The SEC encourages companies to disclose forward-looking information so that investors can better understand a company’s future prospects and make informed investment decisions. This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains these types of statements. Words such as “may,” “will,” “could,” “should,” “anticipates,” “envisions,” “estimates,” “expects,” “projects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes” and words or terms of similar substance used in connection with any discussion of future expectations as to industry and regulatory developments or business initiatives and strategies, future operating results or financial performance, and other future developments are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These include, among others, statements relating to:
•our strategic direction;
•the integration of acquired businesses, including accounting decisions relating thereto;
•the scope, nature or impact of acquisitions, divestitures, investments, joint ventures or other transactional activities;
•the effective dates for, and expected benefits of, ongoing initiatives, including transactional activities and other strategic, restructuring, technology, de-leveraging and capital return initiatives;
•our products and services;
•the impact of pricing changes;
•the cost and availability of liquidity and capital;
•any litigation, or any regulatory or government investigation or action, to which we are or could become a party or which may affect us; and
•the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the response of governments and other third parties on our business, operations, results of operations, financial condition, workforce or the operations or decisions of our customers, suppliers or business partners.
Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements include, among others, the following:
•our operating results may be lower than expected;
•our ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses or divest sold businesses or assets, including the fact that any integration or transition may be more difficult, time consuming or costly than expected, and we may be unable to realize synergies from business combinations, acquisitions, divestitures or other transactional activities;
•loss of significant trading and clearing volumes or values, fees, market share, listed companies, market data customers or other customers;
•our ability to develop and grow our non-trading businesses, including our technology and analytics offerings;
•our ability to keep up with rapid technological advances and adequately address cybersecurity risks;
•economic, political and market conditions and fluctuations, including inflation, interest rate and foreign currency risk, inherent in U.S. and international operations;
•the performance and reliability of our technology and technology of third parties on which we rely;
•any significant error in our operational processes;
•our ability to continue to generate cash and manage our indebtedness; and
•adverse changes that may occur in the litigation or regulatory areas, or in the securities markets generally, or increased regulatory oversight domestically or internationally.
Most of these factors are difficult to predict accurately and are generally beyond our control. You should consider the uncertainty and any risk related to forward-looking statements that we make. These risk factors are discussed under the caption “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this report. You should carefully read this entire Annual Report on Form 10-K, including “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and the consolidated financial statements and the related notes. Except as required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, release publicly any revisions to any forward-looking statements or report the occurrence of unanticipated events. For any forward-looking statements contained in any document, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.