal government and various state and local governments and regulatory agencies. While our revenue and operations are currently exclusively in the United States, were that to change in the future, we could become subject to a potentially wide array of foreign data privacy and security laws and regulations. In addition to such laws and regulations, we may also be subject to self-regulatory standards or other rules pertaining to information security and data protection proposed by privacy advocates, industry groups, other self-regulatory bodies or other information security or data protection-related organizations. These and other industry standards may legally or contractually apply to us, or we may elect to comply with such standards. Further, our contractual arrangements may also impose additional, or more stringent, obligations upon us relating to our collection, use, retention, protection, disclosure, transfer and other processing of personal, financial and other data.

The data protection landscape is rapidly evolving, and we expect that there will continue to be new proposed laws, regulations and industry standards, and changes to and in the interpretation of existing laws, regulations and standards, concerning privacy, data protection, information security and telecommunications services. Interpretation and implementation standards and enforcement practices are likely to remain uncertain for the foreseeable future, and we cannot yet determine the impact such future laws, regulations and standards, or changes to and in the interpretation of existing laws, regulations and standards, may have on our business, but they may result in greater public scrutiny and escalated levels of enforcement and sanctions, increased compliance costs, increased liabilities, restrictions on our operations or other adverse impacts upon our business. For example, evolving and changing definitions of personal information and personal data, especially related to the classification of IP addresses, machine identification, location data and other information, may limit or inhibit our ability to operate or expand our business, including limiting the sharing of data.

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Recently, the most rapid development in U.S. data privacy and security law has been at the state level. For example, on June 28, 2018, California enacted the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), which took effect on January 1, 2020. The CCPA increases privacy rights for California residents and imposes obligations on companies that process their personal information, including an obligation to provide certain new disclosures to such residents. Specifically, among other things, the CCPA creates new consumer rights, and imposes corresponding obligations on covered businesses, relating to the access to, deletion of and sharing of personal information collected by covered businesses, including California residents’ right to access and delete their personal information, opt out of certain sharing and sales of their personal information and receive detailed information about how their personal information is used. The CCPA provides for civil penalties for violations, as well as a private right of action for certain data breaches that result in the loss of personal information. This private right of action is expected to increase the likelihood of, and risks associated with, data breach litigation. The CCPA was amended in September 2018, November 2019 and September 2020, and further amendments may be enacted. However, even in its current form, it remains unclear how various provisions of the CCPA will be interpreted and enforced. Additionally, on November 3, 2020, California voters approved a new privacy law, the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”), which will take effect in most material respects on January 1, 2023. The CPRA significantly modifies the CCPA, including by expanding consumers’ rights with respect to certain personal information and creating a new state agency to oversee implementation and enforcement efforts, potentially resulting in further uncertainty and requiring us to incur additional costs and expenses related to our compliance efforts. It remains unclear how various provisions of the CCPA and CPRA will be interpreted and enforced, and multiple states have enacted or expected to enact similar laws. Some observers have noted that the CCPA could mark the beginning of a trend toward more stringent privacy legislation in the U.S., which could increase our potential liability and adversely affect our business. The CCPA, CPRA and other similar state laws may require us to modify our data processing practices and policies and may increase our compliance costs and potential liability. There is also discussion in Congress of a new comprehensive federal data protection and privacy law to which we likely would be subject if it is enacted.

Many statutory requirements include obligations for companies to notify individuals of security breaches involving certain personal information, which could result from breaches experienced by us or our third-party service providers. For example, laws in all 50 U.S. states require businesses to provide notice to customers whose personal information has been disclosed as a result of a data breach. These laws are not consistent, and compliance in the event of a widespread data breach is difficult and may be costly. Moreover, states have been frequently amending existing laws, requiring attention to changing regulatory requirements. In addition, we may be contractually required to notify clients, end-investors or other counterparties of a security breach. Although we may have contractual protections with our third-party service providers, any security breach, or actual or perceived non-compliance with privacy or security laws, regulations, standards, policies or contractual obligations, could harm our reputation and brand, expose us to potential liability and require us to expend significant resources on data security and in responding to any such incident or actual or perceived non-compliance. Any contractual protections we may have from our third-party service providers may not be sufficient to adequately protect us from any such liabilities and losses, and we may be unable to enforce any such contractual protections.

We make public statements about our use and disclosure of personal information through our privacy policy, information provided on our website and press statements. Although we endeavor to comply with our public statements and documentation, we may at times fail to do so or be alleged to have failed to do so. The publication of our privacy policy and other statements that provide promises and assurances about data privacy and security can subject us to potential government or legal action if they are found to be deceptive, unfair or misrepresentative of our actual practices. In addition, from time to time, concerns may be expressed about whether our products and services compromise the privacy of clients and others. Even the perception, whether or not valid, of privacy concerns or any failure by us to comply with our posted privacy policies or with any legal or regulatory requirements, standards, certifications or orders or other privacy or consumer protection-related laws and regulations applicable to us may harm our reputation, inhibit adoption of our products by current and future customers or adversely impact our ability to attract and retain workforce talent.

Given the complexity of operationalizing data privacy and security laws and regulations to which we are subject, the maturity level of proposed compliance frameworks and the relative lack of guidance in the interpretation of the numerous requirements of the data privacy and security laws and regulations to which we are subject, we may not be able to respond quickly or effectively to regulatory, legislative and other developments, and these changes may in turn impair our ability to offer our existing or planned products and services or increase our cost of doing business. Although we work to comply with applicable laws and regulations, industry standards, contractual obligations and other legal obligations, such laws, regulations, standards and obligations are evolving and may be modified, interpreted and applied in an inconsistent manner from one jurisdiction to another, and may conflict with one another. In addition, they may conflict with other requirements or legal obligations that apply to our business or the features and services that our adviser clients and their investor clients expect from our products and services. As such, we cannot assure ongoing compliance with all such laws, regulations, standards and obligations. Any failure, or perceived failure, by us to adequately address privacy and security concerns, even if unfounded, or to comply with applicable laws, regulations and standards, or with employee, client and other data privacy and data security requirements pursuant to contract and our stated privacy notice(s), could result in investigations or proceedings against us by data protection authorities, governmental entities or others, including class action privacy litigation in certain jurisdictions, which could subject us to fines, civil or criminal liability, public censure, claims for damages by customers and other affected individuals, damage to our reputation and loss of goodwill (in relation to both existing and prospective clients), or we could be required to fundamentally change our business activities and practices, which may not be possible in a commercially reasonable manner, or at all. Any or all of these consequences could have a material adverse effect on our operations, financial performance and business.

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If third parties infringe upon our intellectual property or if we were to infringe upon the intellectual property of third parties, we may expend significant resources enforcing or defending our rights or suffer competitive injury.

Our success depends in part on our proprietary technology. We rely on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade secret laws, confidentiality, nondisclosure, non-interference and invention assignment agreements and other contractual and technical security measures to establish and protect our intellectual property and proprietary rights. If we fail to successfully obtain, maintain, enforce, monitor, police or defend our intellectual property rights, or if we were to infringe, misappropriate or violate the intellectual property rights of others, our competitive position, operations, financial condition or business could suffer.

We license certain trademark and web domain rights from third parties and may be subject to claims of infringement if such parties do not possess the necessary intellectual property rights. In addition, we may face additional risk of infringement or misappropriation claims if we hire an employee who possesses third-party proprietary information who decides to use such information in connection with our investment solutions, services or business processes without such third party’s authorization. Furthermore, third parties may in the future assert intellectual property infringement claims against our customers, which, in certain circumstances, we have agreed to indemnify.

In some instances, litigation may be necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights and protect our proprietary information, or to defend against claims by third parties that we have infringed, misappropriated or violated their intellectual property rights. Any litigation or claims brought by or against us, whether with or without merit, could result in substantial costs to us and divert the attention of our management, which could harm our results of operations, financial condition or business. In addition, any intellectual property litigation or claims against us could result in the loss or compromise of our intellectual property and proprietary rights, subject us to significant liabilities or require us to seek licenses on unfavorable terms or make changes to the investment services and solutions we offer, any of which could harm our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Confidentiality agreements with employees, consultants and others may not adequately prevent disclosure of trade secrets and other proprietary information.

We have devoted substantial resources to the development of our proprietary technologies, investment solutions and services. To protect our proprietary rights, we enter into confidentiality, nondisclosure, non-interference and invention assignment agreements with our employees, consultants and independent contractors. However, we cannot guarantee that we have entered into such agreements with each party that has or may have had access to our trade secrets and proprietary know-how. Further, these agreements may not effectively prevent unauthorized disclosure of confidential information or unauthorized parties from copying aspects of our technologies, investment solutions or products or obtaining and using information that we regard as proprietary. Moreover, these agreements may not provide an adequate remedy in the event of such unauthorized disclosures of confidential information and we cannot assure you that our rights under such agreements will be enforceable. In addition, others may independently discover trade secrets and proprietary information, and in such cases we could not assert any trade secret rights against such parties. Costly and time-consuming litigation could be necessary to enforce and determine the scope of our proprietary rights, and failure to obtain or maintain trade secret protection could reduce any competitive advantage we have developed and cause us to lose customers or otherwise harm our business.

The use of “open source code” in investment solutions may expose us to additional risks and harm our intellectual property rights.

We rely on code and software licensed under so-called “open source licenses” to some extent to develop our investment solutions and support our internal systems and infrastructure. While we monitor our use of open source code to attempt to avoid subjecting our investment solutions to conditions we do not intend, such use could occur. Many of the risks associated with the usage of open source software cannot be eliminated, and could, if not properly addressed, negatively impact our business. In the event that portions of our proprietary software are determined to be subject to an open source license that requires that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the open source software, we could be required to publicly release the affected portions of our source code, re-engineer all or a portion of our technologies or otherwise be limited in the licensing of our technologies, any of which could reduce or eliminate the value of our technologies and solutions. Additionally, if a third-party software provider has incorporated certain types of open source code into software we license from such third party for our investment solutions, we could, under certain circumstances, be required to disclose the source code for our investment solutions. This could harm our intellectual property position and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

Risks Related to Our Controlling Stockholder’s Ultimate Parent Being a PRC Company with Stock Listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Our controlling stockholder is subject to supervision by regulatory authorities in the PRC and must comply with certain PRC laws and regulations that may influence our controlling stockholder’s decisions relating to our business.

As a Delaware corporation with revenue and operations exclusively within the United States, we are not subject to regulation by foreign authorities. However, because our controlling stockholder is an enterprise incorporated under the laws of the PRC, our controlling stockholder is subject to and must comply with PRC laws and regulations promulgated by PRC governmental authorities. Such regulations may influence the decisions of our controlling stockholder, as well as those of its director appointees serving on our board of directors, regarding our business and operations. Certain of these regulations require our controlling stockholder to approve

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specific corporate actions taken by us, including any amendment to our certificate of incorporation; certain mergers, acquisitions, asset sales and divestments that we may seek to undertake; and certain related-party transactions in which we are involved. In addition, certain PRC regulations require our controlling stockholder to file with or obtain approval from various PRC regulators before approving certain of our corporate actions, including:

 

obtaining approval from or filing with the China National Development and Reform Commission (the “NDRC”), for certain debt issuances by us, or certain investments we seek to make involving a sensitive industry, country or region, as defined by the NDRC; and

 

filing with the China Securities Regulatory Commission (the “CSRC”), and registering with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, to provide us with financing or to guarantee our obligations.

In addition, PRC regulations require our controlling stockholder to ensure that our business focuses on securities, futures, asset management, broker-dealer services, financial information services, financial information technology system services, back-office support services for specific financial businesses or products or other financial-related businesses. A failure by our controlling stockholder to comply with these or other existing or future PRC laws or regulations could result in the imposition of administrative or financial sanctions against our controlling stockholder by PRC authorities. These laws and regulations could cause our controlling stockholder and its director appointees serving on our board of directors to act in a manner that may not be perceived to be in the best interests of our other stockholders. Likewise, any failure by our controlling stockholder to obtain certain approvals, make requisite filings or otherwise comply with PRC laws and regulations could materially limit our ability to raise debt financing or make certain investments, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or business.

Our controlling stockholder is required by the stock exchanges on which its shares are listed to disclose and obtain approval from its board of directors or shareholders for certain corporate actions that we undertake.

HTSC is listed on The Shanghai Stock Exchange and The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, and is therefore subject to the Rules Governing the Listing of Stocks on The Shanghai Stock Exchange (the “SSE Listing Rules”), and the Rules Governing the Listing of Securities on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the “HKEx Listing Rules”). Under the SSE Listing Rules and the HKEx Listing Rules, HTSC must obtain approval from its board of directors and/or shareholders for certain major transactions in which we, as a subsidiary of HTSC, engage, including the purchase or sale of assets, mergers and acquisitions, lending, leasing of assets, donation or acceptance of assets, debt restructuring, license agreements, research and development joint ventures, and related-party transactions, the value of which exceeds certain financial thresholds established by the applicable listing rules. In addition, the HKEx Listing Rules require our controlling stockholder to obtain shareholder approval for (i) any issuance of shares by us that results in a reduction of HTSC’s equity interest in us in excess of a specified dilution threshold, (ii) the implementation of a share option scheme involving the issuance of new shares by us and (iii) any issuance of debt by us outside the ordinary course of our business.

There can be no assurance that HTSC will obtain the requisite approvals if we desired to enter into any of the above transactions, and a failure to do so would restrict our ability to engage in such transactions. Furthermore, PRC regulators including the CSRC, The Shanghai Stock Exchange or The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited could impose additional restrictions or approval requirements that could impact our ability to undertake certain corporate actions. We cannot guarantee that our controlling stockholder will be able to successfully or timely obtain any of the approvals needed to permit us to undertake any of the corporate actions described above, and the failure to do so may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) may modify, delay or prevent our future acquisition or investment activities.

For so long as HTSC retains a material ownership interest in us, we will be deemed a “foreign person” under the regulations relating to CFIUS. As such, acquisitions of or investments in U.S. businesses or foreign businesses with U.S. subsidiaries that we may wish to pursue may be subject to CFIUS review, the scope of which was expanded by the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2018 (“FIRRMA”), to include certain non-passive, non-controlling investments (including certain investments in entities that hold or process personal information about U.S. nationals), certain acquisitions of real estate even with no underlying U.S. business, transactions the structure of which is designed or intended to evade or circumvent CFIUS jurisdiction and any transaction resulting in a “change in the rights” of a foreign person in a U.S. business if that change could result in either control of the business or a covered non-controlling investment. FIRRMA also subjects certain categories of investments to mandatory filings. If a particular proposed acquisition or investment in a U.S. business falls within CFIUS’s jurisdiction, we may determine that we are required to make a mandatory filing or that we will submit to CFIUS review on a voluntary basis, or to proceed with the transaction without submitting to CFIUS and risk CFIUS intervention, before or after closing the transaction. CFIUS may decide to block or delay an acquisition or investment by us, impose conditions with respect to such acquisition or investment or order us to divest all or a portion of a U.S. business that we acquired without first obtaining CFIUS approval, which may limit the attractiveness of or prevent us from pursuing certain acquisitions or investments that we believe would otherwise be beneficial to us and our stockholders. In addition, among other things, FIRRMA authorizes CFIUS to prescribe regulations defining “foreign person” differently in different

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contexts, which could result in less favorable treatment for investments and acquisitions by companies from countries of “special concern.” If such future regulations or other actions by the U.S. government impose additional burdens on acquisition and investment activities involving PRC and PRC-controlled entities, our ability to consummate transactions that might otherwise be beneficial to us and our stockholders may be hindered.

Risks Related to Regulation and Litigation

We are subject to extensive government regulation in the United States, and our failure or inability to comply with these regulations or regulatory action against us could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

The financial services industry is among the most extensively regulated industries in the United States. We operate investment advisory, broker-dealer, mutual fund and custodial businesses, each of which is subject to a specific and extensive regulatory scheme. In addition, we are subject to numerous state and federal laws and regulations of general application. It is very difficult to predict the future impact of the legislative and regulatory requirements affecting our business and our clients’ businesses.

Certain of our subsidiaries are registered as “investment advisers” with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (as amended, the “Advisers Act”) and are regulated thereunder. In addition, many of our investment advisory services are conducted pursuant to the nonexclusive safe harbor from the definition of an “investment company” provided under Rule 3a-4 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (as amended, the “1940 Act”). If Rule 3a-4 were to cease to be available, or if the SEC were to modify the rule or its interpretation of how the rule is applied, our business could be adversely affected. Certain of our registered investment adviser subsidiaries provide advice to mutual fund clients. Mutual funds are registered as “investment companies” under the 1940 Act. The Advisers Act and the 1940 Act, together with related regulations and interpretations of the SEC, impose numerous obligations and restrictions on investment advisers and mutual funds, including requirements relating to the safekeeping of client funds and securities, limitations on advertising, disclosure and reporting obligations, prohibitions on fraudulent activities, restrictions on transactions between an adviser and its clients, and between a mutual fund and its advisers and affiliates, and other detailed operating requirements, as well as general fiduciary obligations.

Our subsidiary AssetMark, Inc. is a commodity pool operator registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), and is a member of the National Futures Association (the “NFA”). As such, it is subject to regulatory requirements under the Commodity Exchange Act (the “CEA”), CFTC regulations and NFA by-laws and rules. These include disclosure and reporting requirements, restrictions on advertising, registration and licensing of certain personnel and conduct and anti-fraud requirements, among others.

In addition, AssetMark Brokerage, LLC (“AMB”), our limited purpose broker-dealer subsidiary, is subject to regulatory restrictions and requirements imposed by applicable statutes, regulations and policies in the jurisdictions in which we operate. U.S. government agencies and self-regulatory organizations, including U.S. state securities commissions, are empowered to enforce the regulatory restrictions and requirements applicable to us and conduct administrative proceedings that can result in censure, fine, the issuance of cease-and-desist orders or the suspension or expulsion of a broker-dealer from registration or membership. AMB is registered with the SEC and with all 53 U.S. states and jurisdictions as a limited purpose broker-dealer providing mutual fund distribution and underwriting, and is a member of FINRA, a securities industry self-regulatory organization that supervises and regulates the conduct and activities of its members. As a registered broker-dealer, AMB is subject to periodic examinations and investigations by FINRA. Further, broker-dealers are subject to regulations which cover all applicable aspects of their business, which may include sales practices, anti-money laundering, handling of material non-public information, safeguarding data, recordkeeping, reporting and the conduct and qualifications of directors, officers, employees, representatives and other associated persons.

Further, AMB, along with our mutual fund businesses, are subject to the Bank Secrecy Act (the “BSA”), as amended by the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 (the “PATRIOT Act”), and the implementing regulations thereunder, which require financial institutions, including broker-dealers, to establish anti-money laundering compliance programs, file suspicious activity and other reports with the U.S. government and maintain certain records. Broker-dealers and mutual funds must also implement related customer identification procedures and beneficial ownership identification procedures.

Additionally, ATC, our wholly owned trust company subsidiary licensed with and regulated by the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions, is one of several custodians on our platform that offers integrated custodial, brokerage and related services to clients of our adviser clients.

All of the foregoing laws and regulations are complex and we are required to expend significant resources to monitor and maintain our compliance with such laws and regulations. Any failure on our part to comply with these and other applicable laws and regulations could result in regulatory fines, suspensions of personnel or other sanctions, including revocation of our registration or that of our subsidiaries as an investment adviser, broker-dealer, commodity pool operator or trust company, as the case may be, which could, among other things, require changes to our business practices and scope of operations or harm our reputation, which, in turn could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

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Changes to the laws or regulations applicable to us or to our financial adviser clients could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

We may be adversely affected as a result of new or revised legislation or regulations imposed by the SEC or other U.S. or foreign governmental regulatory authorities or self-regulatory organizations that supervise the financial markets around the world. In addition, we may be adversely affected by changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules by these governmental authorities and self-regulatory organizations. For example, on June 5, 2019, the SEC voted to adopt a package of rulemakings and interpretations that (i) require broker-dealers to act in the “best interest” of retail customers when making a recommendation, without placing the financial or other interests of the broker-dealer ahead of the interest of the retail customer (“Reg BI”), (ii) require that broker-dealers and investment advisers deliver to retail investors a short-form disclosure document (Form CRS) describing the firm’s relationship with and duties to the customer, (iii) clarify the scope of the “solely incidental” exception to Advisers Act registration by brokers when providing investment advice and (iv) clarify the SEC’s views on the fiduciary duty that investment advisers owe to their clients. The compliance date for Reg BI and Form CRS was June 30, 2020. Many broker-dealers and investment advisers appeared to re-evaluate their business models in light of Reg BI and other similar regulatory changes, and any ultimate change to their business models may affect their desire or ability to use our services and may therefore adversely affect our business. Additionally, on December 22, 2020, the SEC voted to adopt reforms under the Advisers Act to modernize the rules that govern investment adviser advertisements and payments to solicitors. Legislative or regulatory actions and any required changes to our business operations resulting from such legislation and regulations, as well as any deficiencies in our compliance with such legislation and regulation, could result in significant loss of revenue, limit our ability to pursue business opportunities in which we might otherwise consider engaging or otherwise adversely affect our businesses.

It is impossible to determine the extent of the impact of any new laws, regulations or initiatives that may be proposed, or whether any current proposals will become law, and it is difficult to predict how any changes or potential changes could affect our business. Changes to laws or regulations could increase our potential liability in connection with the investment solutions and services that we provide. The introduction of any new laws or regulations could make our ability to comply with applicable laws and regulations more difficult and expensive. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

If we experience material weaknesses or otherwise fail to maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may not be able to accurately or timely report our financial condition or results of operations, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and, as a result, the value of our common stock.

A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal controls over financial reporting such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of a company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. Until such time as we are no longer an “emerging growth company,” our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest as to our internal controls over financial reporting. If we fail to identify or remediate any material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting, if we are unable to comply with the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in a timely manner, if we are unable to conclude that our internal controls over financial reporting are effective or if, once required, our independent registered public accounting firm is unable to express an opinion as to the effectiveness of our internal controls over financial reporting, investors may lose confidence in the accuracy and completeness of our financial reports and the market price of our common stock could be negatively affected. As a result of any such failures, we could also become subject to stockholder or other third-party litigation, as well as investigations by the NYSE, the SEC or other regulatory authorities, which could result in fines, trading suspensions or other remedies, harm our reputation and financial condition or divert financial and management resources from our regular business activities.

Failure to comply with ERISA and Internal Revenue Code regulations could result in penalties against us.

We are subject to ERISA and Sections 4975(c)(1)(A), (B), (C) and (D) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Internal Revenue Code”) and to regulations promulgated thereunder, insofar as we act as a “fiduciary” under ERISA with respect to certain benefit plan clients or otherwise deal with benefit plan clients. ERISA and applicable provisions of the Internal Revenue Code impose duties on persons who are fiduciaries under ERISA, prohibit specified transactions involving ERISA plan clients (including, without limitation, employee benefit plans (as defined in Section 3(3) of ERISA), individual retirement accounts and Keogh plans) and impose monetary penalties for violations of these prohibitions. Our failure to comply with these requirements could result in significant penalties against us that could have a material adverse effect on our business (or, at worst, severely limit the extent to which we could act as a fiduciary for any plans under ERISA).

We are subject to litigation and regulatory examinations and investigations.

The financial services industry faces substantial regulatory risks and litigation. Like many firms operating within the financial services industry, we are experiencing a difficult regulatory environment across our markets. Our current scale and reach as a provider to the financial services industry, the increased regulatory oversight of the financial services industry generally, new laws and regulations affecting the financial services industry, ever-changing regulatory interpretations of existing laws and regulations and the retroactive imposition of new interpretations through enforcement actions have made this an increasingly challenging and costly

26


regulatory environment in which to operate. These examinations or investigations, including any enforcement action brought by the SEC against us relating to any failure to comply with our settlement agreement dated August 25, 2016 (relating to allegations of misleading performance advertisements created by F-Squared Investments, Inc., one of our former investment strategists) could result in the identification of matters that may require remediation activities or enforcement proceedings by the regulator. The direct and indirect costs of responding to these examinations, or of defending ourselves in any litigation could be significant. Additionally, actions brought against us may result in settlements, awards, injunctions, fines and penalties. The outcome of litigation or regulatory action is inherently difficult to predict and could have an adverse effect on our ability to offer some of our products and services.

Failure to properly disclose conflicts of interest could harm our reputation, results of operations or business.

We are party to certain compensation arrangements pursuant to which we receive payments based on client assets invested in certain investment products, including ETFs, proprietary mutual funds and third-party mutual funds. In certain circumstances, such arrangements allow us to receive payments from multiple parties based on the same client asset. Further, we operate as an investment adviser; our status as a registered investment adviser subjects us to a legal obligation to operate under the fiduciary standard. The SEC and other regulators have increased their scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest, and we have implemented policies and procedures to mitigate such conflicts of interest. However, if we fail to fully disclose conflicts of interest, become subject to retroactive determinations that past disclosures were not sufficient or if our policies and procedures are not effective, we could face reputational damage, litigation or regulatory proceedings or penalties, any of which may adversely affect our reputation, results of operations or business.

In the event of a change of control of our company, we may be required to obtain FINRA approval and the consent of our advisory clients to the change of control, and any failure to obtain these consents could adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition or business.

As required by the Advisers Act, the investment advisory agreements entered into by our investment adviser subsidiaries provide that an “assignment” of the agreement may not be made without the client’s consent. Under the 1940 Act, advisory agreements with registered funds provide that they terminate automatically upon “assignment” and the board of directors and the shareholders of the registered funds must approve a new agreement for advisory services to continue. Under both the Advisers Act and the 1940 Act, a change of ownership may constitute such an “assignment” if it is a change of control. For example, under certain circumstances, an assignment may be deemed to occur if a controlling block of voting securities is transferred, if any party acquires control, or, in certain circumstances, if a controlling party gives up control. Under the 1940 Act, a 25% voting interest is presumed to constitute control. HTSC, through its indirect subsidiary Huatai International Investment Holdings Limited (“HIIHL”), held a 70.2% voting interest in us as of December 31, 2020. An assignment or a change of control could be deemed to occur in the future if we, or one of our investment adviser subsidiaries, were to gain or lose a controlling person, or in other situations that may depend significantly on the facts and circumstances. In any such case we would seek to obtain the consent of our advisory clients, including any funds, to the assignment. Further, our U.S. broker-dealer subsidiary, AMB, is a member of FINRA and subject to FINRA rules, which could impede or delay a change of control. FINRA Rule 1017 generally provides that FINRA approval must be obtained in connection with any transaction resulting in a single person or entity acquiring or controlling, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of a FINRA member firm’s or its parent company’s equity. If we fail to obtain such consents or approval, our results of operations, financial condition or business could be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Ownership of Our Common Stock

Control by our principal stockholder could adversely affect our other stockholders.

HTSC, through its indirect subsidiary HIIHL, owned approximately 70.2% of our outstanding shares of common stock as of December 31, 2020, and controls our management and affairs, including determining the outcome of matters requiring stockholder approval. So long as HTSC continues to own a significant amount of the outstanding shares of our common stock, even if such amount is less than a majority, HTSC will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions, including matters requiring approval by our stockholders (including the election of directors and the approval of mergers or other extraordinary transactions), regardless of whether or not other stockholders believe that the transaction is in their own best interests. Such concentration of voting power could also have the effect of delaying, deterring or preventing a change of control or other business combination that might otherwise be beneficial to our stockholders, could deprive our stockholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common stock as part of a sale of our company and might ultimately affect the market price of our common stock.

Further, HTSC and its affiliates engage in a broad spectrum of activities, including investments in the financial services industry in particular. In the ordinary course of their businesses, HTSC and its affiliates may engage in activities where their interests conflict with our interests or those of our stockholders. In addition, HTSC or an affiliate may pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. Further, although we are a stand-alone public company, a subsidiary of HTSC will remain our majority stockholder and may from time to time make strategic decisions that may be different from the decisions that we would have made on our own. HTSC’s decisions with respect to us or our business may be resolved in ways that favor HTSC and therefore HTSC’s own stockholders, which may not coincide with the interests

27


of our stockholders. Although our audit committee reviews and approves all proposed related party transactions, including any transactions between us and HTSC, we may not be able to resolve certain conflicts of interest, or the resolution may be less favorable to us and our stockholders.

Our stock price may be volatile, and the value of our common stock may decline.

The market price of our common stock may be highly volatile and may fluctuate or decline substantially as a result of a number of factors, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section, many of which are beyond our control and may not be related to our operating performance. In addition, the limited public float of our common stock tends to increase the volatility of its trading price, in particular during times of high volatility in the broader stock market. Factors that could cause fluctuations in the market price of our common stock include the following:

 

market conditions in the broader stock market in general, or in our industry in particular;

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly financial and operating results;

 

introduction of new products and services by us or our competitors;

 

issuance of new or changed securities analysts’ reports or recommendations;

 

sales of large blocks of our stock by our employees or controlling stockholder or the perception that our employees or controlling stockholder will sell our stock;

 

additions or departures of key personnel;

 

regulatory developments; litigation and governmental investigations; and

 

economic, political and geopolitical conditions or events, including public health concerns or epidemics such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

These and other factors may cause the market price and demand for our common stock to fluctuate substantially, which may limit or prevent investors from readily selling their shares of common stock and may otherwise negatively affect the liquidity of our common stock. In addition, in the past, when the market price of a stock has been volatile, holders of that stock have often instituted securities class action litigation against the company that issued the stock. If any of our stockholders brought a lawsuit against us, we could incur substantial defense costs. Such a lawsuit could also divert the time and attention of our management from our business.

An active market for our common stock may not be sustained, which may inhibit the ability of our stockholders to sell shares of our common stock.

Although we have listed our common stock on the NYSE under the symbol “AMK,” we cannot assure you that an active trading market for our common stock will continue on that exchange or elsewhere. Accordingly, we cannot assure you of the likelihood of your ability to sell your shares of our common stock when desired, the prices that you may be able to obtain for your shares or the liquidity of any trading market.

Future sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market could cause the price of our common stock to decline.

Sales of a substantial number of shares of our common stock in the public market, or the perception that these sales might occur, could depress the market price of our common stock and could impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities. We cannot predict the effect that sales may have on the prevailing price of our common stock.

Specifically, HIIHL, the holder of 50,873,799 shares of our common stock, has the right, subject to certain exceptions and conditions, to require us to register its shares of common stock under the Securities Act and to participate in future registrations of securities by us. Registration of any of these outstanding shares of common stock would result in such shares becoming freely tradable without compliance with Rule 144 upon effectiveness of the applicable registration statement. In addition, the shares of our common stock already issued to employees or reserved for future issuance under our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan will become eligible for sale in the public market once such shares are issued, subject to various vesting arrangements and Rule 144, as applicable. A total of 4,887,691 shares of common stock have been reserved for issuance under our 2019 Equity Incentive Plan.

The market price of shares of our common stock may drop significantly when the restrictions on resale by our existing stockholders lapse if such stockholders sell shares or if HIIHL exercises its registration rights, or if the market perceives that such sales or exercise is likely to occur. A decline in the price of shares of our common stock might impede our ability to raise capital through the issuance of additional shares of our common stock or other equity securities. In the future, we may also issue our

28


securities in connection with investments or acquisitions, and such issuances could constitute a material portion of the then-outstanding shares of our common stock. Any issuance of additional securities in connection therewith may result in additional dilution to our stockholders.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about our business, or if they change their recommendations regarding our stock adversely, our stock price and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our common stock may be influenced by the research and reports that industry or securities analysts publish about us or our business. If one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our stock or describe us or our business in a negative manner, our stock price would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fails to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which in turn could cause our stock price or trading volume to decline. In addition, if we fail to meet the expectations and forecasts for our business provided by securities analysts, our stock price could decline.

We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE listing standards and, as a result, qualify for, and intend to rely on, exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements. You will not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to such requirements.

HTSC, through its indirect subsidiary HIIHL, controls a majority of the voting power of our common stock. As a result, we are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the NYSE listing standards. Under these rules, a company of which more than 50% of the voting power is held by an individual, a group or another company is a “controlled company” and may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements of the NYSE, including (1) the requirement that a majority of the board of directors consist of independent directors, (2) the requirement that we have a nominating and corporate governance committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities and (3) the requirement that we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities. We rely on some or all of these exemptions. As a result, we do not have a majority of independent directors and our compensation and nominating and corporate governance committees do not consist entirely of independent directors. Accordingly, our stockholders do not have the same protections afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the NYSE.

We are an “emerging growth company” and we cannot be certain if the reduced disclosure requirements applicable to emerging growth companies will make our common stock less attractive to investors.

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we have elected to take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. We cannot predict whether investors will find our common stock less attractive if we rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our common stock less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our common stock and our stock price may be more volatile.

The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources and distract our management, which could make it difficult to manage our business, particularly after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.”

As a public company, we are required to comply with various regulatory and reporting requirements, including those required by the SEC. Complying with these reporting and other regulatory requirements is time-consuming and may result in increased costs to us and could have a negative effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

We are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as the corporate governance requirements of the NYSE. Expenses incurred by public companies for reporting and governance purposes have generally been increasing and may continue to increase, and these requirements may place a strain on our systems and resources. The Exchange Act requires that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting. To comply with our periodic reporting requirements and to maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures, we have committed and will continue to commit significant resources, hire additional staff and provide additional management oversight. We have implemented and will continue to implement additional procedures and processes for the purpose of addressing the standards and requirements applicable to public companies. Sustaining our growth will also require us to commit additional management, operational and financial resources to identify new professionals to join our firm and to maintain appropriate operational and financial systems to adequately support expansion. These activities may divert management’s attention from other business concerns, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition or business.

29


As an “emerging growth company” as defined in the JOBS Act, we have elected to take advantage of certain temporary exemptions from various reporting requirements including, but not limited to, the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and certain disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements. In addition, we have and may continue to delay adoption of new or revised accounting pronouncements applicable to public companies until such pronouncements are made applicable to private companies, as permitted by the JOBS Act.

When these exemptions cease to apply, we expect to incur additional expenses and devote increased management effort toward ensuring compliance with them. We cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur as a result of becoming a public company or the timing of such costs.

Our management has limited experience managing a public company, and our current resources may not be sufficient to fulfill our public company obligations.

As a public company, we are subject to various regulatory requirements, including those of the SEC and the NYSE. These requirements relate to, among other matters, record keeping, financial reporting and corporate governance. Our management team has limited experience in managing a public company, and our internal infrastructure may not be adequate to support our increased regulatory obligations. Further, we may be unable to hire, train or retain necessary staff and may initially be reliant on engaging outside consultants or professionals to overcome our lack of experience. Our business could be adversely affected if our internal infrastructure is inadequate, we are unable to engage outside consultants or are otherwise unable to fulfill our public company obligations.

Some provisions of Delaware law and our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may deter third parties from acquiring us.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation and our amended and restated bylaws provide for, among other things:

 

a staggered board and restrictions on the ability of our stockholders to fill a vacancy on the board of directors;

 

the authorization of undesignated preferred stock, the terms of which may be established and shares of which may be issued without stockholder approval;

 

advance notice requirements for stockholder proposals;

 

certain limitations on convening special stockholder meetings; and

 

the amendment of certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws only by the affirmative vote of the holders of at least two-thirds in voting power of all outstanding shares of our stock entitled to vote thereon, voting together as a single class.

These anti-takeover defenses could discourage, delay or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of our company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and cause us to take other corporate actions than you desire.

Delaware law may delay or prevent a change in control, and may discourage bids for our common stock at a premium over its market price.

We are subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”). These provisions prohibit large stockholders, in particular a stockholder owning 15% or more of the outstanding voting stock, from consummating a merger or combination with a corporation unless such stockholder receives board approval for the transaction or 66 2/3% of the shares of voting stock not owned by such stockholder approve the transaction. These provisions of Delaware law may have the effect of delaying, deferring or preventing a change in control, and may discourage bids for our common stock at a premium over its market price.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware and the federal district courts of the United States as the sole and exclusive forums for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our stockholders, which could limit our stockholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is, to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, the sole and exclusive forum for the following types of actions or proceedings under Delaware statutory or common law: (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on our behalf, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any of our directors, officers, employees, agents or trustees to us or our stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against us or any director or officer

30


or other employee of ours arising pursuant to any provision of the DGCL, our amended and restated certificate of incorporation or our amended and restated bylaws or (iv) any action asserting a claim against us or any director or officer or other employee of ours that is governed by the internal affairs doctrine, in each such case subject to such Court of Chancery having personal jurisdiction over the indispensable parties named as defendants therein. This provision does not apply to suits brought to enforce a duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the U.S. federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction.

Our amended and restated certificate of incorporation provides that, to the fullest extent permitted by law, unless we consent in writing to the selection of an alternative forum, the federal district courts of the United States are the sole and exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the federal securities laws of the United States. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in shares of our capital stock will be deemed to have notice of, and consented to, the provisions of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation described in the preceding sentences.

These exclusive-forum provisions may limit a stockholder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers, employees or agents, which may discourage such lawsuits against us and such persons. If any court of competent jurisdiction were to find either exclusive-forum provision in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation to be inapplicable or unenforceable, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our results of operations or financial condition.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 2. Properties

Our headquarters are located in Concord, California and consist of approximately 96,944 square feet of leased space. Our lease on this space expires on August 31, 2028. We lease an additional combined 65,729 square feet of office space in Phoenix, Arizona; Chicago, Illinois; Encino, California; and Atlanta, Georgia. We believe that our headquarters and other offices are adequate for our immediate needs and that additional or substitute space is available if needed to accommodate growth and expansion.

We are, from time to time, involved in various legal proceedings, litigation and regulatory matters that arise in the normal course of our business. Except for the matter described below, we do not believe that the resolutions of any such matters we are currently involved in, individually or in the aggregate, will have a material adverse impact on our financial condition or results of operations. However, we can provide no assurance that any pending or future matters will not have a material effect on our financial condition or results of operations in the future.

Because we operate in a highly regulated industry, we and our subsidiaries are regularly subject to examinations and enforcement inquiries by the SEC and other governmental and regulatory agencies. In July 2020, one of our SEC-registered investment subsidiaries received an examination report from the SEC’s Division of Examinations requesting that such subsidiary take certain corrective actions. Two of our subsidiaries also received related subpoenas from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement requesting the production of documents. The examination report and subpoenas primarily relate to disclosure of potential conflicts of interest among our subsidiaries, and they appear to be part of a broader SEC initiative examining disclosure of potential conflicts of interest in the investment advisory industry. The examination report expressly provides that it represents the conclusions of the SEC staff involved and not those of the SEC or any division or office thereof. The subpoenas expressly provide that the inquiry is not to be construed as an indication by the SEC or its staff that any violations of the federal securities laws have occurred, nor should it be considered a reflection upon any person, entity or security. We are fully cooperating with these non-public, fact-finding inquiries. However, there can be no assurance as to the outcome of these matters.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

 

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PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Market Information for Common Stock

Our common stock has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “AMK” since July 18, 2019. Prior to that date, no public trading market for our common stock existed.

Holders

As of February 28, 2021, there were 66 holders of record of our common stock. The actual number of stockholders is greater than the total number of record holders because it includes stockholders who are beneficial owners but whose shares are held in street name by brokers and other nominees.

Dividend Policy

In the fourth quarter of 2018, we made a one-time cash distribution to AssetMark Holdings LLC, in the amount of $234 million, consisting of a $75 million dividend payment and a $159 million return of capital. We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings for use in the operation of our business and do not anticipate paying any dividends on our common stock in the foreseeable future. Any future determinations relating to our dividends and earning retention policies will be made at the discretion of our board of directors, who will review such policies from time to time in light of our earnings, cash flow generation, financial position, results of operations, the terms of our indebtedness and other contractual restrictions, capital requirements, business prospects and other factors our board of directors may deem relevant. The terms of our debt agreements limit our ability to pay dividends on our common stock.

Securities Authorized for Issuance Under Equity Compensation Plans

The information required under the relevant sections of this Item is incorporated by reference to the definitive Proxy Statement for our 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be filed with the SEC no later than 120 days after December 31, 2020 pursuant to Regulation 14A.

Stock Performance Graph

The following performance graph and related information shall not be deemed “soliciting material” or to be “filed” with the SEC for purposes of Section 18 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), as amended, or otherwise subject to the liabilities under that Section, and shall not be deemed to be incorporated by reference into any filing of AssetMark under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except as shall be expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.

The graph below compares the cumulative total stockholder return on our common stock with the cumulative total return on the Russell 2000 Index and Dow Jones U.S. Financials Index. The graph assumes $100 was invested in our common stock at market close on July 18, 2019, which was our initial trading day. Data for the Russell 2000 Index and Dow Jones U.S. Financials Index assumes a reinvestment of dividends.

32


The comparisons in the graph below are based upon historical data and are not indicative of, nor intended to forecast, future performance of our common stock.

 

 

 

 

7/18/2019

 

 

9/30/2019

 

 

12/31/2019

 

 

3/31/2020

 

 

6/30/2020

 

 

9/30/2020

 

 

12/31/2020

 

AssetMark

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

96.34

 

 

$

107.32

 

 

$

75.41

 

 

$

100.92

 

 

$

80.40

 

 

$

89.50

 

Russell 2000 Index

 

 

100.00

 

 

 

97.93

 

 

 

107.25

 

 

 

74.12

 

 

 

92.66

 

 

 

96.92

 

 

 

126.95

 

Dow Jones U.S. Financials Index

 

$

100.00

 

 

$

100.57

 

 

$

107.68

 

 

$

76.10

 

 

$

86.16

 

 

$

88.97

 

 

$

104.46

 

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities

None.

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

None.

33


Item 6. Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following selected consolidated financial data of AssetMark Financial Holdings, Inc. should be read in conjunction with, and are qualified by reference to, the section titled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The consolidated statements of income data for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2020 and 2019 are derived from, and qualified by reference to, the audited consolidated financial statements of AssetMark Financial Holdings, Inc. included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and should be read in conjunction with those consolidated financial statements and notes thereto. The consolidated statements of income data for the year ended December 31, 2017 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2018 and 2017, have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements that are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Results for historical periods may not be indicative of results expected for future periods.

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

Consolidated statements of income data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asset-based revenue

 

$

412,023

 

 

$

377,718

 

 

$

338,031

 

 

$

282,966

 

Spread-based revenue

 

 

16,618

 

 

 

34,586

 

 

 

20,403

 

 

 

10,430

 

Other revenue

 

 

3,438

 

 

 

5,632

 

 

 

5,200

 

 

 

2,121

 

Total revenue

 

 

432,079

 

 

 

417,936

 

 

 

363,634

 

 

 

295,517

 

Asset-based expenses

 

 

132,695

 

 

 

125,985

 

 

 

116,763

 

 

 

98,401

 

Spread-based expenses

 

 

2,703

 

 

 

5,014

 

 

 

1,671

 

 

 

976

 

Employee compensation

 

 

176,483

 

 

 

154,999

 

 

 

107,091

 

 

 

105,413

 

General and operating expenses

 

 

62,466

 

 

 

58,028

 

 

 

45,383

 

 

 

38,781

 

Professional fees

 

 

15,100

 

 

 

14,084

 

 

 

10,139

 

 

 

9,622

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

35,126

 

 

 

30,356

 

 

 

26,104

 

 

 

22,981

 

Total operating expenses

 

 

424,573

 

 

 

388,466

 

 

 

307,151

 

 

 

276,174

 

Interest expense

 

 

5,588

 

 

 

12,269

 

 

 

1,920

 

 

 

 

Other expenses, net

 

 

1,687

 

 

 

2,296

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

231

 

 

 

14,905

 

 

 

54,563

 

 

 

19,343

 

Provision for (benefit from) income taxes

 

 

8,043

 

 

 

15,325

 

 

 

17,137

 

 

 

(79,635

)

Net income (loss)

 

 

(7,812

)

 

 

(420

)

 

 

37,426

 

 

 

98,978

 

Net income (loss) per share, basic and diluted

 

$

(0.12

)

 

$

(0.01

)

 

$

0.57

 

 

$

1.50

 

Other data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capital expenditures

 

$

29,065

 

 

$

22,496

 

 

$

17,414

 

 

$

15,652

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

 

76,947

 

 

 

55,083

 

 

 

61,662

 

 

 

45,612

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(49,970

)

 

 

(59,914

)

 

 

(17,714

)

 

 

(15,652

)

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

 

$

(50,699

)

 

$

(2,182

)

 

$

11,259

 

 

$

 

 

 

 

As of December 31,

 

(in thousands)

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

 

2017

 

Consolidated balance sheet data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

70,619

 

 

$

96,341

 

 

$

105,354

 

 

$

50,147

 

Working capital(1)

 

 

77,427

 

 

 

91,277

 

 

 

77,521

 

 

 

20,091

 

Total assets

 

 

1,223,588

 

 

 

1,188,960

 

 

 

1,147,275

 

 

 

1,097,741

 

Total liabilities

 

 

318,515

 

 

 

330,099

 

 

 

448,264

 

 

 

211,783

 

Stockholders’ equity

 

$

905,073

 

 

$

858,861

 

 

$

699,011

 

 

$

885,958

 

 

                            (1)

Current assets less current liabilities.

34


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes thereto and the other financial information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Some of the information contained in this discussion and analysis or set forth elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including information with respect to our plans and strategy for our business, includes forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. You should review the sections titled “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” for a discussion of forward-looking statements and important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results described in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained in the following discussion and analysis. Our fiscal year ends on December 31 each year.

Overview

AssetMark is a leading provider of extensive wealth management and technology solutions that power independent financial advisers and their clients. Our platform enables advisers to outsource high-cost and specialty services that would otherwise require significant investments of time and money—helping to level the playing field for independent financial advisers of all sizes. We provide an end-to-end experience, spanning nearly all elements of an adviser’s engagement with his or her client—from initial conversations to ongoing financial planning discussions, including performance reporting and billing. In addition, our platform provides tools and capabilities for advisers to better manage their day-to-day business activities, giving them more time for meaningful conversations with investors.

We believe that independent financial advisers who have a deep understanding of their communities and put the needs of investors first provide the best path for investors to achieve their long-term financial goals. We empower these adviser-entrepreneurs to start, run and grow independent advisory businesses. The compelling value of our tools for advisers and their clients has facilitated our rapid growth.

Business Highlights

 

We completed the acquisition of OBS on February 29, 2020. Through the OBS acquisition, we acquired approximately $2.1 billion in platform assets and 499 new financial adviser relationships, of which 67 advisers are engaged advisers.

 

On December 30, 2020, we entered into a new $250 million revolving credit facility. Concurrently, we drew down $75 million from the new revolving credit facility, which bears interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 2.00%, and which we used, along with cash on hand, to retire the $124 million of outstanding indebtedness under the Term Loan. See the section titled “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Credit Facility” and “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—New Revolving Credit Facility.” This added financial flexibility will allow us to continue the strategic growth of our business, whether through acquisitions or investments in our operations to further drive organic growth, or a combination thereof.

Financial Highlights

 

Total revenue for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $432.1 million, up $14.2 million, or 3.4%, from $417.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $7.8 million, or $(0.12) per share, compared to net loss of $0.4 million, or $(0.01) per share, for the year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Adjusted net income for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $73.2 million, compared to $66.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. For a reconciliation of net income, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, to adjusted net income, see the section titled “—Key Operating Metrics—Non-GAAP Financial Metrics—Adjusted Net Income.”

 

Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $115.0 million, up $5.1 million, or 4.6%, from $109.9 million in the year ended December 31, 2019. For a reconciliation of net income, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, to adjusted EBITDA, see the section titled “—Key Operating Metrics—Non-GAAP Financial Metrics—Adjusted EBITDA.”

Asset and Adviser Growth Trends

 

Platform assets were $74.5 billion as of December 31, 2020, up 21.0% from $61.6 billion as of December 31, 2019.

 

We had 2,536 engaged advisers on our platform as of December 31, 2020, up 13.7% from 2,230 as of December 31, 2019.

35


Key Factors Affecting Our Performance

Expansion of Our Existing Financial Adviser Base

We are focused on attracting new advisers to our platform with our end-to-end wealth management offering, composed of a fully integrated technology platform, high-touch sales and service support and a curated investment platform. Our extensive offering is built to enhance adviser efficiency so that advisers of all sizes can compete and grow. We also strive to increase our share of wallet, or portion of an adviser’s fee-based business that is invested on our platform, by providing a holistic platform for advisers and surrounding advisers with the tools they need to better serve their clients. Our business will depend in part on our ability to drive higher usage of our platform by financial advisers and their client bases.

Increase of New Financial Advisers on Our Platform

Within the wealth management industry, the percentage of assets served by independent financial advisers is forecasted to grow from 42% in 2019 to 48% in 2023, based on our internal estimates and Cerulli data on expected industry growth. We seek to capitalize on this trend and attract new financial advisers to our platform by continuing to invest in our technology platform, sales and service standards and curated investment offering. Our annual cohort of new producing advisers grew 63% from 548 new producing advisers in 2014 to 894 in 2019. Our business will depend in part on our ability to continue to attract new advisers to our platform.

Technology Development

We invested $243 million in the development of our technology and our dedicated technology team from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2020. We intend to continue to invest in our technology platform to address the needs of financial advisers and their investors. Our revenue growth will depend, in part, on our ability to continue to launch new offerings and deliver solutions to financial advisers efficiently. While these investments may delay or reduce our profitability, we believe they will enable us to grow our revenue meaningfully in the long term.

Investments in Growth

We have made and expect to continue to make substantial investments across our business, including those related to increasing our total employee base, to support our continued growth. We intend to continue to expand our sales capacity and further improve sales productivity to drive additional revenue and support the growth of our client base. We may incur increased general and administrative expenses to support our growth and operations. Our results of operations will depend in part on our ability to continue to manage such expenses, as well as on the effectiveness of our investments. We expect to continue managing such expenses and investments to support expansion of our adjusted EBITDA margin.

Competition

We compete with a broad range of wealth management firms that offer services to independent investment advisers. Our competitive landscape is defined by three primary factors: 1) technological capabilities, 2) consulting and back-office servicing and 3) investment solutions. We may compete on these factors based on products, services or fees. While we anticipate that we will see increased competition and experience fee pressure, we believe that our technology platform, along with our personalized service and curated investment solutions, will continue to drive revenue expansion.

Value of Platform Assets

Our revenue is subject to fluctuations due to changes in general economic conditions, including market conditions and the changing interest rate environment. Most of our revenue is based on the value of assets invested in products on our platform, which is heavily influenced by general economic conditions. Fluctuations in securities prices may affect the value of such assets and may also influence an investor’s decision to select, grow, maintain or reduce an investment. We generate asset-based revenue from fees billed in advance of each quarter, providing visibility into near-term revenue. In addition, we realize spread-based revenue, which is influenced significantly by interest rate changes and the amount of cash held by investors at our proprietary trust company.

Acquisitions

Our success in pursuing and executing strategic transactions may impact our assets and revenue. From 2014 to 2019, we acquired the platform assets of three firms, which collectively added $7.3 billion in assets. In September 2019, we announced our agreement to acquire OBS, which closed on February 29, 2020 and which added approximately $2.1 billion in platform assets. We expect to continue to selectively seek acquisitions that will enhance our scale, operating leverage and capabilities to further deepen our offering to advisers and investors.

36


COVID-19 Pandemic

Beginning in early 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 has rapidly evolved into a global pandemic and has adversely impacted global commercial activities. The near-term impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic have primarily been to our asset-based revenue and spread-based revenue. The impact of declining global equity and bond markets as well as a lower interest rate environment was evident in our financial statements beginning in the second quarter of 2020, during which we incurred expenses related to the transition to an entirely remote workforce arrangement and increased expenditures for asset-based investment trading activities. Management expects that the pandemic will continue to adversely affect our results of operations in future periods, although, given the uncertainty around the duration and extent of the COVID-19 pandemic, management cannot at this time quantify with any level of specificity the impact on our results of operations, financial condition or liquidity. The impact of COVID-19 has not affected and is not expected to affect our capabilities to conduct business with our financial advisers. We have continued to generate positive operating cash flows, have adequate cash on hand, and maintain access to our existing line of credit to meet our short-term liquidity needs. We have experienced neither material impairments of our assets nor a significant change in the fair value of our assets and liabilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to monitor the developments relating to COVID-19 and are coordinating our operational response based on existing business continuity plans and guidance from global health organizations, relevant governments and general pandemic response best practices.

Key Operating Metrics

In addition to our GAAP financials, we regularly review the following key metrics to measure performance, identify trends, formulate financial projections, compensate our employees and monitor our business. While we believe that these metrics are useful in evaluating our business, other companies may not use similar metrics or may not calculate similarly titled metrics in a consistent manner.

Key metrics for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 include the following:

 

 

 

Year Ended December 31,

 

 

 

2020

 

 

2019

 

 

2018

 

Operational metrics:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Platform assets (at period-beginning) (millions of dollars)

 

$

61,608

 

 

$

44,855

 

 

$

42,385

 

Net flows (millions of dollars)

 

 

5,483

 

 

 

5,389

 

 

 

5,916

 

Market impact net of fees (millions of dollars)

 

 

5,369

 

 

 

7,575

 

 

 

(3,446

)

Acquisition impact (millions of dollars)

 

 

2,060

 

 

 

3,789

 

 

 

 

Platform assets (at period-end) (millions of dollars)

 

$

74,520

 

 

$

61,608

 

 

$

44,855

 

Net flows lift (% of beginning-of-year platform assets)

 

 

8.9

%

 

 

12.0

%

 

 

14.0

%

Advisers (at period-end)

 

 

8,454

 

 

 

7,958

 

 

 

7,573

 

Engaged advisers (at period-end)

 

 

2,536

 

 

 

2,230

 

 

 

1,837

 

Assets from engaged advisers (at period-end) (millions of dollars)

 

$

67,300

 

 

$

54,853

 

 

$

38,495

 

Households (at period-end)

 

 

186,602

 

 

 

162,225

 

 

 

133,947

 

New producing advisers

 

 

743

 

 

 

894

 

 

 

910

 

Production lift from existing advisers (annualized %)

 

 

19.9

%

 

 

24.4

%

 

 

22.1

%

Assets in custody at ATC (at period-end) (millions of dollars)

 

$

53,878

 

 

$

43,393

 

 

$

31,767

 

ATC client cash (at period-end) (millions of dollars)

 

$

2,618

 

 

$

1,876

 

 

$

1,612

 

Financial metrics:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total revenue (millions of dollars)

 

$

432

 

 

$

418

 

 

$

364

 

Net income (loss) (millions of dollars)

 

$

(7.8

)

 

$

(0.4

)

 

$

37.4

 

Net income (loss) margin (%)

 

 

(1.8

)%

 

 

(0.1

)%

 

 

10.3

%

Capital expenditure (millions of dollars)

 

$