Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
|3 Months Ended|
Mar. 31, 2023
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]|
|Summary of Significant Accounting Policies||
2. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Basis of Presentation and Principles of Consolidation
The accompanying Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of Silvercrest and its wholly owned subsidiaries SLP, SAMG LLC, SFS, MCG, Silvercrest Investors LLC, Silvercrest Investors II LLC and Silvercrest Investors III LLC as of March 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022 and for the three months ended March 31, 2023 and 2022. All intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated.
The Condensed Consolidated Statement of Financial Condition at December 31, 2022 was derived from the audited Consolidated Statement of Financial Condition at that date but does not include all of the information and footnotes required by GAAP for complete financial statements. The results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2023 and 2022 are not necessarily indicative of the operating results that may be expected for the full fiscal year ending December 31, 2023 and 2022 or any future period.
The Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company included herein are unaudited and have been prepared in accordance with the instructions to Form 10-Q pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). In the opinion of management, all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring adjustments necessary for a fair presentation of the interim financial position and results, have been made. The Company’s Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and the related notes should be read together with the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and the related notes included in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022.
The Company evaluates for consolidation those entities it controls through a majority voting interest or otherwise, including those Silvercrest Funds over which the general partner or equivalent is presumed to have control, for example, by virtue of the limited partners not being able to remove the general partner. The initial step in determining whether a fund for which SLP is the general partner is required to be consolidated is assessing whether the fund is a variable interest entity (“VIE”) or a voting interest entity (“VoIE”).
SLP then considers whether the fund is a VoIE in which the unaffiliated limited partners have substantive “kick-out” rights that provide the ability to dissolve (liquidate) the limited partnership or otherwise remove the general partner without cause. SLP considers the “kick-out” rights to be substantive if the general partner for the fund can be removed by the vote of a simple majority of the unaffiliated limited partners and there are no significant barriers to the unaffiliated limited partners’ ability to exercise these rights in that among other things, (1) there are no conditions or timing limits on when the rights can be exercised, (2) there are no financial or operational barriers associated with replacing the general partner, (3) there are a number of qualified replacement investment advisors that would accept appointment at the same fee level, (4) each fund’s documents provide for the ability to call and conduct a vote, and (5) the information necessary to exercise the kick-out rights and related vote are available from the fund and its administrator.
If the fund is a VIE, SLP then determines whether it has a variable interest in the fund, and if so, whether SLP is the primary beneficiary. In determining whether SLP is the primary beneficiary, SLP evaluates its control rights as well as economic interests in the entity held either directly or indirectly by SLP. The consolidation analysis can generally be performed qualitatively; however, if it is not readily apparent that SLP is not the primary beneficiary, a quantitative analysis may also be performed. Amendments to the governing documents of the respective Silvercrest Funds could affect an entity’s status as a VIE or the determination of the primary beneficiary. At each reporting date, SLP assesses whether it is the primary beneficiary and will consolidate or deconsolidate accordingly.
During the three months ended March 31, 2023 and 2022, each fund is deemed to be a VoIE and neither SLP nor Silvercrest consolidated any of the Silvercrest Funds.
As of March 31, 2023, Silvercrest holds approximately 67.8% of the economic interests in SLP. Silvercrest is the sole general partner of SLP and, therefore, controls the management of SLP. As a result, Silvercrest consolidates the financial position and the results of operations of SLP and its subsidiaries, and records a non-controlling interest, as a separate component of equity on its Condensed Consolidated Statements of Financial Condition for the remaining economic interests in SLP. The non-controlling interest in the income or loss of SLP is included in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations as a reduction or addition to net income derived from SLP.
Translation of Non-U.S. Currency Amounts
Assets and liabilities of non-U.S. subsidiaries that have a foreign currency as their functional currency are re-measured to U.S. dollars at quarter-end exchange rates, and revenues and expenses are re-measured at average rates of exchange prevailing during the period. The resulting translation adjustments are recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). Gains or losses resulting from foreign currency transactions are included in other (expense) income, net in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations.
The Company views its operations as comprising one operating segment, the investment management industry. Each of the Company’s acquired businesses has similar economic characteristics and has been, or is in the process of becoming, fully integrated. Furthermore, our chief operating decision maker, who is the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, monitors and reviews financial information at a consolidated level for assessing operating results and the allocation of resources.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements, and the reported amounts of revenues, expenses and other income reported in the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and the accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Significant estimates and assumptions made by management include the fair value of acquired assets and liabilities, determination of equity-based compensation, accounting for income taxes, determination of the useful lives of long-lived assets, and other matters that affect the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements and related disclosures.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
The Company considers all highly liquid securities with original maturities of 90 days or less when purchased to be cash equivalents.
Equity Method Investments
The Company accounts for investment activities related to entities over which the Company exercises significant influence but do not meet the requirements for consolidation, using the equity method of accounting, whereby the Company records its share of the underlying income or losses of these entities. Intercompany profit arising from transactions with affiliates is eliminated to the extent of its beneficial interest. Equity in losses of equity method investments is not recognized after the carrying value of an investment, including advances and loans, has been reduced to zero, unless guarantees or other funding obligations exist.
The Company evaluates its equity method investments for impairment, whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amounts of such investments may not be recoverable. The difference between the carrying value of the equity method investment and its estimated fair value is recognized as an impairment when the loss in value is deemed other than temporary. The Company’s equity method investments approximate their fair value at March 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022. The fair value of the equity method investments is estimated based on the Company’s share of the fair value of the net assets of the equity method investee. No impairment charges related to equity method investments were recorded during the three months ended March 31, 2023 or 2022.
Receivables and Due from Silvercrest Funds
Receivables consist primarily of amounts for management and advisory fees, performance fees, and allocations and family office service fees due from clients and are stated as net realizable value. The Company maintains an allowance for doubtful receivables based on estimates of expected losses and specific identification of uncollectible accounts. The Company charges actual losses to the allowance when incurred.
Furniture, Equipment and Leasehold Improvements
Furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements consist primarily of furniture, fixtures and equipment, computer hardware and software and leasehold improvements and are recorded at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation and amortization are calculated using the straight-line method over the assets’ estimated useful lives, which for leasehold improvements is the lesser of the lease term or the life of the asset, generally 10 years, and 3 to 7 years for other fixed assets.
The Company accounts for business combinations using the acquisition method of accounting. The acquisition method of accounting requires that purchase price, including the fair value of contingent consideration, of the acquisition be allocated to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed using the fair values determined by management as of the acquisition date. The method for determining relative fair value varied depending on the type of asset or liability and involved management making significant estimates related to assumptions such as future growth rates used to produce financial projections and the selection of unobservable inputs and other assumptions. The inputs used in establishing the fair value are in most cases unobservable and reflect the Company’s own judgments about the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Contingent consideration is recorded as part of the purchase price when such contingent consideration is not based on continuing employment of the selling shareholders. Contingent consideration that is related to continuing employment is recorded as compensation expense. Payments made for contingent consideration recorded as part of an acquisition’s purchase price are reflected as financing activities in the Company’s Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.
The Company remeasures the fair value of contingent consideration at each reporting period using a probability-adjusted discounted cash flow method based on significant inputs not observable in the market and any change in the fair value from either the passage of time or events occurring after the acquisition date, is recorded in earnings. Contingent consideration payments that exceed the acquisition date fair value of the contingent consideration are reflected as an operating activity in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.
The excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the identifiable assets acquired, including intangibles, and liabilities assumed is recorded as goodwill. The Company generally uses valuation specialists to perform appraisals and assist in the determination of the fair values of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. These valuations require management to make estimates and assumptions that are critical in determining the fair values of the assets and liabilities. During the measurement period, the Company may record adjustments to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed. Any adjustments to provisional amounts that are identified during the measurement period are recorded in the reporting period in which the adjustment amounts are determined. Upon the conclusion of the measurement period, any subsequent adjustments are recorded to earnings.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets
Goodwill consists of the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of identifiable net assets of businesses acquired. Goodwill is not amortized but is evaluated for impairment at least annually, on October 1st of each year, or whenever events or circumstances indicate that impairment may have occurred.
The Company accounts for Goodwill under Accounting Standard Codification (“ASC”) No. 350, “Intangibles - Goodwill and Other,” which provides an entity the option to first perform a qualitative assessment of whether a reporting unit’s fair value is more likely than not less than its carrying value, including goodwill. In performing its qualitative assessment, an entity considers the extent to which adverse events or circumstances identified, such as changes in economic conditions, industry and market conditions or entity specific events, could affect the comparison of the reporting unit’s fair value with its carrying amount. If an entity concludes that the fair value of a reporting unit is more likely than not less than its carrying amount, the entity is required to perform the currently prescribed two-step goodwill impairment test to identify potential goodwill impairment and, accordingly, measure the amount, if any, of goodwill impairment loss to be recognized for that reporting unit. The Company utilized this option when performing its annual impairment assessment in 2022 and 2021 and concluded that its single reporting unit’s fair value was more likely than not greater than its carrying value, including goodwill.
The Company has one reporting unit at March 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022. No goodwill impairment charges were recorded during the three months ended March 31, 2023 and 2022.
Intangible assets of the Company are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the net carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable. In connection with such review, the Company also re-evaluates the periods of amortization for these assets. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset to undiscounted future net cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceed their fair value.
Identifiable finite-lived intangible assets are amortized over their estimated useful lives ranging from 3 to 20 years. The method of amortization is based on the pattern over which the economic benefits and generally expected undiscounted cash flows of the intangible asset are consumed. Intangible assets for which no pattern can be reliably determined are amortized using the straight-line method. Intangible assets consist primarily of the contractual right to future management and advisory fees and performance fees and allocations from customer contracts or relationships.
Long-lived assets are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the net carrying amount of the asset may not be recoverable. In connection with such review, the Company also reevaluates the periods of depreciation and amortization for these assets. Recoverability of assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset to undiscounted future net cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If such assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying amount of the assets exceeds their fair value.
On July 29, 2021, the Company announced that its Board of Directors had approved a share repurchase program authorizing the Company to repurchase up to $15,000,000 of the Company’s outstanding Class A common stock (the “Repurchase Program”). Repurchases under the Repurchase Program may be made using either cash on hand, borrowings under the Company’s existing credit facilities or other sources, or (a) one or more 10b5-1 share trading plans, to be established with one or more banks or brokers (the “Trading Plans”), (b) pursuant to accelerated share repurchase programs with one or more investment banks or other financial intermediaries (the “ASR Programs”), or (c) through repurchases to be made outside of the Trading Plans or ASR Programs but in compliance with all applicable requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), including the safe harbor provided by Exchange Act Rule 10b-18, and consummated during an open trading window under the Company’s insider trading policy. The program may be amended, suspended, or discontinued at any time and does not commit the Company to repurchase any shares of Common Stock.
As of March 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, the Company had purchased 604,511 and 508,782 shares of Class A common stock, respectively, for an aggregate price of approximately $10,939 and $9,295, respectively.
Treasury stock is accounted for under the cost method and is included as a deduction from equity in the Company’s Equity section of the Condensed Consolidated Statement of Financial Condition. Upon any subsequent retirement or resale, the treasury stock account is reduced by the cost of such stock.
Partner incentive allocations, which are determined by the general partner, can be formula-based or discretionary. Partner incentive allocations are treated as compensation expense and recognized in the period in which they are earned. In the event there is insufficient distributable cash flow to make incentive distributions, the general partner in its sole and absolute discretion may determine not to make any distributions called for under the partnership agreement. The remaining net income or loss after partner incentive allocations is generally allocated to unit holders based on their pro rata ownership.
Redeemable Partnership Units
If a principal of SLP is terminated for cause, SLP has the right to redeem all of the vested Class B units collectively held by the principal and his or her permitted transferees for a purchase price equal to the lesser of (i) the aggregate capital account balance in SLP of the principal and his or her permitted transferees or (ii) the purchase price paid by the terminated principal to first acquire the Class B units.
SLP also makes distributions to its partners of various nature including incentive payments, profit distributions and tax distributions. The profit distributions and tax distributions are accounted for as equity transactions.
Class A Common Stock
The Company’s Class A stockholders are entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of the Company’s stockholders. Class A stockholders are also entitled to receive dividends, when and if declared by the Company’s board of directors, out of funds legally available therefor, subject to any statutory or contractual restrictions on the payment of dividends and to any restrictions on the payment of dividends imposed by the terms of any outstanding preferred stock. Dividends consisting of shares of Class A common stock may be paid only as follows: (i) shares of Class A common stock may be paid only to holders of shares of Class A common stock and (ii) shares of Class A common stock will be paid proportionately with respect to each outstanding share of the Company’s Class A common stock. Upon the Company’s liquidation, dissolution or winding-up, or the sale of all, or substantially all, of the Company’s assets, after payment in full of all amounts required to be paid to creditors and to holders of preferred stock having a liquidation preference, if any, the Class A stockholders will be entitled to share ratably in the Company’s remaining assets available for distribution to Class A stockholders. Class B units of SLP held by principals will be exchangeable for shares of the Company’s Class A common stock, on a one-for-one basis, subject to customary adjustments for share splits, dividends and reclassifications.
Class B Common Stock
Shares of the Company’s Class B common stock are issuable only in connection with the issuance of Class B units of SLP. When a vested or unvested Class B unit is issued by SLP, the Company will issue the holder one share of its Class B common stock in exchange for the payment of its par value. Each share of the Company’s Class B common stock will be redeemed for its par value and cancelled by the Company if the holder of the corresponding Class B unit exchanges or forfeits its Class B unit pursuant to the terms of the Second Amended and Restated Limited Partnership Agreement of SLP and the terms of the Silvercrest Asset Management Group Inc. 2012 Equity Incentive Plan (the “2012 Equity Incentive Plan”). The Company’s Class B stockholders will be entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of the Company’s stockholders. The Company’s Class B stockholders will not participate in any dividends declared by the Company’s board of directors. Upon the Company’s liquidation, dissolution or winding-up, or the sale of all, or substantially all, of its assets, Class B stockholders only will be entitled to receive the par value of the Company’s Class B common stock.
The Company generates revenue from management and advisory fees, performance fees and allocations, and family office services fees. Management and advisory fees and performance fees and allocations are generated by managing assets on behalf of separate accounts and acting as investment adviser for various investment funds. Performance fees and allocations also relate to assets managed in external investment strategies in which the Company has a revenue sharing arrangement and in funds in which the Company has no partnership interest. Management and advisory fees and family office services fees income is recognized through the course of the period in which these services are provided. Income from performance fees and allocations is recorded at the conclusion of the contractual performance period when all contingencies are resolved. In certain arrangements, the Company is only entitled to receive performance fees and allocations when the return on assets under management exceeds certain benchmark returns or other performance targets.
The discretionary investment management agreements for the Company’s separately managed accounts do not have a specified term. Rather, each agreement may be terminated by either party at any time, unless otherwise agreed with the client, upon written notice of termination to the other party. The investment management agreements for the Company’s private funds are generally in effect from year to year, and may be terminated at the end of any year (or, in certain cases, on the anniversary of execution of the agreement) (i) by the Company upon 30 or 90 days’ prior written notice and (ii) after receiving the affirmative vote of a simple majority of the investors in the private fund that are not affiliated with the Company, by the private fund on 60 or 90 days’ prior written notice. The investment management agreements for the private funds may also generally be terminated effective immediately by either party where the non-terminating party (i) commits a material breach of the terms subject, in certain cases, to a cure period, (ii) is found to have committed fraud, gross negligence or willful misconduct or (iii) terminates, becomes bankrupt, becomes insolvent or dissolves. Each of the Company’s investment management agreements contains customary indemnification obligations from the Company to their clients.
The management and advisory fees are primarily driven by the level of the Company’s assets under management. The assets under management increase or decrease based on the net inflows or outflows of funds into the Company’s various investment strategies and the investment performance of its clients’ accounts. In order to increase the Company’s assets under management and expand its business, the Company must develop and market investment strategies that suit the investment needs of its target clients and provide attractive returns over the long term. The Company’s ability to continue to attract clients will depend on a variety of factors including, among others:
the ability to educate the Company’s target clients about the Company’s classic value investment strategies and provide them with exceptional client service;
the relative investment performance of the Company’s investment strategies, as compared to competing products and market indices;
competitive conditions in the investment management and broader financial services sectors;
investor sentiment and confidence; and
the decision to close strategies when the Company deems it to be in the best interests of its clients.
The majority of management and advisory fees that the Company earns on separately managed accounts are based on the value of assets under management on the last day of each calendar quarter. Most of the management and advisory fees are billed quarterly in advance on the first day of each calendar quarter. The Company’s basic annual fee schedule for management of clients’ assets in separately managed accounts is generally: (i) for managed equity or balanced portfolios, 1% of the first $10 million and 0.60% on the balance, (ii) for managed fixed income only portfolios, 0.40% on the first $10 million and 0.30% on the balance, (iii) for the municipal value strategy, 0.65%, (iv) for Cortina equity portfolios, 1.0% on the first $25 million, 0.90% on the next $25 million and 0.80% on the balance and (v) for outsourced chief investment officer portfolios, 0.40% on the first $50 million, 0.32% of the next $50 million and 0.24% on the balance. The Company’s fee for monitoring non-discretionary assets can range from 0.05% to 0.01% but can also be incorporated into an agreed-upon fixed family office service fee. The majority of the Company’s clients pay a blended fee rate since they are invested in multiple strategies.
Management fees earned on investment funds that the Company advises are calculated primarily based on the net assets of the funds. Some funds calculate investment fees based on the net assets of the funds as of the last business day of each calendar quarter, whereas other funds calculate investment fees based on the value of net assets on the first business day of the month. Depending on the investment fund, fees are paid either quarterly in advance or quarterly in arrears. For the Company’s private fund clients, the fees range from 0.25% to 1.5% annually. Certain management fees earned on investment funds for which the Company performs risk management and due diligence services are based on flat fee agreements customized for each engagement.
The Company’s management and advisory fees may fluctuate based on a number of factors, including the following:
changes in assets under management due to appreciation or depreciation of its investment portfolios, and the levels of the contribution and withdrawal of assets by new and existing clients;
allocation of assets under management among its investment strategies, which have different fee schedules;
allocation of assets under management between separately managed accounts and advised funds, for which the Company generally earns lower overall management and advisory fees; and
the level of their performance with respect to accounts and funds on which the Company is paid incentive fees.
The Company’s performance fees and allocations may fluctuate based on performance with respect to accounts and funds on which the Company is paid incentive fees and allocations.
The Company’s family office services capabilities enable us to provide comprehensive and integrated services to its clients. The Company’s dedicated group of tax and financial planning professionals provide financial planning, tax planning and preparation, partnership accounting and fund administration and consolidated wealth reporting among other services. Family office services income fluctuates based on both the number of clients for whom the Company performs these services and the level of agreed-upon fees, most of which are flat fees. Therefore, non-discretionary assets under management, which are associated with family office services, do not typically serve as the basis for the amount of family office services revenue that is recognized. Family office services fees are also typically billed quarterly in advance at the beginning of the quarter or in arrears after the end of the quarter based on a contractual percentage of the assets managed or upon a contractually agreed-upon flat fee arrangement. Revenue is recognized on a ratable basis over the period in which services are performed.
The Company accounts for performance-based revenue in accordance with “Topic 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers” (“ASC 606”) by recognizing performance fees and allocations as revenue only when it is certain that the fee income is earned and payable pursuant to the relevant agreements. In certain arrangements, the Company is only entitled to receive performance fees and allocations when the return on assets under management exceeds certain benchmark returns or other performance targets. The Company records performance fees and allocations as a component of revenue once the performance fee or allocation, as applicable, has crystalized. As a result, there is no estimate or variability in the consideration when revenue is recorded.
Equity-based compensation cost relating to the issuance of share-based awards to employees is based on the fair value of the award at the date of grant, which is expensed ratably over the requisite service period, net of estimated forfeitures. The forfeiture assumption is ultimately adjusted to the actual forfeiture rate. Therefore, changes in the forfeiture assumptions may affect the timing of the total amount of expense recognized over the vesting period. The service period is the period over which the employee performs the related services, which is normally the same as the vesting period. Equity-based awards that do not require future service are expensed immediately. Equity-based awards that have the potential to be settled in cash at the election of the employee or prior to the reorganization related to redeemable partnership units are classified as liabilities (“Liability Awards”) and are adjusted to fair value at the end of each reporting period.
The Company accounts for leases under “Topic 842, Leases” (“ASC 842”), which requires lessees to recognize leases on-balance sheet and disclose key information about leasing arrangements. ASC 842 established a right-of-use model (“ROU”) that requires a lessee to recognize a ROU asset and lease liability on the balance sheet for all leases with a term longer than 12 months. Leases are classified as finance or operating, with classification affecting the pattern and classification of expense recognition in the Condensed Consolidated Statement of Operations.
Silvercrest and SFS are subject to federal and state corporate income tax, which requires an asset and liability approach to the financial accounting and reporting of income taxes. SLP is not subject to federal and state income taxes, since all income, gains and losses are passed through to its partners. SLP is, however, subject to New York City unincorporated business tax. With respect to the Company’s incorporated entities, the annual tax rate is based on the income, statutory tax rates and tax planning opportunities available in the various jurisdictions in which the Company operates. Tax laws are complex and subject to different interpretations by the taxpayer and respective governmental taxing authorities. Judgment is required in determining the tax expense and in evaluating tax positions. The tax effects of any uncertain tax position (“UTP”) taken or expected to be taken in income tax returns are recognized only if it is “more likely-than-not” to be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities, based on its technical merits as of the reporting date. The tax benefits recognized in the Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements from such a position are measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than fifty percent likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement. The Company recognizes estimated accrued interest and penalties related to UTPs in income tax expense.
The Company recognizes the benefit of a UTP in the period when it is effectively settled. Previously recognized tax positions are derecognized in the first period in which it is no longer more likely than not that the tax position would be sustained upon examination.
Recent Accounting Developments
In March 2020, the FASB issued ASU 2020-04, “Facilitation of the Effects of Reference Rate Reform on Financial Reporting” which applies to all entities, subject to meeting certain criteria, that have contracts, hedging relationships, and other transactions that reference LIBOR or another reference rate expected to be discontinued because of reference rate reform. This ASU is effective for all public entities beginning March 12, 2020 through December 31, 2022. While the effective date of this ASU was deferred until 2024, the adoption of this ASU did not have a material effect on the Company’s Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements.
No definition available.
The entire disclosure for all significant accounting policies of the reporting entity.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/disclosureRef