01.26.2022

MarketAxess Reports Record Revenues

01.26.2022
MarketAxess Reports Record Revenues

Full Year 2021 Financial Highlights*

  • Record revenues of $699.0 million, up 1%; 2-year compound annual growth rate of 17%
  • Record Emerging Markets commission revenue of $104.1 million, up 17%
  • Operating income of $337.2 million, down 10%
  • Operating margin of 48.2%
  • Free cash flow of $296.7 million
  • Diluted EPS of $6.77, down 14% from $7.85
  • Estimated combined U.S. High-Grade and High-Yield market share of 19.3%; approximately 92% of credit volume on the platform was executed by institutional clients

Fourth Quarter Financial Highlights**

  • Revenues of $165.1 million, down 4%
  • Operating income of $72.6 million, down 21%
  • Diluted EPS of $1.37, down 28% from $1.91
  • Estimated combined U.S. High-Grade and High-Yield market share of 19.5%; approximately 92% of credit volume on the platform was executed by institutional clients
  • Emerging Markets volume of $160.6 billion, up 15%
  • Record estimated Eurobond market share of 13.2%, up from 11.1%
  • Record active total client firms of 1,877 and international client firms of 956

*All comparisons versus full year 2020.

**All comparisons versus fourth quarter 2020.

MarketAxess Holdings Inc., the operator of a leading electronic trading platform for fixed-income securities, and the provider of market data and post-trade services for the global fixed-income markets, today announced results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2021.

“In 2021, we continued to execute our growth strategy, significantly enhancing the value of our unique liquidity solutions for clients on our global marketplace,” said Rick McVey, Chairman and CEO of MarketAxess. “We delivered strong performance across our core markets compared to pre-pandemic levels, and momentum continued to build in our newer markets, including Global EM, Munis, and Rates, where we are growing our share of the addressable e-trading opportunity. Our investments in new trading protocols and trading automation solutions continue to gain traction, driving higher trading efficiency and lower trading costs for our clients. We also benefited from strong revenue growth in Data and Post-Trade Services, reflecting their increasing importance in driving trading activity and diversifying our revenue streams. Lastly, our powerful network of clients continued to grow to a record 1,877 active client firms utilizing our global marketplace. As a result of our strong execution and continued investment in new growth drivers, we are in a great position for 2022 and beyond.”

Fourth Quarter Results

Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2021 decreased 3.7% to $165.1 million, compared to $171.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. Operating income was $72.6 million, compared to $91.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2020, a decrease of 20.8%. Operating margin was 44.0%, compared to 53.5% for the fourth quarter of 2020. Net income totaled $52.2 million, or $1.37 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $72.9 million, or $1.91 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2020.

Commission revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021 decreased 6.4% to $145.9 million, compared to $155.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. Variable transaction fees decreased 11.0% to $113.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to variable transaction fees of $128.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. Commission revenue includes $1.2 million generated by MuniBrokers, which was acquired in April 2021. Combined U.S. high-grade and high-yield trading volume as a percentage of FINRA’s combined high-grade and high-yield TRACE trading volume was an estimated 19.5% for the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to an estimated 21.1% for the fourth quarter of 2020.

All other revenue, which consists of information services, post-trade services and other revenue, increased to $19.1 million, compared to $15.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. The $3.6 million increase in all other revenue was principally due to an incremental $1.8 million of regulatory trade reporting revenue generated by Regulatory Reporting Hub which was acquired on November 30, 2020 and $0.8 million of revenue due to new data contracts.

Total expenses for the fourth quarter of 2021 increased 16.1% to $92.5 million, compared to $79.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2020. The increase in total expenses was largely due to higher employee compensation and benefit costs of $4.7 million, mainly due to an increase in headcount; higher depreciation and amortization of $4.0 million, which includes acquired intangibles expense of $1.8 million; and higher technology and communications costs of $2.3 million which was partially offset by a decrease in clearing costs of $1.3 million. Expenses in the fourth quarter of 2021 reflect incremental operating expenses and costs associated with the MuniBrokers and Regulatory Reporting Hub businesses totaling $5.0 million. Excluding the MuniBrokers and Regulatory Reporting Hub expenses, total expenses for the quarter were up 10.1%.

The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2021 was 27.1%, compared to 19.2% for the fourth quarter of 2020. The higher effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2021 was due to lower excess tax benefits and return-to-provision adjustments. The income tax provision for the fourth quarter of 2021 and 2020 reflected $0.3 million and $6.2 million, respectively, of excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation awards.

Full Year 2021 Results

Total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2021 increased 1.4% to a record $699.0 million, compared to $689.1 million for 2020. Operating income was $337.2 million, compared to $374.7 million for 2020, a decrease of 10.0%. Operating margin was 48.2%, compared to 54.4% for 2020. Net income totaled $257.9 million, or $6.77 per share on a diluted basis, compared to $299.4 million, or $7.85 per share, for 2020.

Commission revenue for the year ended December 31, 2021 decreased 2.1% to $621.0 million, compared to $634.4 million for 2020. Variable transaction fees decreased 4.7% to $501.6 million, compared to variable transaction fees of $526.3 million for 2020. Commission revenue includes $3.5 million generated by MuniBrokers, which was acquired in April 2021. Combined U.S. high-grade and high-yield trading volume as a percentage of FINRA’s combined high-grade and high-yield TRACE trading volume was an estimated 19.3% for the year ended December 31, 2021, compared to an estimated 19.5% for 2020.

All other revenue, which consists of information services, post-trade services and other revenue, increased 42.5% to $77.9 million in 2021, compared to $54.7 million for 2020. The $23.3 million increase in all other revenue was principally due to an incremental $13.0 million of regulatory trade reporting revenue generated by Regulatory Reporting Hub which was acquired on November 30, 2020 and $3.8 million of revenue due to new data contracts.

Total expenses for the year ended December 31, 2021 increased 15.1% to $361.7 million, compared to $314.4 million for 2020. The increase in total expenses was principally due to higher depreciation and amortization of $17.5 million, which includes acquired intangibles expense of $9.7 million; higher employee compensation and benefits costs of $14.0 million, mainly due to an increase in headcount; professional and consulting fees of $9.6 million; technology and communications costs of $8.4 million; offset by a decrease in clearing costs of $5.0 million. Expenses in 2021 reflect incremental operating expenses and costs associated with the MuniBrokers and Regulatory Reporting Hub businesses totaling $21.9 million. Excluding MuniBrokers and Regulatory Reporting Hub expenses, total expenses for the year were up 8.1%.

The effective tax rate for 2021 was 22.8%, compared to 20.0% for 2020. The income tax provision for 2021 and 2020 reflected $11.7 million and $24.1 million, respectively, of excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation awards.

Employee headcount was 676 as of December 31, 2021 compared to 606 as of December 31, 2020. The increase in headcount was due to the continued investment in the Company’s growth initiatives, including geographic expansion, trading automation, new trading protocols and the transition to self-clearing.

Dividend

The Company’s board of directors declared a 6% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to $0.70 per share of common stock outstanding, to be paid on February 23, 2022 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on February 9, 2022.

Share Repurchases

A total of 111,694 shares were repurchased in the fourth quarter of 2021 at a cost of $45.0 million. In January 2022, the Board of Directors authorized a new repurchase program for up to $150.0 million of the Company’s common stock. The Company expects repurchases under the new program to commence in the first quarter of 2022.

Balance Sheet Data

As of December 31, 2021, total assets were $1.5 billion and included $542.8 million in cash, cash equivalents and investments.   Total stockholders’ equity as of December 31, 2021 was $1.0 billion.

Guidance for 2022

For 2022, the Company is providing the following guidance:

  • Expenses are expected to be in the range of $385.0 million to $415.0 million. Based on the midpoint of the stated guidance range, operating expenses are expected to increase by approximately 11% in 2022.
  • Capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $58.0 million to $62.0 million and include an expected increase in capitalized software development to support new protocols, products and trading platform enhancements.
  • The Company’s overall effective tax rate is expected to be between 24.0% to 26.0% and reflects a lower benefit from estimated excess tax benefits on share-based compensation awards.

Source: MarketAxess

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