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Edited Transcript of FII earnings conference call or presentation 26-Jul-19 1:00pm GMT

Q2 2019 Federated Investors Inc Earnings Call

PITTSBURGH Aug 2, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Federated Investors Inc earnings conference call or presentation Friday, July 26, 2019 at 1:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Deborah Ann Cunningham

Federated Investors, Inc. - Executive VP, CIO of Global Liquidated Markets & Senior Portfolio Manager

* John Christopher Donahue

Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman

* Raymond J. Hanley

Federated Investors, Inc. - SVP

* Saker Anwar Nusseibeh

Hermes Fund Managers Limited - CEO & Executive Board Director

* Thomas Robert Donahue

Federated Investors, Inc. - VP, Treasurer, CFO & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Daniel Thomas Fannon

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst

* Kenneth Brooks Worthington

JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD

* Kenneth S. Lee

RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst

* Macrae Sykes

G. Research, LLC - Research Analyst

* Michael Roger Carrier

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director

* William R. Katz

Citigroup Inc, Research Division - MD

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Greetings, and welcome to the Federated Investors Second Quarter 2019 Analyst Call and Webcast. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I'd now like to turn the conference over to your host, Raymond Hanley, President of Federated Investors Management Company. Thank you. You may begin.

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Raymond J. Hanley, Federated Investors, Inc. - SVP [2]

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Thank you, and good morning, welcome. Leading today's call will be Chris Donahue, Federated's CEO; and Tom Donahue, Chief Financial Officer. And joining us for the Q&A are Saker Nusseibeh, Hermes' CEO; and Debbie Cunningham, the CIO of our money market operations.

During today's call, we may make forward-looking statements, and we want to note that Federated's results may be materially different than the results implied by such statements. Please review the risk disclosures in our SEC filings. No assurance can be given as to future results. Federated assumes no duty to update any of these forward-looking statements. Chris?

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [3]

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Thank you, Ray. Good morning. I will briefly review Federated's business performance, and Tom will comment on our financial results. We crossed the significant threshold in the second quarter as the managed assets entrusted to us from our clients crossed over the $500 billion mark.

Looking first at equities. We closed the second quarter with $82 billion of assets, up from $80 billion at the end of the first quarter. The growth resulted from market appreciation, net sales for both funds and separate accounts. We had 21 equity funds with net sales positive in the second quarter, led by Kaufmann Small Cap and Hermes Global Emerging Markets funds. Several MDT funds also had positive net sales. Several other Hermes equity funds achieved net sales in the second quarter, including the Global Equity ESG Fund, the SDG Engagement Equity Fund and Europe ex U.K. equity fund.

Using Morningstar data for the trailing 3 years, at the end of the second quarter, about 1/3 of our equity funds, 8 out of 25, were in the top quartile, and nearly 3 quarters, 18 of 25, were in the top half.

Looking at the Strategic Value Dividend strategy, recall that its objective is to provide a high and growing dividend income stream from high-quality companies. The domestic funds 12-month distribution yield of 3.76% ranked it in the second percentile of its Morningstar category at the end of the second quarter. The domestic Strategic Value Dividend strategy had combined mutual fund and SMA outflows of $404 million in the second quarter, down from $452 million in the first quarter. Looking at early Q3 results, combined fund and SMA net redemptions for this strategy were about $32 million through the first 3 weeks of July. Overall, combined equity and SMA net redemptions for the first 3 weeks of July were $72 million.

Turning now to fixed income. Assets increased by about $1 billion in the second quarter to $65 billion, due mainly to market-related gains of a little over $1 billion. We had slightly positive net sales compared to net redemptions that we had in the first quarter.

On the fund side, we saw net sales of the Total Return Bond Fund and the return of net sales for high-yield funds. For fixed income separate accounts, the net outflow was due largely to an asset allocation change made by an insurance company client to the tune of about $270 million. At quarter end, using Morningstar data for the trailing 3 years, we had 5 funds, about 15%, in the top quartile and 22 funds, or 65%, in the top half. Fixed income fund and SMA net sales are negative early in the third quarter at about $300 million, due largely to the redemption of a Total Return Bond Fund amount from an individual client who made a model change. Total Return Bond Fund for its part has maintained its solid, long-term performance record, ranking in the top 34th percentile of its Morningstar category on a trailing 3-year basis and top 27% on a trailing 5-year basis at the end of Q2. This trailing 1-year record was top 40%, and if you're interested for the month of June, it was in the top 12%.

Now looking at money markets. These assets increased about $15 billion in the second quarter. We saw a positive money market fund flows from a variety of institutional and intermediary clients in the second quarter. Money market strategies continue to have a significant yield advantage compared to average deposit rates. Prime money fund assets increased $8 billion or about 15% in the second quarter. Our money market mutual fund market share, including sub-advised funds, at the end of the second quarter, increased to just over 8%.

Taking a look now at our most recent available asset totals with Federated as of July 24 and Hermes as of July 19. Managed assets were approximately $512 billion, including $343 billion in money markets, $83 billion in equities, $64 billion in fixed income, $18 billion in alternatives and $4 billion in multi-assets. Note that money market mutual fund assets were $241 billion.

Federated and Hermes RFP and related activity levels continue to be solid and diversified with interest in MDT, Strategic Value Dividend, Kaufmann and Global Emerging Markets for equities incorporates high-yield and short duration for fixed income. We began the quarter with about $1.5 billion in net institutional mandates yet to fund, with about $800 million in fixed income and $700 million in equities. We expect these wins to fund in 2019 with about $1.2 billion into separate accounts and $300 million into funds.

On the international side, following the recent launches of the first 3 Hermes funds, we continue to move forward in registering and evaluating launches of additional U.S. mutual funds using Hermes strategies. We are also actively presenting Hermes strategies with our institutional customers and are working with Hermes to develop opportunities for them to offer Federated strategies to their clients. We are expanding the Hermes EOS stewardship and engagement business in the U.S. and are hiring several new engagements. Hermes EOS assets under administration reached $638 billion at the end of the second quarter, up from about $587 billion at the end of the first quarter. Federated EOS assets under administration equaled $48 billion at the end of the second quarter. The quality, depth and breadth of Hermes EOS capabilities is a powerful differentiator, adding important insights and information as part of Hermes investment process. Federated has become an EOS client, and EOS data and services will be available for Federated investment teams to consider in addition to the many resources, information resources that are already in use.

Hermes managed assets at quarter end were approximately $45.7 billion in dollars, up from $44.3 billion for the first quarter with market gains of about $1 billion and net sales of approximately $800 million, partially offset by about $460 million negative impact from currency rates. We are looking to grow Federated and Hermes business relationships and opportunities in the Asia-Pac region, including through alliance and acquisition efforts. Our efforts here complement our European, U.K. and Canadian operations.

As we go forward, I will turn it over to Tom for financials.

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Thomas Robert Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - VP, Treasurer, CFO & Director [4]

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Thank you, Chris, and good morning, everyone. Total revenue was up $14.4 million or 5% from the prior quarter due mainly to higher revenues of $8.8 million from higher average equity assets, higher revenue of $5.1 million from higher average money market assets and $3.7 million of higher revenue from additional day in Q2.

Also no performance fees were recorded in 2Q compared to $3 million recorded in Q1. Revenue was up $65.5 million compared to Q2 of last year due mainly to the consolidation of Hermes revenue of $48.1 million and higher money market revenue of $24.7 million. These revenue increases were partially offset by lower domestic equity-related revenue of almost $4 million.

Looking at operating expenses. Comp and related decreased about $4 million from the prior quarter, due mainly to lower incentive comp expense of $3.3 million, seasonal decreases to payroll tax expense of $2.1 million and lower stock comp expense of $1 million, partially offset by higher benefits expense of $1.7 million and higher base salaries of $600,000.

Distribution expense increased due mainly to higher average money market fund assets. Amortization of intangibles related to the Hermes acquisition recorded in other operating expense, decreased $2.6 million, due primarily to a onetime reversal of $1.9 million related to our finalization of the purchase price allocation. Amortization of intangibles recorded in operating expenses, is expected to be approximately $8 million on an annual basis.

Nonoperating amortization intangibles related to the Hermes acquisition increased $0.6 million due primarily to a onetime increase of $400,000 related to the same finalization of the purchase price allocation and amortization of intangibles recorded in nonoperating expense is expected to be approximately $2 million on an annual basis. So if you combine those two for Q2, operating and nonoperating onetime net expense reversal from the finalization of the purchase price allocation, the number was $1.5 million. The total increase in operating expenses from Q2 2018 of $61.3 million was due mainly to a consolidation of Hermes expenses of $44.8 billion.

At the end of Q2, cash and investments were $227 million, of which about $180 million was available to us.

And Matt, that completes our prepared remarks, and we'd like to open the call up for questions now.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first question here is from Dan Fannon from Jefferies.

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Daniel Thomas Fannon, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst [2]

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I guess, first, could you expand on your comments about Asia and exploring partnerships and/or acquisitions and that was in conjunction with Hermes, I think, you said. But maybe just give a little bit more context around what you're looking for, what opportunities are out there?

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [3]

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Yes. Thank you, Dan. What we are looking for -- there's two different things. One is, big alliances where you would have arrangements with large institutions, who may even be interested in taking positions in Federated stock and strike up strong distribution arrangements. The other is to get Federated and Hermes mandates into various institutional and governmental accounts. And what we have done recently because of the acquisition of Hermes, we observed that the efforts that Federated was doing was very similar clients and prospects that Hermes was doing. And so in the second quarter, we decided to consolidate the distribution into Hermes efforts there, and that resulted in the elimination of 4 positions from Federated and the addition of one of our Federated salespeople to the Hermes sales force. And so this effort will be now undertaken by Harriet, Saker and the Hermes team.

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Daniel Thomas Fannon, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst [4]

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Great. And then just a follow-up. If you could provide some context on the backlog, the $1.5 billion that's yet to funds. I guess it seems to be decent momentum across the business. Can you talk about the funds that you're -- that's -- that those are centered around. But also just maybe a little bit more broader context around kind of momentum you're seeing on the combined firm and how you're thinking about kind of the backlog build beyond what you're -- that $1.5 billion?

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Raymond J. Hanley, Federated Investors, Inc. - SVP [5]

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Dan, it's Ray. Just to comment on what's yet to fund that's been one. On the fixed income side, it's weighted toward our trade finance strategy. There's some high yield in there and some short duration. On the equity side, it's Hermes Global Emerging Markets.

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [6]

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And if I could comment, generally, those are some of the mandates, not all, where we are seeing a strong interest, that's why I mentioned the RFP and the other activity. The trade finance is a unique offering, and it is utilized both as a short-term investment by investors and as a cash portion to other long-term fixed income investments. And it's basically good old-fashioned Marco Polo factoring from the old days, where a lot of these short-term movements of cold rain, et cetera, are not successfully financed by banks at bank rates. And so there's a good opportunity for short-term, high-quality financings and that has attracted a lot of attention.

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Operator [7]

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Our next question here is from Michael Carrier from Bank of America, Merrill Lynch.

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Michael Roger Carrier, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [8]

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First, can you just provide some more granularity on the strength in the money market flows. Just in terms of the price channels, and I guess even seasonality because it seems like we're seeing less. And I realized as the industry tailwind, with the yield premium to other cash products. But it does seem like your flows in your shared gains had been more pronounced. So any color on what you think is driving that relative to some of the other players?

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [9]

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I will answer it generally, and I'll let Debbie talk to the market here. Generally, when you've been committed to this business as long as we have, so many decades, the customers and the marketplace realized that we are a go-to player in the money market force. And so when the products and the sales force and the story aligned, we get back to the thrilling days of yesteryear when our market share was at 8%. And I'll let Debbie comment a little bit on some of the specifics.

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Deborah Ann Cunningham, Federated Investors, Inc. - Executive VP, CIO of Global Liquidated Markets & Senior Portfolio Manager [10]

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Thanks, Chris. Basically, I think you have to do with a couple of different things. As Chris mentioned, dedication to this business for nearly 50 years at this point, I think, breadth of product mix. We still have a large group of products to offer in all aspects of our governments money market funds, of our prime money market funds and of our tax-free money market funds, both on a national as well as the state-specific basis. So I think we're a one-stop shop for a lot of different options for people to maybe not place their trade with just one specific fund but across several categories. We've also seen a broad selection of both institutional players in the market as well as the traditional tickets rates coming through the retail marketplace. With the direct yield curve, with a LIBOR curve being slightly inverted at this point, treasury curve being even more inverted. And the products on a yield bases looking particularly attractive versus what's out there on a -- to be offered from the deposit base. All of those things make the money market fund product mix very attractive at this point. So it's a combination of having a lot of experience in this marketplace, having yields that are very competitive and having a solution for clients across the base of clients that is not just 1 particular asset but across all assets of this business in the marketplace.

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Michael Roger Carrier, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Director [11]

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Okay. That's helpful. And then just as a follow-up. Tom, just on expenses. I know you haven't been providing too much in terms of like guidance. But with another quarter of Hermes in the books, any update on how we should be thinking about, whether it's expenses or even margins over the longer term? And then the other expense, you mentioned that amortization benefit. It's still seems like that was pretty consistent with other quarters. So I didn't know if there was something else unusual to offset that benefit on the amortization side?

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Thomas Robert Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - VP, Treasurer, CFO & Director [12]

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And the other line item, the FX from hedging Hermes where they have to pay pounds, and they receive their -- a lot of their income in dollars and their expenses are in pounds, so there's hedging going on there. And we hedge out, they hedge out months in advance, and so it runs through there, it's protecting us. And some quarters, it'll look better, some quarters, it'll look worse. And in the end, it's a no cost to us over time. So you're seeing some of that in there. In addition to last year, we had some gains in the hedging of purchasing Hermes that came through. And it's interesting, the gains were from, I believe, like a 3-day period where the pound changed, and we got gained. So the stuff moves around in the other category aside from the amortization from finishing off the purchase price allocation.

In terms of comp and expense, you see it. So happy that I'm not predicting that because it continues to move based on business and what's going on, performance, sales. How things go at Hermes across-the-board and the guidance I can give you is that I expect it to change again.

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Operator [13]

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Our next question is from Kenneth Lee from RBC Capital Markets.

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Kenneth S. Lee, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [14]

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Just a follow-up on -- within the money market funds. How do you think, I mean, it looks as if it's a very favorable environment right now. But how do you think client demand or positioning could potentially change if short-term rates were to decline in the near term.

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [15]

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Let's let Debbie give her observation about short-term rates, and then we will both comment on what we think can happen.

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Deborah Ann Cunningham, Federated Investors, Inc. - Executive VP, CIO of Global Liquidated Markets & Senior Portfolio Manager [16]

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We definitely think the yield curve was overdone and a little bit oversell as to -- on what that action might be taking place towards -- in the second half of this year and then going into 2020. It's become a little bit better situated in the most recent weeks with feds' peak, I think, trying to talk the market back a little bit. Right now what we're seeing is the likelihood on a fed fund future bases and the LIBOR curve perspective of somewhere around 2, may be 3 interest rate cuts in 2019 with maybe 1 or none in 2020. Our expectation is that that's still a little bit overbalanced. We think that the Fed is, at this point, trying to find their neutral rate. They're looking to continue normalizing but the normalization that they were doing in 2018 and 2019 -- or 2017 and 2018 had to do with increasing rates by 25 basis points every quarter. Perhaps, they were a little bit overbalanced in that 25 basis-point rate increase that they voted in, in December. And I think they are looking to provide an insurance normalization decrease in the July meeting and take the rate down by 25 basis point. So I think they have every intention then of reviewing how that impacts the market, what the economic situation and statistics in the marketplace continue to play out to be in the second half of the year. And I don't believe they're guaranteeing that anything is happening between now and then. So the 25 basis points, I think, is pretty much baked in the cake at this point and then it will depend on how the yield curve looks after that and what the expectations would be for continuing movement. Certainly, what we don't see is the Fed returning rates to the zero-rate environment. We see them trying to find a neutral rate and normalizing around that neutral rate. At one point, that neutral rate was thought to be around the 2.75%, it seems like maybe it's more like a 1.75% to 2% now in their minds, given where inflation is and being the lower expectations for that. Having said that, in a decreasing rate environment, even if it's a mildly decreasing rate environment, generally speaking, managed products, like money market funds and other short-term liquidity products, look very, very attractive versus the direct market. And as such is a prime time for gathering assets into this asset class, reallocating into this asset class. So we would expect that to continue.

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Thomas Robert Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - VP, Treasurer, CFO & Director [17]

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And another observation here is this, despite whatever the Fed does, these are overwhelmingly cash management service products. Yes, they have yield. Yes, they count as investments. And so there is an underlying force that causes people to want to have the money market fund, regardless of what the Fed does. And I agree, that once you get done in the 1% and below that in your waiving, then you have a slightly different situation and people say am I even getting paid for cash. But in any of these kinds of situations, including the new dynamic of them lowering rates and us having a higher yield, historically, that has, as Debbie pointed out, been a time for more assets rather than less assets to be coming into the funds.

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Kenneth S. Lee, RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division - Analyst [18]

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Great. Very helpful. And just one quick follow-up, if I can. Just latest thoughts on potential M&A opportunities. I saw that the company recently announced the acquisition of select assets from PNC. But just wanted to get your latest thoughts on what's -- what potential opportunities are out there right now?

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Thomas Robert Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - VP, Treasurer, CFO & Director [19]

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Well, we're pretty busy working that transaction and hope as a PNC transaction, and that's a pretty significant deal for us in terms of the number of funds. The money market business that we announced that we expected $9 billion, when we announced the deal. And then the separate account business, SMA, et cetera. It's -- we've got our hands full right now working on that. In terms of looking for future deals, we have our team and is continual -- continually out there. And I can't have anything that I'm pointing to or any more to say than other than we are going to be active, and we'll certainly consider roll-ups and then other areas that we are lacking in, we continue to look around. Like, for instance, the SMA Muni business, we are not a significant player there, and that's one of the areas that we would have interest of finding somebody who is a significant player there.

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Operator [20]

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Our next question here is from Ken Worthington from JPMorgan.

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Kenneth Brooks Worthington, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD [21]

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So you've launched a number of Hermes products in the U.S. Can you talk a little bit about how the Hermes brand is resonating here. Usually products need a 3-year, maybe even a 5-year track record to generate sales. But that's not always the case when there is sort of product that's new or hot or unusual and in demand. So maybe start by talking about how the Hermes brand is sort of translating over here in the U.S.? And do you think you're going to need the full track record to really ramp these products?

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [22]

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Okay, Ken. Thank you. What I would like to do is have Saker talk about the roadshow that he and some of his associates did with some of the Federated people in bringing the Hermes name to the clientele, and how that has worked since then. And then we'll get into more discussion on the branding. Saker?

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Saker Anwar Nusseibeh, Hermes Fund Managers Limited - CEO & Executive Board Director [23]

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Thank you. So as background, Hermes had been in the United States, but early with large institutional clients before. And if you look in terms of brand awareness, before we started this and before we were acquired -- the majority acquired by Federated, there was brand's awareness amongst two sets of groups, one is very large from our key institutional clients because we've been following on them for some time. And the other one is among a group of people that are interested in ESG or, in fact, investing or indeed in stewardship where again, we have clients already in United States. So it's not as if it was a completely unknown brand. Now in June of this year, we had a conference in New York and we combined two sets of expertise. We combined the set of expertise that was provided by Federated for its client base, in which some very profound and [keep this total], a legal work was presented, trying to identify how does one be able to pursue what we do at Hermes, which is integrating ESG and be true to fiduciary duties as understood and trust law as understood in the United States. And I was followed by showing the way that we do it. And just to clarify, where Hermes' different from everybody else is that, in essence, our aim of most because all of our normal portfolios is simply to outperform the benchmark in the best possible way for our clients. But actually, we believe that the sustainability part of what we do, which is the SMA ESG and additional information that we get from our stewardship business, the EOS, gives us additional informational advantage, which is why we are performing in certain [sectors] with different amount of people that we integrate the ESG completely and so also presenting that fiduciary duty like which was presented from 2 lawyers, one from Howard and the other from Stanford. We then presented how we do it. And this was done really well with the lawyers, and this gives us much more to the traditional market that Federated tends to resonate with.

Now in addition to that, I've been on the roads with Paul Uhlman seeing consultants and large potential clients. My colleague Harriet Steel, who is equivalent of the (inaudible) Head of Business Development for Hermes, has been on the road as well. And generally speaking, the reception has been very positive. Number one, because we have a very, very strong track record in our asset classes in Europe. Number two, we already were known in the space with that -- at least with the market launch for our brands. And number three, there is a shift to want to look at things slightly differently. And in many ways, we are the pioneers who pioneered that market. I think that covers the June. I hand back to you, Chris.

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [24]

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Thank you. I would echo the concepts of the strength of a sustainability investment theme and the acceptance of that in clients and this has been really a welcoming thing on the part of clients. You all know all of the articles written about how this theme is very important to young investors and to various institutional investors. And we think the uniqueness that Saker has just gone through will be very helpful for us, and I would just like at this point to let Debbie comment on how she sees minimal credit risk and ESG sustainability as working into a money market fund. Debbie?

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Deborah Ann Cunningham, Federated Investors, Inc. - Executive VP, CIO of Global Liquidated Markets & Senior Portfolio Manager [25]

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Thanks, Chris. Certainly, this is an area that we have been focusing on for the entire year of 2019 as well as the end of 2018, once we began to understand a little bit more about the ESG and the EOS processes from the -- our Hermes brethren. And ultimately, what has been accomplished within the liquidity team at Federated is an integration of the unique aspects of ESG information and qualifications, if you will, into our internal credit process. So we've had an internal credit process since the day of the dawn of money market funds that attempt to determine minimal credit risk issuers and high-quality issuers that are -- what we're using within our money market fund. Ultimately, we've always taken into consideration when doing that minimal credit risk analysis, the various aspects of environmental, social and governance aspects when we're talking about the qualitative association of the various issuers that we're using. What ultimately we had to decide then was after taking the new material that we are using on an input basis from the Hermes folks is how that plays through within our internal ratings scores. So we've done that. We've incorporated that. We've integrated it into our process. And we feel like the validity of our process now with this new input from Hermes is even better than what it has been historically. Although, it was very good historically as well, and we're now focused on aspects that for various companies may differ. So the social aspect may be higher for a Coca-Cola Company than it is for BP, where the environmental factors may be more pertinent. And then for our largest industry, that being financial services and banking, certainly, the governance aspect is a very large influence on how we are reviewing the issuers and the credits that we're using. Probably, one of the more important items that we had to decide in this integration is how we look at, what I'll call nontraditional type of issuers. So issuers that may be our repurchase agreements that have collateral behind them and counterparts, rather than traditional issuances. Another type that we had to look at was credit enhanced issuers, where you may have small municipalities or project finance that was a bank that's providing the guarantee on that particular issuer and that's the bank that we're looking to in the context of our high-quality, minimal-credit risk determinations. And then thirdly, with the -- our asset-backed exposure, on mostly the prime side of the equation, where it's asset-backed commercial paper, asset-backed securities where -- what are we looking at? Are we looking at the sponsor? Are we looking at the partial guarantor? Are we looking at underlying receivable? All of that had to be worked out. But I'm proud to say and happy to say that at this point, we have worked it out. We've got our own methodology, and we are integrating this ESG assessment into our daily credit work that we perform with the input, the invaluable input and the proprietary input that comes from the Hermes folks in London.

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Kenneth Brooks Worthington, JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division - MD [26]

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Awesome, that was a -- that's really interesting. Maybe, Debbie, just maybe one more for you. You had commented, since we're going through the first easing environment in probably a decade. You commented on the institutional side. Maybe what are your thoughts about the retail side? Because I think the retail side and the spread in yields on products has been a driver for you. Does 25 basis points make a difference on the retail side? Does 50 basis points make a difference? Do we start to see maybe retail engagements slow a little bit if the yields on the money market fund products decline and/or if the spread between money market funds in banks isn't as high. Again, focus really on the retail side?

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Deborah Ann Cunningham, Federated Investors, Inc. - Executive VP, CIO of Global Liquidated Markets & Senior Portfolio Manager [27]

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Well, very interesting, Ken. So we've actually seen bank deposit products already being lowered. So despite the fact that fed hasn't made any move since December of last year. There are banks that have begun their declining rate environment already. So although banks are -- rather then to move their deposit rates in an increasing rate environment, they're quickly adjusting usually on a downside. So if the Fed acts as we would expect them to, which is minor adjustments to try to find the neutral rate, somewhere around the 2% environment, give-or-take, basis points, up or down in a yield curve that gives or takes a little bit from that, we still feel that compared to what deposit products are providing and certainly compared to the zero-rate environment that we were a part of, unfortunately, for a very long period of -- the better part of the decade, still will allow retail customers to really enjoy a nice return that is commensurate with what they're getting from inflationary perspective in the marketplace. And as such, will continue to find their flows being more likely to be placed in a managed product such as a money market fund, rather than a deposit product at this point. It just really continues to make sense for the retail investor, even if we see a 25 basis point high or decline in July, followed by another one later in the year. It's still will allow the retail customer to have some sort of a return on its cash, which is pleasant, not surprised, but a pleasant increase in their income that they've not been experiencing for too long now at this point. I think they will continue to move their assets into the space.

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Operator [28]

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Our next question is from Bill Katz from Citi.

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William R. Katz, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - MD [29]

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I guess, first one, Chris, you'd mentioned the potential for some strategic alliances in the Asia-Pac area. Is this sort of shift of thinking in your mind? And if so, what kind of potential partner and economic trade-offs should we be thinking about that might sort of lead to some kind of alliance?

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John Christopher Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - President, CEO & Chairman [30]

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No, Bill. It's not a shift. We've been working on those kinds of things for several years and continue to talk to various people about that. Those are hard, long-term things to put together. So it represents no shift. As I mentioned in answer to the -- a few moments ago, there really are two distinct efforts though, getting mandate and getting alliances, and we continue to work hard on both of them. I think you'll begin -- you'll see more of the mandate-type efforts be successful here in the near term than you will on the alliances, which just take a long time, years and years, in fact.

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William R. Katz, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - MD [31]

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Okay. Second question, this is a 2-part question. Just a little surprised to sort of hear the bit of a slowdown in the organic growth in both the mutual fund and the SMAs going into the new quarter. How much seasonality versus any kind of sort of shift in risk preferences? And then just an unrelated question but, Tom, as we think about incremental growth coming indoor work today versus the sort of established book, what's the interplay between volumes and fee rates from here?

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Raymond J. Hanley, Federated Investors, Inc. - SVP [32]

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Bill, it's Ray. On the first part of it, there may be some seasonality, it's hard to tell. It's really hard to discern a trend, especially from a couple of weeks of data. What I would emphasize is that kind of on the strategies that drove the first quarter results we continue to see good, strong, solid results. The Global Emerging Markets fund is positive, probably on a little better pace than what we saw in Q2. Same thing, Kaufman Small and again, on the fund side, strategic value, very modest net redemptions, again, at a lower pace than what we saw in the prior quarter. And so beyond that, you get a hodgepodge of funds and a very limited window of data. So it could be seasonality, but it's hard to discern a pattern.

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Thomas Robert Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - VP, Treasurer, CFO & Director [33]

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And you're not going to get much out of us on the fee rate and where it's going because it's exactly what Ray just answered, which fund does it come it, which mandates does it come in and that can move based exactly on those factors.

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Operator [34]

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Our next question here is from Mac Sykes from Gabelli & Company.

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Macrae Sykes, G. Research, LLC - Research Analyst [35]

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I actually asked or you answered most of my questions in the previous talk about Hermes, but just getting back to that a little bit. Could you just talk about the trade-off perhaps in accelerating spend now with that brand in the U.S. versus kind of some incubation of the brand? Do you think that you can capture more shares just given what we think is the decent opportunity for the industry?

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Thomas Robert Donahue, Federated Investors, Inc. - VP, Treasurer, CFO & Director [36]

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So on the budget basis, which we talked about in the beginning of the year with our business development effort, with Harriet's team and Paul's team and Gordy Ceresino as big part of it. And that's selling the product here and selling the Hermes products in the -- domestically and selling Federated products in the U.S. We talked about a $5 million number, and we are proceeding to do that and expecting to have the benefits payoff significantly. Someone else asked about how long does it take to sell and just revert back like you said, Saker already talked about, their name recognition and getting them -- getting sales over here. We've seen really good, promising, early indicators on it.

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Operator [37]

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This concludes the question-and-answer session. I'd like to turn the floor back to management for any closing comments.

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Raymond J. Hanley, Federated Investors, Inc. - SVP [38]

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We've reached our -- a lot of time for today, but we appreciate your interest, and thank you for joining us.

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Operator [39]

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This concludes today's teleconference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you, again, for your participation.