Westwood Holdings Group Inc. (NYSE:WHG) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 06, 2019 • 04:30 pm ET


Westwood Holdings Group Inc. (NYSE:WHG) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript


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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Fourth Quarter 2018 Westwood Holdings Group Incorporated Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time.

(Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference, Ms. Julie Gerron, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer. Ma'am, you may begin.

Julie K. Gerron

Thank you. Good afternoon, and welcome to our fourth quarter 2018 earnings conference call. The following discussion will include forward-looking statements that are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual results to be materially different from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning the factors that could cause such a difference is included in our press release issued earlier today as well as in our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 that is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. You're cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

In addition, in accordance with the SEC rules concerning non-GAAP financial measures, the reconciliation of our economic earnings and economic earnings per share to the most comparable GAAP measures is included at the end of our press release issued earlier today.

On the call today we have Brian Casey, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Terry Forbes, our Chief Financial Officer.

I will now turn the call over to Brian Casey.

Brian O. Casey

Good afternoon, and thanks for taking time to listen to our Fourth Quarter Earnings Call. I'll start with some comments on the investment environment and then dive deeper into our investment performance and business.

In the U.S., fears that had been present all year, including the risk of a fed policy mistake, an expectation for moderating economic data due to continued trade tensions with China, finally tipped the markets into a steep decline. Equities moved sharply lower as the S&P 500 posted one of the worst quarters in the last 50 years. Nearly every asset class posted a loss, and we saw the worst performance across asset classes in more than 100 years.

Risk assets, like equities, remain susceptible to bouts of volatility as late-cycle fears linger, and upcoming events, such as a conclusion to the Mueller investigation, the March 1st trade deadline with China, Congress mulling ratifying the new USMCA report, Brexit and other events will inevitably be a distraction and potentially disruptive to the markets.

Ultimately, we believe the net impact of these actions will continue to shift the investing landscape towards a more bifurcated market where losers are identified and punished and winners prevail. This landscape benefits active managers, as does higher volatility, which provides more mispriced securities and asymmetric reward, risk outcomes to invest in and lines up well with the way