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Section 1: 10-K (10-K)

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
_______________________________________________________
FORM 10‑K
ý
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017
OR
 o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                          to                    
Commission File No. 001‑36429
_______________________________________________________
ARES MANAGEMENT, L.P.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
80-0962035
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
2000 Avenue of the Stars, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(310) 201-4100
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
_______________________________________________________
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common shares representing limited partner interests
New York Stock Exchange
Preferred shares
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well‑known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ý
 No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o  No ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days: Yes ý  No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S‑T (Section §232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes ý  No o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S‑K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10‑K or any amendment to this Form 10‑K. ý
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non‑accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act:
Large accelerated filer ý
Accelerated filer o
Non‑accelerated filer o
(Do not check if a smaller
reporting company)
Smaller reporting company o
Emerging growth company o
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b‑2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o  No ý
The aggregate market value of the common shares held by non‑affiliates of the registrant on June 30, 2017, based on the closing price on that date of $18.00 on the New York Stock Exchange, was approximately $858,409,578.  As of February 15, 2018, there were 82,758,558 of the registrant’s common shares representing limited partner interests outstanding.
 


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Forward‑Looking Statements
This Annual Report on Form 10‑K contains forward‑looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which reflect our current views with respect to, among other things, future events and financial performance. You can identify these forward‑looking statements by the use of forward‑looking words such as “outlook,” “believes,” “expects,” “potential,” “continues,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “seeks,” “approximately,” “predicts,” “intends,” “plans,” “estimates,” “anticipates” or the negative version of those words or other comparable words. The forward‑looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future performance, taking into account all information currently available to us. Such forward‑looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, financial results, financial condition, business prospects, growth strategy and liquidity. Some of these factors are described in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K under the headings “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and “Risk Factors.” These factors should not be construed as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the risk factors and other cautionary statements that are included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K and in our other periodic filings. If one or more of these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those indicated in these forward‑looking statements. New risks and uncertainties arise over time, and it is not possible for us to predict those events or how they may affect us. Therefore, you should not place undue reliance on these forward‑looking statements. Any forward‑looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or review any forward‑looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by law.
Unless the context suggests otherwise, references in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K to (1) “Ares,” “we,” “us” and “our” refer to our businesses, both before and after the consummation of our reorganization into a holding partnership structure and (2) our “Predecessors” refer to Ares Holdings Inc. (“AHI”) and Ares Investments LLC (“AI”), our accounting predecessors, as well as their wholly owned subsidiaries and managed funds, in each case prior to the Reorganization. References in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K to “our general partner” refer to Ares Management GP LLC, an entity wholly owned by Ares Partners Holdco LLC, which is in turn owned and controlled by Holdco Members. References in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K to the “Ares Operating Group” refer to, collectively, Ares Holdings L.P. (“Ares Holdings”), Ares Offshore Holdings L.P. (“Ares Offshore”) and Ares Investments L.P. (“Ares Investments”). References in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K to an “Ares Operating Group Unit” or an “AOG Unit” refer to, collectively, a partnership unit in each of the Ares Operating Group entities. References in this Annual Report on Form 10-K to (1) “common units” or “common shares” and “preferred units” or “preferred shares” outstanding prior to March 1, 2018 refer to our common units and preferred units, respectively, previously outstanding prior to March 1, 2018 and (2) “common unitholders” or “common shareholders” and “preferred unitholders” or “preferred shareholders” prior to March 1, 2018 refer to our common unitholders and preferred unitholders, respectively, prior to March 1, 2018. Note that the terms of our common shares and preferred shares, and the associated rights, remain unchanged.
Under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”), we are required to consolidate (a) entities other than limited partnerships and entities similar to limited partnerships in which we hold a majority voting interest or have majority ownership and control over the operational, financial and investing decisions of that entity, including Ares‑affiliates and affiliated funds and co‑investment entities, for which we are presumed to have controlling financial interests, and (b) entities that we concluded are variable interest entities (“VIEs”), including limited partnerships and collateralized loan obligations, for which we are deemed to be the primary beneficiary. When an entity is consolidated, we reflect the assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses and cash flows of the entity in our consolidated financial statements on a gross basis, subject to eliminations from consolidation, including the elimination of the management fees, performance fees and other fees that we earn from the entity. However, the presentation of performance fee compensation and other expenses associated with generating such revenues is not affected by the consolidation process. In addition, as a result of the consolidation process, the net income attributable to third‑party investors in consolidated entities is presented as net income attributable to redeemable interests and non‑controlling interests in Consolidated Funds in our Consolidated Statements of Operations.

In this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, in addition to presenting our results on a consolidated basis in accordance with GAAP, we present revenues, expenses and other results on a (i) “segment basis,” which deconsolidates these entities and therefore shows the results of our reportable segments without giving effect to the consolidation of the entities and (ii) “Unconsolidated Reporting basis,” which shows the results of our reportable segments on a combined segment basis together with our Operations Management Group. In addition to our three segments, we have an Operations Management Group (the “OMG”) that consists of five independent, shared resource groups to support our reportable segments by providing infrastructure and administrative support in the areas of accounting/finance, operations/information technology, business development/corporate strategy, legal/compliance and human resources. The OMG’s expenses are not allocated to our three reportable segments but we consider the cost structure of the OMG when evaluating our financial performance. This information constitutes non‑GAAP financial information within the meaning of Regulation G, as promulgated by the SEC. Our management uses this information to assess the performance of our

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reportable segments and our OMG, and we believe that this information enhances the ability of shareholders to analyze our performance. For more information, see “Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements - Note 18. Segment Reporting.”
Glossary
When used in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, unless the context otherwise requires:
“ARCC Part I Fees” refers to a quarterly performance fee on the investment income from Ares Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: ARCC) (“ARCC”);

“Ares Operating Group Unit” or an “AOG Unit” refer to, collectively, a partnership unit in each of the Ares Operating Group entities;

“assets under management” or “AUM” refers to the assets we manage. For our funds other than CLOs, our AUM represents the sum of the net asset value of such funds, the drawn and undrawn debt (at the fund‑level including amounts subject to restrictions) and uncalled committed capital (including commitments to funds that have yet to commence their investment periods). For our funds that are CLOs, our AUM represents subordinated notes (equity) plus all drawn and undrawn debt tranches;

"available capital" is comprised of uncalled committed capital and undrawn amounts under credit facilities and may include AUM that may be canceled or not otherwise available to invest (also referred to as "dry powder").

“CLOs” refers to “our funds” which are structured as collateralized loan obligations;

“Consolidated Funds” refers collectively to certain Ares‑affiliated funds, co‑investment entities and certain CLOs that are required under GAAP to be consolidated in our consolidated financial statements;

“Co‑Founders” refers to Michael Arougheti, David Kaplan, John Kissick, Antony Ressler and Bennett Rosenthal;

“Credit Facility” refers to the revolving credit facility of the Ares Operating Group;

“distributable earnings” or “DE”, a non-GAAP measure, is an operating metric that assesses our performance without the effects of our consolidated funds and the impact of unrealized income and expenses, which generally fluctuate with fair value changes. Among other things, this metric also is used to assist in determining amounts potentially available for distribution. However, the declaration, payment, and determination of the amount of distributions to shareholders, if any, is at the sole discretion of our Board of Directors, which may change our distribution policy at any time. Distributable earnings is calculated as the sum of fee related earnings, realized performance fees, realized performance fee compensation, realized net investment and other income, and is reduced by expenses arising from transaction costs associated with acquisitions, placement fees and underwriting costs, expenses incurred in connection with corporate reorganization and depreciation. Distributable earnings differs from income before taxes computed in accordance with GAAP as it is typically presented before giving effect to unrealized performance fees, unrealized performance fee compensation, unrealized net investment income, amortization of intangibles, and equity compensation expense. DE is presented prior to the effect of income taxes attributable to Ares Holdings, Inc. and to distributions made to our preferred shareholders, unless otherwise noted;

“economic net income” or “ENI”, a non-GAAP measure, is an operating metric used by management to evaluate total operating performance, a decision tool for deployment of resources, and an assessment of the performance of our business segments. ENI differs from net income by excluding (a) income tax expense, (b) operating results of our Consolidated Funds, (c) depreciation and amortization expense, (d) the effects of changes arising from corporate actions, and (e) certain other items that we believe are not indicative of our total operating performance. Changes arising from corporate actions include equity-based compensation expenses, the amortization of intangible assets, transaction costs associated with mergers, acquisitions and capital transactions, placement fees and underwriting costs and expenses incurred in connection with corporate reorganization;

“fee paying AUM” or “FPAUM” refers to the AUM on which we directly earn management fees. Fee paying AUM is equal to the sum of all the individual fee bases of our funds that directly contribute to our management fees;

“fee related earnings” or “FRE”, a non-GAAP measure, refers to a component of ENI that is used to assess core operating performance by determining whether recurring revenue, primarily consisting of management fees, is

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sufficient to cover operating expenses and to generate profits. FRE differs from income before taxes computed in accordance with GAAP as it adjusts for the items included in the calculation of ENI and excludes performance fees, performance fee compensation, investment income from our Consolidated Funds and non-consolidated funds and certain other items that we believe are not indicative of our core operating performance;

“Holdco Members” refers to Messrs. Arougheti, Kaplan, Ressler and Rosenthal and Ryan Berry, R. Kipp deVeer, and Michael McFerran;

“Incentive generating AUM” or “IGAUM” refers to the AUM of our funds that are currently generating, on a realized or unrealized basis, performance fee revenue. It generally represents the NAV of our funds for which we are entitled to receive a performance fee, excluding capital committed by us and our professionals (which generally is not subject to a performance fee). With respect to ARCC, only ARCC Part II Fees can be generated from IGAUM;

“Incentive eligible AUM” or “IEAUM” refers to the AUM of our funds that are eligible to produce performance fee revenue, regardless of whether or not they are currently generating performance fees. It generally represents the NAV plus uncalled equity of our funds for which we are entitled to receive a performance fee, excluding capital committed by us and our professionals (which generally is not subject to a performance fee);

“management fees” refers to fees we earn for advisory services provided to our funds, which are generally based on a defined percentage of total commitments, invested capital, net asset value, net investment income, total assets, fair value of assets, or par value of the investment portfolios managed by us and also include ARCC Part I Fees that are classified as management fees as they are predictable and recurring in nature, not subject to contingent repayment and generally cash‑settled each quarter;

“net inflows of capital” refers to net new commitments during the period, including equity and debt commitments and gross inflows into our open-ended managed accounts and sub-advised accounts, as well as equity offerings by our publicly traded vehicles minus redemptions from our open-ended funds, managed accounts and sub-advised accounts.

“net performance fees” refers to performance fees net of performance fee compensation, which is the portion of the performance fees earned from certain funds that is payable to professionals;

“our funds” refers to the funds, alternative asset companies, co-investment vehicles and other entities and accounts that are managed or co‑managed by the Ares Operating Group, and which are structured to pay fees. It also includes funds managed by Ivy Hill Asset Management, L.P., a wholly owned portfolio company of ARCC, and a registered investment adviser;

“permanent capital” refers to capital of our funds that do not have redemption provisions or a requirement to return capital to investors upon exiting the investments made with such capital, except as required by applicable law, which funds currently consist of ARCC, Ares Commercial Real Estate Corporation (“ACRE”) and Ares Dynamic Credit Allocation Fund, Inc. (“ARDC”). Such funds may be required, or elect, to return all or a portion of capital gains and investment income;

“performance fees” refers to fees we earn based on the performance of a fund, which are generally based on certain specific hurdle rates as defined in the fund’s investment management or partnership agreements and may be either an incentive fee or carried interest;

“performance related earnings” or “PRE”, a non-GAAP measure, is used to assess our investment performance net of performance fee compensation. PRE differs from income (loss) before taxes computed in accordance with GAAP as it only includes performance fees, performance fee compensation and total investment and other income that we earn from our Consolidated Funds and non-consolidated funds;

“realized income” or “RI”, a non-GAAP measure, is an operating metric used by management to evaluate performance of the business based on tangible operating performance and the contribution of each of the business segments to that performance, while removing the fluctuations of unrealized income and expenses, which may or may not be eventually realized at the levels presented and whose realizations depend more on future outcomes than current business operations. RI differs from net income by excluding (a) income tax expense, (b) operating results of our Consolidated Funds, (c) depreciation and amortization expense, (d) the effects of changes arising from corporate

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actions, (e) unrealized gains and losses related to performance fees and investment performance and (e) certain other items that we believe are not indicative of our tangible operating performance. Changes arising from corporate actions include equity-based compensation expenses, the amortization of intangible assets, transaction costs associated with mergers, acquisitions and capital transactions, placement fees and underwriting costs and expenses incurred in connection with corporate reorganization;

“SEC” refers to the Securities and Exchange Commission;

“Senior Notes” or the "AFC Notes" refers to senior notes of a wholly owned subsidiary of Ares Holding;

“Term Loans” refers to term loans of a wholly owned subsidiary of Ares Management LLC (“AM LLC”).

Many of the terms used in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K, including AUM, FPAUM, ENI, FRE, PRE, RI and DE, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other companies. In addition, our definitions of AUM and FPAUM are not based on any definition of AUM or FPAUM that is set forth in the agreements governing the investment funds that we manage and may differ from definitions of AUM or FPAUM set forth in other agreements to which we are a party. Further, ENI, FRE, PRE, RI and DE are not measures of performance calculated in accordance with GAAP. We use ENI, FRE, PRE, RI and DE as measures of operating performance, not as measures of liquidity. ENI, FRE, PRE, RI and DE should not be considered in isolation or as substitutes for operating income, net income, operating cash flows, or other income or cash flow statement data prepared in accordance with GAAP. The use of ENI, FRE, PRE, RI and DE without consideration of related GAAP measures is not adequate due to the adjustments described above. Our management compensates for these limitations by using ENI, FRE, PRE, RI and DE as supplemental measures to our GAAP results. We present these measures to provide a more complete understanding of our performance as our management measures it. Amounts and percentages throughout this report may reflect rounding adjustments and consequently totals may not appear to sum.



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PART I.
Item 1.  Business
BUSINESS
Overview
Ares is a leading global alternative asset manager with approximately $106.4 billion of assets under management and over 1,000 employees in over 15 offices across the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. We offer our investors a range of investment strategies and seek to deliver attractive performance to a growing investor base that includes approximately 785 direct institutional relationships and a significant retail investor base across our publicly traded and sub‑advised funds. Since our inception in 1997, we have adhered to a disciplined investment philosophy that focuses on delivering strong risk‑adjusted investment returns through market cycles. Ares believes each of its three distinct but complementary investment groups in Credit, Private Equity and Real Estate is a market leader based on assets under management and investment performance. We believe we create value for our stakeholders not only through our investment performance but also by expanding our product offering, enhancing our distribution channels, increasing our global presence, investing in our non‑investment functions, securing strategic partnerships and completing accretive acquisitions and portfolio purchases.
As shown in the chart below, over the past five and ten years, our assets under management have achieved a compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”) of 12% and 20%, respectively. Our AUM has grown to approximately $106.4 billion as of December 31, 2017, from approximately $18.0 billion a decade earlier.
392399259_groupchart2a08.jpg
We have an established track record of delivering strong risk‑adjusted returns through market cycles. We believe our consistent and strong performance in a broad range of alternative assets has been shaped by several distinguishing features of our platform:
Robust Sourcing Model:  our investment professionals’ local market presence and ability to effectively cross-source for other investment groups generates a robust pipeline of high-quality investment opportunities across our platform.


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Comprehensive Multi‑Asset Class Expertise and Flexible Capital:  our proficiency at evaluating every level of the capital structure, from senior debt to common equity, across companies, structured assets, power and energy assets, and real estate projects enables us to effectively assess relative value. This proficiency is complemented by our flexibility in deploying capital in a range of structures and different market environments to maximize risk‑adjusted returns.

Differentiated Market Intelligence:  our proprietary research on approximately 60 industries and insights from a broad, global investment portfolio enable us to more effectively diligence and structure our products and investments.

Consistent Investment Approach:  we believe our rigorous, credit‑oriented investment approach across each of our investment groups is a key contributor to our strong investment performance and ability to expand our product offering.

Talented and Committed Professionals:  we attract, develop and retain highly accomplished investment professionals who not only demonstrate deep and broad investment expertise but also have a strong sense of commitment to our firm.

Collaborative Culture:  we share ideas, relationships and information across our investment groups, which enables us to more effectively source, evaluate and manage investments.

Integrated Investment Platform

We operate our increasingly diversified and global firm as an integrated investment platform with a collaborative culture that emphasizes sharing of knowledge and expertise. We believe the exchange of information enhances our ability to analyze investments, deploy capital and improve the performance of our funds and portfolio companies. Through collaboration, we drive value by leveraging our capital markets relationships and access to deal flow. The management of our operating businesses is currently overseen by our Management Committee, which is comprised of our executive officers and other heads of various investment and operating groups, and ultimately by the Holdco Members. The Management Committee meets monthly to discuss asset deployment, strategy and fundraising. Within this framework, we have established deep and sophisticated independent research capabilities in approximately 60 industries and insights from active investments in approximately 1,480 companies, 505 structured assets and over 170 properties. Further, our extensive network of investment professionals includes local and geographically positioned individuals with the knowledge, experience and relationships that enable them to identify and take advantage of a wide range of investment opportunities. These professionals are supported by a highly sophisticated operations management team. We believe this broad and deep platform and our operational infrastructure provide us with a scalable foundation to expand our product offerings, geographic scope and profitability.
Breadth, Depth and Tenure of our Senior Management
Ares was built upon the fundamental principle that each of our distinct but complementary investment groups benefits from being part of our broader platform. We believe that our strong performance, consistent growth and high talent retention through economic cycles is due largely to the effective application of this principle across our broad organization of over 1,000 employees. We do not have a centralized investment committee and instead our investment committees are structured with overlapping membership from different investment groups to ensure consistency of approach. Each of our investment groups is led by its own deep leadership team of highly accomplished investment professionals, who average 25 years of experience managing investments in, advising, underwriting and restructuring companies. While primarily focused on managing strategies within their own investment group, these senior professionals are integrated within our platform through economic, cultural and structural measures. Our senior professionals have the opportunity to participate in the incentive programs of multiple investment groups to reward collaboration across our investment activities. This collaboration takes place on a daily basis but is formally promoted through sophisticated internal systems and widely attended weekly or monthly meetings.
2017 Highlights
Fundraising
In 2017, we raised $16.7 billion in gross new capital for more than 65 different funds. Of the $16.7 billion, $10.7 billion was raised directly from 146 institutional investors (68 existing and 78 new to Ares) and $6.0 billion was raised through intermediaries. 
In our Credit Group, we raised $14.9 billion of gross capital commitments across a variety of our credit strategies comprised of $4.3 billion in Syndicated Loans, $558.0 million in High Yield, $66.0 million in Credit Opportunities and $284.0 million in Structured Credit. In our Direct Lending strategy, we raised $7.7 billion of gross capital in our U.S.

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and E.U. Direct Lending funds and $738.0 million in aggregate new debt commitments for ARCC, our publicly traded business development company, and its affiliated funds and vehicles.
In our Private Equity Group, we raised $55.6 million of gross new capital commitments for an Asian private equity fund and $300.0 million of gross new capital commitments for our fifth power and infrastructure fund. 
In our Real Estate Group, we raised $934.2 million of gross new capital commitments for our U.S. real estate private equity funds. Additionally, we raised $508.9 million in our real estate debt strategy.

Capital Deployment

We took advantage of our diverse global platform to invest more than $16.4 billion (excluding permanent capital) globally in 2017 as shown in the following table (dollars in billions):

Strategy
Invested Amount
Syndicated Loans
$
2.9

High Yield Bonds
0.4

Credit Opportunities
0.3

Structured Credit
1.4

U.S. Direct Lending
3.8

E.U. Direct Lending
3.3

Corporate Private Equity
2.5

U.S. Power & Energy Infrastructure
0.4

Special Situations
0.5

Real Estate Equity & Debt
0.9

     Total
$
16.4


Of the $16.4 billion invested, $12.6 billion was tied to our drawdown funds. Of the $12.6 billion, $6.8 billion was driven by investments in E.U. and U.S. direct lending, $1.3 billion driven by investment in structured credit, $0.2 billion was driven by investments in various credit strategies, $3.4 billion was driven by investments in corporate private equity, U.S. power and energy infrastructure and special situations, and $0.9 billion was driven by investments in real estate debt and equity strategies.

Investment Groups

Each of our investment groups employs a disciplined, credit-oriented investment philosophy and is managed by a seasoned leadership team of senior professionals with extensive experience investing in, advising, underwriting and restructuring companies, power and energy assets, or real estate properties.

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392399259_groupcharta21.jpg
Credit Group

Our Credit Group is a leading manager of credit strategies across the non-investment grade credit universe, with approximately $71.7 billion of AUM and approximately 139 funds as of December 31, 2017. The Credit Group provides solutions for fixed income investors seeking to access the syndicated loan and high yield bond markets and capitalizes on opportunities across traded corporate and structured credit. It additionally provides investors access to directly originated fixed and floating rate credit assets and the ability to capitalize on illiquidity premiums across the credit spectrum.

The Credit Group offers a range of credit strategies across the liquid and illiquid spectrum, including syndicated loans, high yield bonds, credit opportunities, structured credit investments and U.S. and European direct lending.

Syndicated Loans:  Our syndicated loans strategy delivers a diversified portfolio of liquid, traded non-investment grade secured loans to corporate issuers. We focus on evaluating individual credit opportunities related primarily to non‑investment grade senior secured loans and primarily target first lien secured debt, with a secondary focus on second lien loans, mezzanine loans, high yield bonds and unsecured loans.

High Yield Bonds: Our high yield bonds strategy employs a value-driven philosophy, utilizing fundamental research to identify non‑investment grade corporate issuers. We primarily seek a diversified portfolio of liquid, traded non-investment grade corporate bonds. This incorporates secured, unsecured and subordinated debt instruments of issuers in both North America and Europe.

Credit Opportunities:  Our credit opportunities strategy has an event‑oriented credit mandate that seeks to generate attractive risk‑adjusted returns across market cycles by capitalizing on market inefficiencies and relative value opportunities in the non‑investment grade corporate credit market. We principally invest or take short positions in U.S. and European debt securities across the capital structure, including opportunistic liquid credit, special situations and structured products. Our “all weather” strategy seeks to dynamically manage duration, which is critical to realizing attractive performance during various interest rate environments.

Structured Credit:  Our structured credit strategy invests across the capital structure of syndicated CLO vehicles and in directly-originated asset-backed investments comprised of diversified portfolios of consumer and commercial assets. We seek to

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construct portfolios of asset-backed investments that benefit from having downside protection, less correlation with the broader credit markets and diversification.

Direct Lending: Our direct lending strategy is one of the largest self‑originating direct lenders to the U.S. and European markets, with approximately $42.4 billion of assets under management across approximately 65 funds or investment vehicles as of December 31, 2017. Our direct lending strategy has a multi‑channel origination strategy designed to address a broad set of investment opportunities in the middle market. We focus on being the lead or sole lender to our portfolio companies, which we believe allows us to exert greater influence over deal terms, capital structure, documentation, fees and pricing, while at the same time securing our position as a preferred source of financing for our transaction partners. The group maintains a flexible investment strategy, with the capability to invest in revolving credit facilities, first and second lien senior loans, mezzanine debt and non‑control equity co-investments in middle market companies and power generation projects. We manage various types of funds within our U.S. and European direct lending teams that include commingled funds, separately managed accounts for large institutional investors seeking tailored investment solutions and joint venture lending programs.

U.S. Direct Lending:  Our U.S. team is comprised of approximately 130 investment professionals in seven offices. Our team maintains an active dialogue with more than 480 financial sponsors and provides a wide range of financing solutions to middle-market companies that typically range from $10.0 to $150.0 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”). As of December 31, 2017, our U.S. direct lending team and its affiliates advised 46 funds totaling, in aggregate, approximately $30.6 billion in AUM. Our U.S. direct lending team manages corporate lending activities primarily through our inaugural vehicle and publicly traded business development company, ARCC, as well as private commingled funds and separately managed accounts.

Primary areas of focus for our U.S. Direct Lending teams include:

Ares Capital Corporation:  ARCC is a leading specialty finance company that provides one-stop debt and equity financing solutions to U.S. middle market companies and power generation projects. As of December 31, 2017, ARCC was the largest business development company by both total assets and market capitalization.

Other U.S. funds:  Outside of ARCC and its controlled affiliates, U.S. direct lending also generates fees from other funds, including Ares Commercial Finance, which makes asset-based and cash flow loans to middle-market and specialty finance companies, Ares Private Credit Solutions, which makes junior debt investments in upper middle-market companies, and separately managed accounts for large institutional investors. AUM for these other U.S. direct lending funds totaled $10.5 billion as of December 31, 2017.
E.U. Direct Lending:  Our European team is comprised of approximately 40 investment professionals in five offices. Our team covers over 200 financial sponsors and is one of the most significant participants in the European middle-market. We provide a wide range of financing opportunities to middle-market companies that typically range from €10.0 to €100.0 million in EBITDA. As of December 31, 2017, our E.U. direct lending team advised 19 commingled funds and managed accounts, aggregating approximately $11.8 billion in AUM.
The following table presents the Credit Group’s AUM, FPAUM and number of funds as of December 31, 2017 (dollars in billions):
 
AUM
 
FPAUM
 
Number of
Funds
Syndicated Loans
$
16.5

 
$
15.3

 
35

High Yield Bonds
4.7

 
4.6

 
16

Credit Opportunities
3.3

 
2.8

 
10

Structured Credit
4.8

 
3.4

 
13

U.S. Direct Lending
30.6

 
16.9

 
46

E.U. Direct Lending
11.8

 
6.4

 
19

Credit Group
$
71.7

 
$
49.4

 
139







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Private Equity Group
Our Private Equity Group has achieved compelling investment returns for a loyal and growing group of high profile limited partners and as of December 31, 2017 had approximately $24.5 billion of AUM. Our Private Equity Group broadly categorizes its investment activities into three strategies: Corporate Private Equity, U.S. Power and Energy Infrastructure and Special Situations. Our private equity professionals have a demonstrated ability to deploy flexible capital, which allows them to stay both active and disciplined in various market environments. The group’s activities are managed by three dedicated investment teams in North America, Europe and China. The group manages flagship funds focused primarily on North America and, to a lesser extent, Europe, special situations funds, U.S. power and energy infrastructure funds and related co-investment vehicles and growth funds in China.
Corporate Private Equity:  Certain of our senior private equity professionals have been working together since 1990 and raised our first corporate private equity fund in 2003. Our team has grown to approximately 65 investment professionals based in Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Shanghai, Chengdu and Hong Kong. In the U.S. and London, we pursue four principal transactions types: prudently leveraged control buyouts, growth equity, rescue/deleveraging capital and distressed buyouts/discounted debt accumulation. This flexible capital approach, together with the broad resources of the Ares platform, widens our universe of potential investment opportunities and allows us to remain active in different markets and be highly selective in making investments across various market environments.

U.S. Power & Energy Infrastructure: Our U.S. power and energy infrastructure strategy team of approximately 20 investment professionals targets assets across the U.S. power generation, transmission and midstream sectors, which seek attractive risk-adjusted equity returns with current cash flow and capital appreciation. We believe there are significant investment opportunities for us in this sector as the United States replaces its aging infrastructure and builds new assets to meet capacity needs over the coming decades.

Special Situations:  Our special situations strategy capitalizes on dislocated assets by flexibly deploying capital across multiple asset classes. We employ our deep credit expertise, proprietary research and robust sourcing model to capitalize on current market trends. This opportunistic approach allows us to invest across a broad spectrum of investments, including public and private, distressed and opportunistic, special situations across a broad range of industries, asset classes and geographies.

The following table presents the Private Equity Group’s AUM, FPAUM and number of funds as of December 31, 2017 (dollars in billions):
 
AUM
 
FPAUM
 
Number of
Funds
Corporate Private Equity
$
18.6

 
$
12.1

 
7

U.S. Power & Energy Infrastructure
4.4

 
4.0

 
11

Special Situations
1.5

 
0.8

 
3

Private Equity Group funds
$
24.5

 
$
16.9

 
21


Real Estate Group

Our Real Estate Group manages comprehensive public and private equity and debt strategies, with approximately $10.2 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2017. With our experienced team, along with our expansive network of relationships, our Real Estate Group capitalizes on opportunities across both real estate equity and debt investing. Our equity investments focus on implementing hands‑on value creation initiatives to mismanaged and capital‑starved assets, as well as new development, ultimately selling stabilized assets back into the market. Our debt strategies leverage the Real Estate Group’s diverse sources of capital to directly originate and manage commercial mortgage investments on properties that range from stabilized to requiring hands-on value creation. The Real Estate Group has achieved significant scale in a short period of time through various acquisitions and successful fundraising efforts. Today, the group provides investors access to its capabilities through several vehicles: U.S. and European real estate private equity commingled funds, real estate equity and debt separately managed accounts and a publicly traded commercial mortgage REIT, ACRE. The group’s activities are managed by dedicated equity and debt teams in the U.S. and Europe.
Real Estate Equity:  Our real estate equity team, with approximately 50 investment professionals across six offices, has extensive private equity experience in the United States and Europe. Our team primarily invests in new developments and the

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repositioning of assets, with a focus on control or majority‑control investments primarily in the United States and Western Europe. As of December 31, 2017, our real estate equity team advised 40 investment vehicles totaling, in aggregate, approximately $7.3 billion in AUM.
Primary areas of focus for our Real Estate Group equity teams include:
Real Estate Equity Value‑Add Strategy:  Our U.S. and European value‑add funds focus on undermanaged and under‑funded assets, seeking to create value by buying assets at attractive valuations as well as through active asset management of income‑producing properties, including multifamily, retail, office, hotel and industrial properties across the United States and Western Europe.

Real Estate Equity Opportunistic Strategy:  Our U.S. and European opportunistic real estate funds capitalize on increased investor demand for developed and stabilized assets by focusing on manufacturing core assets through development, redevelopment and fixing distressed capital structures across all major property types including multifamily, hotel, office, retail and industrial properties across the United States and Europe.

Real Estate Debt:  Our real estate debt team of approximately 20 professionals directly originates and invests in a wide range of self-originated financing opportunities for middle-market owners and operators of U.S. commercial real estate. As of December 31, 2017, our real estate debt team advised two investment vehicles totaling, in the aggregate, approximately $2.9 billion in AUM. In addition to managing private funds, our real estate debt team makes investments through ACRE, primarily focused on directly originating, managing and servicing a diversified portfolio of commercial real estate debt-related investments. 
The following table presents the Real Estate Group’s AUM, FPAUM and number of funds as of December 31, 2017 per investment strategy (dollars in billions):
 
AUM
 
FPAUM
 
Number of
Funds
U.S. Real Estate Equity
$
4.6

 
$
3.1

 
21

E.U. Real Estate Equity
2.7

 
2.0

 
19

Real Estate Debt
2.9

 
1.1

 
2

Real Estate Group
$
10.2

 
$
6.2

 
42

 
Product Offering
To meet investors’ growing demand for alternative asset investments, we manage investments in an increasingly comprehensive range of funds across a spectrum of compelling and complementary strategies. We have demonstrated an ability to consistently generate attractive and differentiated investment returns across these investment strategies and through various market environments. We believe the breadth of our product offering, our expertise in various investment strategies and our proficiency in attracting and satisfying our growing institutional and retail client base has enabled and will continue to enable us to increase our assets under management across each of our investment groups in a balanced manner. Our fundraising efforts historically have been spread across investment strategies and have not been dependent on the success of any one strategy. We offer the following strategies for our investors:

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Target Net Returns at December 2017(1)
 
Credit
 
Syndicated Loans(2)
Benchmark Outperformance
High Yield Bonds(2)
Benchmark Outperformance
Credit Opportunities
8 - 12%
Structured Credit
5 - 15%
U.S. Direct Lending
5 - 15%
E.U. Direct Lending
5 - 15%
Private Equity
 
Corporate Private Equity
18 - 22%
U.S. Power & Energy Infrastructure
10 - 15%
Special Situations
15 - 20%
Real Estate
 
Real Estate Debt
5 - 12%
Real Estate Equity
12 - 18%

 
(1)
Target returns are shown for illustrative purposes only after the effect of any management and performance fees. No assurance can be made that targeted returns will be achieved and actual returns may differ materially. An investment in any of the mandates is subject to the execution of definitive subscription and investment documentation for the applicable funds.
(2)
Our funds employing syndicated loan and high yield strategies are typically benchmarked against the Credit Suisse Leveraged Loan Index and the ICE BofAML US High Yield Master II Constrained Index, respectively. Certain of our funds are not benchmarked against any particular index due to fund-specific portfolio constraints.

Investor Base and Fundraising

Our diverse investor base includes direct institutional relationships and a significant number of retail investors. Our high-quality institutional investor base includes large pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, banks and insurance companies, and we have grown the number of these relationships from approximately 200 in 2011 to approximately 785 in 2017. As of December 31, 2017, approximately 66.9% of our $106.4 billion in AUM was attributable to our direct institutional relationships.
As of December 31, 2017, our $106.4 billion of AUM was divided by channel, client type and geographic origin as follows (dollars in millions):
 
 
December 31, 2017
AUM by Client Type
 
AUM
 
%
Direct Institutional
 
    
 
    
Pension
 
$
30,320

 
28.5
%
Insurance
 
11,656

 
10.9
%
Sovereign Wealth Fund
 
9,732

 
9.1
%
Bank/Private Bank
 
8,596

 
8.1
%
Investment Manager
 
3,268

 
3.1
%
Endowment
 
1,660

 
1.6
%
Other
 
5,877

 
5.6
%
Total Direct Institutional
 
71,109

 
66.9
%
Public Entities and Related
 
22,278

 
20.9
%
Institutional Intermediaries
 
13,104

 
12.2
%
Total
 
$
106,491

 
100
%
  

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December 31, 2017
Direct Institutional AUM by Geography
 
AUM
 
%
North America
 
$
43,014

 
60.5
%
Europe
 
13,219

 
18.6
%
Asia & Australia
 
8,975

 
12.6
%
Middle East
 
5,510

 
7.7
%
Other
 
391

 
0.6
%
Total
 
$
71,109

 
100
%
 
As of December 31, 2017, approximately 39% of our investors were committed to more than one fund, and approximately 35% were committed to between two and five funds, an increase from 24% and 22%, respectively, from December 31, 2011. We believe that the growing number of multi-fund investors demonstrates our investors’ satisfaction with our performance, our disciplined management of their capital and our diverse product offering. Their loyalty has facilitated the growth of our existing businesses and we believe improves our ability to raise new funds and successor funds in existing strategies in the future.
Institutional investors are demonstrating a growing interest in separately managed accounts (“SMAs”), which include contractual arrangements and single investor vehicles, because these accounts can provide investors with greater levels of transparency, liquidity and control over their investments as compared to more traditional commingled funds. As such, we expect our AUM that is managed through SMAs to continue to grow over time. As of December 31, 2017, approximately $26.5 billion, or 37%, of our direct institutional AUM was managed through SMAs compared to $6.4 billion, or 27%, as of December 31, 2011.
Our publicly traded entities and their affiliates, including ARCC, ACRE and ARDC, account for approximately 21% of our AUM. We have over 600 institutional investors and over 200,000 retail investor accounts across our three publicly traded vehicles.
We believe that client relationships are fundamental to our business and that our performance across our investment groups coupled with our focus on client service has resulted in strong relationships with our investors. Our dedicated and extensive in-house business development team, comprised of approximately 85 professionals located in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, is dedicated to raising capital globally across all of our funds, servicing existing fund investors and tailoring offerings to meet their needs, developing products to complement our existing offerings, and deepening existing relationships to expand them across our platform. Our senior Relationship Management team maintains an active and transparent dialogue with an expansive list of investors. This team is supported by Product Managers and Investor Relations professionals, with deep experience in each of our three complementary investment groups, who are dedicated to servicing our existing and prospective investors.
Employees
We believe that one of the strengths and principal reasons for our success is the quality and dedication of our employees. We work to attract, develop and retain highly accomplished professionals across the firm. We believe that we employ individuals with a strong sense of commitment to our firm. As of December 31, 2017, we had over 1,000 employees, comprised of approximately 400 professionals in our investment groups and over 600 operations management professionals, in addition to administrative support, located in over 15 offices across four continents.
Organizational Structure
The simplified diagram below (which omits certain intermediate holding companies) depicts our legal organizational structure. Ownership information in the diagram below is presented as of December 31, 2017. The diagram also depicts the tax classification election for Ares Management, L.P. to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes effective March 1, 2018.  All entities are organized in the state of Delaware unless otherwise indicated. Ares Management, L.P. is a holding company and, either directly or through direct subsidiaries, is the general partner of each of the Ares Operating Group entities, and operates and controls the business and affairs of the Ares Operating Group. Ares Management, L.P. consolidates the financial results of the Ares Operating Group entities, their consolidated subsidiaries and certain consolidated funds.

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392399259_aresstructurechart123117.jpg

 
(1)
Ares Management, L.P. common shareholders have limited voting rights and have no right to remove our general partner or, except in the limited circumstances described below, elect the directors of our general partner. On those few matters that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders, Ares Voting LLC, an entity owned and controlled by Ares Partners Holdco LLC, which is in turn owned and controlled by the Holdco members, holds a special voting share that provides it with a number of votes, on any matter that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders, that is equal to the aggregate number of vested and unvested Ares Operating Group Units held directly or indirectly by the limited partners of the Ares Operating Group that do not directly hold a special voting share. See “Material Provisions of Ares Management, L.P. Partnership Agreement—Withdrawal or Removal of the General Partner,” “—Meetings; Voting” and “—Election of Directors of General Partner.”
(2)
Assuming the full exchange of Ares Operating Group Units for our common shares, Ares Management, L.P. holds 100% of the Ares Operating Group and Ares Owners Holdings L.P., Alleghany, ADIA and the public hold 71.59%, 5.88%, 12.73% and 9.80%, respectively, of Ares Management, L.P.
(3)
Each Ares Operating Group entity has both common units and a series of preferred units with economic terms designed to mirror those of the Series A Preferred shares (“GP Mirror units”) outstanding.
(4)
Alleghany is expected to exchange all of its Ares Operating Group Units for our common shares in 2018.
(5)
As of December 31, 2017, Ares Management, L.P. was treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Effective March 1, 2018, Ares Management, L.P. will be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Ares Management, L.P.'s legal structure will remain a Delaware limited partnership.
(6)
The Ares Operating Group is comprised of Ares Holdings L.P., Ares Offshore Holdings L.P. and Ares Investments L.P.
 
 

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Holding Company Structure
The Company has elected to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes (the “Tax Election”) effective March 1, 2018. In connection with the Tax Election, we have amended and restated our partnership agreement to, among other things, reflect our new tax classification and change the name of our common units and preferred units to common shares and preferred shares, respectively. The terms of such common shares and preferred shares, and the associated rights, otherwise remain unchanged. See "Item 1A. Risk Factors – Our common shareholders do not elect our general partner or, except in limited circumstances, vote on our general partner's directors and have limited ability to influence decisions regarding our businesses."
Accordingly, Ares Management, L.P. and any direct subsidiaries of Ares Management, L.P. that are treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes and that are the holders of Ares Operating Group Units are (and, in the case of Ares Offshore Holdings, Ltd., may be) subject to U.S. federal, state and local income taxes in respect of their interests in the Ares Operating Group entities. Our legal structure will remain a Delaware limited partnership and the distribution provisions under our limited partnership agreement will remain unchanged. The Ares Operating Group entities are treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. An entity that is treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes generally incurs no U.S. federal income tax liability at the entity level. Instead, each partner is required to take into account its allocable share of items of income, gain, loss, deduction and credit of the partnership in computing its U.S. federal, state and local income tax liability each taxable year, whether or not cash distributions are made.
Each of the Ares Operating Group entities has an identical number of partnership units outstanding. Ares Management, L.P. holds, directly or through direct subsidiaries, a number of Ares Operating Group Units equal to the number of common shares that Ares Management, L.P. has issued. The Ares Operating Group Units held by Ares Management, L.P. and its subsidiaries are economically identical in all respects to the Ares Operating Group Units that are not held by Ares Management, L.P. and its subsidiaries. Accordingly, Ares Management, L.P. receives the distributive share of income of the Ares Operating Group from its equity interest in the Ares Operating Group.
The Ares Operating Group Units and our common shares held directly or indirectly by our senior professional owners are generally subject to restrictions on transfer and other provisions. See “Item 11. Executive Compensation.”
Certain Corporate Governance Considerations
Voting Rights.  Unlike the holders of common stock in a corporation, our common shareholders have limited voting rights and have no right to remove our general partner or, except in the limited circumstances described below, elect the directors of our general partner. On those few matters that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders – certain amendments to our limited partnership agreement, mergers and consolidations and in the limited circumstances described below, election of the directors of our general partner – Ares Voting LLC, an entity wholly owned by Ares Partners Holdco LLC, which is in turn owned and controlled by the Holdco Members, holds a special voting share that provides it with a number of votes, on any matter that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders, that is equal to the aggregate number of Ares Operating Group Units held by the limited partners of the Ares Operating Group entities that do not hold a special voting share. We refer to our common shares (other than those held by any person whom our general partner may from time to time, with such person’s consent, designate as a non‑voting common shareholder) and our special voting shares as “voting shares.” Accordingly, on those few matters that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders, our public shareholders (other than ADIA) collectively have 9.79% of the voting power of Ares Management, L.P, and the Holdco Members, through Ares Owners Holdings L.P. and the special voting share held by Ares Voting LLC, have approximately 71.59% of the voting power of Ares Management, L.P. Our common shareholders’ voting rights are further restricted by the provision in our partnership agreement stating that any common shares held by a person that beneficially owns 20% or more of any class of our common shares then outstanding (other than our general partner, Ares Owners Holdings L.P., a member of Ares Partners Holdco LLC or their respective affiliates, a direct or subsequently approved transferee of our general partner or its affiliates or a person who acquired such common shares with the prior approval of our general partner) cannot vote on any matter.
Election of Directors. In general, our common shareholders have no right to elect the directors of our general partner. However, when the Holdco Members and other then‑current or former Ares personnel directly or indirectly hold less than 10% of the limited partner voting power, our common shareholders will have the right to vote in the election of the directors of our general partner. This voting power condition will be measured on January 31 of each year, and will be triggered if the total voting power held collectively by (i) holders of the special voting shares in Ares Management, L.P. (including our general partner, members of Ares Partners Holdco LLC and their respective affiliates), (ii) then‑current or former Ares personnel (including indirectly through related entities) and (iii) Ares Owners Holdings L.P. is less than 10% of the voting power of the outstanding voting shares of Ares Management, L.P. For purposes of determining whether the Ares control condition is satisfied, our general partner will treat as

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outstanding, and as held by the foregoing persons, all voting shares deliverable to such persons pursuant to equity awards granted to such persons. Unless and until the foregoing voting power condition is satisfied, our general partner’s board of directors will be elected in accordance with its limited liability company agreement, which provides that directors generally may be appointed and removed by the member of our general partner, an entity owned and controlled by the Holdco Members. Unless and until the foregoing voting power condition is satisfied, the board of directors of our general partner has no authority other than that which its member chooses to delegate to it. In the event that the voting power condition is satisfied, the board of directors of our general partner will be responsible for the oversight of our business and operations.
Conflicts of Interest and Duties of Our General Partner.  Although our general partner does not engage in any business activities other than the management and operation of our businesses, conflicts of interest may arise in the future between us or our common shareholders, on the one hand, and our general partner or its affiliates or associates, on the other. The resolutions of these conflicts may not always be in our best interests or that of our common shareholders. In addition, we have fiduciary and contractual obligations to the investors in our funds and we expect to regularly take actions with respect to the purchase or sale of investments in our funds, the structuring of investment transactions for those funds or otherwise that are in the best interests of the investors in those funds but that might at the same time adversely affect our near term results of operations or cash flow.

Our partnership agreement limits the liability of, and reduces or eliminates the duties (including fiduciary duties) owed by, our general partner and its affiliates and associates to us and our common shareholders. Our partnership agreement also restricts the remedies available to common shareholders for actions that might otherwise constitute breaches of our general partner’s or its affiliates’ or associates’ duties (including fiduciary duties). Common shareholders are treated as having consented to the provisions set forth in our partnership agreement, including the provisions regarding conflicts of interest situations that, in the absence of such provisions, might be considered a breach of fiduciary or other duties under applicable state law.
Operations Management Group
The OMG consists of five independent, shared resource groups to support our reportable segments by providing infrastructure and administrative support in the areas of accounting/finance, operations/information technology, business development/corporate strategy, legal/compliance and human resources. Our clients seek to partner with investment management firms that not only have compelling investment track records across multiple investment products but also possess seasoned infrastructure support functions. As such, significant investments have been made to develop the OMG. We have successfully launched new business lines, integrated acquired businesses into the operations and created scale within the OMG to support a much larger platform in the future.
Structure and Operation of our Funds
We conduct the management of our funds and other similar private vehicles primarily through organizing a partnership or limited liability structure in which entities organized by us accept commitments and/or funds for investment from institutional investors and (to a limited extent) high net worth individuals. Such commitments are generally drawn down from investors on an as needed basis to fund investments over a specified term. Our Credit Group funds also include hedge funds or structured funds in which the investor’s capital is fully funded into the fund upon or soon after the subscription for interests in the fund. The CLOs that we manage are structured investment vehicles that are generally private companies with limited liability. Our drawdown funds and hedge funds are generally organized as limited partnerships or limited liability companies. However there are non‑U.S. funds that are structured as corporate or non‑partnership entities under applicable law. We also advise a number of investors through SMA relationships structured as contractual arrangements or single investor vehicles. In the case of our SMAs that are not structured as single investor vehicles, the investor, rather than us, generally controls custody of the investments with respect to which we advise. Three of the vehicles that we manage are publicly traded corporations. The publicly traded corporations do not have redemption provisions or a requirement to return capital to investors upon exiting the investments made with such capital, except as required by applicable law (including distribution requirements that must be met to maintain RIC or REIT status). However, ACRE’s charter includes certain limitations relating to the ownership or purported transfer of its common stock in violation of the REIT ownership requirements.
Our funds are generally advised by Ares Management LLC, which is registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the "Investment Advisers Act") or a wholly owned subsidiary thereof. Responsibility for the day‑to‑day operations of each investment vehicle is typically delegated to the Ares entity serving as investment adviser pursuant to an investment advisory (or similar) agreement. Generally, the material terms of our investment advisory agreements relate to the scope of services to be rendered by the investment adviser to the applicable vehicle, the calculation of management fees to be borne by investors in our investment vehicles and certain rights of termination with respect to our investment advisory agreements. With the exception of certain of the publicly traded corporations, the investment vehicles themselves do not generally register as investment companies under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), in reliance on applicable exemptions thereunder.

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The investment management agreements we enter into with clients in connection with contractual SMAs may generally be terminated by such clients with reasonably short prior written notice. Our investment management agreement with ARCC generally must be approved annually by such company’s board of directors (including a majority of such company’s independent directors). In addition to other termination provisions, each investment advisory and management agreement will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment and may be terminated by either party without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party.
The governing agreements of many of our funds provide that, subject to certain conditions, third‑party investors in those funds have the right to terminate the investment period or the fund without cause. The governing agreements of some of our funds provide that, subject to certain conditions, third‑party investors have the right to remove the general partner. In addition, the governing agreements of certain of our funds provide that upon the occurrence of certain events, including in the event that certain “key persons” in our funds do not meet specified time commitments, the investment period will be suspended or the investors have the right to vote to terminate the investment period in accordance with specified procedures.
Fee Structure
Management Fees
The investment adviser of each of our funds and certain separately managed accounts generally receives an annual management fee based upon a percentage of the fund’s capital commitments, contributed capital, net assets value or invested capital during the investment period and the fund’s invested capital after the investment period, except for the investment advisers to certain of our hedge funds and separately managed accounts receive an annual management fee that is based upon a percentage of invested capital, contributed capital or net asset value throughout the term of the fund or separately managed account. From time to time we also may receive special fees, including commitment, arrangement, underwriting, agency, portfolio management, monitoring and other similar fees, some of which may be accelerated upon a sale of the underlying portfolio investment. In certain circumstances we are contractually required to offset certain amounts of such special fees against future management fees relating to the applicable fund. In addition, we may receive transaction fees from certain affiliated funds for activities related to fund transactions, such as loan originations. These fees are either recognized as other revenue in the period the transaction related services are rendered or amortized over the life of the investment.
The investment adviser of each of our CLOs typically receives annual management fees based upon a percentage of each CLO's total assets, subject to certain performance measures related to the underlying assets the vehicle owns, and additional management fees which are incentive‑based (that is, subject to meeting certain return criteria). We also classify the ARCC Part I Fees as management fees due to their predictability and frequency of payments without risk of contingent repayment. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Components of Consolidated Results of Operations—Revenues.”
The management fees we receive from our drawdown style funds are typically payable on a quarterly basis over the life of the fund and do not depend on the investment performance of the fund (other than to reflect the disposition or decrease in value of assets where the management fees are based on invested capital). The management fees we receive from our hedge funds have similar characteristics, except that such funds often afford investors increased liquidity through annual, semi‑annual or quarterly withdrawal or redemption rights following the expiration of a specified period of time when capital may not be withdrawn and the amount of management fees to which the investment adviser is entitled with respect thereto will proportionately increase as the net asset value of each investor’s capital account grows and will proportionately decrease as the net asset value of each investor’s capital account decreases. The management fees we receive from our SMAs are generally paid on a periodic basis (typically quarterly, subject to the termination rights described above) and may alternatively be based on invested capital or proportionately increase or decrease based on the net asset value of the separately managed account.
We also receive management fees in accordance with the investment advisory and management agreements we have with the publicly traded vehicles we manage. Base management fees we receive from ARCC are paid quarterly and proportionately increase or decrease based on ARCC’s total assets (other than cash and cash equivalents). ARCC Part I Fees are also generally paid quarterly and proportionately increase or decrease based on ARCC’s net investment income (before ARCC Part I Fees and ARCC Part II Fees (as defined in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Components of Consolidated Results of Operations—Revenues”)), subject to a fixed hurdle rate. Management fees we receive from ARDC are generally paid on a regular basis (typically monthly) and proportionately increase or decrease based on the closed‑end funds’ total assets minus such funds’ liabilities (other than liabilities relating to indebtedness). Management fees we receive from ACRE are generally paid on a quarterly basis and proportionately increase or decrease based on ACRE’s stockholders’ equity (as calculated pursuant to the ACRE management agreement).

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Performance Fees
We may also receive performance fees from a majority of our funds, which may be either an incentive fee or a special allocation of income, which we refer to as a carried interest, in the event that specified investment returns are achieved by the fund. We may, and do in certain cases, award our senior professionals with participation in such performance fees.
Incentive Fees
The general partners or similar entities of certain of our funds receive performance‑based allocation fees ranging from 10% to 20% of the applicable fund’s net capital appreciation per annum, subject to certain net loss carry‑forward provisions (known as a “high‑watermark”). In some cases, the investment adviser of each of our hedge funds and certain SMAs is entitled to an incentive fee generally up to 20% of the applicable fund’s net appreciation per annum, subject to a high‑watermark and in some cases a preferred return. Realized incentive fees are generally higher during the second half of the year due to the nature of certain Credit Group funds that typically realize incentive fees annually. Once realized, the fees earned by our hedge funds generally are not subject to a contingent repayment obligation. Incentive fees are realized at the end of a measurement period, typically quarterly or annually.
Incentive Fees from Publicly Traded Vehicles
We also are entitled to receive incentive fees in accordance with the investment advisory and management agreements we have with ARCC and ACRE. We may receive ARCC Part II Fees, which are calculated at the end of each applicable year by subtracting (a) the sum of ARCC’s cumulative aggregate realized capital losses and aggregate unrealized capital depreciation from (b) its cumulative aggregate realized capital gains, in each case calculated from October 8, 2004. Incentive fees we receive from ACRE are based on a percentage of the difference between ACRE’s core earnings (as defined in ACRE’s management agreement) and an amount derived from the weighted average issue price per share of ACRE’s common stock in its public offerings multiplied by the weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding. We are not entitled to receive incentive fees from ARDC.
Carried Interest
The general partner or an affiliate of certain of our funds may be entitled to receive carried interest from a fund. Carried interest entitles the general partner (or an affiliate) to a special allocation of income and gains from a fund, and is typically structured as a net profits interest in the applicable fund. Carried interest is generally calculated on a “realized gain” basis, and the general partner of a fund is generally entitled to a carried interest between 10% and 20% of the net realized income and gains (generally taking into account unrealized losses) generated by such fund. Net realized income or loss is not netted between or among funds.
For most funds, the carried interest is subject to a preferred return ranging from 5% to 8%, subject in most cases to a catch‑up allocation to the general partner. Generally, if at the termination of a fund (and in some cases at interim points in the life of a fund), the fund has not achieved investment returns that generally exceed the preferred return threshold or the general partner receives net profits over the life of the fund in excess of its allocable share under the applicable partnership agreement, the general partner will be obligated to repay an amount equal to the extent to which performance fees that were previously distributed to it exceeds the amounts to which the general partner is ultimately entitled. These repayment obligations may be related to amounts previously distributed to us and our senior professionals and are generally referred to as contingent repayment obligations.
Although a portion of any distributions by us to our common shareholders may include carried interest received by us, we do not intend to seek fulfillment of any contingent repayment obligation by seeking to have our common shareholders return any portion of such distributions attributable to carried interest associated with any contingent repayment obligation. Contingent repayment obligations operate with respect to a given fund’s own net investment performance only and performance fees of other funds are not netted for determining this contingent obligation. Although a contingent repayment obligation is several to each person who received a distribution, and not a joint obligation, the governing agreements of our funds generally provide that, if a recipient does not fund his or her respective share, we may have to fund such additional amounts beyond the amount of performance fees we retained, although we generally will retain the right to pursue remedies against those performance fee recipients who fail to fund their obligations.
For additional information concerning the contingent repayment obligations we could face, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—We may need to pay these contingent obligations if and when they are triggered under the governing agreements with our investors.”
Capital Invested In and Through Our Funds
To further align our interests with those of investors in our funds, we have invested the firm’s capital and that of our professionals in the funds we sponsor and manage. General partner capital commitments to our funds are determined separately with respect to our funds and, generally, are less than 5% of the total commitments of any particular fund. We determine the general partner capital commitments based on a variety of factors, including regulatory requirements, investor requirements, estimates regarding liquidity over the estimated time period during which commitments will be funded, estimates regarding the amounts of

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capital that may be appropriate for other opportunities or other funds we may be in the process of raising or are considering raising, prevailing industry standards with respect to sponsor commitments and our general working capital requirements. We may from time to time offer to our senior professionals a part of the general partner commitments to our funds. Our general partner capital commitments are typically funded with cash and not with carried interest or deferral of management fees. For more information, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Sources and Uses of Liquidity.”
Regulatory and Compliance Matters
Our businesses, as well as the financial services industry, generally are subject to extensive regulation, including periodic examinations, by governmental agencies and self‑regulatory organizations or exchanges in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions in which we operate relating to, among other things, antitrust laws, anti‑money laundering laws, anti‑bribery laws relating to foreign officials, and privacy laws with respect to client information, and some of our funds invest in businesses that operate in highly regulated industries. Each of the regulatory bodies with jurisdiction over us has regulatory powers dealing with many aspects of financial services, including the authority to grant, and in specific circumstances to cancel, permissions to carry on particular activities. Any failure to comply with these rules and regulations could expose us to liability and/or reputational damage. In addition, additional legislation, increasing global regulatory oversight of fundraising activities, changes in rules promulgated by self‑regulatory organizations or exchanges or changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules, either in the United States or elsewhere, may directly affect our mode of operation and profitability. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Businesses-Extensive regulation in the United States affects our activities and creates the potential for significant liabilities and penalties that could adversely affect our businesses and results of operations,” “-Failure to comply with “pay to play” regulations implemented by the SEC, FINRA and certain states, and changes to the “pay to play” regulatory regimes, could adversely affect our businesses,” “-Regulatory changes and other developments in the United States and regulatory compliance failures could adversely affect our reputation, businesses and operations” and “-Regulatory changes in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our businesses.”
Rigorous legal and compliance analysis of our businesses and investments is important to our culture. We strive to maintain a culture of compliance through the use of policies and procedures such as oversight compliance, codes of ethics, compliance systems, communication of compliance guidance and employee education and training. We have a compliance group that monitors our compliance with the regulatory requirements to which we are subject and manages our compliance policies and procedures. Our Chief Compliance Officer, together with our Chief Legal Officer, supervises our compliance group, which is responsible for monitoring all regulatory and compliance matters that affect our activities. Our compliance policies and procedures address a variety of regulatory and compliance risks such as the handling of material non‑public information, position reporting, personal securities trading, valuation of investments on a fund‑specific basis, document retention, potential conflicts of interest and the allocation of investment opportunities.
United States
The SEC oversees the activities of our subsidiaries that are registered investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) oversees the activities of our subsidiary Ares Investor Services LLC ("AIS") as a registered broker‑dealer. In connection with certain investments made by funds in our Private Equity Group, certain of our subsidiaries and funds are subject to audits by the Defense Security Service to determine whether we are under foreign ownership, control or influence. In addition, we regularly rely on exemptions from various requirements of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”),  the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), the Investment Company Act, the Commodity Exchange Act and ERISA. These exemptions are sometimes highly complex and may in certain circumstances depend on compliance by third parties who we do not control.
All of our funds are advised by investment advisers that are registered with the SEC (or wholly owned subsidiaries thereof). Registered investment advisers are subject to more stringent requirements and regulations under the Investment Advisers Act than unregistered investment advisers. Such requirements relate to, among other things, fiduciary duties to clients, maintaining an effective compliance program, managing conflicts of interest and general anti‑fraud prohibitions. In addition, the SEC requires investment advisers registered or required to register with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act that advise one or more private funds and have at least $150 million in private fund assets under management to periodically file reports on Form PF. We have filed, and will continue to file, quarterly reports on Form PF.
ARCC is a registered investment company that has elected to be treated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act. ARDC and certain other funds are registered investment companies under the Investment Company Act. Each of the registered investment companies has elected, for U.S. federal tax purposes, to be treated as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). As such, each registered investment company is required to distribute at least 90% of its ordinary income and realized, net short‑term capital gains in excess of realized net long‑term capital losses, if any, to its shareholders. In addition, to avoid excise tax, each registered investment

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company is required to distribute at least 98% of its income (such income to include both ordinary income and net capital gains), which would take into account short‑term and long‑term capital gains and losses. Each registered investment company, at each of its discretions, may carry forward taxable income in excess of calendar year distributions and pay an excise tax on this income. In addition, as a business development company, ARCC must not acquire any assets other than “qualifying assets” specified in the Investment Company Act unless, at the time the acquisition is made, at least 70% of ARCC’s total assets are qualifying assets (with certain limited exceptions). Qualifying assets include investments in “eligible portfolio companies.”
ACRE has elected and qualified to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, under the Code. To maintain its qualification as a REIT, ACRE must distribute at least 90% of its taxable income to its shareholders and meet, on a continuing basis, certain other complex requirements under the Code.
AIS, our wholly owned subsidiary, is registered as a broker‑dealer with the SEC, and is a member of FINRA. As a broker‑dealer, this subsidiary is subject to regulation and oversight by the SEC and state securities regulators. In addition, FINRA, a self‑regulatory organization that is subject to oversight by the SEC, promulgates and enforces rules governing the conduct of, and examines the activities of, its member firms. Due to the limited authority granted to our subsidiary in its capacity as a broker‑dealer, it is not required to comply with certain regulations covering trade practices among broker‑dealers and the use and safekeeping of customers’ funds and securities. As a registered broker‑dealer and member of a self‑regulatory organization, AIS is, however, subject to the SEC’s uniform net capital rule. Rule 15c3‑1 of the Exchange Act specifies the minimum level of net capital a broker‑dealer must maintain and also requires that a significant part of a broker‑dealer’s assets be kept in relatively liquid form.
The SEC and various self‑regulatory organizations have in recent years increased their regulatory activities in respect of investment management firms. In July 2010, the Dodd‑Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd‑Frank Act”) was signed into law and has imposed significant regulations on nearly every aspect of the U.S. financial services industry.
In October 2011, the Federal Reserve and other federal regulatory agencies issued a proposed rule implementing a section of the Dodd‑Frank Act that has become known as the “Volcker Rule.” The Volcker Rule generally prohibits insured banks or thrifts, any bank holding company or savings and loan holding company, any non‑U.S. bank with a U.S. branch, agency or commercial lending company and any subsidiaries and affiliates of such entities, regardless of geographic location, from investing in or sponsoring “covered funds,” which include private equity funds or hedge funds. The final Volcker Rule became effective on April 1, 2014, and , except with respect to certain foreign banking entities, the conformance period ended on July 21, 2017. It contains exemptions for certain “permitted activities” that would enable certain institutions subject to the Volcker Rule to continue investing in covered funds under certain conditions.
In 2013, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Department of the Treasury, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation published revised guidance regarding expectations for banks’ leveraged lending activities. This guidance, in addition to the Dodd‑Frank Act risk retention rules approved in October 2014, could further restrict credit availability, as well as potentially restrict the activities of certain funds who invest in broadly syndicated loans in our Credit Group, which supports many of its portfolio investments from banks’ lending activities.
Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, regulation of the derivatives market is bifurcated between the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) and the SEC. Under the Dodd‑Frank Act, the CFTC has jurisdiction over swaps and the SEC has jurisdiction over security‑based swaps. As part of its Dodd-Frank Act related rule‑making process, the CFTC made changes to its rules with respect to the registration and oversight of commodity pool operators (“CPOs”). Such rules require that an entity that is a CPO must register with the CFTC unless an exemption from registration is available. Previously, the CPO registration rules had applied to the operator of a fund invested in “commodity interests,” meaning that the fund entered into futures or options with respect to commodities. As a result of the CFTC’s revisions to these rules, all swaps (other than security‑based swaps) are now included in the definition of commodity interests. As a result, funds that utilize swaps (whether or not related to a commodity) as part of their business model may fall within the statutory definition of a commodity pool. If a fund qualifies as a commodity pool, then, absent an available exemption, the operator of such a fund is required to register with the CFTC as a CPO. Registration with the CFTC renders such CPO subject to regulation, including with respect to disclosure, reporting, recordkeeping and business conduct.
Certain of our funds may from time to time, directly or indirectly, invest in instruments that meet the definition of a “swap” under the Commodity Exchange Act and the CFTC’s rules promulgated thereunder. As a result, such funds may qualify as commodity pools, and the operators of such funds may need to register as CPOs unless an exemption applies such as the so-called “de minimis” exemption, codified in CFTC rule 4.13(a)(3). If any of our funds cease to qualify for this (or another applicable) exemption, certain Ares entities associated with and/or affiliated with those funds will be required to register with the CFTC as commodity pool operators.

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The Dodd‑Frank Act requires the CFTC, the SEC and other regulatory authorities to promulgate certain rules relating to the regulation of the derivatives market. Such rules require or will require the registration of certain market participants, the clearing of certain derivatives contracts through central counterparties, the execution of certain derivatives contracts on electronic platforms, as well as reporting and recordkeeping. The Dodd-Frank Act also provides expanded enforcement authority to the CFTC and SEC. While certain rules have been promulgated and are already in effect, the rulemaking and implementation process is still ongoing. In particular, the CFTC has finalized most of its rules under the Dodd‑Frank Act, and the SEC has proposed a number of rules regarding security‑based swaps but has only finalized some of these rules. We cannot therefore yet predict the ultimate effect of the rules and regulations on our business.
Under CFTC and SEC rules, an entity may be required to register as a major swap participant (“MSP”) or major security-based swap participant (“MSBSP”) if it has substantial swaps or security-based swaps positions or has substantial counterparty exposure from its swaps or security-based swaps positions. If any of our funds were required to register as an MSP or MSBSP, it could make compliance more expensive, affect the manner in which we conduct our businesses and adversely affect our profitability. Additionally, if any of our funds qualify as “special entities” under CFTC rules, it could make it more difficult for them to enter into derivatives transactions or make such transactions more expensive.
The CFTC has issued final rules imposing reporting and recordkeeping requirements on swaps market participants. Such rules are currently effective and could significantly increase operating costs. These additional recordkeeping and reporting requirements may require additional compliance resources and may also have a negative effect on market liquidity, which could negatively impact commodity prices and our ability to hedge our price risks.
Pursuant to rules finalized by the CFTC in December 2012 and September 2016, certain classes of interest rate swaps and certain classes of credit default swaps are subject to mandatory clearing, unless an exemption applies. Many of these swaps are also subject to mandatory trading on designated contract markets or swap execution facilities. At this time, the CFTC has not proposed any rules designating other classes of swaps for mandatory clearing, but it may do so in the future. Mandatory clearing and trade execution requirements may change the cost and availability of the swaps that we use, and exposes us to the credit risk of the clearing house through which any cleared swap is cleared. In addition, federal bank regulatory authorities and the CFTC have adopted initial and variation margin requirements for swap dealers, security-based swap dealers, MSPs and MSBSPs (“swap entities”), including permissible forms of margin, custodial arrangements and documentation requirements, for uncleared swaps and security-based swaps. As a result, swap entities will be required to collect margin for transactions and positions in uncleared swaps and security-based swaps by financial end users. The new rules became effective for end users on March 1, 2017. The CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight subsequently extended, until September 1, 2017, the time to comply with the variation margin requirements for swaps that are subject to a March 1, 2017 compliance date. The effect of the regulations on us is not fully known at this time. However, these rules may increase the cost of our activity in uncleared swaps and security-based swaps to the extent we are determined to be a financial end user.
 In December 2016, the CFTC reproposed rules that would set federal position limits for certain core physical commodity futures, options and swap contracts (“referenced contracts”), and issued final rules on aggregation among entities under common ownership or control, unless an exemption applies, for position limits on certain futures and options contracts that would apply to the proposed position limits on referenced contracts. It is possible that the CFTC could propose to expand such requirements to other types of contracts in the future. The proposal could affect our ability and the ability for our funds to enter into derivatives transactions if and when the CFTC’s position limits rules become effective.
The CFTC has finalized regulations requiring collateral used to margin cleared swaps to be segregated in a manner different from that applicable to the futures market and has finalized other rules allowing parties to an uncleared swap to require that any collateral posted as initial margin be segregated with a third party custodian. Collateral segregation may impose greater costs on us when entering into swaps.
Finally, the Dodd‑Frank Act gave the CFTC expanded anti‑fraud and anti‑manipulation authority, including authority over disruptive trading practices and insider trading. Several investigations have commenced in the United States related to manipulation of the foreign exchange, LIBOR and indices markets. It is possible that new standards will emerge from these proceedings that could impact the way that we trade.
The Dodd‑Frank Act authorizes federal regulatory agencies to review and, in certain cases, prohibit compensation arrangements at financial institutions that give employees incentives to engage in conduct deemed to encourage inappropriate risk‑taking by covered financial institutions. In 2016, federal bank regulatory authorities and the SEC revised and re-proposed a rule that generally (1) prohibits incentive-based payment arrangements that they determine encourage inappropriate risks by certain financial institutions by providing excessive compensation or that could lead to material financial loss and (2) requires those financial institutions to disclose information concerning incentive-based compensation arrangements to the appropriate federal regulator.

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The Dodd‑Frank Act also directs the SEC to adopt a rule that requires public companies to adopt and disclose policies requiring, in the event the company is required to issue an accounting restatement, the contingent repayment obligations of related incentive compensation from current and former executive officers. The SEC has proposed but not yet adopted such rule. To the extent the aforementioned rules are adopted, our ability to recruit and retain investment professionals and senior management executives could be limited.
The Dodd‑Frank Act amends the Exchange Act to compensate and protect whistleblowers who voluntarily provide original information to the SEC and establishes a fund to be used to pay whistleblowers who will be entitled to receive a payment equal to between 10% and 30% of certain monetary sanctions imposed in a successful government action resulting from the information provided by the whistleblower.
Many of these provisions are subject to further rulemaking and to the discretion of regulatory bodies, such as the Council and the Federal Reserve. Many of these provisions are subject to further rulemaking and to the discretion of regulatory bodies, such as the Council and the Federal Reserve. On February 3, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13772 (the “Executive Order”) announcing the new administration’s policy to regulate the U.S. financial system in a manner consistent with certain “Core Principles,” including regulation that is efficient, effective and appropriately tailored. The Executive Order directed the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the heads of the member agencies of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to report to the President on the extent to which existing laws, regulations and other government policies promote the Core Principles and to identify any laws, regulations or other government policies that inhibit federal regulation of the U.S. financial system.
On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) published the first of several reports in response to the Executive Order on the depository system covering banks and other savings institutions. On October 6, 2017, the Treasury released a second report outlining ways to streamline and reform the U.S. regulatory system for capital markets, followed by a third report, on October 26, 2017, examining the current regulatory framework for the asset management and insurance industries. Subsequent reports are expected to address: retail and institutional investment products and vehicles, as well as non‑bank financial institutions, financial technology and financial innovation.
On June 8, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial Choice Act, which includes legislation intended to repeal or replace substantial portions of the Dodd‑Frank Act. Among other things, the proposed law would repeal the Volcker Rule limiting certain proprietary investment and trading activities by banks, eliminate the authority of regulators to designate asset managers and other large non‑bank institutions as “systemically important financial institutions” or “SIFIs,” and repeal the Department of Labor (“DOL”) “fiduciary rule” governing standards for dealing with retirement plans until the SEC issues standards for similar dealings by broker‑dealers and limiting the substance of any subsequent DOL rule to the SEC standards. The bill was referred to the Senate, where it is unlikely to pass as proposed. On November 16, 2017, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led by Senate Banking Committee Chairman, introduced the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the “Senate Regulatory Relief Bill”). The Senate Regulatory Relief Bill would revise various post-crisis regulatory requirements and provide targeted regulatory relief to certain financial institutions. Among the most significant of its proposed amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act are a substantial increase in the $50 billion asset threshold for automatic regulation of bank holding companies as SIFIs, an exemption from the Volcker Rule for insured depository institutions with less than $10 billion in consolidated assets and lower levels of trading assets and liabilities, as well as amendments to the liquidity leverage ratio and supplementary leverage ratio requirements. On December 5, 2017, the Senate Banking Committee approved the Senate Regulatory Relief Bill. If the legislation is adopted in the Senate, it remains unclear whether and how it would be reconciled with its House-passed counterpart, the Financial Choice Act, which is substantially different in scope and substance, and ultimately approved by both chambers of Congress. The ultimate impact of this order and its implementation on existing and proposed regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act and other rules and regulations applicable to the U.S. financial system are uncertain; however, such impact could be material to our industry, business and operations.
Other Jurisdictions
Certain of our subsidiaries operate outside the United States. In the United Kingdom, Ares Management Limited and Ares Management UK Limited are subject to regulation by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). Ares European Loan Management LLP, which is not a subsidiary, but in which we are indirectly invested and which procures certain services from Ares Management Limited, is also subject to regulation by the FCA. In some circumstances, Ares Management Limited, Ares Management UK Limited, Ares European Loan Management LLP and other Ares entities are or become subject to UK or EU laws, for instance in relation to marketing our funds to investors in the European Economic Area (“EEA”).
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019. Some form of transitional agreement by which UK based financial services firms can continue to operate on a cross-border basis seems likely. However, the duration of the transitional agreement and the end-state relationship between the UK and EU remains unclear. There is a risk that following Brexit the UK may be denied access to the single market. This could be highly disruptive to our business and may result in us having to increase our presence in other EEA member states which would result in additional costs.

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EU legislation could impact our business in the United Kingdom and other EEA member states where we have operations. The following measures are of particular relevance to our business.
In March 2013, the predecessor regulator to the FCA published final rules for the FCA’s regulation and supervision of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”). In particular, the FCA’s LIBOR rules include requirements that (1) an independent LIBOR administrator monitor and survey LIBOR submissions to identify breaches of practice standards and/or potentially manipulative behavior, and (2) firms submitting data to LIBOR establish and maintain a clear conflicts of interest policy and appropriate systems and controls. These requirements may cause LIBOR to be more volatile than it has been in the past, which may adversely affect the value of investments made by our funds. On February 3, 2014, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited took responsibility for administering LIBOR, following regulatory authorization by the FCA. LIBOR is expected to be phased out over the coming years. The Bank of England working group has approved Sterling Overnight Interest Average (“SONIA”) as its preferred short-term interest benchmark and will take over its administration from April 2018. The impact this change will have is uncertain.
The EU Benchmarks Regulation (the “Benchmarks Regulation”) entered into force on June 30, 2016. It aims to introduce a common framework and consistent approach to benchmark regulation across the EU by regulating producers, contributors to and users of benchmarks. The Benchmarks Regulation will replace the current UK framework regulating LIBOR and other specified benchmarks, notably the Euro interbank offered rate (“EURIBOR”). The majority of provisions in the Benchmarks Regulation took effect on January 1, 2018. Although there are measures in the Benchmarks Regulation which are designed to prevent certain benchmarks from being undermined by a material reduction of benchmark contributors, it is not yet clear how successful these will be. The Benchmarks Regulation may therefore lead to unpredictable developments in relation to LIBOR and certain other benchmarks, which could affect the value of investments made by our funds.
The EU Capital Requirements Directive IV and Capital Requirements Regulation (collectively, “CRD IV”) and the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (the “Directive”) restrict the ability of banks and alternative investment funds (“AIFs”) managed in the EU to invest in securitization vehicles including collateralized loan obligations operated by us unless either the “originator”, “original lender” or “sponsor” (as those terms are defined in the legislation) retains a 5% interest in the securitization concerned. Where such securitization arrangements are managed by Ares-affiliated undertakings, and in order to make the securitization attractive to banks and AIFs, this risk retention requirement is held by an appropriately (EU) authorized and regulated entity affiliated with us (i.e., as “sponsor”). The holding of that retention on our affiliate’s balance sheet is likely to increase that entity’s regulatory capital requirement and will accordingly adversely affect return on equity. On December 28, 2017 the text of the new Securitization Regulation was published in the EU Official Journal. The new regulation will apply from January 1, 2019 to securitization issued after that date. Although risk retention requirements will remain at 5% (of material net economic interest) a mechanism has been introduced whereby this requirement could be modified without the need for the change to be made through the normal EU legislative process. There are also new investor transparency requirements which require additional information to be disclosed to investors. Compliance with these new requirements in the Securitization Regulation may result in us incurring material costs.
The EU Regulation on OTC derivative transactions, central counterparties and trade repositories (commonly known as the “European Market Infrastructure Regulation” or “EMIR”) will require the mandatory clearing of certain over-the-counter (“OTC”) derivatives through central counterparties and creates additional margining requirements in respect of OTC derivative transactions that are not cleared by a central counterparty. The implementation of EMIR is phased; timing is dependent on the type of derivative and the categorization of the parties to the trade. Implementation deadlines have already been deferred but as they currently stand full implementation is due by July 9, 2019. EMIR has started to impact on Ares-affiliated undertakings and as further implementation dates are reached the cost of complying with the requirements is likely to increase. In addition, there is an amendment to EMIR currently working its way through EU the legislative process. Among other things the amendment would classify securitization special purpose entities as financial counterparties which may indirectly impact certain aspects of our business.
On December 14, 2015, the European Banking Authority published guidelines which are relevant to, among other things, EU banks' exposures to shadow banking entities. These guidelines became effective on January 1, 2017. The definition of a shadow banking entity is extremely wide and could potentially include a number of different entities, such as investment funds and securitization vehicles. AIFs are excluded from the definition of a shadow banking entity unless they: (1) deploy leverage within the meaning of the Directive on a substantial basis; or (2) are permitted to originate loans or purchase third party lending exposures onto their balance sheet pursuant to the relevant fund rules or constitutional documents. These guidelines may affect our ability to raise capital in certain of our funds from EU banks.
On December 20, 2017, the European Commission published a proposal for a new directive and regulation on prudential requirements for MiFID investment firms, and the proposal will directly apply to our subsidiaries Ares Management Limited and Ares European Loan Management LLP. Its application to Ares Management UK Limited is unclear. Under the proposals most affected firms would see their capital requirements increase significantly, although there would be transitional provisions allowing

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firms to increase their capital to the necessary level over three to five years. Firms will also have their liquidity requirements increased and some firms will be subject to additional public reporting requirements and pay regulation. The proposals are likely to increase the cost of us conducting business in the EEA. The legislative package is not expected to come into force until 2020 at the earliest.
Our other European and Asian operations and our investment activities worldwide are subject to a variety of regulatory regimes that vary by country. In addition, we regularly rely on exemptions from various requirements of the regulations of certain foreign countries in conducting our asset management activities.
Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (the "Directive")
The Directive was enacted in July 2011 and took effect on July 22, 2013. The Directive applies to (1) Alternative Investment Fund Managers (“AIFMs”) established in the EEA that manage EEA or non‑EEA AIFs, (2) non‑EEA AIFMs that manage EEA AIFs and (3) non‑EEA AIFMs that market their AIFs to professional investors within the EEA.
Beginning July 22, 2013, the Directive imposed new operating requirements the categories of AIFMs listed at (1) and (2) in the paragraph above. In addition, each of the AIFMs identified at (1), (2) and (3) of the paragraph above will need to comply with the Directive’s disclosure and transparency requirements when seeking to market within the EEA and, in the case of non‑EEA AIFMs seeking to market under jurisdiction specific private placement regimes, additional jurisdiction specific requirements where these exist (e.g., appointing a depositary).
The full scope of the Directive may also be extended on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis to non‑EEA AIFMs that wish to market an AIF within the EEA pursuant to a pan‑European marketing passport. In July 2016, the European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) published advice to EU institutions on extending the passport to certain non-EU jurisdictions. This included positive assessments in respect of extending the passport under the Directive to five non-EEA jurisdictions, which notably did not include the United States or the Cayman Islands. ESMA expressed a qualified assessment in respect of the United States due to concerns about reciprocity of market access. ESMA gave no assessment in respect of the Cayman Islands. The European Commission was expected and arguably required to publish legislation before the end of October 2016 setting a date for the pan-European marketing passport to be made available, at least in respect of the five non-EEA jurisdictions it had assessed positively. In 2017 the European Commission started a review of the application and scope of AIFMD. The European Commission is expected to make a legislative proposal as a result of the review (commonly referred to as "AIFMD II") with any changes to non-EEA jurisdiction passporting rights forming part of the proposal.
Certain of the jurisdiction specific private placement regimes may cease to exist when the non-EEA AIFM passport becomes available. This development could have a negative impact on our ability to raise capital from EEA investors if, for example, a jurisdiction specific private placement regime ceases to operate and the non-EEA AIFM passport is not made available to United States AIFMs.
The operating requirements imposed by the Directive include, among other things, rules relating to the remuneration of certain personnel, minimum regulatory capital requirements, restrictions on the use of leverage, restrictions on early distributions relating to portfolio companies (so called “asset stripping rules”), disclosure and reporting requirements to both investors and home state regulators, the independent valuation of an AIF’s assets and the appointment of an independent depository to hold assets. As a result, the Directive increases the regulatory burden and the cost of doing business for Ares Management UK Limited and, to a more limited extent, non-EEA AIFMs which market to non-EEA AIFs under EEA private placement regimes. This potentially disadvantages our funds as investors in private companies located in EEA member states when compared to non‑AIF/AIFM competitors that may not be subject to the requirements of the Directive, thereby potentially restricting our funds’ ability to invest in such companies. “Levelling-up” of some of these requirements seems likely under AIFMD II.
The Directive could also limit our operating flexibility and our investment opportunities, as well as expose us and/or our funds to conflicting regulatory requirements in the United States (and elsewhere).
Solvency II
Directive 2009/138/EC on the taking‑up and pursuit of the business of Insurance and Reinsurance (“Solvency II”) sets out stronger capital adequacy and risk management requirements for European insurers and reinsurers and, in particular, dictates how much capital such firms must hold against their liabilities and introduces a risk‑based assessment of those liabilities. Solvency II came into force on January 1, 2010 but was only required to be implemented by firms on January 1, 2016. There are also a number of transitional provisions designed to avoid market disruption. Solvency II imposes, among other things, substantially greater quantitative and qualitative capital requirements for insurers and reinsurers as well as other supervisory and disclosure requirements. We are not subject to Solvency II; however, many of our European insurer or reinsurer fund investors are subject to this directive, as applied under applicable domestic law. Solvency II may impact insurers’ and reinsurers’ investment decisions and their asset allocations. In addition, insurers and reinsurers will be subject to more onerous data collation and reporting

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requirements. As a result, Solvency II could have an adverse indirect effect on our businesses by, among other things, restricting the ability of European insurers and reinsurers to invest in our funds and imposing on us extensive disclosure and reporting obligations for those insurers and reinsurers that do invest in our funds. A number of reviews of and amendments to various aspects and components of Solvency II are expected throughout 2018.
MiFID II
The recast Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (collectively referred to as MiFID II) came into effect on January 3, 2018. MiFID II amends the existing MiFID regime and, among other requirements, introduces new organizational and operational requirements for investment firms in the EEA.  Compliance with these new rules requires updates to some existing procedures, systems and controls and the development of new internal systems, which may include substantial automated and electronic systems, and is likely to involve material costs to the business.
European Union Referendum in the United Kingdom
On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom ("UK") electorate voted in support of the UK leaving the European Union ("EU").  The implications of the UK’s pending withdrawal from the EU are unclear at present because the relationship between the UK and the EU after such withdrawal is unclear.   It is likely that this matter will be negotiated over the next several years.  As a result, our ability to, among other things, (1) market interests in our funds to EU investors; and/or (2) lend to EU borrowers or invest in EU assets may be adversely affected.
Competition
The investment management industry is intensely competitive, and we expect it to remain so. We compete both globally and on a regional, industry and asset basis.
We face competition both in the pursuit of fund investors and investment opportunities. Generally, our competition varies across business lines, geographies and financial markets. We compete for outside investors based on a variety of factors, including investment performance, investor perception of investment managers’ drive, focus and alignment of interest, quality of service provided to and duration of relationship with investors, breath of our product offering, business reputation and the level of fees and expenses charged for services. We compete for investment opportunities based on a variety of factors, including breadth of market coverage and relationships, access to capital, transaction execution skills, the range of products and services offered, innovation and price.
We expect to face competition in our direct lending, trading, acquisitions and other investment activities primarily from business development companies, credit and real estate funds, specialized funds, hedge fund sponsors, financial institutions, private equity funds, corporate buyers and other parties. Many of these competitors in some of our businesses are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than are available to us. Many of these competitors have similar investment objectives to us, which may create additional competition for investment opportunities. Some of these competitors may also have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources that are not available to us, which may create competitive disadvantages for us with respect to investment opportunities. In addition, some of these competitors may have higher risk tolerances, different risk assessments or lower return thresholds, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and to bid more aggressively than us for investments that we want to make. Corporate buyers may be able to achieve synergistic cost savings with regard to an investment that may provide them with a competitive advantage in bidding for an investment. Lastly, institutional and individual investors are allocating increasing amounts of capital to alternative investment strategies. Several large institutional investors have announced a desire to consolidate their investments in a more limited number of managers. We expect that this will cause competition in our industry to intensify and could lead to a reduction in the size and duration of pricing inefficiencies that many of our funds seek to exploit.
Competition is also intense for the attraction and retention of qualified employees. Our ability to continue to compete effectively in our businesses will depend upon our ability to attract new employees and retain and motivate our existing employees.
For additional information concerning the competitive risks that we face, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Businesses—The investment management business is intensely competitive.”




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Available Information
Ares Management, L.P. was formed as a Delaware limited partnership on November 15, 2013. Our principal executive offices are located at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, California 90067, and our telephone number is (310) 201- 4100.
Our website address is http://www.aresmgmt.com. Information on our website is not a part of this report and is not incorporated by reference herein. We make available free of charge on our website or provide a link on our website to our Annual Report on Form 10‑K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10‑Q and Current Reports on Form 8‑K and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practicable after those reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. To access these filings, go to the “Investor Resources” section of our website and then click on “SEC Filings.” You may also read and copy any document we file with the SEC at the SEC’s public reference room located at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, DC 20549. Please call the SEC at 1‑800‑SEC‑0330 for further information on the public reference room. In addition, these reports and the other documents we file with the SEC are available at a website maintained by the SEC at http://www.sec.gov.
 

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ITEM 1A.  RISK FACTORS
Summary of Risks
Our businesses are subject to a number of inherent risks. We believe that the primary risks affecting our businesses and an investment in our shares are:
a complex regulatory and tax environment involving rules and regulations (both domestic and foreign), some of which are outdated relative to today’s complex financial activities and some of which are subject to political influence, which could restrict or require us to adjust our operations or the operations of our funds or portfolio companies and subject us to increased compliance costs and administrative burdens, as well as restrictions on our business activities;
poor performance by our funds due to market conditions, political actions or environments, monetary and fiscal policy or other conditions beyond our control;
the reputational harm that we would experience as a result of inappropriately addressing conflicts of interest, poor performance by the investments we manage or the actual or alleged failure by us, our employees, our funds or our portfolio companies to comply with applicable regulations in an increasingly complex political and regulatory environment;
potential variability in our period to period earnings due primarily to mark‑to‑market valuations of our funds’ investments. As a result of this variability, the market price of our common shares may be volatile and subject to fluctuations; the increasing demands of the investing community, including the potential for fee compression and changes to other terms, which could materially adversely affect our revenues; and
an investment in our shares is not an investment in our underlying funds. Moreover, there can be no assurance that projections respecting performance of our underlying funds or unrealized values will be achieved.
Risks Related to Our Businesses
Difficult market and political conditions may adversely affect our businesses in many ways, including by reducing the value or hampering the performance of the investments made by our funds or reducing the ability of our funds to raise or deploy capital, each of which could materially reduce our revenue, net income and cash flow and adversely affect our financial prospects and condition.
Our businesses are materially affected by conditions in the global financial markets and economic and political conditions throughout the world, such as interest rates, the availability and cost of credit, inflation rates, economic uncertainty, changes in laws (including laws relating to our taxation, taxation of our investors and the possibility of changes to regulations applicable to alternative asset managers), trade barriers, commodity prices, currency exchange rates and controls and national and international political circumstances (including wars, terrorist acts and security operations). These factors are outside of our control and may affect the level and volatility of securities prices and the liquidity and value of investments, and we may not be able to or may choose not to manage our exposure to these conditions.
Global financial markets have experienced heightened volatility in recent periods, including as a result of economic and political events in or affecting the world’s major economies. For example, the decision of the People’s Bank of China in January 2016 to reduce the foreign exchange value of the renminbi and subsequent slowdown in China’s industrial sector, the June 2016 referendum in the UK in favor of exiting the EU and subsequent uncertainty regarding the timing and terms of the exit, the 2016 U.S. presidential and congressional election and resulting uncertainty regarding potential shifts in U.S. and foreign, trade, economic and other policies, and, more recently, concerns over increasing interest rates (particularly short-term rates) and uncertainty regarding the short- and long-term effects of tax reform in the United States, have precipitated market volatility. In addition, numerous structural dynamics and persistent market trends have exacerbated volatility generally. Concerns over significant declines in the commodities markets, the implementation by central banks of synchronized global monetary tightening, sluggish economic expansion in non-U.S. economies, including continued concerns over growth prospects in China and emerging markets, growing debt loads for certain countries and uncertainty about the consequences of the U.S. and other governments withdrawing monetary stimulus measures all highlight the fact that economic conditions remain unpredictable and volatile. As a result, although global economies experienced widespread growth in 2017, there is a high risk of significant ongoing volatility. Moreover, there is a risk of both sector-specific and broad based corrections and/or downturns in the equity and credit markets. For example, in February 2018, global equity markets experienced a widespread sell-off, and bonds have also declined in value. Any of the foregoing could

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have a significant impact on the markets in which we operate and a material adverse impact on our business prospects and financial condition.
Further, the transition of leadership following the 2016 U.S. presidential and congressional elections, the current U.S. political environment and the resulting uncertainties regarding actual and potential shifts in U.S. foreign, trade, economic and other policies under the new administration have led to further disruption, instability and volatility in the global markets. There can be no assurance these market conditions will not continue or worsen in the future.
A number of factors have had and may continue to have an adverse impact on credit markets in particular. The weakness and the uncertainty regarding the stability of the oil and gas markets resulted in a tightening of credit across multiple sectors. The low price of oil increased default risk among borrowers that have exposure to the energy sector. In addition, following a sustained period of historically low interest rate levels, the Federal Reserve has raised the federal funds rate on multiple occasions since December 2015. Short-term interest rates have risen by 90 to 120 basis points (bps) since the U.S. presidential election in November 2016, with 10 to 20 bps of such amount attributable to increases seen between January 1, 2018 and February 8, 2018. Changes in and uncertainty surrounding interest rates may have a material effect on our business, particularly with respect to the cost and availability of financing for significant acquisition and disposition transactions. Furthermore, some of the provisions under the newly enacted tax law in the United States, Public Law No. 115-97 (the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”) could have a negative impact on the cost of financing and dampen the attractiveness of credit. Moreover, while conditions in the U.S. economy have generally improved since the credit crisis, many other economies continue to experience weakness, tighter credit conditions and a decreased availability of foreign capital. Since credit represents a significant portion of our business and ongoing strategy, any of the foregoing could have a material adverse impact on our business prospects and financial condition.
These and other conditions in the global financial markets and the global economy have resulted in, and may continue to result in, adverse consequences for us and many of our funds, each of which could adversely affect the business of such funds, restrict such funds’ investment activities, impede such funds’ ability to effectively achieve their investment objectives and result in lower returns than we anticipated at the time certain of our investments were made. More specifically, these economic conditions could adversely affect our operating results by causing:
decreases in the market value of securities, debt instruments or investments held by some of our funds;
illiquidity in the market, which could adversely affect transaction volumes and the pace of realization of our funds’ investments or otherwise restrict the ability of our funds to realize value from their investments, thereby adversely affecting our ability to generate incentive or other income;
our assets under management to decrease, thereby lowering a portion of our management fees payable by our funds to the extent they are based on market values; and
increases in costs or reduced availability of financial instruments that finance our funds.
During periods of difficult market conditions or slowdowns (which may be across one or more industries, sectors or geographies), companies in which we invest may experience decreased revenues, financial losses, credit rating downgrades, difficulty in obtaining access to financing and increased funding costs. During such periods, these companies may also have difficulty in expanding their businesses and operations and be unable to meet their debt service obligations or other expenses as they become due, including expenses payable to us. Negative financial results in our funds’ portfolio companies may reduce the value of our portfolio companies, the net asset value of our funds and the investment returns for our funds, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results and cash flow. In addition, such conditions would increase the risk of default with respect to credit-oriented or debt investments. Our funds may be adversely affected by reduced opportunities to exit and realize value from their investments, by lower than expected returns on investments made prior to the deterioration of the credit markets and by our inability to find suitable investments for the funds to effectively deploy capital, which could adversely affect our ability to raise new funds and thus adversely impact our prospects for future growth.
Political and regulatory conditions, including the effects of negative publicity surrounding the financial industry in general and proposed legislation, could adversely affect our businesses or cause a material increase in our tax liability.
As a result of market disruptions and highly publicized financial scandals in recent years, regulators and investors have exhibited concerns over the integrity of the U.S. financial markets, and the businesses in which we operate both in the United States and outside the United States will be subject to new or additional regulations. We may be adversely affected as a result of new or revised legislation or regulations imposed by the SEC, the CFTC or other U.S. governmental regulatory authorities or self-

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regulatory organizations that supervise the financial markets. We may also be adversely affected by changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules by these governmental authorities and self-regulatory organizations. See “-Regulatory changes and other developments in the United States and regulatory compliance failures could adversely affect our reputation, businesses and operations.”
Her Majesty’s Treasury (“HM Treasury”), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (the “OECD”) and other government agencies in jurisdictions where we and our affiliates invest or conduct business have maintained a focus on issues related to the taxation of businesses, including multinational entities.
In the United Kingdom, the UK Criminal Finances Act 2017 creates two new separate corporate criminal offences: failure to prevent facilitation of UK tax evasion and failure to prevent facilitation of overseas tax evasion. The scope of the new law and guidance is extremely wide and could have an impact on Ares’ global businesses. Liability can be mitigated where the relevant business has in place reasonable prevention procedures. Separately, the United Kingdom has implemented transparency legislation that will require many large businesses to publish their UK tax strategies on their websites. As part of the publication requirement, organizations must disclose information on tax risk management and governance, tax planning, tax risk appetite and their approach to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. These developments show that the United Kingdom is seeking to bring corporate tax matters further into the public domain. As a result, tax matters may pose an increased reputational risk to our business.
The OECD, which represents a coalition of member countries, has issued guidance through its Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) project that contemplates changes to long standing international tax norms that determine each country’s jurisdiction to tax cross-border trade and profits. Several of the proposed measures, including measures covering treaty abuse, the deductibility of interest expense, local nexus requirements, transfer pricing and hybrid mismatch arrangements are potentially relevant to some of our structures and could have an adverse tax impact on our funds, investors and/or our portfolio companies. In June 2017, almost 70 countries (excluding the United States) formally signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS (the “Convention”). These changes in law or guidance and additional proposals for reform, if enacted by the United States or by other countries in which we or our affiliates invest or conduct business, could adversely affect our investment returns, including, for example, by eliminating certain tax treaty benefits and increasing our tax compliance costs. Whether these or other proposals will be enacted by the United States or any foreign jurisdiction and in what form is unknown, as are the ultimate consequences of any such proposed legislation. See “-Risks Related to Taxation.”
Newly enacted laws, such as Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or regulations and future changes in the U.S. taxation of businesses may impact our effective tax rate or may adversely affect our business, financial condition and operating results.
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which significantly changed the Code, including a reduction in the statutory corporate income tax rate to 21%, a new limitation on the deductibility of business interest expense, restrictions on the use of net operating loss carryforwards arising in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and dramatic changes to the taxation of income earned from foreign sources and foreign subsidiaries. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also authorizes the Treasury Department to issue regulations with respect to the new provisions. We cannot predict how the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, regulations, or other guidance issued under it or conforming or non-conforming state tax rules might affect us or our business. In addition, there can be no assurance that U.S. tax laws, including the corporate income tax rate, would not undergo significant changes in the near future.
Our business depends in large part on our ability to raise capital from investors. If we were unable to raise such capital, we would be unable to collect management fees or deploy such capital into investments, which would materially reduce our revenues and cash flow and adversely affect our financial condition.
Our ability to raise capital from investors depends on a number of factors, including many that are outside our control. Investors may downsize their investment allocations to alternative asset managers, including private funds and hedge funds, to rebalance a disproportionate weighting of their overall investment portfolio among asset classes. Poor performance of our funds, or regulatory or tax constraints, could also make it more difficult for us to raise new capital. Our investors and potential investors continually assess our funds’ performance independently and relative to market benchmarks and our competitors, which affects our ability to raise capital for existing and future funds. If economic and market conditions deteriorate or continue to be so volatile, we may be unable to raise sufficient amounts of capital to support the investment activities of future funds. If we were unable to successfully raise capital, our revenue and cash flow would be reduced, and our financial condition would be adversely affected. Furthermore, while our senior professional owners have committed substantial capital to our funds, commitments from new investors may depend on the commitments made by our senior professional owners to new funds and there can be no assurance that there will be further commitments to our funds, and any future investments by them in our funds or other alternative investment categories will likely depend on the performance of our funds, the performance of their overall investment portfolios and other investment opportunities available to them.

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We depend on the Holdco Members, senior professionals and other key personnel, and our ability to retain them and attract additional qualified personnel is critical to our success and our growth prospects.
We depend on the diligence, skill, judgment, business contacts and personal reputations of the Holdco Members, senior professionals and other key personnel. Our future success will depend upon our ability to retain our senior professionals and other key personnel and our ability to recruit additional qualified personnel. These individuals possess substantial experience and expertise in investing, are responsible for locating and executing our funds’ investments, have significant relationships with the institutions that are the source of many of our funds’ investment opportunities and, in certain cases, have strong relationships with our investors. Therefore, if any of our senior professionals or other key personnel join competitors or form competing companies, it could result in the loss of significant investment opportunities, limit our ability to raise capital from certain existing investors or result in the loss of certain existing investors.
The departure or bad acts for any reason of any of our senior professionals, or a significant number of our other investment professionals, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to achieve our investment objectives, cause certain of our investors to withdraw capital they invest with us or elect not to commit additional capital to our funds or otherwise have a material adverse effect on our business and our prospects. The departure of some or all of those individuals could also trigger certain “key person” provisions in the documentation governing certain of our funds, which would permit the investors in those funds to suspend or terminate such funds’ investment periods or, in the case of certain funds, permit investors to withdraw their capital prior to expiration of the applicable lock-up date. We do not carry any “key person” insurance that would provide us with proceeds in the event of the death or disability of any of our senior professionals, and we do not have a policy that prohibits our senior professionals from traveling together. See “-Employee misconduct could harm us by impairing our ability to attract and retain investors and subjecting us to significant legal liability, regulatory scrutiny and reputational harm.”
We anticipate that it will be necessary for us to add investment professionals both to grow our businesses and to replace those who depart. However, the market for qualified investment professionals is extremely competitive, both in the United States and internationally, and we may not succeed in recruiting additional personnel or we may fail to effectively replace current personnel who depart with qualified or effective successors. Our efforts to retain and attract investment professionals may also result in significant additional expenses, which could adversely affect our profitability or result in an increase in the portion of our performance fees that we grant to our investment professionals. In the year ended December 31, 2017, we incurred equity compensation expenses of $69.7 million, and we expect these costs to continue to increase in the future as we increase the use of equity compensation awards to attract, retain and compensate employees.
Our failure to appropriately address conflicts of interest could damage our reputation and adversely affect our businesses.
As we have expanded and as we continue to expand the number and scope of our businesses, we increasingly confront potential conflicts of interest relating to our funds’ investment activities. Certain of our funds may have overlapping investment objectives, including funds that have different fee structures, and potential conflicts may arise with respect to our decisions regarding how to allocate investment opportunities among those funds. For example, a decision to receive material non-public information about a company while pursuing an investment opportunity for a particular fund may give rise to a potential conflict of interest when it results in our having to restrict the ability of other funds to trade in the securities of such company. We may also cause different Private Equity Group funds to invest in a single portfolio company, for example where the fund that made an initial investment no longer has capital available to invest. We may also cause different funds that we advise to purchase different classes of securities in the same portfolio company. For example, in the normal course of business our Credit Group funds acquire debt positions in companies in which our Private Equity Group funds own common equity securities. A direct conflict of interest could arise between the debt holders and the equity holders if such a company were to develop insolvency concerns. In addition, funds in one group could be restricted from selling their positions in such companies for extended periods because investment professionals in another group sit on the boards of such companies or because another part of the firm has received private information. Certain funds in different groups may invest alongside each other in the same security. On January 18, 2017, ARCC received an order from the SEC that permits ARCC and other business development companies and registered closed-end management investment companies managed by a subsidiary of us to co-invest in portfolio companies with each other and with affiliated investment funds (the “Co-investment Exemptive Order”). The different investment objectives or terms of such funds may result in a potential conflict of interest, including in connection with the allocation of investments between the funds made pursuant to the Co-investment Exemptive Order. In addition, conflicts of interest may exist in the valuation of our investments and regarding decisions about the allocation of specific investment opportunities among us and our funds and the allocation of fees and costs among us, our funds and their portfolio companies.
Though we believe we have appropriate means and oversight to resolve these conflicts, our judgment on any particular allocation could be challenged. While we have developed general guidelines regarding when two or more funds can invest in different parts of the same company’s capital structure and created a process that we employ to handle such conflicts if they arise,

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our decision to permit the investments to occur in the first instance or our judgment on how to minimize the conflict could be challenged. If we fail to appropriately address any such conflicts, it could negatively impact our reputation and ability to raise additional funds and the willingness of counterparties to do business with us or result in potential litigation against us.
The investment management business is intensely competitive.
The investment management business is intensely competitive, with competition based on a variety of factors, including investment performance, business relationships, quality of service provided to investors, investor liquidity and willingness to invest, fund terms (including fees), brand recognition and business reputation. We compete with a number of private equity funds, specialized funds, hedge funds, corporate buyers, traditional asset managers, real estate development companies, commercial banks, investment banks, other investment managers and other financial institutions, as well as sovereign wealth funds.
Numerous factors increase our competitive risks, including, but not limited to:
a number of our competitors in some of our businesses have greater financial, technical, marketing and other resources and more personnel than we do;
some of our funds may not perform as well as competitors’ funds or other available investment products;
several of our competitors have raised significant amounts of capital, and many of them have similar investment objectives to ours, which may create additional competition for investment opportunities;
some of our competitors may have a lower cost of capital and access to funding sources that are not available to us, which may create competitive disadvantages for us with respect to our funds, particularly our funds that directly use leverage or rely on debt financing of their portfolio investments to generate superior investment returns;
some of our competitors may have higher risk tolerances, different risk assessments or lower return thresholds than us, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of investments and to bid more aggressively than us for investments that we want to make;
some of our competitors may be subject to less regulation and, accordingly, may have more flexibility to undertake and execute certain businesses or investments than we do and/or bear less compliance expense than we do;
some of our competitors may not have the same types of conflicts of interest as we do;
some of our competitors may have more flexibility than us in raising certain types of funds under the investment management contracts they have negotiated with their investors;
some of our competitors may have better expertise or be regarded by investors as having better expertise in a specific asset class or geographic region than we do;
our competitors that are corporate buyers may be able to achieve synergistic cost savings in respect of an investment, which may provide them with a competitive advantage in bidding for an investment;
our competitors have instituted or may institute low cost high speed financial applications and services based on artificial intelligence and new competitors may enter the asset management space using new investment platforms based on artificial intelligence; and
other industry participants may, from time to time, seek to recruit our investment professionals and other employees away from us.
Developments in financial technology, such as a distributed ledger technology (or blockchain), have the potential to disrupt the financial industry and change the way financial institutions, including investment managers, do business, and could exacerbate these competitive pressures.
We may lose investment opportunities in the future if we do not match investment valuations, structures and terms offered by our competitors. Alternatively, we may experience decreased profitability, rates of return and increased risks of loss if we match investment valuations, structures and terms offered by our competitors. Moreover, if we are forced to compete with other investment

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managers on the basis of price when fundraising, we may not be able to maintain our current fund fee and carried interest terms. We have historically competed primarily on the performance of our funds and not on the level of our fees or carried interest relative to those of our competitors. However, there is a risk that fees and carried interest in the investment management industry will decline, without regard to the historical performance of a manager. Fee or carried interest reductions on existing or future funds, without corresponding decreases in our cost structure, would adversely affect our revenues and profitability.
In addition, the attractiveness of investments in our funds relative to other investment products could decrease depending on economic conditions. This competitive pressure could adversely affect our ability to make successful investments and limit our ability to raise future funds, either of which would adversely impact our businesses, revenues, results of operations and cash flow.
Lastly, institutional and individual investors are allocating increasing amounts of capital to alternative investment strategies. Several large institutional investors have announced a desire to consolidate their investments in a more limited number of managers. We expect that this will cause competition in our industry to intensify and could lead to a reduction in the size and duration of pricing inefficiencies that many of our funds seek to exploit.
Poor performance of our funds would cause a decline in our revenue and results of operations, may obligate us to repay performance fees previously paid to us and could adversely affect our ability to raise capital for future funds.
We derive revenues primarily from:
management fees, which are based generally on the amount of capital committed to or invested by our funds;
performance fees, which are based on the performance of our funds; and
returns on investments of our own capital in the funds we sponsor and manage.
When any of our funds perform poorly, either by incurring losses or underperforming benchmarks, as compared to our competitors or otherwise, our investment record suffers. As a result, our performance fees may be adversely affected and, all else being equal, the value of our assets under management could decrease, which may, in turn, reduce our management fees. Moreover, we may experience losses on investments of our own capital in our funds as a result of poor investment performance. If a fund performs poorly, we will receive little or no performance fees with regard to the fund and little income or possibly losses from our own principal investment in such fund. Furthermore, if, as a result of poor performance or otherwise, a fund does not achieve total investment returns that exceed a specified investment return threshold over the life of the fund or other measurement period, we may be obligated to repay the amount by which performance fees that were previously distributed or paid to us exceeds amounts to which we were entitled. Poor performance of our funds could also make it more difficult for us to raise new capital. Investors in our closed-end funds may decline to invest in future closed-end funds we raise as a result of poor performance. Investors in our open-ended funds may redeem their investment as a result of poor performance. Poor performance of our publicly traded funds may result in stockholders selling their stock, thereby causing a decline in the stock price and limiting our ability to access capital. A failure to grow the assets of such funds will limit our ability to earn additional management fees and performance fees, and will ultimately affect our operating results. Our fund investors and potential fund investors continually assess our funds’ performance independently and relative to market benchmarks and our competitors, and our ability to raise capital for existing and future funds and avoid excessive redemption levels depends on our funds’ performance. Accordingly, poor fund performance may deter future investment in our funds and thereby decrease the capital invested in our funds and, ultimately, our management fee income. Alternatively, in the face of poor fund performance, investors could demand lower fees or fee concessions for existing or future funds which would likewise decrease our revenue.
ARCC’s management fee comprises a significant portion of our management fees and a reduction in fees from ARCC could have an adverse effect on our revenues and results of operations.
The management fees we receive from ARCC (including fees attributable to ARCC Part I Fees) comprise a significant percentage of our management fees. The investment advisory agreement we have with ARCC categorizes the fees we receive as: (a) base management fees, which are paid quarterly and generally increase or decrease based on ARCC’s total assets, (b) fees based on ARCC’s net investment income (before ARCC Part I Fees and ARCC Part II Fees), which are paid quarterly (“ARCC Part I Fees”) and (c) fees based on ARCC’s net capital gains, which are paid annually (“ARCC Part II Fees”). We classify the ARCC Part I Fees as management fees because they are paid quarterly, are predictable and recurring in nature, are not subject to repayment (or contingent repayment obligations) and are generally expected to be cash-settled each quarter. If ARCC’s total assets or its net investment income were to decline significantly for any reason, including, without limitation, due to mark-to-market accounting requirements, the poor performance of its investments or the failure to successfully access or invest capital, the amount

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of the fees we receive from ARCC, including the base management fee and the ARCC Part I Fees, would also decline significantly and/or may be subject to deferral, which could have an adverse effect on our revenues and results of operations. In addition, because the ARCC Part II Fees are not paid unless ARCC achieves cumulative realized capital gains (net of realized capital losses and unrealized capital depreciation), ARCC’s Part II Fees payable to us are variable and not predictable. We may also, from time to time, waive or voluntarily defer any fees payable by ARCC in connection with strategic transactions.
Our investment advisory and management agreement with ARCC renews for successive annual periods subject to the approval of ARCC’s board of directors or by the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of ARCC’s outstanding voting securities. In addition, as required by the Investment Company Act, both ARCC and its investment adviser have the right to terminate the agreement without penalty upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party. Termination or non-renewal of this agreement would reduce our revenues significantly and could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
We may not be able to maintain our current fee structure as a result of industry pressure from fund investors to reduce fees, which could have an adverse effect on our profit margins and results of operations.
We may not be able to maintain our current fee structure as a result of industry pressure from fund investors to reduce fees. Although our investment management fees vary among and within asset classes, historically we have competed primarily on the basis of our performance and not on the level of our investment management fees relative to those of our competitors. In recent years, however, there has been a general trend toward lower fees in the investment management industry. In September 2009, the Institutional Limited Partners Association (“ILPA”) published a set of Private Equity Principles (the “Principles”) which were revised in January 2011. The Principles were developed to encourage discussion between limited partners and general partners regarding private equity fund partnership terms. Certain of the Principles call for enhanced “alignment of interests” between general partners and limited partners through modifications of some of the terms of fund arrangements, including proposed guidelines for fees and performance income structures. We promptly provided ILPA with our endorsement of the Principles, representing an indication of our general support for the efforts of ILPA. More recently, institutional investors have been increasing pressure to reduce management and investment fees charged by external managers, whether through direct reductions, deferrals, rebates or other means. In addition, we may be asked by investors to waive or defer fees for various reasons, including during economic downturns or as a result of poor performance of our funds. We may not be successful in providing investment returns and service that will allow us to maintain our current fee structure. Fee reductions on existing or future new businesses could have an adverse effect on our profit margins and results of operations. For more information about our fees see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
Investors in our funds may be unwilling to commit new capital to our funds because we are a public company, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Some investors in our funds may have concerns that as a public company our attention is bifurcated between investors in our funds and the public shareholders, resulting in potential conflicts of interest. Some investors in our funds may believe that as a public company we strive for near-term profit instead of superior risk-adjusted returns for investors in our funds over time or grow our assets under management for the purpose of generating additional management fees without regard to whether we believe there are sufficient investment opportunities to effectively deploy the additional capital. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in our efforts to address such concerns or to convince investors in our funds that our status as a public company does not and will not affect our longstanding priorities or the way we conduct our businesses. A decision by a significant number of investors in our funds not to commit additional capital to our funds or to cease doing business with us altogether, or our failure to continue to raise capital, could inhibit our ability to achieve our investment objectives and may have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
Rapid growth of our businesses, particularly outside the United States, may be difficult to sustain and may place significant demands on our administrative, operational and financial resources.
Our assets under management have grown significantly in the past, and we are pursuing further growth in the near future, both organic and through acquisitions. Our rapid growth has placed, and planned growth, if successful, will continue to place, significant demands on our legal, accounting and operational infrastructure, and has increased expenses. The complexity of these demands, and the expense required to address them, is a function not simply of the amount by which our assets under management has grown, but of the growth in the variety and complexity of, as well as the differences in strategy between, our different funds. In addition, we are required to continuously develop our systems and infrastructure in response to the increasing sophistication of the investment management market and legal, accounting, regulatory and tax developments.

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Our future growth will depend in part on our ability to maintain an operating platform and management system sufficient to address our growth and will require us to incur significant additional expenses and to commit additional senior management and operational resources. As a result, we face significant challenges:
in maintaining adequate financial, regulatory (legal, tax and compliance) and business controls;
in providing current and future investors with accurate and consistent reporting;
in implementing new or updated information and financial systems and procedures; and
in training, managing and appropriately sizing our work force and other components of our businesses on a timely and cost-effective basis.
We may not be able to manage our expanding operations effectively or be able to continue to grow, and any failure to do so could adversely affect our ability to generate revenue and control our expenses.
In addition, pursuing investment opportunities outside the United States presents challenges not faced by U.S. investments, such as different legal and tax regimes and currency fluctuations, which require additional resources to address. To accommodate the needs of global investors and strategies we must structure investment products in a manner that addresses tax, regulatory and legislative provisions in different, and sometimes multiple, jurisdictions. Further, in conducting business in foreign jurisdictions, we are often faced with the challenge of ensuring that our activities are consistent with U.S. or other laws with extraterritorial application, such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”). Moreover, actively pursuing international investment opportunities may require that we increase the size or number of our international offices. Pursuing non-U.S. fund investors means that we must comply with international laws governing the sale of interests in our funds, different investor reporting and information processes and other requirements. As a result, we are required to continuously develop our systems and infrastructure, including employing and contracting with foreign businesses and entities, in response to the increasing complexity and sophistication of the investment management market and legal, accounting and regulatory situations. This growth has required, and will continue to require, us to incur significant additional expenses and to commit additional senior management and operational resources. There can be no assurance that we will be able to manage or maintain appropriate oversight over our expanding international operations effectively or that we will be able to continue to grow this part of our businesses, and any failure to do so could adversely affect our ability to generate revenues and control our expenses.
We may enter into new lines of business and expand into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses, each of which may result in additional risks and uncertainties in our businesses.
We intend, if market conditions warrant, growing our businesses by increasing assets under management in existing businesses and expanding into new investment strategies, geographic markets and businesses. Our partnership agreement permits us to enter into new lines of business, make strategic investments or acquisitions and enter into joint ventures. Accordingly, we may pursue growth through acquisitions of other investment management companies, acquisitions of critical business partners or other strategic initiatives, which may include entering into new lines of business. In addition, consistent with our past experience, we expect opportunities will arise to acquire other alternative or traditional asset managers.
Attempts to expand our businesses involve a number of special risks, including some or all of the following:
the required investment of capital and other resources;
the diversion of management’s attention from our core businesses;
the assumption of liabilities in any acquired business;
the disruption of our ongoing businesses;
entry into markets or lines of business in which we may have limited or no experience;
increasing demands on our operational and management systems and controls;
compliance with or applicability to our business or our portfolio companies of regulations and laws, including, in particular, local regulations and laws (for example, consumer protection related laws) and customs in the numerous global jurisdictions in which we operate and the impact that noncompliance or even perceived noncompliance could have on us and our portfolio companies;

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potential increase in investor concentration; and
the broadening of our geographic footprint, increasing the risks associated with conducting operations in certain foreign jurisdictions where we currently have no presence.
Entry into certain lines of business may subject us to new laws and regulations with which we are not familiar, or from which we are currently exempt, and may lead to increased litigation and regulatory risk. It could also impact and affect our existing businesses, which might otherwise not be subject to such laws and regulations. If a new business does not generate sufficient revenues or if we are unable to efficiently manage our expanded operations, our results of operations will be adversely affected. Our strategic initiatives may include joint ventures, in which case we will be subject to additional risks and uncertainties in that we may be dependent upon, and subject to liability, losses or reputational damage relating to systems, controls and personnel that are not under our control. Because we have not yet identified these potential new investment strategies, geographic markets or lines of business, we cannot identify all of the specific risks we may face and the potential adverse consequences on us and their investment that may result from any attempted expansion.
If we are unable to consummate or successfully integrate development opportunities, acquisitions or joint ventures, we may not be able to implement our growth strategy successfully.
Our growth strategy is based, in part, on the selective development or acquisition of asset management businesses, advisory businesses or other businesses complementary to our business where we think we can add substantial value or generate substantial returns. The success of this strategy will depend on, among other things: (a) the availability of suitable opportunities, (b) the level of competition from other companies that may have greater financial resources, (c) our ability to value potential development or acquisition opportunities accurately and negotiate acceptable terms for those opportunities, (d) our ability to obtain requisite approvals and licenses from the relevant governmental authorities and to comply with applicable laws and regulations without incurring undue costs and delays, (e) our ability to identify and enter into mutually beneficial relationships with venture partners, (f) our ability to properly manage conflicts of interest and (g) our ability to integrate personnel at acquired businesses into our operations and culture.
This strategy also contemplates the use of our publicly traded common shares as acquisition consideration. Volatility or declines in the trading price of our common shares may make our common shares less attractive to acquisition targets. Moreover, even if we are able to identify and successfully complete an acquisition, we may encounter unexpected difficulties or incur unexpected costs associated with integrating and overseeing the operations of the new businesses. If we are not successful in implementing our growth strategy, our business, financial results and the market price for our common shares may be adversely affected.
Extensive regulation in the United States affects our activities, increases the cost of doing business and creates the potential for significant liabilities and penalties that could adversely affect our businesses and results of operations.
Our businesses are subject to extensive regulation, including periodic examinations, by governmental agencies and self-regulatory organizations in the jurisdictions in which we operate. The SEC oversees the activities of our subsidiaries that are registered investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act. Since the first quarter of 2014, FINRA as well as the SEC has overseen the activities of our wholly owned subsidiary AIS as a registered broker-dealer. We are subject to audits by the Defense Security Service to determine whether we are under foreign ownership, control or influence. In addition, we regularly rely on exemptions from various requirements of the Securities Act, the Exchange Act, the Investment Company Act, the Commodity Exchange Act and the U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”). These exemptions are sometimes highly complex and may in certain circumstances depend on compliance by third parties who we do not control. If for any reason these exemptions were to be revoked or challenged or otherwise become unavailable to us, such action could increase our cost of doing business or subject us to regulatory action or third-party claims, which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses. For example, in 2013 the SEC amended Rule 506 of Regulation D under the Securities Act to impose “bad actor” disqualification provisions that ban an issuer from offering or selling securities pursuant to the safe harbor in Rule 506 if the issuer, or any other “covered person,” is the subject of a criminal, regulatory or court order or other “disqualifying event” under the rule which has not been waived by the SEC. The definition of a “covered person” under the rule includes an issuer’s directors, general partners, managing members and executive officers and promoters and persons compensated for soliciting investors in the offering. Accordingly, our ability to rely on Rule 506 to offer or sell securities would be impaired if we or any “covered person” is the subject of a disqualifying event under the rule and we are unable to obtain a waiver or, in certain circumstances, terminate our involvement with such “covered person”.
The SEC has indicated that investment advisors who receive transaction-based compensation for investment banking or acquisition activities relating to fund portfolio companies may be required to register as broker-dealers. Specifically, the SEC staff

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has noted that if a firm receives fees from a fund portfolio company in connection with the acquisition, disposition or recapitalization of such portfolio company, such activities could raise broker-dealer concerns under applicable regulations related to broker dealers. If we receive such transaction fees and the SEC takes the position that such activities render us a “broker” under the applicable rules and regulations of the Exchange Act, we could be subject to additional regulation. If receipt of transaction fees from a portfolio company is determined to require a broker-dealer license, receipt of such transaction fees in the past or in the future during any time when we did not or do not have a broker-dealer license could subject us to liability for fines, penalties, damages, rescission or other equitable remedies.
Since 2010, states and other regulatory authorities have begun to require investment managers to register as lobbyists. We have registered as such in a number of jurisdictions, including California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Kentucky. Other states or municipalities may consider similar legislation or adopt regulations or procedures with similar effect. These registration requirements impose significant compliance obligations on registered lobbyists and their employers, which may include annual registration fees, periodic disclosure reports and internal recordkeeping, and may also prohibit the payment of contingent fees.
Each of the regulatory bodies with jurisdiction over us has regulatory powers dealing with many aspects of financial services, including the authority to grant, and in specific circumstances to cancel, permissions to carry on particular activities. A failure to comply with the obligations imposed by the Investment Advisers Act, including recordkeeping, advertising and operating requirements, disclosure obligations and prohibitions on fraudulent activities, could result in investigations, sanctions and reputational damage. We are involved regularly in trading activities that implicate a broad number of U.S. and foreign securities and tax law regimes, including laws governing trading on inside information, market manipulation and a broad number of technical trading requirements that implicate fundamental market regulation policies. Violation of these laws could result in severe restrictions on our activities and damage to our reputation.
Compliance with existing and new regulations subjects us to significant costs. Moreover, our failure to comply with applicable laws or regulations, including labor and employment laws, could result in fines, censure, suspensions of personnel or other sanctions, including revocation of the registration of our relevant subsidiaries as investment advisers or registered broker-dealers. The regulations to which our businesses are subject are designed primarily to protect investors in our funds and to ensure the integrity of the financial markets. They are not designed to protect our shareholders. Even if a sanction is imposed against us, one of our subsidiaries or our personnel by a regulator for a small monetary amount, the costs incurred in responding to such matters could be material, the adverse publicity related to the sanction could harm our reputation, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our businesses in a number of ways, making it harder for us to raise new funds and discouraging others from doing business with us.
In the past several years, the financial services industry, and private equity in particular, has been the subject of heightened scrutiny by regulators around the globe. In particular, the SEC and its staff have focused more narrowly on issues relevant to alternative asset management firms, including by forming specialized units devoted to examining such firms and, in certain cases, bringing enforcement actions against the firms, their principals and employees. In recent periods there have been a number of enforcement actions within the industry, and it is expected that the SEC will continue to pursue enforcement actions against private fund managers. This increased enforcement activity may cause us to reevaluate certain practices and adjust our compliance control function as necessary and appropriate.
While the SEC’s recent list of examination priorities includes such items as cybersecurity compliance and controls and conducting risk-based examinations of never-before-examined investment advisory firms, it is generally expected that the SEC’s oversight of alternative asset managers will continue to focus substantially on concerns related to transparency and investor disclosure practices.  Although the SEC has cited improvements in disclosures and industry practices in this area, it has also indicated that there is room for improvement in particular areas, including fees and expenses (and the allocation of such fees and expenses) and co-investment practices. To this end, many firms have received inquiries during examinations or directly from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement regarding various transparency-related topics, including the acceleration of monitoring fees, the allocation of broken-deal expenses, the disclosure of operating partner or operating executive compensation, outside business activities of firm principals and employees, group purchasing arrangements and general conflicts of interest disclosures. In addition, our Private Equity Group funds have engaged in the past and may engage from time to time advisors who often work with our investment teams during due diligence, provide board-level governance and support and advise portfolio company leadership. Advisors generally are third parties and typically retained by us pursuant to consulting agreements. In some cases, an operating executive may be retained by a portfolio company directly and in such instances the portfolio company may compensate the operating executive directly (meaning that investors in our Private Equity Group funds may indirectly bear the operating executive’s compensation). While we believe we have made appropriate and timely disclosures regarding the engagement and compensation of these advisors, the SEC staff may disagree.

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Regulations governing ARCC’s operation as a business development company affect its ability to raise, and the way in which it raises, additional capital.
As a business development company, ARCC operates as a highly regulated business within the provisions of the Investment Company Act. Many of the regulations governing business development companies have not been modernized within recent securities laws amendments and restrict, among other things, leverage incurrence, co-investments and other transactions with other entities within the Ares Operating Group. Certain of our funds may be restricted from engaging in transactions with ARCC and its subsidiaries.
As a business development company registered under the Investment Company Act, ARCC may issue debt securities or preferred stock and borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, which we refer to collectively as “senior securities,” up to the maximum amount permitted by the Investment Company Act. Under the provisions of the Investment Company Act, ARCC is permitted, as a business development company, to incur indebtedness or issue senior securities only in amounts such that its asset coverage, as calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, equals at least 200% after each such incurrence or issuance. If the value of its assets declines, it may be unable to satisfy this test. If that happens, it may be required to sell a portion of its investments and, depending on the nature of its leverage, repay a portion of its indebtedness at a time when such sales may be disadvantageous. Business development companies may issue and sell common stock at a price below net asset value per share only in limited circumstances, one of which is during an approximately one-year period after obtaining stockholder approval for such issuance in accordance with the Investment Company Act. ARCC’s stockholders have, in the past, approved such issuances so that during the subsequent 12-month period, ARCC may, in one or more public or private offerings of its common stock, sell or otherwise issue shares of its common stock at a price below the then-current net asset value per share, subject to certain conditions including parameters on the level of permissible dilution, approval of the sale by a majority of its independent directors and a requirement that the sale price be not less than approximately the market price of the shares of its common stock at specified times, less the expenses of the sale. ARCC may ask its stockholders for additional approvals from year to year. There can be no assurance that such approvals will be obtained.
Our publicly traded investment vehicles are subject to regulatory complexities that limit the way in which they do business and may subject them to a higher level of regulatory scrutiny.
Our publicly traded investment vehicles operate under a complex regulatory environment. Such companies require the application of complex tax and securities regulations and may entail a higher level of regulatory scrutiny. In addition, regulations affecting our publicly traded investment vehicles generally affect their ability to take certain actions. For example, certain of our publicly traded vehicles have elected to be treated as a REIT or RIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. To maintain their status as a RIC or a REIT, such vehicles must meet, among other things, certain source of income, asset diversification and annual distribution requirements. ARCC and our publicly traded closed-end fund are subject to complex rules under the Investment Company Act, including rules that restrict certain of our funds from engaging in transactions with ARCC or the closed-end fund. For example, ARCC is required to generally distribute to its stockholders at least 90% of its investment company taxable income to maintain its RIC status and, subject to certain exceptions, ARCC is generally prohibited from issuing and selling its common stock at a price below net asset value per share and from incurring indebtedness (including for this purpose, preferred stock), if ARCC’s asset coverage, as calculated pursuant to the Investment Company Act, equals less than 200% after such incurrence.
Failure to comply with “pay to play” regulations implemented by the SEC and certain states, and changes to the “pay to play” regulatory regimes, could adversely affect our businesses.
In recent years, the SEC and several states have initiated investigations alleging that certain private equity firms and hedge funds or agents acting on their behalf have paid money to current or former government officials or their associates in exchange for improperly soliciting contracts with state pension funds. In June 2010, the SEC approved Rule 206(4)-5 under the Investment Advisers Act regarding “pay to play” practices by investment advisers involving campaign contributions and other payments to government officials able to exert influence on potential government entity clients. Among other restrictions, the rule prohibits investment advisers from providing advisory services for compensation to a government entity for two years, subject to very limited exceptions, after the investment adviser, its senior executives or its personnel involved in soliciting investments from government entities make contributions to certain candidates and officials in a position to influence the hiring of an investment adviser by such government entity. Advisers are required to implement compliance policies designed, among other matters, to track contributions by certain of the adviser’s employees and engagements of third parties that solicit government entities and to keep certain records to enable the SEC to determine compliance with the rule. In addition, there have been similar rules on a state level regarding “pay to play” practices by investment advisers. FINRA recently adopted its own set of “pay to play” regulations, which went into effect on August 20, 2017, that are similar to the SEC’s regulations.

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As we have a significant number of public pension plans that are investors in our funds, these rules could impose significant economic sanctions on our businesses if we or one of the other persons covered by the rules make any such contribution or payment, whether or not material or with an intent to secure an investment from a public pension plan. We may also acquire other investment managers who are not subject to the same restrictions as us, but whose activity, and the activity of their principals, prior to our ownership could affect our fundraising. In addition, such investigations may require the attention of senior management and may result in fines if any of our funds are deemed to have violated any regulations, thereby imposing additional expenses on us. Any failure on our part to comply with these rules could cause us to lose compensation for our advisory services or expose us to significant penalties and reputational damage.
The short-term and long-term impact of the Basel III capital standards is uncertain.
In June 2011, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, an international trade body comprised of senior representatives of bank supervisory authorities and central banks from 27 countries, including the United States and the EU, announced the final framework for a comprehensive set of capital and liquidity standards, commonly referred to as “Basel III,” for internationally active banking organizations and certain other types of financial institutions. These new standards, which will be fully phased in by 2019, will require banks to hold more capital, predominantly in the form of common equity, than under the current capital framework. Implementation of Basel III will require implementing regulations and guidelines by member countries. In July 2013, the U.S. federal banking regulators announced the adoption of final regulations to implement Basel III for U.S. banking organizations, subject to various transition periods. The EU implemented Basel III in June 2013. In April 2014, U.S. regulators adopted rules requiring enhanced supplementary leverage ratio standards beginning January 1, 2018, which impose capital requirements more stringent than those of the Basel III standards for the most systematically significant banking organizations in the United States. In January 2016, the Basel Committee published its revised capital requirements for market risk, known as Fundamental Review of the Trading Book (“FRTB”), which are expected to generally result in higher global capital requirements for banks that could, in turn, reduce liquidity and increase financing and hedging costs. The impact of FRTB will not be known until after any resulting rules are finalized by the U.S. federal bank regulatory agencies. Compliance with the Basel III standards, the supplemental regulatory standards adopted by U.S. regulators and FRTB may result in significant costs to banking organizations, which in turn may result in higher borrowing costs for the private sector and reduced access to certain types of credit.
Regulatory changes and other developments in the United States and regulatory compliance failures could adversely affect our reputation, businesses and operations.
In July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Act was signed into law and has imposed significant regulations on nearly every aspect of the U.S. financial services industry. The Dodd-Frank Act established a ten voting-member Financial Stability Oversight Council (the “Council”), an interagency body chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, to identify and manage systemic risk in the financial system and improve interagency cooperation. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the Council has the authority to review the activities of certain nonbank financial firms engaged in financial activities that are designated as “systemically important,” meaning, among other things, evaluating the impact of the distress of the financial firm on the stability of the U.S. economy. If we were designated as such, it would result in increased regulation of our businesses, including the imposition of capital, leverage, liquidity and risk management standards, credit exposure reporting and concentration limits, restrictions on acquisitions and annual stress tests by the Federal Reserve.
In October 2011, the Federal Reserve and other federal regulatory agencies issued a proposed rule implementing a section of the Dodd-Frank Act that has become known as the “Volcker Rule.” In December 2013, the Federal Reserve and other federal regulatory agencies adopted a final rule implementing the Volcker Rule. The Volcker Rule generally prohibits insured banks or thrifts, any bank holding company or savings and loan holding company, any non-U.S. bank with a U.S. branch, agency or commercial lending company and any subsidiaries and affiliates of such entities, regardless of geographic location, from investing in or sponsoring “covered funds,” which include private equity funds or hedge funds and certain other proprietary activities. The effects of the Volcker Rule are uncertain but it is in any event likely to curtail various banking activities that in turn could result in uncertainties in the financial markets as well as our business. The final Volcker Rule became effective on April 1, 2014, and, except with respect to certain foreign banking entities, the conformance period ended on July 21, 2017. It contains exemptions for certain “permitted activities” that would enable certain institutions subject to the Volcker Rule to continue investing in covered funds under certain conditions. Although we do not currently anticipate that the Volcker Rule will adversely affect our fundraising to any significant extent, there could be adverse implications on our ability to raise funds from the types of entities mentioned above as a result of this prohibition.
Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, regulation of the U.S. derivatives market is bifurcated between the CFTC and the SEC. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC has jurisdiction over swaps and the SEC has jurisdiction over security-based swaps. As part of its Dodd-Frank Act related rule-making process, the CFTC made changes to its rules with respect to the registration and oversight

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of CPOs. As a result of the CFTC’s revisions to these rules, all swaps (other than security-based swaps) are now included in the definition of commodity interests. As a result, funds that utilize swaps (whether or not related to a physical commodity) as part of their business model may fall within the statutory definition of a commodity pool. If a fund qualifies as a commodity pool, then, absent an available exemption, the operator of such fund is required to register with the CFTC as a CPO. Registration with the CFTC renders such CPO subject to regulation, including with respect to disclosure, reporting, recordkeeping and business conduct, which could significantly increase operating costs by requiring additional resources.
The Dodd-Frank Act requires the CFTC, the SEC and other regulatory authorities to promulgate certain rules relating to the regulation of the derivatives market. Such rules require or will require the registration of certain market participants, the clearing of certain derivatives contracts through central counterparties, the execution of certain derivatives contracts on electronic platforms, as well as reporting and recordkeeping of derivatives transactions. The Dodd-Frank Act also provides expanded enforcement authority to the CFTC and SEC. While certain rules have been promulgated and are already in effect, the rulemaking and implementation process is still ongoing. In particular, the CFTC has finalized most of its rules under the Dodd-Frank Act, and the SEC has proposed a number of rules regarding security-based swaps but has only finalized some of these rules. We cannot therefore yet predict the ultimate effect of the rules and regulations on our business.
Under CFTC and SEC rules, an entity may be required to register as a MSP or MSBSP if it has substantial swaps or security-based swaps positions or has substantial counterparty exposure from its swaps or security-based swaps positions. If any of our funds were required to register as an MSP or MSBSP, it could make compliance more expensive, affect the manner in which we conduct our businesses and adversely affect our profitability. Additionally, if any of our funds qualify as “special entities” under CFTC rules, it could make it more difficult for them to enter into derivatives transactions or make such transactions more expensive.
Pursuant to rules finalized by the CFTC in December 2012 and September 2016, certain classes of interest rate swaps and certain classes of credit default swaps are subject to mandatory clearing, unless an exemption applies. Many of these swaps are also subject to mandatory trading on designated contract markets or swap execution facilities. At this time, the CFTC has not proposed any rules designating other classes of swaps for mandatory clearing, but it may do so in the future. Mandatory clearing and trade execution requirements may change the cost and availability of the swaps that we use, and exposes our funds to the credit risk of the clearing house through which any cleared swap is cleared. In addition, federal bank regulatory authorities and the CFTC have adopted initial and variation margin requirements for swap dealers, security-based swap dealers and swap entities, including permissible forms of margin, custodial arrangements and documentation requirements for uncleared swaps and security-based swaps. As a result, swap entities will be required to collect margin for transactions and positions in uncleared swaps and security-based swaps by financial end users. The new rules became effective for end users on March 1, 2017. The CFTC’s Division of Swap Dealer and Intermediary Oversight subsequently extended, until September 1, 2017 ,the time to comply with the variation margin requirements for swaps that are subject to a March 1, 2017 compliance date. The effect of the regulations on us is not fully known at this time. However, these rules may increase the cost of our activity in uncleared swaps and security-based swaps if we are determined to be a financial end user.
In December 2016, the CFTC re-proposed rules that would set federal position limits for certain referenced contracts, and issued final rules on aggregation among entities under common ownership or control, for position limits on certain futures and options contracts that would apply to the proposed position limits on referenced contracts. It is possible that the CFTC could propose to expand such requirements to other types of contracts in the future. If any when enacted, the proposal could affect our ability and the ability for our funds to enter into derivatives transactions.
The CFTC has finalized rules requiring collateral used to margin cleared swaps to be segregated in a manner different from that applicable to the futures market and has finalized other rules allowing parties to an uncleared swap to require that any collateral posted as initial margin be segregated with a third party custodian. Collateral segregation may impose greater costs on us when entering into swaps.
In addition, the Dodd-Frank Act gave the CFTC expanded anti-fraud and anti-manipulation authority, including authority over disruptive trading practices and insider trading. Several investigations have commenced in the United States related to manipulation of the foreign exchange, LIBOR and indices markets. It is possible that new standards will emerge from these proceedings that could impact the way that we trade.
The Dodd-Frank Act authorizes federal regulatory agencies to review and, in certain cases, prohibit compensation arrangements at financial institutions that give employees incentives to engage in conduct deemed to encourage inappropriate risk-taking by covered financial institutions. In 2016, federal bank regulatory authorities and the SEC revised and re-proposed a rule that generally (1) prohibits incentive-based payment arrangements that are determined to encourage inappropriate risks by certain financial institutions by providing excessive compensation or that could lead to material financial loss and (2) requires

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those financial institutions to disclose information concerning incentive-based compensation arrangements to the appropriate federal regulator. The Dodd-Frank Act also directs the SEC to adopt a rule that requires public companies to adopt and disclose policies requiring, in the event the company is required to issue an accounting restatement, the contingent repayment obligations of related incentive compensation from current and former executive officers. The SEC has proposed but not yet adopted such rule. To the extent the aforementioned rules are adopted, our ability to recruit and retain investment professionals and senior management executives could be limited.
The Dodd-Frank Act amends the Exchange Act to compensate and protect whistleblowers who voluntarily provide original information to the SEC and establishes a fund to be used to pay whistleblowers who will be entitled to receive a payment equal to between 10% and 30% of certain monetary sanctions imposed in a successful government action resulting from the information provided by the whistleblower.
The SEC requires investment advisers registered or required to register with the SEC under the Investment Advisers Act that advise one or more private funds and have at least $150.0 million in private fund assets under management to periodically file reports on Form PF. We have filed, and will continue to file, quarterly reports on Form PF, which has resulted in increased administrative costs and requires a significant amount of attention and time to be spent by our personnel.
Many of these provisions are subject to further rulemaking and to the discretion of regulatory bodies, such as the Council and the Federal Reserve. On February 3, 2017, President Trump signed Executive Order 13772 (the “Executive Order”) announcing the new administration’s policy to regulate the U.S. financial system in a manner consistent with certain “Core Principles,” including regulation that is efficient, effective and appropriately tailored. The Executive Order directed the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the heads of the member agencies of the Financial Stability Oversight Council, to report to the President on the extent to which existing laws, regulations and other government policies promote the Core Principles and to identify any laws, regulations or other government policies that inhibit federal regulation of the U.S. financial system.
On June 12, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) published the first of several reports in response to the Executive Order on the depository system covering banks and other savings institutions. On October 6, 2017, the Treasury released a second report outlining ways to streamline and reform the U.S. regulatory system for capital markets, followed by a third report, on October 26, 2017, examining the current regulatory framework for the asset management and insurance industries. Subsequent reports are expected to address: retail and institutional investment products and vehicles, as well as non‑bank financial institutions, financial technology and financial innovation.
We may be impacted indirectly by guidance recently directed to regulated banking institutions with regard to leveraged lending practices. In March 2013, the U.S. federal banking agencies issued updated guidance on credit transactions characterized by a high degree of financial leverage. To the extent that such guidance limits the amount or increases the cost of financing we are able to obtain for our transactions, the returns on our investments may suffer. However, the status of the 2013 leveraged lending guidance remains in doubt following a determination by the Government Accountability Office, on October 19, 2017, that such guidance constituted a “rule” for purposes of the Congressional Review Act of 1996. As a result, the guidance was required to be submitted to Congress for review. It is possible the guidance could be overturned if a joint resolution of disapproval is passed by Congress.
On June 8, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Financial Choice Act, which includes legislation intended to repeal or replace substantial portions of the Dodd‑Frank Act. Among other things, the proposed law would repeal the Volcker Rule limiting certain proprietary investment and trading activities by banks, eliminate the authority of regulators to designate asset managers and other large non‑bank institutions as “systemically important financial institutions” or “SIFIs,” and repeal the Department of Labor (“DOL”) “fiduciary rule” governing standards for dealing with retirement plans until the SEC issues standards for similar dealings by broker‑dealers and limiting the substance of any subsequent DOL rule to the SEC standards. The bill was referred to the Senate, where it is unlikely to pass as proposed. On November 16, 2017, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators, led by Senate Banking Committee Chairman, introduced the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (the “Senate Regulatory Relief Bill”). The Senate Regulatory Relief Bill would revise various post-crisis regulatory requirements and provide targeted regulatory relief to certain financial institutions. Among the most significant of its proposed amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act are a substantial increase in the $50 billion asset threshold for automatic regulation of bank holding companies as SIFIs, an exemption from the Volcker Rule for insured depository institutions with less than $10 billion in consolidated assets and lower levels of trading assets and liabilities, as well as amendments to the liquidity leverage ratio and supplementary leverage ratio requirements. On December 5, 2017, the Senate Banking Committee approved the Senate Regulatory Relief Bill. If the legislation is adopted in the Senate, it remains unclear whether and how it would be reconciled with its House-passed counterpart, the Financial Choice Act, which is substantially different in scope and substance, and ultimately approved by both chambers of Congress.

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On February 9, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Risk Retention Rules do not apply to managers of open-market CLOs (i.e., CLOs for which the underlying assets are not transferred by the manager to the CLO issuer via a sale). The SEC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and certain other regulatory agencies have 45 days from the date of the decision to petition the U.S. Court of Appeals for an en banc review, during which time the rule will remain effective. If this petition is not made, or if such petition is made but denied, the U.S. Court of Appeals’ ruling will become effective seven days later with retroactive effect on all existing open-market CLOs. We are in the process of reviewing this decision and its ultimate impact on our business.
It is difficult to determine the full extent of the impact on us of the Financial Choice Act, the Dodd-Frank Act or any other new laws, regulations or initiatives that may be proposed or whether any of the proposals will become law. In addition, as a result of proposed legislation, shifting areas of focus of regulatory enforcement bodies or otherwise, regulatory compliance practices may shift such that formerly accepted industry practices become disfavored or less common. Any changes or other developments in the regulatory framework applicable to our businesses, including the changes described above and changes to formerly accepted industry practices, may impose additional costs on us, require the attention of our senior management or result in limitations on the manner in which we conduct our businesses. Moreover, as calls for additional regulation have increased, there may be a related increase in regulatory investigations of the trading and other investment activities of alternative asset management funds, including our funds. In addition, we may be adversely affected by changes in the interpretation or enforcement of existing laws and rules by these governmental authorities and self-regulatory organizations. Compliance with any new laws or regulations could make compliance more difficult and expensive, affect the manner in which we conduct our businesses and adversely affect our profitability.
Regulatory changes in jurisdictions outside the United States could adversely affect our businesses.
Certain of our subsidiaries operate outside the United States. In the United Kingdom, Ares Management Limited and Ares Management UK Limited are subject to regulation by the FCA. Ares European Loan Management LLP, which is not a subsidiary, but in which we are indirectly invested and which procures certain services from Ares Management Limited, is also subject to regulation by the FCA. In some circumstances, Ares Management Limited, Ares Management UK Limited, Ares European Loan Management LLP and other Ares entities are or become subject to UK or EU laws, for instance in relation to marketing our funds to investors in the EEA.
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU in March 2019. Some form of transitional agreement by which UK based financial services firms can continue to operate on a cross-border basis seems likely. However, the duration of the transitional agreement and the end-state relationship between the UK and EU remains unclear. There is a risk that following Brexit the UK may be denied access to the single market. This could be highly disruptive to our business and may result in us having to increase our presence in other EEA member states which would result in additional costs.
EU legislation could impact our business in the United Kingdom and other EEA member states where we have operations. The following measures are of particular relevance to our business.
In March 2013, the predecessor regulator to the FCA published the final rules for the FCA’s regulation and supervision of the LIBOR. In particular, the FCA’s LIBOR rules include requirements that (1) an independent LIBOR administrator monitor and survey LIBOR submissions to identify breaches of practice standards and/or potentially manipulative behavior, and (2) firms submitting data to LIBOR establish and maintain a clear conflicts of interest policy and appropriate systems and controls. These requirements may cause LIBOR to be more volatile than it has been in the past, which may adversely affect the value of investments made by our funds. On February 3, 2014, ICE Benchmark Administration Limited took responsibility for administering LIBOR, following regulatory authorization by the FCA. LIBOR is expected to be phased out over the coming years. The Bank of England working group has approved SONIA as its preferred short-term interest benchmark and will take over its administration from April 2018. The impact this change will have is uncertain.
The Benchmarks Regulation entered into force on June 30, 2016. It aims to introduce a common framework and consistent approach to benchmark regulation across the EU by regulating producers, contributors to and users of benchmarks. The Benchmarks Regulation will replace the current UK framework regulating LIBOR and other specified benchmarks, notably the EURIBOR. The majority of provisions in the Benchmarks Regulation took effect on January 1, 2018. Although there are measures in the Benchmarks Regulation which are designed to prevent certain benchmarks from being undermined by a material reduction of benchmark contributors, it is not yet clear how successful these will be. The Benchmarks Regulation may therefore lead to unpredictable developments in relation to LIBOR and certain other benchmarks, which could affect the value of investments made by our funds.

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The Directive and CRD IV restrict the ability of banks and alternative investment funds (“AIFs”) managed in the EU to invest in securitization vehicles including collateralized loan obligations operated by us unless either the “originator”, “original lender” or “sponsor” (as those terms are defined in the legislation) retains a 5% interest in the securitization concerned. Where such securitization arrangements are managed by Ares-affiliated undertakings, and in order to make the securitization attractive to banks and AIFs, this risk retention requirement is held by an appropriately (EU) authorized and regulated entity affiliated with us (i.e., as “sponsor”). The holding of that retention on our affiliate’s balance sheet is likely to increase that entity’s regulatory capital requirement and will accordingly adversely affect return on equity. On December 28, 2017 the text of the new Securitization Regulation was published in the EU Official Journal. The new regulation will apply from January 1, 2019 to securitization issued after that date. Although risk retention requirements will remain at 5% (of material net economic interest) a mechanism has been introduced whereby this requirement could be modified without the need for the change to be made through the normal EU legislative process. There are also new investor transparency requirements which require additional information to be disclosed to investors. Compliance with these new requirements in the Securitization Regulation may result in us incurring material costs.
The EU Regulation on OTC derivative transactions, central counterparties and trade repositories (commonly known as EMIR) will require the mandatory clearing of certain OTC derivatives through central counterparties and creates additional margining requirements in respect of OTC derivative transactions that are not cleared by a central counterparty. The implementation of EMIR is phased; timing is dependent on the type of derivative and the categorization of the parties to the trade. Implementation deadlines have already been deferred but as they currently stand full implementation is due by July 9, 2019. EMIR has started to impact on Ares-affiliated undertakings and as further implementation dates are reached the cost of complying with the requirements is likely to increase. In addition, there is an amendment to EMIR currently working its way through EU the legislative process. Among other things, the amendment would classify securitization special purpose entities as financial counterparties which may indirectly impact certain aspects of our business.
On December 14, 2015, the European Banking Authority published guidelines which are relevant to, among other things, EU banks' exposures to shadow banking entities. These guidelines have applied since January 1, 2017. The definition of shadow banking entity is extremely wide and could potentially catch a number of different entities, including investment funds and securitization vehicles. AIFs are excluded from the definition of a shadow banking entity unless they: (1) deploy leverage within the meaning of the Directive on a substantial basis; or (2) are permitted to originate loans or purchase third party lending exposures onto their balance sheet pursuant to the relevant fund rules or constitutional documents. These guidelines may affect our ability to raise capital in certain of our funds from EU banks.
On December 20, 2017, the European Commission published a proposal for a new directive and regulation on prudential requirements for MiFID investment firms, and the proposal will directly apply to Ares Management Limited and Ares European Loan Management LLP. Its application to Ares Management UK Limited is unclear. Under the proposals most affected firms would see their capital requirements increase significantly, although there would be transitional provisions allowing firms to increase their capital to the necessary level over three to five years. Firms will also have their liquidity requirements increased and some firms will be subject to additional public reporting requirements and pay regulation. The proposals are likely to increase the cost of us conducting business in the EEA. The legislative package is not expected to come into force until 2020 at the earliest.
Our UK, other European and Asian operations and our investment activities worldwide are subject to a variety of regulatory regimes that vary by country. In addition, we regularly rely on exemptions from various requirements of the regulations of certain foreign countries in conducting our asset management activities.
Each of the regulatory bodies with jurisdiction over us has regulatory powers dealing with many aspects of financial services, including the authority to grant, and in specific circumstances to cancel, permissions to carry on particular activities. We are involved regularly in trading activities that implicate a broad number of foreign (as well as U.S.) securities law regimes, including laws governing trading on inside information and market manipulation and a broad number of technical trading requirements that implicate fundamental market regulation policies. Violation of these laws could result in severe restrictions or prohibitions on our activities and damage to our reputation, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our businesses in a number of ways, making it harder for us to raise new funds and discouraging others from doing business with us. In addition, increasing global regulatory oversight of fundraising activities, including local registration requirements in various jurisdictions and the addition of new compliance regimes, could make it more difficult for us to raise new funds or could increase the cost of raising such funds.
Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive
The Directive was enacted in July 2011 and took effect on July 22, 2013. The Directive applies to (1) AIFMs established in the EEA that manage EEA or non-EEA AIFs, (2) non-EEA AIFMs that manage EEA AIFs and (3) non-EEA AIFMs that market their AIFs to professional investors within the EEA.

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Each of the AIFMs identified in (1), (2) and (3) of the paragraph above need to comply with the Directive’s disclosure and transparency requirements when seeking to market within the EEA and, in the case of non-EEA AIFMs seeking to market under jurisdiction specific private placement regimes, additional jurisdiction specific requirements where these exist (e.g., appointing a depositary). However, the full scope of the Directive may also be extended on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis to non-EEA AIFMs that wish to market an AIF within the EEA pursuant to a pan-European marketing passport. In July 2016, the ESMA published advice to EU institutions on extending the passport to certain non-EU jurisdictions. The European Commission was expected and arguably required to publish legislation before the end of October 2016 setting a date for the pan-European marketing passport to be made available, at least in respect of the five non-EEA jurisdictions it had assessed positively. It did not publish this legislation. In 2017 the European Commission started a review of the application and scope of AIFMD. The European Commission is expected to make a legislative proposal as a result of the review (commonly referred to as "AIFMD II") with any changes to non-EEA jurisdiction passporting rights forming part of the proposal. Given that the review of the application and scope of AIFMD is still ongoing and the substance of any legislative proposal is uncertain, it remains unclear whether and how any such legislation could affect us or our subsidiaries. Further, compliance with AIFMD or AIFMD II may increase the cost and complexity of raising capital and consequently may slow the pace of fundraising.
Certain of the jurisdiction specific private placement regimes may cease to exist when the non-EEA AIFM passport becomes available. This development could have a negative impact on our ability to raise capital from EEA investors if, for example, a jurisdiction specific private placement regime ceases to operate and the non-EEA AIFM passport is not made available to United States AIFMs.
The operating requirements imposed by the Directive on the categories of AIFMDs listed in (1) and (2) above include, among other things, rules relating to the remuneration of certain personnel, minimum regulatory capital requirements, restrictions on the use of leverage, restrictions on early distributions relating to portfolio companies (so-called “asset stripping rules”), disclosure and reporting requirements to both investors and home state regulators, the independent valuation of an AIF’s assets and the appointment of an independent depository to hold assets. As a result, the Directive increases the regulatory burden and the cost of doing business for Ares Management UK Limited and, to a more limited extent, non-EEA AIFMs which market non-EEA AIFs under EEA private placement regimes. This potentially disadvantages our funds as investors in private companies located in EEA member states when compared to non-AIF/AIFM competitors that may not be subject to the requirements of the Directive, thereby potentially restricting our funds’ ability to invest in such companies. “Levelling-up” of some of these requirements seems likely under AIFMD II.
The Directive could also limit our operating flexibility and our investment opportunities, as well as expose us and/or our funds to conflicting regulatory requirements in the United States and elsewhere.
Solvency II
Solvency II sets out stronger capital adequacy and risk management requirements for European insurers and reinsurers and, in particular, dictates how much capital such firms must hold against their liabilities and introduces a risk-based assessment of those liabilities. Solvency II came into force on January 1, 2010 but was only required to be implemented by firms on January 1, 2016. There are also a number of transitional provisions designed to avoid market disruption. Solvency II imposes, among other things, substantially greater quantitative and qualitative capital requirements for insurers and reinsurers as well as other supervisory and disclosure requirements. We are not subject to Solvency II; however, many of our European insurer or reinsurer fund investors are subject to this directive, as applied under applicable domestic law. Solvency II may impact insurers’ and reinsurers’ investment decisions and their asset allocations. In addition, insurers and reinsurers will be subject to more onerous data collation and reporting requirements. As a result, Solvency II could have an adverse indirect effect on our businesses by, among other things, restricting the ability of European insurers and reinsurers to invest in our funds and imposing on us extensive disclosure and reporting obligations for those insurers and reinsurers that do invest in our funds. A number of reviews of and amendments to various aspects and components of Solvency II are expected throughout 2018.
MiFID II
The recast Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (collectively referred to as MiFID II) came into effect on January 3, 2018. MiFID II amends the existing MiFID regime and, among other requirements, introduces new organizational and operational requirements for investment firms in the EEA.
Specifically, under MiFID II, national competent authorities (including the FCA), within EU member states, are required to establish position limits in relation to the maximum size of positions which a relevant person can hold in certain commodity derivatives. The limits apply to contracts traded on trading venues and their economically equivalent OTC contracts. The position

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limits established, as amended from time to time, and our ability to rely on any exemption thereunder may affect the size and types of investments we may make. Moreover, in order to avoid exceeding position limits, it is possible that we and our affiliates may need to significantly alter our business processes related to such trading, including by modifying trading strategies and instructions.
Compliance with these rules requires updates to some existing procedures, systems and controls and the development of new internal systems, which may include substantial automated and electronic systems, and is likely to involve material costs to the business.
The vote in the UK to exit from the EU could adversely affect our business and our operations.
The vote by the electorate in a referendum in the UK to exit from the EU (referred to as “Brexit”) could disrupt our business and operations, including the liquidity and value of our investments. Since its announcement, Brexit has caused significant geo-political uncertainty and market volatility in the UK and elsewhere. Although the referendum is non-binding, the UK’s leadership has indicated that it expects Brexit to be passed into law and to commence negotiations with the EU to determine the future terms, including with respect to trade, of the UK’s ongoing relationship with the EU. These negotiations are expected to take a number of years, which could prolong the related uncertainty and volatility, which among other things, could affect the pace of capital deployment and investment realizations.
Depending on the outcome of these negotiations, the UK could lose access to the single EU market and to the global trade deals negotiated by the EU on behalf of its members, which could have a material adverse effect on our operations and the operations of our portfolio companies. For example, a decline in trade could affect the attractiveness of the UK as a global investment center and, as a result, could make doing business in Europe more difficult.
Currently under the EU single market directives, mutual access rights to markets and market infrastructure exist across the EU and the mutual recognition of insolvency, bank recovery and resolution regimes applies. In addition, certain regulated entities licensed or authorized in one EEA jurisdiction may operate on a cross-border basis in other EEA countries in reliance on passporting rights and without the need for a separate license or authorization. There is uncertainty as to whether, following a UK exit from the EU or the EEA (whatever the form thereof), a passporting regime (or similar regime in its effect) will apply (if at all). Depending on the terms of the UK’s exit and the terms of any replacement relationship, it is likely that UK regulated entities may, on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, lose the right to passport their services to EEA countries, and EEA entities may lose the right to reciprocal passporting into the UK. The movement of capital and the mobility of personnel may also be restricted. Also, UK entities may no longer have access rights to market infrastructure across the EU and the recognition of insolvency, bank recovery and resolution regimes across the EU may no longer be mutual.    
These and other by-products of Brexit, such as the tightening of credit in the UK commercial real estate market, may also increase the costs of having operations, conducting business and making investments in the UK and Europe. As a result, the performance of our funds which are focused on investing in the UK and to a lesser extent across Europe, such as certain funds in our Credit and Real Estate Groups may be disproportionately affected compared to those funds that invest more broadly across global geographies or are focused on different regions.
The Brexit vote could cause exchange rate fluctuations that result in the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies in which we conduct business, including the British pound and the Euro. Where un-hedged, the strengthening of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies may, among other things, adversely affect the results of operations of our funds and investments that are denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies and also adversely affect businesses that rely on the strength of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar, and thereby have a negative impact on our investments in those businesses. Movements in the rate of exchange between the U.S. dollar and non-U.S. dollar currencies affect the management fees earned by funds with fee earning AUM denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies as well as by funds with fee earning AUM denominated in U.S. dollars that hold investments denominated in non-U.S. dollar currencies. Additionally, movements in exchange rates affect operating expenses for our foreign offices that are denominated in non-U.S. currencies, cash balances we hold in non-U.S. currencies and investments we hold in non-U.S. currencies.
Further, the UK’s determination as to which, if any, EU laws to repeal, retain, replace or replicate upon its exit from the EU could exacerbate the uncertainty and result in divergent national laws and regulations. Changes to the regulatory regimes in the UK or the EU and its member states could materially affect our business prospects and opportunities and increase our costs. In addition, Brexit could potentially disrupt the tax jurisdictions in which we operate and affect the tax benefits or liabilities in these or other jurisdictions in a manner that is adverse to us and/or our funds. Any of the foregoing could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

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We are subject to risks in using prime brokers, custodians, counterparties, administrators and other agents.
Many of our funds depend on the services of prime brokers, custodians, counterparties, administrators and other agents to carry out certain securities and derivatives transactions. The terms of these contracts are often customized and complex, and many of these arrangements occur in markets or relate to products that are not subject to regulatory oversight, although the Dodd-Frank Act provides for new regulation of the derivatives market. In particular, some of our funds utilize prime brokerage arrangements with a relatively limited number of counterparties, which has the effect of concentrating the transaction volume (and related counterparty default risk) of these funds with these counterparties.
Our funds are subject to the risk that the counterparty to one or more of these contracts defaults, either voluntarily or involuntarily, on its performance under the contract. Any such default may occur suddenly and without notice to us. Moreover, if a counterparty defaults, we may be unable to take action to cover our exposure, either because we lack contractual recourse or because market conditions make it difficult to take effective action. This inability could occur in times of market stress, which is when defaults are most likely to occur.
In addition, our risk-management models may not accurately anticipate the impact of market stress or counterparty financial condition, and as a result, we may not have taken sufficient action to reduce our risks effectively. Default risk may arise from events or circumstances that are difficult to detect, foresee or evaluate. In addition, concerns about, or a default by, one large participant could lead to significant liquidity problems for other participants, which may in turn expose us to significant losses.
Although we have risk-management models and processes to ensure that we are not exposed to a single counterparty for significant periods of time, given the large number and size of our funds, we often have large positions with a single counterparty. For example, most of our funds have credit lines. If the lender under one or more of those credit lines were to become insolvent, we may have difficulty replacing the credit line and one or more of our funds may face liquidity problems.
In the event of a counterparty default, particularly a default by a major investment bank or a default by a counterparty to a significant number of our contracts, one or more of our funds may have outstanding trades that they cannot settle or are delayed in settling. As a result, these funds could incur material losses and the resulting market impact of a major counterparty default could harm our businesses, results of operation and financial condition.
In the event of the insolvency of a prime broker, custodian, counterparty or any other party that is holding assets of our funds as collateral, our funds might not be able to recover equivalent assets in full as they will rank among the prime broker’s, custodian’s or counterparty’s unsecured creditors in relation to the assets held as collateral. In addition, our funds’ cash held with a prime broker, custodian or counterparty generally will not be segregated from the prime broker’s, custodian’s or counterparty’s own cash, and our funds may therefore rank as unsecured creditors in relation thereto. If our derivatives transactions are cleared through a derivatives clearing organization, the CFTC has issued final rules regulating the segregation and protection of collateral posted by customers of cleared and uncleared swaps. The CFTC is also working to provide new guidance regarding prime broker arrangements and intermediation generally with regard to trading on swap execution facilities.
The counterparty risks that we face have increased in complexity and magnitude as a result of disruption in the financial markets in recent years. For example, the consolidation and elimination of counterparties has increased our concentration of counterparty risk and decreased the universe of potential counterparties, and our funds are generally not restricted from dealing with any particular counterparty or from concentrating any or all of their transactions with one counterparty. In addition, counterparties have generally reacted to recent market volatility by tightening their underwriting standards and increasing their margin requirements for all categories of financing, which has the result of decreasing the overall amount of leverage available and increasing the costs of borrowing.
A portion of our revenue, net income and cash flow is variable, which may make it difficult for us to achieve steady earnings growth on a quarterly basis and may cause the price of our common shares to decline.
A portion of our revenue, net income and cash flow is variable, primarily due to the fact that the performance fees that we receive from certain of our funds can vary from quarter to quarter and year to year. In addition, the investment returns of most of our funds are volatile. We may also experience fluctuations in our results from quarter to quarter and year to year due to a number of other factors, including changes in the values of our funds’ investments, changes in the amount of distributions, dividends or interest paid in respect of investments, changes in our operating expenses, the degree to which we encounter competition and general economic and market conditions. Such variability may lead to volatility in the trading price of our common shares and cause our results for a particular period not to be indicative of our performance in a future period. It may be difficult for us to achieve steady growth in net income and cash flow on a quarterly basis, which could in turn lead to large adverse movements in the price of our common shares or increased volatility in the price of our common shares generally.

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The timing and amount of performance fees generated by our funds is uncertain and contributes to the volatility of our results. It takes a substantial period of time to identify attractive investment opportunities, to raise all the funds needed to make an investment and then to realize the cash value or other proceeds of an investment through a sale, public offering, recapitalization or other exit. Even if an investment proves to be profitable, it may be several years before any profits can be realized in cash or other proceeds. We cannot predict when, or if, any realization of investments will occur. If we were to have a realization event in a particular quarter or year, it may have a significant impact on our results for that particular quarter or year that may not be replicated in subsequent periods. We recognize revenue on investments in our funds based on our allocable share of realized and unrealized gains (or losses) reported by such funds, and a decline in realized or unrealized gains, or an increase in realized or unrealized losses, would adversely affect our revenue, which could increase the volatility of our results.
With respect to our funds that generate carried interest, the timing and receipt of such carried interest varies with the life cycle of our funds. During periods in which a relatively large portion of our assets under management is attributable to funds and investments in their “harvesting” period, our funds would make larger distributions than in the fund-raising or investment periods that precede harvesting. During periods in which a significant portion of our assets under management is attributable to funds that are not in their harvesting periods, we may receive substantially lower carried interest distributions. Moreover in some cases, we receive carried interest payments only upon realization of investments by the relevant fund, which contributes to the volatility of our cash flow and in other funds we are only entitled to carried interest payments after a return of all contributions and a preferred return to investors.
With respect to our funds that pay an incentive fee, the incentive fee is generally paid annually. In many cases, we earn this incentive fee only if the net asset value of a fund has increased or, in the case of certain funds, increased beyond a particular threshold. Some of our funds also have “high water marks”. If the high water mark for a particular fund is not surpassed, we would not earn an incentive fee with respect to that fund during a particular period even if the fund had positive returns in such period as a result of losses in prior periods. If the fund were to experience losses, we would not be able to earn an incentive fee from such fund until it surpassed the previous high water mark. The incentive fees we earn are, therefore, dependent on the net asset value of our fund investments, which could lead to significant volatility in our results. Finally, the timing and amount of incentive fees generated by our closed-end funds are uncertain and will contribute to the volatility of our net income. Incentive fees depend on our closed-end funds’ investment performance and opportunities for realizing gains, which may be limited.
Because a portion of our revenue, net income and cash flow can be variable from quarter to quarter and year to year, we do not plan to provide any guidance regarding our expected quarterly and annual operating results. The lack of guidance may affect the expectations of public market analysts and could cause increased volatility in the price of our common shares.
Cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents could adversely affect our business by causing a disruption to our operations, a compromise or corruption of our confidential information and/or damage to our business relationships, any of which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and operating results.
There has been an increase in the frequency and sophistication of the cyber and security threats we face, with attacks ranging from those common to businesses generally to those that are more advanced and persistent, which may target us because, as an alternative asset management firm, we hold confidential and other price sensitive information about existing and potential investments. As a result, we may face a heightened risk of a security breach or disruption with respect to sensitive information resulting from an attack by computer hackers, foreign governments or cyber terrorists.
The efficient operation of our business is dependent on computer hardware and software systems, as well as data processing systems and the secure processing, storage and transmission of information, which are vulnerable to security breaches and cyber incidents. A cyber incident is considered to be any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity or availability of our information resources. These incidents may be an intentional attack or an unintentional event and could involve gaining unauthorized access to our information systems for purposes of misappropriating assets, stealing confidential information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. In addition, we and our employees may be the target of fraudulent emails or other targeted attempts to gain unauthorized access to proprietary or sensitive information. The result of these incidents may include disrupted operations, misstated or unreliable financial data, liability for stolen assets or information, increased cybersecurity protection and insurance costs, litigation and damage to our business relationships, causing our business and results of operations to suffer. As our reliance on technology has increased, so have the risks posed to our information systems, both internal and those provided by third-party service providers. We have implemented processes, procedures and internal controls designed to mitigate cybersecurity risks and cyber intrusions and rely on industry accepted securities measures and technology to securely maintain confidential and proprietary information maintained on our information systems; however, these measures, as well as our increased awareness of the nature and extent of a risk of a cyber-incident, do not guarantee that a cyber-incident will not occur and/or that our financial results, operations or confidential information will not be negatively impacted by such an incident.

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These risks are exacerbated by the rapidly increasing volume of highly sensitive data, including our proprietary business information and intellectual property, and personally identifiable information of our employees and our investors, that we collect and store in our data centers and on our networks. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of this information are critical to our operations. A significant actual or potential theft, loss, corruption, exposure, fraudulent use or misuse of investor, employee or other personally identifiable or proprietary business data, whether by third parties or as a result of employee malfeasance or otherwise, non-compliance with our contractual or other legal obligations regarding such data or intellectual property or a violation of our privacy and security policies with respect to such data could result in significant remediation and other costs, fines, litigation or regulatory actions against us and significant reputational harm.
Our funds’ portfolio companies also rely on similar systems and face similar risks. A disruption or compromise of these systems could have a material adverse effect on the value of these businesses. Our funds may invest in strategic assets having a national or regional profile or in infrastructure assets, the nature of which could expose them to a greater risk of being subject to a terrorist attack or security breach than other assets or businesses.
Cybersecurity has become a priority for regulators in the U.S. and around the world. For example, the SEC has announced that one of the 2018 examination priorities for the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations is on cybersecurity procedures and controls. In addition, the new European General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) will come into effect in May 2018. Data protection requirements under the GDPR will be more stringent than those imposed under existing European legislation. Additional restrictions on our ability to use and retain personal data could impede our business while the financial penalties for non-compliance could be up to the higher of 20 million Euros or 4% of group annual turnover.
We expect to be required to devote increasing levels of funding and resources to comply with evolving cybersecurity regulations and to continually monitor and enhance our cybersecurity procedures and controls.
We may be subject to litigation risks and may face liabilities and damage to our professional reputation as a result.
In recent years, the volume of claims and amount of damages claimed in litigation and regulatory proceedings against investment managers have been increasing. We make investment decisions on behalf of investors in our funds that could result in substantial losses. This may subject us to the risk of legal liabilities or actions alleging negligent misconduct, breach of fiduciary duty or breach of contract. Further, we may be subject to third-party litigation arising from allegations that we improperly exercised control or influence over portfolio investments. In addition, we and our affiliates that are the investment managers and general partners of our funds, our funds themselves and those of our employees who are our, our subsidiaries’ or the funds’ officers and directors are each exposed to the risks of litigation specific to the funds’ investment activities and portfolio companies and, in the case where our funds own controlling interests in public companies, to the risk of shareholder litigation by the public companies’ other shareholders. Moreover, we are exposed to risks of litigation or investigation by investors or regulators relating to our having engaged, or our funds having engaged, in transactions that presented conflicts of interest that were not properly addressed.
Legal liability could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition or results of operations or cause reputational harm to us, which could harm our businesses. We depend to a large extent on our business relationships and our reputation for integrity and high-caliber professional services to attract and retain investors and to pursue investment opportunities for our funds. As a result, allegations of improper conduct by private litigants or regulators, whether the ultimate outcome is favorable or unfavorable to us, as well as negative publicity and press speculation about us, our investment activities or the investment industry in general, whether or not valid, may harm our reputation, which may be damaging to our businesses.
In addition, the laws and regulations governing the limited liability of such issuers and portfolio companies vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and in certain contexts the laws of certain jurisdictions may provide not only for carve-outs from limited liability protection for the issuer or portfolio company that has incurred the liabilities, but also for recourse to assets of other entities under common control with, or that are part of the same economic group as, such issuer. For example, if one of our portfolio companies is subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings in a jurisdiction and is found to have liabilities under the local consumer protection, labor, tax or bankruptcy laws, the laws of that jurisdiction may permit authorities or creditors to file a lien on, or to otherwise have recourse to, assets held by other portfolio companies (including assets held by us) in that jurisdiction. There can be no assurance that we will not be adversely affected as a result of the foregoing risks.
Employee misconduct could harm us by impairing our ability to attract and retain investors and subjecting us to significant legal liability, regulatory scrutiny and reputational harm.
Our ability to attract and retain investors and to pursue investment opportunities for our funds depends heavily upon the reputation of our professionals, especially our senior professionals. We are subject to a number of obligations and standards arising from our investment management business and our authority over the assets managed by our investment management business.

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Further, our employees are subject to various internal policies including a Code of Ethics and policies covering information systems, business continuity and information security. The violation of these obligations, standards and policies by any of our employees could adversely affect investors in our funds and us. Our businesses often require that we deal with confidential matters of great significance to companies in which our funds may invest. If our employees or former employees were to use or disclose confidential information improperly, we could suffer serious harm to our reputation, financial position and current and future business relationships. Employee misconduct could also include, among other things, binding us to transactions that exceed authorized limits or present unacceptable risks and other unauthorized activities or concealing unsuccessful investments (which, in either case, may result in unknown and unmanaged risks or losses), or otherwise charging (or seeking to charge) inappropriate expenses.
It is not always possible to detect or deter employee misconduct, and the extensive precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in all cases. If one or more of our employees or former employees were to engage in misconduct or were to be accused of such misconduct, our businesses and our reputation could be adversely affected and a loss of investor confidence could result, which would adversely impact our ability to raise future funds.
Fraud and other deceptive practices or other misconduct at our portfolio companies, properties or projects could similarly subject us to liability and reputational damage and also harm our businesses.
In recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC have devoted greater resources to enforcement of the FCPA. In addition, the United Kingdom significantly expanded the reach of its anti-bribery law with the creation of the U.K. Bribery Act of 2010 (the “UK Bribery Act”). The UK Bribery Act prohibits companies that conduct business in the United Kingdom and their employees and representatives from giving, offering or promising bribes to any person, including non-UK government officials, as well as requesting, agreeing to receive or accepting bribes from any person. Under the UK Bribery Act, companies may be held liable for failing to prevent their employees and associated persons from violating the UK Bribery Act. While we have developed and implemented policies and procedures designed to ensure strict compliance by us and our personnel with the FCPA and UK Bribery Act, such policies and procedures may not be effective in all instances to prevent violations. Any determination that we have violated the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act or other applicable anti-corruption laws could subject us to, among other things, civil and criminal penalties, material fines, profit disgorgement, injunctions on future conduct, securities litigation and a general loss of investor confidence, any one of which could adversely affect our business prospects, financial position or the market value of our common shares.
In addition, we could be adversely affected as a result of actual or alleged misconduct by personnel of portfolio companies, properties or projects in which our funds invest. For example, failures by personnel at our portfolio companies, properties or projects to comply with anti-bribery, trade sanctions, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or Environmental Protection Agency regulations or other legal and regulatory requirements could expose us to litigation or regulatory action and otherwise adversely affect our businesses and reputation. Such misconduct could negatively affect the valuation of a fund’s investments and consequently affect our funds’ performance and negatively impact our businesses.
Our use of leverage to finance our businesses exposes us to substantial risks.
As of December 31, 2017, we had $210.0 million of borrowings outstanding under our credit facility (the “Credit Facility”) and $406.2 million aggregate principal amount of senior notes outstanding. We may choose to finance our businesses operations through further borrowings under the Credit Facility or by issuing additional debt. Our existing and future indebtedness exposes us to the typical risks associated with the use of leverage, including the same risks that are applicable to our funds that use leverage as discussed below under “-Risks Related to Our Funds-Dependence on significant leverage in investments by our funds subjects us to volatility and contractions in the debt financing markets and could adversely affect our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments.” The occurrence or continuation of any of these events or trends could cause us to suffer a decline in the credit ratings assigned to our debt by rating agencies, which would cause the interest rate applicable to borrowings under the Credit Facility to increase and could result in other material adverse effects on our businesses. We depend on financial institutions extending credit to us on terms that are reasonable to us. There is no guarantee that such institutions will continue to extend credit to us or renew any existing credit agreements we may have with them, or that we will be able to refinance outstanding facilities when they mature. [In addition, the incurrence of additional debt in the future could result in potential downgrades of our existing corporate credit ratings, which could limit the availability of future financing and/or increase our cost of borrowing.] Furthermore, our Credit Facility and the indenture governing our senior notes contain certain covenants with which we need to comply. Non-compliance with any of the covenants without cure or waiver would constitute an event of default, and an event of default resulting from a breach of certain covenants could result, at the option of the lenders, in an acceleration of the principal and interest outstanding. In addition, if we incur additional debt, our credit rating could be adversely impacted.
Borrowings under the Credit Facility will mature in February 2022 and the senior notes mature in October 2024. As these borrowings and other indebtedness mature (or are otherwise repaid prior to their scheduled maturities), we may be required to

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either refinance them by entering into new facilities or issuing additional debt, which could result in higher borrowing costs, or issuing equity, which would dilute existing shareholders. We could also repay these borrowings by using cash on hand, cash provided by our continuing operations or cash from the sale of our assets, which could reduce distributions to our common shareholders. We may be unable to enter into new facilities or issue debt or equity in the future on attractive terms, or at all. Borrowings under the Credit Facility are LIBOR-based obligations. As a result, an increase in short-term interest rates will increase our interest costs if such borrowings have not been hedged into fixed rates.
The risks related to our use of leverage may be exacerbated by our funds’ use of leverage to finance investments. See “-Risks Related to Our Funds-Dependence on significant leverage in investments by our funds subjects us to volatility and contractions in the debt financing markets and could adversely affect our ability to achieve attractive rates of returns on those investments.”
Operational risks may disrupt our businesses, result in losses or limit our growth.
We face operational risk from errors made in the execution, confirmation or settlement of transactions. We also face operational risk from transactions and key data not being properly recorded, evaluated or accounted for in our funds. In particular, our Credit Group, and to a lesser extent our Private Equity Group, are highly dependent on our ability to process and evaluate, on a daily basis, transactions across markets and geographies in a time-sensitive, efficient and accurate manner. Consequently, we rely heavily on our financial, accounting and other data processing systems. New investment products we may introduce could create a significant risk that our existing systems may not be adequate to identify or control the relevant risks in the investment strategies employed by such new investment products.
In addition, we operate in a business that is highly dependent on information systems and technology. Our information systems and technology may not continue to be able to accommodate our growth, particularly our growth internationally, and the cost of maintaining the systems may increase from its current level. Such a failure to accommodate growth, or an increase in costs related to the information systems, could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Furthermore, our headquarters and a substantial portion of our personnel are located in Los Angeles. An earthquake or other disaster or a disruption in the infrastructure that supports our businesses, including a disruption involving electronic communications, our internal human resources systems or other services used by us or third parties with whom we conduct business, or directly affecting our headquarters, could have a material adverse effect on our ability to continue to operate our businesses without interruption. Although we have disaster recovery programs in place, these may not be sufficient to mitigate the harm that may result from such a disaster or disruption. In addition, insurance and other safeguards might only partially reimburse us for our losses, if at all.
Finally, we rely on third-party service providers for certain aspects of our businesses, including for certain information systems, technology and administration of our funds and compliance matters. Any interruption or deterioration in the performance of these third parties or failures of their information systems and technology could impair the quality of our funds’ operations and could impact our reputation, adversely affect our businesses and limit our ability to grow.
Risks Related to Our Funds
The historical returns attributable to our funds should not be considered as indicative of the future results of our funds or of our future results or of any returns expected on an investment in our common shares.
The historical performance of our funds is relevant to us primarily insofar as it is indicative of performance fees we have earned in the past and may earn in the future and our reputation and ability to raise new funds. The historical and potential returns of the funds we advise are not, however, directly linked to returns on our common shares. Therefore, holders of our common shares should not conclude that positive performance of the funds we advise will necessarily result in positive returns on an investment in common shares. However, poor performance of the funds we advise would likely cause a decline in our revenues and would therefore likely have a negative effect on our operating results and returns on our common shares. An investment in our shares is not an investment in any of our funds. Also, there is no assurance that projections in respect of our funds or unrealized valuations will be realized.

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Moreover, the historical returns of our funds should not be considered indicative of the future returns of these or from any future funds we may raise, in part because:
market conditions during previous periods may have been significantly more favorable for generating positive performance than the market conditions we may experience in the future;
our funds’ rates of returns, which are calculated on the basis of net asset value of the funds’ investments, reflect unrealized gains, which may never be realized;
our funds’ returns have previously benefited from investment opportunities and general market conditions that may not recur, including the availability of debt capital on attractive terms and the availability of distressed debt opportunities, and we may not be able to achieve the same returns or profitable investment opportunities or deploy capital as quickly;
the historical returns that we present in this Annual Report on Form 10-K derive largely from the performance of our earlier funds, whereas future fund returns will depend increasingly on the performance of our newer funds or funds not yet formed, which may have little or no realized investment track record;
our funds’ historical investments were made over a long period of time and over the course of various market and macroeconomic cycles, and the circumstances under which our current or future funds may make future investments may differ significantly from those conditions prevailing in the past;
the attractive returns of certain of our funds have been driven by the rapid return of invested capital, which has not occurred with respect to all of our funds and we believe is less likely to occur in the future;
in recent years, there has been increased competition for private equity investment opportunities resulting from the increased amount of capital invested in alternative funds and high liquidity in debt markets, and the increased competition for investments may reduce our returns in the future; and
our newly established funds may generate lower returns during the period that they take to deploy their capital.
The future internal rate of return for any current or future fund may vary considerably from the historical internal rate of return generated by any particular fund, or for our funds as a whole. Future returns will also be affected by the risks described elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including risks of the industries and businesses in which a particular fund invests.
Valuation methodologies for certain assets can be subject to significant subjectivity, and the values of assets may never be realized.
Many of the investments in our funds are illiquid and thus have no readily ascertainable market prices. We value these investments based on our estimate, or an independent third party’s estimate, of their fair value as of the date of determination, which often involves significant subjectivity. There is no single standard for determining fair value in good faith and in many cases fair value is best expressed as a range of fair values from which a single estimate may be derived. We estimate the fair value of our investments based on third-party models, or models developed by us, which include discounted cash flow analyses and other techniques and may be based, at least in part, on independently sourced market parameters. The material estimates and assumptions used in these models include the timing and expected amount of cash flows, the appropriateness of discount rates used, and, in some cases, the ability to execute, the timing of and the estimated proceeds from expected financings, some or all of which factors may be ascribed more or less weight in light of the particular circumstances. The actual results related to any particular investment often vary materially as a result of the inaccuracy of these estimates and assumptions. In addition, because many of the illiquid investments held by our funds are in industries or sectors which are unstable, in distress or undergoing some uncertainty, such investments are subject to rapid changes in value caused by sudden company-specific or industry-wide developments.
We include the fair value of illiquid assets in the calculations of net asset values, returns of our funds and our assets under management. Furthermore, we recognize performance fees from affiliates based in part on these estimated fair values. Because these valuations are inherently uncertain, they may fluctuate greatly from period to period. Also, they may vary greatly from the prices that would be obtained if the assets were to be liquidated on the date of the valuation and often do vary greatly from the prices we eventually realize; as a result, there can be no assurance that such unrealized valuations will be fully or timely realized.

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In addition, the values of our investments in publicly traded assets are subject to significant volatility, including due to a number of factors beyond our control. These include actual or anticipated fluctuations in the quarterly and annual results of these companies or other companies in their industries, market perceptions concerning the availability of additional securities for sale, general economic, social or political developments, changes in industry conditions or government regulations, changes in management or capital structure and significant acquisitions and dispositions. Because the market prices of these securities can be volatile, the valuations of these assets change from period to period, and the valuation for any particular period may not be realized at the time of disposition. In addition, because our funds often hold large positions in their portfolio companies, the disposition of these securities often is delayed for, or takes place over, long periods of time, which can further expose us to volatility risk. Even if we hold a quantity of public securities that may be difficult to sell in a single transaction, we do not discount the market price of the security for purposes of our valuations.
Although we frequently engage independent third parties to perform the foregoing valuations, the valuation process remains inherently subjective for the reasons described above.
If we realize value on an investment that is significantly lower than the value at which it was reflected in a fund’s net asset values, we would suffer losses in the applicable fund. This could in turn lead to a decline in asset management fees and a loss equal to the portion of the performance fees from affiliates reported in prior periods that was not realized upon disposition. These effects could become applicable to a large number of our investments if our estimates and assumptions used in estimating their fair values differ from future valuations due to market developments. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Segment Analysis” for information related to fund activity that is no longer consolidated. If asset values turn out to be materially different than values reflected in fund net asset values, fund investors could lose confidence which could, in turn, result in difficulties in raising additional investments.
Market values of debt instruments and publicly traded securities that our funds hold as investments may be volatile.
The market prices of debt instruments and publicly traded securities held by some of our funds may be volatile and are likely to fluctuate due to a number of factors beyond our control, including actual or anticipated changes in the profitability of the issuers of such securities, general economic, social or political developments, changes in industry conditions, changes in government regulation, shortfalls in operating results from levels forecast by securities analysts, inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates and the general state of the securities markets as described above under “Risks Related to Our Business-Difficult market and political conditions may adversely affect our businesses in many ways, including by reducing the value or hampering the performance of the investments made by our funds or reducing the ability of our funds to raise or deploy capital, each of which could materially reduce our revenue, net income and cash flow and adversely affect our financial prospects and condition,” and other material events, such as significant management changes, financings, re-financings, securities issuances, acquisitions and dispositions. The value of publicly traded securities in which our funds invest may be particularly volatile as a result of these factors. In addition, debt instruments that are held by our funds to maturity or for long terms must be “marked-to-market” periodically, and their values are therefore vulnerable to interest rate fluctuations and the changes in the general state of the credit environment, notwithstanding their underlying performance. Changes in the values of these investments may adversely affect our investment performance and our results of operations.
Our funds depend on investment cycles, and any change in such cycles could have an adverse effect on our investment prospects.
Cyclicality is important to our businesses. Weak economic environments have often provided attractive investment opportunities and strong relative investment performance. For example, the relative performance of our high yield bond strategy has typically been strongest in difficult times when default rates are highest, and our distressed debt and control investing funds have historically identified investment opportunities during downturns in the economy when credit is not as readily available. Conversely, we tend to realize value from our investments in times of economic expansion, when opportunities to sell investments may be greater. Thus, we depend on the cyclicality of the market to sustain our businesses and generate attractive risk-adjusted returns over extended periods. Any significant ongoing volatility or prolonged economic expansion or recession could have an adverse impact on certain of our funds and materially affect our ability to deliver attractive investment returns or generate incentive or other income.
Dependence on significant leverage in investments by our funds subjects us to volatility and contractions in the debt financing markets and could adversely affect our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on those investments.
Some of our funds and their investments rely on the use of leverage, and our ability to achieve attractive rates of return on investments will depend on our ability to access sufficient sources of indebtedness at attractive rates. If our funds or the companies in which our funds invest raise capital in the structured credit, leveraged loan and high yield bond markets, the results

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of their operations may suffer if such markets experience dislocations, contractions or volatility. Any such events could adversely impact the availability of credit to businesses generally and could lead to an overall weakening of the U.S. and global economies.
Recently, the credit markets have experienced heightened volatility. Interest rates have increased, and the Federal Reserve has raised the federal funds rate on multiple occasions since 2015, with ongoing increases expected. Further, many other economies are experiencing weakness, with tighter credit conditions and a decreased availability of foreign capital. These developments have caused borrowing costs to rise and decreased the availability of leverage and the attractiveness of the terms on which we, our funds and our portfolio companies were able to obtain debt financing. Furthermore, some of the provisions under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act could have a negative impact on the cost of financing and dampen the attractiveness of credit. Significant ongoing volatility or a protracted economic downturn could adversely affect the financial resources of our funds and their investments (in particular those investments that depend on credit from third parties or that otherwise participate in the credit markets) and their ability to make principal and interest payments on, or refinance, outstanding debt when due. Moreover, these events could affect the terms of available debt financing with, for example, higher rates, higher equity requirements and/or more restrictive covenants, particularly in the area of acquisition financings for leveraged buyout and real estate assets transactions.
The absence of available sources of sufficient debt financing for extended periods of time or an increase in either the general levels of interest rates or in the risk spread demanded by sources of indebtedness would make it more expensive to finance those investments. Future increases in interest rates could also make it more difficult to locate and consummate investments because other potential buyers, including operating companies acting as strategic buyers, may be able to bid for an asset at a higher price due to a lower overall cost of capital or their ability to benefit from a higher amount of cost savings following the acquisition of the asset. In addition, a portion of the indebtedness used to finance investments often includes high yield debt securities issued in the capital markets. Availability of capital from the high yield debt markets is subject to significant volatility, and there may be times when we are unable to access those markets at attractive rates, or at all, when completing an investment. Certain investments may also be financed through borrowings on fund-level debt facilities, which may or may not be available for a refinancing at the end of their respective terms. Finally, the interest payments on the indebtedness used to finance our funds’ investments are generally deductible expenses for income tax purposes under current law, subject to limitations under applicable tax law and policy. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposes additional limitations on the deductibility of net business interest expenses, and any future change in tax law or policy could reduce the after-tax rates of return on the affected investments, which may have an adverse impact on our businesses and financial results. See “-Our funds make investments in companies that are based outside of the United States, which may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in companies that are based in the United States.”
In the event that our funds are unable to obtain committed debt financing for potential acquisitions or can only obtain debt at an increased interest rate or on unfavorable terms, our funds may have difficulty completing otherwise profitable acquisitions or may generate profits that are lower than would otherwise be the case, either of which could reduce the performance and investment income earned by us. Similarly, our funds’ portfolio companies regularly utilize the corporate debt markets to obtain financing for their operations. If the credit markets continue to render such financing difficult to obtain or more expensive, this may negatively impact the operating performance of those portfolio companies and, therefore, the investment returns of our funds. In addition, if the markets make it difficult or impossible to refinance debt that is maturing in the near term, some of our portfolio companies may be unable to repay such debt at maturity and may be forced to sell assets, undergo a recapitalization or seek bankruptcy protection. Any of the foregoing circumstances could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.
When our funds’ existing portfolio investments reach the point when debt incurred to finance those investments matures in significant amounts and must be either repaid or refinanced, those investments may materially suffer if they have not generated sufficient cash flow to repay maturing debt and there is insufficient capacity and availability in the financing markets to permit them to refinance maturing debt on satisfactory terms, or at all. A persistence of the limited availability of financing for such purposes for an extended period of time when significant amounts of the debt incurred to finance our funds’ existing portfolio investments becomes due could have a material adverse effect on these funds.
Our funds may choose to use leverage as part of their respective investment programs and certain funds, particularly in our Credit Group, regularly borrow a substantial amount of their capital. The use of leverage poses a significant degree of risk and enhances the possibility of a significant loss in the value of the investment portfolio. A fund may borrow money from time to time to purchase or carry securities or may enter into derivative transactions with counterparties that have embedded leverage. The interest expense and other costs incurred in connection with such borrowing may not be recovered by appreciation in the securities purchased or carried and will be lost, and the timing and magnitude of such losses may be accelerated or exacerbated, in the event of a decline in the market value of such securities. Gains realized with borrowed funds may cause the fund’s net asset value to increase at a faster rate than would be the case without borrowings. However, if investment results fail to cover the cost of borrowings, the fund’s net asset value could also decrease faster than if there had been no borrowings. In addition, as a business development company registered under the Investment Company Act, ARCC is permitted to incur indebtedness or issue senior

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securities only in amounts such that its asset coverage ratio equals at least 200% after each such issuance or issuance. ARCC’s ability to pay dividends will be restricted if its asset coverage ratio falls below at least 200% and any amounts that it uses to service its indebtedness are not available for dividends to its common stockholders. An increase in interest rates could also decrease the value of fixed-rate debt investments that our funds make. Any of the foregoing circumstances could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.
Some of our funds may invest in companies that are highly leveraged, which may increase the risk of loss associated with those investments.
Some of our funds may invest in companies whose capital structures involve significant leverage. For example, in many non-distressed private equity investments, indebtedness may be as much as 75% or more of a portfolio company’s or real estate asset’s total debt and equity capitalization, including debt that may be incurred in connection with the investment, whether incurred at or above the investment-level entity. In distressed situations, indebtedness may exceed 100% or more of a portfolio company’s capitalization. Additionally, the debt positions acquired by our funds may be the most junior in what could be a complex capital structure, and thus subject us to the greatest risk of loss.
Investments in highly leveraged entities are also inherently more sensitive to declines in revenues, increases in expenses and interest rates and volatile or adverse economic, market and industry developments. Furthermore, the incurrence of a significant amount of indebtedness by an entity could, among other things:
subject the entity to a number of restrictive covenants, terms and conditions, any violation of which could be viewed by creditors as an event of default and could materially impact our ability to realize value from the investment;
allow even moderate reductions in operating cash flow to render the entity unable to service its indebtedness, leading to a bankruptcy or other reorganization of the entity and a loss of part or all of our fund’s equity investment in it;
give rise to an obligation to make mandatory prepayments of debt using excess cash flow, which might limit the entity’s ability to respond to changing industry conditions if additional cash is needed for the response, to make unplanned but necessary capital expenditures or to take advantage of growth opportunities;
limit the entity’s ability to adjust to changing market conditions, thereby placing it at a competitive disadvantage compared to its competitors that have relatively less debt;
limit the entity’s ability to engage in strategic acquisitions that might be necessary to generate attractive returns or further growth; and
limit the entity’s ability to obtain additional financing or increase the cost of obtaining such financing, including for capital expenditures, working capital or other general corporate purposes.
As a result, the risk of loss associated with a leveraged entity is generally greater than for companies with comparatively less debt. For example, a number of investments consummated by private equity sponsors during 2005, 2006 and 2007 that utilized significant amounts of leverage subsequently experienced severe economic stress and, in certain cases, defaulted on their debt obligations due to a decrease in revenues and cash flow precipitated by the subsequent economic downturn during 2008 and 2009. Similarly, the leveraged nature of the investments of our real estate funds increases the risk that a decline in the fair value of the underlying real estate or tangible assets will result in their abandonment or foreclosure. In addition, for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposes significant limitations on the deductibility of interest expense for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could adversely affect highly leveraged companies.
Many of our funds invest in assets that are high risk, illiquid or subject to restrictions on transfer and we may fail to realize any profits from these activities ever or for a considerable period of time.
Many of our funds invest in securities that are not publicly traded. In many cases, our funds may be prohibited by contract or by applicable securities laws from selling such securities for a period of time. Our funds generally cannot sell these securities publicly unless either their sale is registered under applicable securities laws or an exemption from such registration is available. Accordingly, our funds may be forced, under certain conditions, to sell securities at a loss. The ability of many of our funds, particularly our Private Equity Group funds, to dispose of these investments is heavily dependent on the public equity markets. For example, the ability to realize any value from an investment may depend upon the ability of the portfolio company in which such investment is held to complete an initial public offering. Even if the securities are publicly traded, large holdings of securities

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can often be disposed of only over a substantial period of time. Moreover, because the investment strategy of many of our funds, particularly our Private Equity Group funds, often entails our having representation on our funds’ public portfolio company boards, our funds can effect such sales only during limited trading windows, exposing the investment returns to risks of downward movement in market prices during the intended disposition period. In addition, our Credit Group funds may hold investments in portfolio companies of such Private Equity Group funds on which we have board representation and be restricted for extended periods of time from selling their investments. As such, we may fail to realize any profits from our investments in the funds that hold these securities for a considerable period of time or at all, and we may lose some or all of the principal amount of our investments.
Certain of our funds utilize special situation and distressed debt investment strategies that involve significant risks.
Certain of the funds in our Credit and Private Equity Groups invest in obligors and issuers with weak financial conditions, poor operating results, substantial financing needs, negative net worth and/or special competitive problems. These funds also invest in obligors and issuers that are involved in bankruptcy or reorganization proceedings. In such situations, it may be difficult to obtain full information as to the exact financial and operating conditions of these obligors and issuers. Additionally, the fair values of such investments are subject to abrupt and erratic market movements and significant price volatility if they are publicly traded securities, and are subject to significant uncertainty in general if they are not publicly traded securities. Furthermore, some of our funds’ distressed investments may not be widely traded or may have no recognized market. A fund’s exposure to such investments may be substantial in relation to the market for those investments, and the assets are likely to be illiquid and difficult to sell or transfer. As a result, it may take a number of years for the market value of such investments to ultimately reflect their intrinsic value as perceived by us.
A central feature of our distressed investment strategy is our ability to effectively anticipate the occurrence of certain corporate events, such as debt and/or equity offerings, restructurings, reorganizations, mergers, takeover offers and other transactions, that we believe will improve the condition of the business. Similarly, we perform significant analysis of the company’s capital structure, operations, industry and ability to generate income, as well as market valuation of the company and its debt, and develop a strategy with respect to a particular distressed investment based on such analysis. In furtherance of that strategy our funds seek to identify the best position in the capital structure in which to invest. If the relevant corporate event that we anticipate is delayed, changed or never completed, or if our analysis or investment strategy is inaccurate, the market price and value of the applicable fund’s investment could decline sharply.
In addition, these investments could subject a fund to certain potential additional liabilities that may exceed the value of its original investment. Under certain circumstances, payments or distributions on certain investments may be reclaimed if any such payment or distribution is later determined to have been a fraudulent conveyance, a preferential payment or similar transaction under applicable bankruptcy and insolvency laws. In addition, under certain circumstances, a lender that has inappropriately exercised control of the management and policies of a debtor may have its claims subordinated or disallowed, or may be found liable for damages suffered by parties as a result of such actions. In the case where the investment in securities of troubled companies is made in connection with an attempt to influence a restructuring proposal or plan of reorganization in bankruptcy, our funds may become involved in substantial litigation.
Our funds may be unable to deploy capital at a steady and consistent pace, which could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and future fundraising.
The pace and consistency of our funds’ capital deployment has been, and may in the future continue to be, affected by a range of factors, primarily market conditions and regulatory developments, that are beyond our control. For example, in 2016 our corporate Private Equity Group funds deployed less capital than in prior years as they exercised patience amid elevated purchase price multiples. Similarly, our special situations funds may not deploy as much capital as they target due to changing market conditions and the distressed investment opportunities available. During the same period, our AUM not yet earning fees, which we refer to as our “shadow” AUM, increased due to ongoing fundraising. While this “shadow” AUM represents significant future fee-earning potential, our inability to deploy this capital on the timeframe we expect, or at all, and on terms that we believe are attractive, would reduce or delay the management and performance fees that we would otherwise expect to earn on this capital. Any such reduction or delay would impair our ability to offset investments in additional resources that we often make to manage new capital, including hiring additional professionals. Moreover, we could be delayed in raising successor funds. The impact of any such reduction or delay would be particularly adverse with respect to funds where management fees are paid on invested capital. Any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and growth.

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Certain of the funds or accounts we advise or manage are subject to the fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA and Section 4975 of the Code, and our businesses could be adversely affected if certain of our other funds or accounts fail to satisfy an exception under the “plan assets” regulation under ERISA.
Certain of the funds and accounts we advise or manage are subject to the fiduciary responsibility and prohibited transaction provisions of ERISA and Section 4975 of the Code. For example, we currently manage some of our funds or accounts as “plan assets” under ERISA. With respect to these funds or accounts, this results in the application of the fiduciary responsibility standards of ERISA to investments made by such funds or accounts, including the requirement of investment prudence and diversification, and the possibility that certain transactions that we enter into, or may have entered into, on behalf of these funds or accounts, in the normal course of business, might constitute or result in, or have constituted or resulted in, non-exempt prohibited transactions under Section 406 of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code. A non-exempt prohibited transaction, in addition to imposing potential liability upon fiduciaries of an ERISA plan, may also result in the imposition of an excise tax under the Code upon a “party in interest” (as defined in ERISA) or “disqualified person” (as defined in the Code) with whom we engaged in the transaction. Some of our other funds or accounts currently qualify as venture capital operating companies (“VCOCs”) or rely on another exception under the “plan assets” regulation under ERISA and therefore are not subject to the fiduciary requirements of ERISA with respect to their assets. However, if these funds or accounts fail to satisfy the VCOC requirements for any reason, including as a result of an amendment of the relevant regulations by the U.S. Department of Labor, or another exception under the “plan assets” regulation under ERISA, such failure could materially interfere with our activities in relation to these funds or accounts or expose us to risks related to our failure to comply with the applicable requirements.
Our funds may be liable for the underfunded pension liabilities of their portfolio companies.
Under ERISA, members of certain “controlled groups” of “trades or businesses” may be jointly and severally liable for contributions required under any member’s tax-qualified defined benefit pension plan and under certain other benefit plans. Similarly, if any member’s tax-qualified defined benefit pension plan were to terminate, underfunding at termination would be the joint and several responsibility of all controlled group members, including members whose employees did not participate in the terminated plan. Similarly, joint and several liability may be imposed for certain pension plan related obligations in connection with the complete or partial withdrawal by an employer from a multiemployer pension plan. Depending on a number of factors, including the level of ownership held by our funds in a particular portfolio company, a fund may be considered to be a member of a portfolio company’s “controlled group” for this purpose, and thus may be liable for the underfunded pension liabilities of such portfolio company.
In Sun Capital Partners III L.P. v. New England Teamster and Trucking Industry Pension Fund, the First Circuit Court of Appeal held that a fund was engaged in a “trade or business” with a portfolio company for purposes of the ERISA rules and was thus liable for underfunded pension liabilities. If this decision is applied generally to private equity investing, our funds could be exposed to liability for certain benefit plan contributions, a liability that could be significant if the portfolio company’s pension plan is significantly underfunded.
Our funds’ performance, and our performance, may be adversely affected by the financial performance of our portfolio companies and the industries in which our funds invest.
Our performance and the performance of our funds are significantly impacted by the value of the companies in which our funds have invested. Our funds invest in companies in many different industries, each of which is subject to volatility based upon economic and market factors. The credit crisis between mid-2007 and the end of 2009 caused significant fluctuations in the value of securities held by our funds and the recent global economic recession had a significant impact in overall performance activity and the demands for many of the goods and services provided by portfolio companies of the funds we advise. Although the U.S. economy has registered eight consecutive years of growth in real GDP, there remain many obstacles to continued growth in the economy such as global geopolitical events, risks of inflation or deflation, rising interest rates and high debt levels, both public and private. These factors and other general economic trends are likely to affect the performance of portfolio companies in many industries and, in particular, industries that anticipated that the GDP in developed economies would quickly return to pre-crisis trend. The performance of our funds, and our performance, may be adversely affected if our fund portfolio companies in these industries experience adverse performance or additional pressure due to downward trends.
The performance of our investments with underlying exposure to the commodities markets is also subject to a high degree of business and market risk, as it is dependent upon prevailing prices of commodities such as oil, natural gas and coal. Prices for oil and natural gas, for example, are subject to wide fluctuation in response to relatively minor changes in the supply and demand for oil and natural gas, market uncertainty and a variety of additional factors that are beyond our control, such as level of consumer product demand, the refining capacity of oil purchasers, weather conditions, government regulations, the price and availability of alternative fuels, political conditions, foreign supply of such commodities and overall economic conditions. It is common in making

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investments with underlying exposure to the commodities markets to deploy hedging strategies to protect against pricing fluctuations but such strategies may or may not protect our investments. Declining global commodity prices have impacted the value of securities held by our funds. Continued volatility could result in lower returns than we anticipated at the time certain of our investments were made.
In respect of real estate, even though the U.S. residential real estate market has recently shown signs of stabilizing from a lengthy and deep downturn, various factors could halt or limit a recovery in the housing market and have an adverse effect on investment performance, including, but not limited to, rising mortgage interest rates, a low level of confidence in the economic recovery or the residential real estate market and recent U.S. tax law changes which limit the amount of itemized deductions for mortgage interest as well as state and local income tax.
Third-party investors in certain of our funds with commitment-based structures may not satisfy their contractual obligation to fund capital calls when requested by us, which could adversely affect a fund’s operations and performance.
Investors in certain of our funds make capital commitments to those funds that we are entitled to call from those investors at any time during prescribed periods. We depend on investors fulfilling and honoring their commitments when we call capital from them for those funds to consummate investments and otherwise pay their obligations when due. Any investor that did not fund a capital call would be subject to several possible penalties, including having a meaningful amount of its existing investment forfeited in that fund. However, the impact of the penalty is directly correlated to the amount of capital previously invested by the investor in the fund and if an investor has invested little or no capital, for instance early in the life of the fund, then the forfeiture penalty may not be as meaningful. Investors may also negotiate for lesser or reduced penalties at the outset of the fund, thereby limiting our ability to enforce the funding of a capital call. Third-party investors in private equity and real estate funds typically use distributions from prior investments to meet future capital calls. In cases where valuations of existing investments fall and the pace of distributions slows, investors may be unable to make new commitments to third-party managed investment funds such as those advised by us. A failure of investors to honor a significant amount of capital calls for any particular fund or funds could have a material adverse effect on the operation and performance of those funds.
Our funds make investments in companies that are based outside of the United States, which may expose us to additional risks not typically associated with investing in companies that are based in the United States.
Some of our funds invest a portion of their assets in the equity, debt, loans or other securities of issuers located outside the United States, including Europe and Asia, while certain of our funds invest substantially all of their assets in these types of securities, and we expect that international investments will increase as a proportion of certain of our funds’ portfolios in the future. Investments in non-U.S. securities involve certain factors not typically associated with investing in U.S. securities, including risks relating to:
our funds’ abilities to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars and other currency exchange matters, including fluctuations in currency exchange rates and costs associated with conversion of investment principal and income from one currency into another;
controls on, and changes in controls on, foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital;
less developed or less efficient financial markets than exist in the United States, which may lead to price volatility and relative illiquidity;
the absence of uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and disclosure requirements and less government supervision and regulation;
changes in laws or clarifications to existing laws that could impact our tax treaty positions, which could adversely impact the returns on our investments;
differences in legal and regulatory environments, particularly with respect to bankruptcy and reorganization, labor and employment laws, less developed corporate laws regarding fiduciary duties and the protection of investors and less reliable judicial systems to enforce contracts and applicable law;
political hostility to investments by foreign or private equity investors;
less publicly available information in respect of companies in non-U.S. markets;

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reliance on a more limited number of commodity inputs, service providers and/or distribution mechanisms;
higher rates of inflation;
higher transaction costs;
difficulty in enforcing contractual obligations;
fewer investor protections;
certain economic and political risks, including potential exchange control regulations and restrictions on our non-U.S. investments and repatriation of capital, potential political, economic or social instability, the possibility of nationalization or expropriation or confiscatory taxation and adverse economic and political developments; and
the imposition of non-U.S. taxes or withholding taxes on income and gains recognized with respect to such securities.
While our funds will take these factors into consideration in making investment decisions, including when hedging positions, there can be no assurance that adverse developments with respect to these risks will not adversely affect our funds that invest in securities of non-U.S. issuers. In addition, certain of these funds are managed outside the United States, which may increase the foregoing risks. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act imposes a one-time tax on a U.S. shareholder’s pro rata share of net accumulated untaxed earnings and profits of certain foreign subsidiaries (measured as of November 2, 2017 or December 31, 2017, whichever is greater). In addition, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also taxes (at reduced rates) U.S. shareholders on their pro rata share of “global intangible low-taxed income” earned in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 by certain of their foreign subsidiaries (generally the excess of an implied 10% rate of return on the subsidiaries’ adjusted bases in tangible business assets), regardless of whether the underlying earnings are repatriated.
Many of our funds make investments in companies that we do not control.
Investments by many of our funds will include debt instruments and equity securities of companies that we do not control. Such instruments and securities may be acquired by our funds through trading activities or through purchases of securities from the issuer. In addition, our funds may seek to acquire minority equity interests more frequently and may also dispose of a portion of their majority equity investments in portfolio companies over time in a manner that results in the funds retaining a minority investment. Furthermore, while certain of our funds may make “toe-hold” distressed debt investments in a company with the intention of obtaining control, there is no assurance that a control position may be obtained and such fund may retain a minority investment. Those investments will be subject to the risk that the company in which the investment is made may make business, financial or management decisions with which we do not agree or that the majority stakeholders or the management of the company may take risks or otherwise act in a manner that does not serve our interests. If any of the foregoing were to occur, the values of the investments held by our funds could decrease and our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow could suffer as a result.
Increased regulatory scrutiny and uncertainty with regard to expense allocation may increase risk of harm.
While we historically have and will continue to allocate the expenses of our funds in good faith and in accordance with the terms of the relevant fund agreements and our expense allocation policy in effect from time to time, due to increased regulatory scrutiny of expense allocation policies in the private investment funds realm, there is no guarantee that our policies and practices will not be challenged by our supervising regulatory bodies. If our supervising regulators were to determine that we have improperly allocated such expenses, we could be required to refund amounts to the funds and could be subject to regulatory censure, litigation from our fund investors and/or reputational harm, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
We may need to pay "“clawback” or “contingent repayment” obligations if and when they are triggered under the governing agreements with our funds.
Generally, if at the termination of a fund (and increasingly at interim points in the life of a fund), the fund has not achieved investment returns that (in most cases) exceed the preferred return threshold or (in all cases) the general partner receives net profits over the life of the fund in excess of its allocable share under the applicable partnership agreement, we will be obligated to repay an amount equal to the excess of amounts previously distributed to us over the amounts to which we are ultimately entitled. This obligation is known as a “clawback" or contingent repayment obligation. Due in part to our investment performance and the fact that our carried interest is generally determined on a liquidation basis, as of December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, if the funds were liquidated at their fair values at that date, there would have been no contingent repayment obligation or liability. There can be no assurance that we will not incur a contingent repayment obligation in the future. At December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, had we assumed all existing investments were worthless, the amount of carried interest, net of tax, subject to contingent repayment would

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have been approximately $476.1 million, $418.3 million and $322.2 million, respectively, of which approximately $370.0 million, $323.9 million and $247.9 million, respectively, is reimbursable to the Company by certain professionals. Although a contingent repayment obligation is several to each person who received a distribution, and not a joint obligation, if a recipient does not fund his or her respective share of a contingent repayment obligation, we may have to fund such additional amounts beyond the amount of carried interest we retained, although we generally will retain the right to pursue remedies against those carried interest recipients who fail to fund their obligations. We may need to use or reserve cash to repay such contingent repayment obligations instead of using the cash for other purposes. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Contingent Obligations,” Note 2 “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” and Note 13 “Commitments and Contingencies” to the consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
We derive a substantial portion of our revenues from funds managed pursuant to management agreements that may be terminated or fund partnership agreements that permit fund investors to request liquidation of investments in our funds on short notice.
The terms of our funds generally give either the manager of the fund or the fund itself the right to terminate our investment management agreement with the fund. However, insofar as we control the general partners of our funds that are limited partnerships, the risk of termination of investment management agreement for such funds is limited, subject to our fiduciary or contractual duties as general partner. This risk is more significant for certain of our funds that have independent boards of directors.
With respect to our funds that are not exempt from registration under the Investment Company Act, each fund’s investment management agreement must be approved annually by (a) such fund’s board of directors or by the vote of a majority of such fund’s stockholders and (b) the majority of the independent members of such fund’s board of directors and, in certain cases, by its stockholders, as required by law. The funds’ investment management agreements can also be terminated by the majority of such fund’s stockholders. Termination of these agreements would reduce the fees we earn from the relevant funds, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Currently, ARDC, a registered investment company under the Investment Company Act, and ARCC, a registered investment company that has elected to be treated as a business development company under the Investment Company Act, are subject to these provisions of the Investment Company Act.
Third-party investors in many our funds have the right to remove the general partner of the fund and to terminate the investment period under certain circumstances. In addition, the investment management agreements related to our separately managed accounts may permit the investor to terminate our management of such accounts on short notice. These events would lead to a decrease in our revenues, which could be substantial.
The governing agreements of many of our funds provide that, subject to certain conditions, third-party investors in those funds have the right to remove the general partner of the fund or terminate the fund, including in certain cases without cause by a simple majority vote. Any such removal or dissolution could result in a cessation in management fees we would earn from such funds and/or a significant reduction in the expected amounts of performance fees from those funds. Performance fees could be significantly reduced as a result of our inability to maximize the value of investments by a fund during the liquidation process or in the event of the triggering of a “contingent repayment" obligation. Finally, the applicable funds would cease to exist after completion of liquidation and winding-up.
In addition, the governing agreements of many of our funds provide that, subject to certain conditions, third-party investors in those funds have the right to terminate the investment period of the fund, including in certain cases without cause. Such an event could have a significant negative impact on our revenue, net income and cash flow of such fund. The governing agreements of our funds may also provide that upon the occurrence of events, including in the event that certain “key persons” in our funds do not meet specified time commitments with regard to managing the fund, investors in those funds have the right to vote to terminate the investment period, including in certain cases by a simple majority vote in accordance with specified procedures. In addition to having a significant negative impact on our revenue, net income and cash flow, the occurrence of such an event with respect to any of our funds would likely result in significant reputational damage to us and could negatively impact our future fundraising efforts.
We currently manage a portion of investor assets through separately managed accounts whereby we earn management fees and performance fees, and we intend to continue to seek additional separately managed account mandates. The investment management agreements we enter into in connection with managing separately managed accounts on behalf of certain clients may in certain cases be terminated by such clients on as little as 30 days’ prior written notice. In addition, the boards of directors of the investment management companies we manage could terminate our advisory engagement of those companies on as little as 30 days’ prior written notice. ARCC’s investment management agreement can be terminated by the majority of its stockholders upon 60 days’ prior written notice. In the case of any such terminations, the management fees and performance fees we earn in

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connection with managing such account or company would immediately cease, which could result in a significant adverse impact on our revenues.
In addition, if we were to experience a change of control (as defined under the Investment Advisers Act or as otherwise set forth in the partnership agreements of our funds), continuation of the investment management agreements of our funds would be subject to investor consent. There can be no assurance that required consents will be obtained if a change of control occurs. In addition, with respect to our funds that are subject to the Investment Company Act, each fund’s investment management agreement must be approved annually (a) by such fund’s board of directors or by a vote of the majority of such fund’s stockholders and (b) by the independent members of such fund’s board of directors and, in certain cases, by its stockholders, as required by law. Termination of these agreements would cause us to lose the management fees and performance fees we earn from such funds, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
A downturn in the global credit markets could adversely affect our CLO investments.
CLOs are subject to credit, liquidity, interest rate and other risks. From time to time, liquidity in the credit markets is reduced sometimes significantly, resulting in an increase in credit spreads and a decline in ratings, performance and market values for leveraged loans. We have significant exposure to these markets through our investments in our CLO funds. CLOs invest on a leveraged basis in loans or securities that are themselves highly leveraged investments in the underlying collateral, which increases both the opportunity for higher returns as well as the magnitude of losses when compared to unlevered investments. As a result of such funds’ leveraged position, CLOs and their investors are at greater risk of suffering losses. CLOs have failed in the past and may in the future fail one or more of their “overcollateralization” tests. The failure of one or more of these tests will result in reduced cash flows that may have been otherwise available for distribution to us. This could reduce the value of our investment. There can be no assurance that market conditions giving rise to these types of consequences will not once again occur, subsist or become more acute in the future.
Our funds may face risks relating to undiversified investments.
While diversification is generally an objective of our funds, there can be no assurance as to the degree of diversification, if any, that will be achieved in any fund investments. Difficult market conditions or volatility or slowdowns affecting a particular asset class, geographic region, industry or other category of investment could have a significant adverse impact on a fund if its investments are concentrated in that area, which would result in lower investment returns. This lack of diversification may expose a fund to losses disproportionate to market declines in general if there are disproportionately greater adverse price movements in the particular investments. If a fund holds investments concentrated in a particular issuer, security, asset class or geographic region, such fund may be more susceptible than a more widely diversified investment partnership to the negative consequences of a single corporate, economic, political or regulatory event. Accordingly, a lack of diversification on the part of a fund could adversely affect a fund’s performance and, as a result, our financial condition and results of operations.
The performance of our investments may fall short of our expectations and the expectations of the investors in our funds.
Before making investments, we conduct due diligence that we deem reasonable and appropriate based on the facts and circumstances applicable to each investment. When conducting due diligence, we may be required to evaluate important and complex business, financial, tax, accounting, environmental and legal issues. The due diligence investigation that we will carry out with respect to an investment opportunity may not reveal or highlight all relevant facts that may be necessary or helpful in evaluating such investment opportunity.
Once we have made an investment in a portfolio company, our funds generally establish the capital structure on the basis of financial projections prepared by the management of such portfolio company. These projections are only estimates of future results that are based upon assumptions made at the time that the projections are developed. General economic conditions, which are not predictable, along with other factors, may cause actual performance to fall short of the projections.
Additionally, we may cause our funds to acquire an investment that is subject to contingent liabilities. Such contingent liabilities could be unknown to us at the time of acquisition or, if they are known to us, we may not accurately assess or protect against the risks that they present. Acquired contingent liabilities could thus result in unforeseen losses for our funds. In addition, in connection with the disposition of an investment in a portfolio company, a fund may be required to make representations about the business and financial affairs of such portfolio company typical of those made in connection with the sale of a business. A fund may also be required to indemnify the purchasers of such investment if any such representations are inaccurate. These arrangements may result in the incurrence of contingent liabilities by a fund, even after the disposition of an investment. Accordingly, the inaccuracy of representations and warranties made by a fund could harm such fund’s performance.

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Our funds may be forced to dispose of investments at a disadvantageous time.
Our funds may make investments that they do not advantageously dispose of prior to the date the applicable fund is dissolved, either by expiration of such fund’s term or otherwise. Although we generally expect that investments will be disposed of prior to dissolution or be suitable for in-kind distribution at dissolution, and the general partners of the funds have only a limited ability to extend the term of the fund with the consent of fund investors or the advisory board of the fund, as applicable, our funds may have to sell, distribute or otherwise dispose of investments at a disadvantageous time as a result of dissolution. This would result in a lower than expected return on the investments and, perhaps, on the fund itself.
Our real estate funds are subject to the risks inherent in the ownership and operation of real estate and the construction and development of real estate.
Investments in our real estate funds will be subject to the risks inherent in the ownership and operation of real estate and real estate-related businesses and assets. These risks include the following:
those associated with the burdens of ownership of real property;
general and local economic conditions;
changes in supply of and demand for competing properties in an area (as a result, for example, of overbuilding);
fluctuations in the average occupancy and room rates for hotel properties;
the financial resources of tenants;
changes in building, environmental and other laws;
energy and supply shortages;
various uninsured or uninsurable risks;
liability for “slip-and-fall” and other accidents on properties held by our funds;
natural disasters;
changes in government regulations (such as rent control and tax laws);
changes in real property tax and transfer tax rates;
changes in interest rates;
the reduced availability of mortgage funds which may render the sale or refinancing of properties difficult or impracticable;
negative developments in the economy that depress travel activity;
environmental liabilities;
contingent liabilities on disposition of assets;
unexpected cost overruns in connection with development projects;
terrorist attacks, war and other factors that are beyond our control; and
dependence on local operating partners.
Although real estate values have generally rebounded with the rest of the economy, other than certain high profile assets in the best markets, various factors could halt or limit a recovery in the housing market.
If our real estate funds acquire direct or indirect interests in undeveloped land or underdeveloped real property, which may often be non-income producing, they will be subject to the risks normally associated with such assets and development activities, including risks relating to the availability and timely receipt of zoning and other regulatory or environmental approvals, the cost and timely completion of construction (including risks beyond the control of our fund, such as weather or labor conditions or material shortages) and the availability of both construction and permanent financing on favorable terms. Additionally, our funds’ properties may be managed by a third party, which makes us dependent upon such third parties and subjects us to risks associated with the actions of such third parties. Any of these factors may cause the value of the investments in our real estate funds to decline, which may have a material impact on our results of operations.

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Certain of our funds invest in the energy sector which is subject to significant market volatility. As such, the performance of investments in the energy sector is subject to a high degree of business and market risk.
The energy companies in which certain of our funds invest have been and will be negatively impacted by material declines in energy related commodity prices and are subject to other risks, including among others, supply and demand risk, operational risk, regulatory risk, depletion risk, reserve risk and catastrophic event risk. Commodity prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in market and economic conditions, the impact of weather on demand, levels of domestic production and international production, policies implemented by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, energy conservation, domestic and foreign governmental regulation and taxation and the availability of local, intrastate and interstate transportation systems.
Hedging strategies may adversely affect the returns on our funds’ investments.
When managing our exposure to market risks, we may (on our own behalf or on behalf of our funds) from time to time use forward contracts, options, swaps, caps, collars, floors, foreign currency forward contracts, currency swap agreements, currency option contracts or other strategies. Currency fluctuations in particular can have a substantial effect on our cash flow and financial condition. The success of any hedging or other derivative transactions generally will depend on our ability to correctly predict market or foreign exchange changes, the degree of correlation between price movements of a derivative instrument and the position being hedged, the creditworthiness of the counterparty and other factors. As a result, while we may enter into a transaction to reduce our exposure to market or foreign exchange risks, the transaction may result in poorer overall investment performance than if it had not been executed. Such transactions may also limit the opportunity for gain if the value of a hedged position increases.
While such hedging arrangements may reduce certain risks, such arrangements themselves may entail certain other risks. These arrangements may require the posting of cash collateral at a time when a fund has insufficient cash or illiquid assets such that the posting of the cash is either impossible or requires the sale of assets at prices that do not reflect their underlying value. Moreover, these hedging arrangements may generate significant transaction costs, including potential tax costs, that reduce the returns generated by a fund. Finally, the CFTC has made several public statements that it may soon issue a proposal for certain foreign exchange products to be subject to mandatory clearing, which could increase the cost of entering into currency hedges.
Risks Related to Our Organization and Structure
If we were deemed to be an “investment company” under the Investment Company Act, applicable restrictions could make it impractical for us to continue our businesses as contemplated and could have a material adverse effect on our businesses.
An entity will generally be deemed to be an “investment company” for purposes of the Investment Company Act if:
it is or holds itself out as being engaged primarily, or proposes to engage primarily, in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities; or
absent an applicable exemption, it owns or proposes to acquire investment securities having a value exceeding 40% of the value of its total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis.
We believe that we are engaged primarily in the business of providing investment management services and not primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. We hold ourselves out as an asset management firm and do not propose to engage primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities. Accordingly, we do not believe that we are an “orthodox” investment company as defined in Section 3(a)(1)(A) of the Investment Company Act and described in the first bullet point above. Furthermore, we have no material assets other than interests in certain direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries (within the meaning of the Investment Company Act), which in turn have no material assets other than partnership units in the Ares Operating Group entities. These wholly owned subsidiaries are the general partners of certain of the Ares Operating Group entities and are vested with all management and control over such Ares Operating Group entities. We do not believe that the equity interests of Ares Management, L.P. in its wholly owned subsidiaries or the partnership units of these wholly owned subsidiaries in the Ares Operating Group entities are investment securities. Moreover, because we believe that the capital interests of the general partners of our funds in their respective funds are neither securities nor investment securities, we believe that less than 40% of Ares Management, L.P.’s total assets (exclusive of U.S. government securities and cash items) on an unconsolidated basis are composed of assets that could be considered investment securities. Accordingly, we do not believe that Ares Management, L.P. is an inadvertent investment company by virtue of the 40% test in Section 3(a)(1)(C) of the Investment Company Act as described in the second bullet point above.

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The Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder contain detailed parameters for the organization and operation of investment companies. Among other things, the Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder limit or prohibit transactions with affiliates, impose limitations on the issuance of debt and equity securities, generally prohibit the issuance of options and impose certain governance requirements. We intend to conduct our operations so that we will not be deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act. If anything were to happen that would cause us to be deemed to be an investment company under the Investment Company Act, requirements imposed by the Investment Company Act, including limitations on capital structure, the ability to transact business with affiliates and the ability to compensate senior employees, could make it impractical for us to continue our businesses as currently conducted, impair the agreements and arrangements between and among the Ares Operating Group, us, our funds and our senior management, or any combination thereof, and have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we may be required to limit the amount of investments that we make as a principal or otherwise conduct our businesses in a manner that does not subject us to the registration and other requirements of the Investment Company Act.
Our common shareholders do not elect our general partner or, except in limited circumstances, vote on our general partner’s directors and have limited ability to influence decisions regarding our businesses.
Our general partner manages all of our operations and activities. On January 31 of each year, our general partner will determine whether the total voting power held collectively by (i) holders of the special voting shares in Ares Management, L.P. (including our general partner, members of Ares Partners Holdco LLC and their respective affiliates), (ii) then-current or former Ares personnel (including indirectly through related entities) and (iii) Ares Owners Holdings L.P. is at least 10% of the voting power of the outstanding voting shares of Ares Management, L.P. (the “Ares control condition”). For purposes of determining whether the Ares control condition is satisfied, our general partner will treat as outstanding, and as held by the foregoing persons, all voting shares deliverable to such persons pursuant to equity awards granted to such persons. If the Ares control condition is satisfied, the board of directors of our general partner has no authority other than that which its member chooses to delegate to it. If the Ares control condition is not satisfied, the board of directors of our general partner will be responsible for the oversight of our business and operations. See “Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance-Limited Powers of Our Board of Directors.”
Unlike the holders of common stock in a corporation, our common shareholders have limited voting rights and have no right to remove our general partner or, except in the limited circumstances described below, elect the directors of our general partner. Our common shareholders have no right to elect the directors of our general partner unless the Ares control condition is not satisfied. For so long as the Ares control condition is satisfied, our general partner’s board of directors is elected in accordance with its limited liability company agreement, which provides that directors are appointed and removed by Ares Partners Holdco LLC, the member of our general partner. Ares Partners Holdco LLC is owned by the Holdco Members and managed by a board of managers, which is composed of Messrs. Arougheti, Berry, de Veer, Kaplan, McFerran, Ressler and Rosenthal. Mr. Ressler has veto power over decisions by the board of managers. As a result, our common shareholders have limited ability to influence decisions regarding our businesses.
The Holdco Members will be able to determine the outcome of those few matters that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders.
Ares Voting LLC, an entity wholly owned by Ares Partners Holdco LLC, which is in turn owned and controlled by the Holdco Members, holds a special voting share that provides it with a number of votes, on any matter that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders (voting together as a single class on all such matters), that is equal to the aggregate number of Ares Operating Group Units held by the limited partners of the Ares Operating Group entities that do not hold a special voting share. The Holdco Members, through Ares Owners Holdings L.P. and the special voting share held by Ares Voting LLC, hold approximately 71.59% of the voting power of Ares Management, L.P. Accordingly, the Holdco Members have sufficient voting power to determine the outcome of those few matters that may be submitted for a vote of our common shareholders.
Our common shareholders’ voting rights are further restricted by the provision in our partnership agreement that states that any common shares held by a person that beneficially owns 20% or more of any class of our common shares then outstanding (other than our general partner, Ares Owners Holdings L.P., a member of Ares Partners Holdco LLC or their respective affiliates, a direct or subsequently approved transferee of our general partner or its affiliates or a person who acquired such common shares with the prior approval of our general partner) cannot be voted on any matter. In addition, our partnership agreement contains provisions limiting the ability of our common shareholders to call meetings or to acquire information about our operations, as well as other provisions limiting the ability of our common shareholders to influence the manner or direction of our management. Furthermore, the common shareholders are not be entitled to dissenters’ rights of appraisal under our partnership agreement or applicable Delaware law in the event of a merger or consolidation, a sale of substantially all of our assets or any other transaction or event.

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As a result of these matters and the provisions referred to under “-Our common shareholders do not elect our general partner or, except in limited circumstances, vote on our general partner’s directors and have limited ability to influence decisions regarding our businesses,” our common shareholders may be deprived of an opportunity to receive a premium for their common shares in the future through a sale of Ares Management, L.P., and the trading prices of our common shares may be adversely affected by the absence or reduction of a takeover premium in the trading price.
Potential conflicts of interest may arise among our general partner, its affiliates or associates and us. Our general partner and its affiliates and associates have limited fiduciary duties to us and our preferred and common shareholders, which may permit them to favor their own interests to the detriment of us and our preferred and common shareholders.
Conflicts of interest may arise among our general partner or its affiliates or associates, on the one hand, and us or our preferred and common shareholders, on the other hand. As a result of these conflicts, our general partner, which is wholly owned by Ares Partners Holdco LLC, which is in turn owned and controlled by the Holdco Members, may favor its own interests and the interests of its affiliates or associates (including the Holdco Members) over our interests or the interests of our preferred and common shareholders. These conflicts include, among others, the following:
our general partner determines the amount and timing of our investments and dispositions, indebtedness, issuances of additional partnership interests and amounts of reserves, each of which can affect the amount of cash that is available for distribution to our common shareholders;
our general partner, in resolving conflicts of interest, is entitled to take into account only such factors as it determines in its sole discretion to be relevant, reasonable or appropriate under the circumstances, which may include factors affecting parties other than us and our preferred and common shareholders (including the Holdco Members), which has the effect of limiting its duties (including fiduciary duties) to us and our preferred and common shareholders. For example, our subsidiaries that serve as the general partners of our funds have fiduciary and contractual obligations to the investors in those funds, as a result of which we expect to regularly take actions in a manner consistent with such duties and obligations but that might adversely affect our results of operations or cash flow;
because our senior professional owners hold their Ares Operating Group Units through an entity that is not subject to corporate income taxation and Ares Management, L.P. will be subject to corporate income taxation, conflicts may arise between our senior professional owners and Ares Management, L.P. relating to the selection, structuring and disposition of investments and other matters;
other than as set forth in the fair competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements to which the Holdco Members are subject, which may not be enforceable, affiliates of our general partner and existing and former personnel employed by our general partner are not prohibited from engaging in other businesses or activities, including those that might be in direct competition with us;
our general partner and its affiliates and associates have limited their liability and reduced or eliminated their duties (including fiduciary duties) under our partnership agreement, while also restricting the remedies available to our preferred and common shareholders for actions that, without these limitations, might constitute breaches of duty (including fiduciary duty). In addition, we have agreed to indemnify our general partner and its affiliates and associates (including the Holdco Members) to the fullest extent permitted by law, except with respect to conduct involving bad faith or criminal intent. By purchasing our preferred and common shares, holders of our preferred and common shares have agreed and consented to the provisions set forth in our partnership agreement, including the provisions regarding conflicts of interest situations that, in the absence of such provisions, might constitute a breach of fiduciary or other duties under applicable state law;
our partnership agreement does not restrict our general partner from causing us to pay it or its affiliates for any services rendered, or from entering into additional contractual arrangements with any of these entities on our behalf, so long as

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the terms of any such additional contractual arrangements are agreed to by our general partner in good faith as determined under our partnership agreement;
our general partner determines how much we pay for acquisition targets and the structure of such consideration, including whether to incur debt to fund the transaction, whether to issue shares as consideration and the number of shares to be issued and the amount and timing of any earn-out payments;
the sole member of our general partner determines whether to allow senior professionals to exchange their shares or waive certain restrictions relating to such shares;
our general partner determines how much debt we incur and that decision may adversely affect our credit ratings;
our general partner determines which costs incurred by it and its affiliates are reimbursable by us;
our general partner controls the enforcement of obligations owed to us by it and its affiliates; and
our general partner decides whether to retain separate counsel, accountants or others to perform services for us.
See “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.”
Our partnership agreement contains provisions that reduce or eliminate duties (including fiduciary duties) of our general partner and its affiliates and associates and limit remedies available to preferred and common shareholders for actions that might otherwise constitute a breach of duty. It is difficult for a preferred and common shareholder to successfully challenge a resolution of a conflict of interest by our general partner or by its conflicts committee.
Our partnership agreement contains provisions that waive or consent to conduct by our general partner or its affiliates or associates that might otherwise raise issues about compliance with fiduciary duties or applicable law. For example, our partnership agreement provides that when our general partner is acting in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner, it or any of its affiliates or associates causing it to do so may act without any duties (including fiduciary duties) or obligations to us or our preferred and common shareholders whatsoever. When our general partner, in its capacity as our general partner, is permitted to or required to make a decision in its “sole discretion” or “discretion” or under a grant of similar authority or latitude or pursuant to any provision not subject to an express standard of “good faith,” then our general partner is entitled to consider only such interests and factors as it desires, including its own interests or the interests of the Holdco Members, and has no duty or obligation (fiduciary or otherwise) to give any consideration to any interest of or factors affecting us or any preferred and common shareholders and is not subject to any different standards imposed by our partnership agreement, or otherwise existing at law, in equity or otherwise. These provisions are expressly permitted by Delaware law. Unless our general partner breaches its obligations pursuant to our partnership agreement, we and our preferred and common shareholders do not have any recourse against our general partner even if our general partner were to act in a manner that was inconsistent with traditional fiduciary duties. Furthermore, even if there has been a breach of our partnership agreement, our partnership agreement provides that our general partner and its members, managers, officers and directors will not be liable to us or our preferred and common shareholders for any acts or omissions unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that the general partner or its members, managers, officers or directors acted in bad faith or with criminal intent. These modifications are detrimental to the preferred and common shareholders because they restrict the remedies available to preferred and common shareholders for actions that without those limitations might constitute breaches of duty (including fiduciary duty).
Whenever a potential conflict of interest exists between us, any of our subsidiaries or any of our partners and our general partner or its affiliates or associates, our general partner may resolve such conflict of interest in good faith. If our general partner subjectively believes that its resolution of the conflict of interest is not opposed to our best interests, then it will be conclusively deemed that its resolution was made in good faith and will not be a breach of our partnership agreement or any duty. A preferred or common shareholder seeking to challenge this resolution of the conflict of interest would bear the burden of overcoming such presumption. This is different from the situation with Delaware corporations, where a conflict resolution by an interested party would be presumed to be unfair and the interested party would have the burden of demonstrating that the resolution was fair.
Also, if our general partner obtains the approval of its conflicts committee or a majority of the voting shares, the resolution will be conclusively deemed approved by us and our preferred and common shareholders and not a breach of our partnership agreement (or any agreement referred to therein) or of any duties that our general partner or its affiliates or associates may owe to us or our preferred and common shareholders. This is different from the situation with Delaware corporations, where a conflict resolution by a committee consisting solely of independent directors may, in certain circumstances, merely shift the burden of demonstrating unfairness to the plaintiff. Preferred and common shareholders are treated as having consented to the provisions

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set forth in our partnership agreement, including provisions regarding conflicts of interest situations that, in the absence of such provisions, might be considered a breach of fiduciary or other duties under applicable state law. As a result, preferred and common shareholders will, as a practical matter, not be able to successfully challenge an informed decision by the conflicts committee. See “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence.”
The potential requirement to convert our financial statements from being prepared in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States to International Financial Reporting Standards may strain our resources and increase our annual expenses.
As a public entity, the SEC may require in the future that we report our financial results under International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) instead of under GAAP. IFRS is a set of accounting principles that has been gaining acceptance on a worldwide basis. These standards are published by the London-based International Accounting Standards Board and are more focused on objectives and principles and less reliant on detailed rules than GAAP. Today, there remain significant and material differences in several key areas between GAAP and IFRS which would affect us. Additionally, GAAP provides specific guidance in classes of accounting transactions for which equivalent guidance in IFRS does not exist. The adoption of IFRS is highly complex and would have an impact on many aspects of us and our operations, including, but not limited to, financial accounting and reporting systems, internal controls, taxes, borrowing covenants and cash management. It is expected that a significant amount of time, internal and external resources and expenses over a multi-year period would be required for this conversion.
The requirements of being a public entity and sustaining growth may strain our resources.
As a public entity, we are subject to the reporting requirements of the Exchange Act and requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”). These requirements may place a strain on our systems and resources. The Exchange Act requires that we file annual, quarterly and current reports with respect to our business and financial condition. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting, and requires our management and independent auditors to report annually on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. To maintain and improve the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures, significant resources and management oversight is required. We have implemented procedures and processes to address the standards and requirements applicable to public companies. If we are not able to maintain the necessary procedures and processes, we may be unable to report our financial information on a timely or accurate basis, which could subject us to adverse regulatory consequences, including sanctions by the SEC or violations of applicable NYSE listing rules, and result in a breach of the covenants under the agreements governing any of our financing arrangements. Preparing our consolidated financial statements involves a number of complex manual and automated processes, which are dependent on individual data input or review and require significant management judgment. One or more of these elements may result in errors that may not be detected and could result in a material misstatement of our consolidated financial statements. There could also be a negative reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of investor confidence in us and the reliability of our financial statements. Confidence in the reliability of our financial statements could also suffer if our independent registered public accounting firm were to report a material weakness in our internal controls over financial reporting. This could have a material adverse effect on us and lead to a decline in the price of our common shares.
In addition, sustaining our growth also requires us to commit additional management, operational, and financial resources to identify new professionals to join the firm and to maintain appropriate operational and financial systems to adequately support expansion. These activities may divert management’s attention from other business concerns, which could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The control of our general partner may be transferred without common shareholder consent.
Our general partner may transfer all or any part of its general partner interest without the consent of our common shareholders. Furthermore, at any time, the member of our general partner may sell or transfer all or part of its interests in our general partner without the approval of the common shareholders. A new general partner may not be willing or able to form new funds and could form funds that have investment objectives and governing terms that differ materially from those of our current funds. A new owner could also have a different investment philosophy, employ investment professionals who are less experienced, be unsuccessful in identifying investment opportunities or have a track record that is not as successful as our track record. If any of the foregoing were to occur, we could experience difficulty in making new investments, and the value of our existing investments, our businesses, our results of operations and our financial condition could materially suffer.

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Our ability to pay distributions to our common shareholders may be limited by our holding company structure, applicable provisions of Delaware law and contractual restrictions or obligations.
As a holding company, our ability to pay distributions will be subject to the ability of our subsidiaries to provide cash to us. Ares Management, L.P. has no material assets other than investments in the Ares Operating Group entities, either directly or through direct or indirect subsidiaries. We have no independent means of generating revenues. Accordingly, we intend to cause the Ares Operating Group entities to fund any distributions we may declare on the common shares. If the Ares Operating Group entities make such distributions, all holders of Ares Operating Group Units will be entitled to receive equivalent distributions pro rata based on their partnership interests in the Ares Operating Group.
Because we will be treated as a U.S. corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes and will be subject to entity-level income taxes and may be obligated to make payments under the tax receivable agreement, the amounts ultimately distributed by us to common shareholders are generally expected to be less, on a per share basis, than the amounts distributed by the Ares Operating Group to the holders of Ares Operating Group Units (including us) in respect of their or our Ares Operating Group Units. In addition, each Ares Operating Group entity has issued a series of preferred units (“GP Mirror Units”) with economic terms designed to generally mirror those of the Series A Preferred Shares. The GP Mirror Units pay the same 7.00% rate per annum to us that we pay on our Series A Preferred Shares. Although income allocated in respect of distributions on the GP Mirror Units made to us will be subject to tax, cash distributions to holders of Series A Preferred Shares will not be reduced on account of any income taxes owed by us.
The declaration and payment of any future distributions will be at the sole discretion of our general partner, which may change our distribution policy at any time. There can be no assurance that any distributions, whether quarterly or otherwise, can or will be paid. Our ability to make cash distributions to our common shareholders depends on a number of factors, including among other things, general economic and business conditions, our strategic plans and prospects, our businesses and investment opportunities, our financial condition and operating results, working capital requirements and other anticipated cash needs, contractual restrictions and obligations, including fulfilling our current and future capital commitments, legal, tax and regulatory restrictions, restrictions and other implications on the payment of distributions by us to our common shareholders or by our subsidiaries to us, payments required pursuant to the tax receivable agreement and such other factors as our general partner may deem relevant.
Under the Delaware Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act (the “Delaware Limited Partnership Act”), we may not make a distribution to a partner if after the distribution all our liabilities, other than liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interests and liabilities for which the recourse of creditors is limited to specific property of the partnership, would exceed the fair value of our assets. If we were to make such an impermissible distribution, any limited partner who received a distribution and knew at the time of the distribution that the distribution was in violation of the Delaware Limited Partnership Act would be liable to us for the amount of the distribution for three years. In addition, the terms of the Credit Facility or other financing arrangements may from time to time include covenants or other restrictions that could constrain our ability to make distributions. In addition, the Ares Operating Group’s cash flow may be insufficient to enable them to make required minimum tax distributions to their members and partners, in which case the Ares Operating Group may have to borrow funds or sell assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and financial condition. Our partnership agreement contains provisions authorizing us to issue additional partnership interests that have designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties that are different from, and may be senior to, those applicable to our common shares on the terms and conditions determined by our general partner in its sole discretion at any time without common shareholder approval.
Furthermore, by making cash distributions rather than investing that cash in our businesses, we risk slowing the pace of our growth, or not having a sufficient amount of cash to fund our operations, new investments or unanticipated capital expenditures, should the need arise.
We will be required to pay the TRA Recipients for most of the benefits relating to our use of tax attributes we receive from prior and future exchanges of Ares Operating Group Units and related transactions. In certain circumstances, payments to the TRA Recipients may be accelerated and/or could significantly exceed the actual tax benefits we realize.
The holders of Ares Operating Group Units, subject to any applicable transfer restrictions and other provisions, may, on a quarterly basis, exchange their Ares Operating Group Units for our common shares on a one-for-one basis or, at our option, for cash. A holder of Ares Operating Group Units must exchange one Ares Operating Group Unit in each of the three Ares Operating Group entities to effect an exchange for a common share of Ares Management, L.P. These exchanges are expected to result in increases (for U.S. federal income tax purposes) in the tax basis of the tangible and intangible assets of the relevant Ares Operating Group entity. These increases in tax basis generally will increase (for U.S. federal income tax purposes) depreciation and amortization deductions and potentially reduce gain on sales of assets and, therefore, reduce the amount of tax that we would

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otherwise be required to pay in the future, although the IRS may challenge all or part of these deductions and tax basis increases, and a court could sustain such a challenge.
We have entered into a tax receivable agreement with certain direct and indirect holders of Ares Operating Group Units (the “TRA Recipients”) that provides for the payment by us to the TRA Recipients of 85% of the amount of cash tax savings, if any, in U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income tax or franchise tax that we actually realize (or are deemed to realize in the case of an early termination payment by us or a change of control, as discussed below) as a result of increases in tax basis and certain other tax benefits related to our entering into the tax receivable agreement, including tax benefits attributable to payments under the tax receivable agreement. The reduction in the statutory corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% would generally reduce the amount of cash tax savings and thus reduce the amount of the payments to the TRA Recipients. On the other hand, due to the Tax Election, a greater percentage of our income will be subject to corporate taxation and thus generally increase the amount payable under the tax receivable agreement. The payments we may make to the TRA Recipients could be material in amount and we may need to incur debt to finance payments under the tax receivable agreement if our cash resources are insufficient to meet our obligations under the tax receivable agreement as a result of timing discrepancies or otherwise. Assuming that the market value of a common share were to be equal to $20.00 per common share, which is the closing price per common share as of December 31, 2017, and that LIBOR were to be 2.11% and a federal corporate tax rate of 21%, we estimate that the aggregate amount of these termination payments would be approximately $398 million. The foregoing amount is merely an estimate and the actual payments could differ materially.
If the IRS were to challenge a tax basis increase (or the ability to amortize such increase), the TRA Recipients will not reimburse us for any payments previously made to them under the tax receivable agreement. Our ability to achieve benefits from any tax basis increase, and the payments to be made under the tax receivable agreement, will depend upon a number of factors, as discussed above, including the timing and amount of our future income. As a result, in certain circumstances, payments to the TRA Recipients under the tax receivable agreement could be in excess of our cash tax savings.
In addition, the tax receivable agreement provides that, upon a change of control, or if, at any time, we elect an early termination of the tax receivable agreement, our obligations under the tax receivables agreement with respect to exchanged or acquired shares (whether exchanged or acquired before or after such change of control) would be based on certain assumptions, including that we would have sufficient taxable income to fully utilize the deductions arising from the increased tax deductions and tax basis and other benefits related to entering into the tax receivable agreement and, in the case of an early termination election, that any Ares Operating Group Units that have not been exchanged are deemed exchanged for the market value of the common shares at the time of termination. See “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence-Tax Receivable Agreement.”
Tax consequences to the direct and indirect holders of Ares Operating Group Units or to general partners in our funds may give rise to conflicts of interests.
As a result of the tax gain inherent in our assets held by the Ares Operating Group at the time of this report, upon a realization event, certain direct and indirect holders of Ares Operating Group Units may incur different and potentially significantly greater tax liabilities as a result of the disproportionately greater allocations of items of taxable income and gain to such holders. As these direct and indirect holders will not receive a corresponding greater distribution of cash proceeds, they may, subject to applicable fiduciary or contractual duties, have different objectives regarding the appropriate pricing, timing and other material terms of any sale, refinancing, or disposition, or whether to sell such assets at all. Decisions made with respect to an acceleration or deferral of income or the sale or disposition of assets with unrealized built-in tax gains may also influence the timing and amount of payments that are received by the TRA Recipients (including, among others, the Holdco Members and other executive officers) under the tax receivable agreement. In general, we anticipate that earlier disposition of assets with unrealized built-in tax gains following such exchange will tend to accelerate such payments and increase the present value of the tax receivable agreement, and disposition of assets with unrealized built-in tax gains before an exchange generally will increase an exchanging holder’s tax liability without giving rise to any rights to any payments under the tax receivable agreement. Decisions made regarding a change of control also could have a material influence on the timing and amount of payments received by the TRA Recipients pursuant to the tax receivable agreement.
Moreover, the general partner of our funds may be entitled to receive carried interest from our funds and a significant portion of that carried interest may consist of long-term capital gains. Because Ares Management, L.P. will be taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, it will not receive preferential treatment for long-term capital gains. As a result, subject to their fiduciary duties to fund investors, the general partners of our funds may be incentivized to seek investment opportunities with lower pre-tax returns but higher after-tax returns taking into account the preferential tax rates for capital gains, which may be adverse to our interests.

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We are a Delaware limited partnership and as a result will qualify for and intend to rely on exceptions from certain corporate governance and other requirements under the rules of the NYSE. Further, there are certain provisions in our partnership agreement regarding exculpation and indemnification of our officers and directors that differ from the Delaware General Corporation Law in a manner that may be less protective of the interests of our shareholders.
We are a Delaware limited partnership and qualify for exceptions from certain corporate governance and other requirements of the rules of the NYSE. Pursuant to these exceptions, limited partnerships may elect not to comply with certain corporate governance requirements of the NYSE, including the requirements that (i) a majority of the board of directors of our general partner consist of independent directors, (ii) we have a nominating/corporate governance committee that is composed entirely of independent directors, (iii) we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors and (iv) the compensation committee consider certain independence factors when engaging compensation consultants, legal counsel and other committee advisers. In addition, we are not required to hold annual meetings of our common shareholders. We have availed ourselves of these exceptions. Accordingly, holders of our common shares do not have the same protections afforded to equityholders of entities that are subject to all of the corporate governance requirements of the NYSE.
Our partnership agreement provides that to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law the directors and officers of our general partner will not be liable to us unless they act in bad faith or with criminal intent. However, under the Delaware General Corporation Law, a director or officer would be liable to us for (i) breach of duty of loyalty to us or our equityholders, (ii) intentional misconduct or knowing violations of the law that are not done in good faith, (iii) improper redemption of shares or declaration of dividend or (iv) a transaction from which the director derived an improper personal benefit. In addition, our partnership agreement provides that we indemnify the directors and officers of our general partner for acts or omissions to the fullest extent provided by law unless they act in bad faith or with criminal intent. However, under the Delaware General Corporation Law, a corporation can only indemnify directors and officers for acts or omissions if the director or officer acted in good faith, in a manner he reasonably believed to be in the best interests of the corporation, and, in criminal action, if the officer or director had no reasonable cause to believe his conduct was unlawful. Accordingly, our partnership agreement is less protective of the interests of our common shareholders, when compared to the Delaware General Corporation Law, insofar as it relates to the exculpation and indemnification of officers and directors.
Risks Related to Our Preferred and Common Shares
The market price and trading volume of our common shares may be volatile, which could result in rapid and substantial losses for our common shareholders.
The market price of our common shares may be highly volatile and could be subject to wide fluctuations. In addition, the trading volume in our common shares may fluctuate and cause significant price variations to occur. If the market price of our common shares declines significantly, holders of our common shares may be unable to resell their common shares at or above their purchase price, if at all. The market price of our common shares may fluctuate or decline significantly in the future. Some of the factors that could negatively affect the price of our common shares or result in fluctuations in the price or trading volume of our common shares include:
variations in our quarterly operating results or distributions, which variations we expect will be substantial;
our policy of taking a long-term perspective on making investment, operational and strategic decisions, which is expected to result in significant and unpredictable variations in our quarterly returns;
failure to meet analysts’ earnings estimates;
publication of research reports about us or the investment management industry or the failure of securities analysts to cover our common shares;
additions or departures of our senior professionals and other key management personnel;
adverse market reaction to any indebtedness we may incur or securities we may issue in the future;
changes in market valuations of similar companies;
speculation in the press or investment community;
changes or proposed changes in laws or regulations or differing interpretations thereof affecting our businesses or enforcement of these laws and regulations, or announcements relating to these matters;
a lack of liquidity in the trading of our common shares;

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announcements by our competitors of significant contracts, acquisitions, dispositions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;
adverse publicity about the asset management industry generally or, more specifically, private equity fund practices or individual scandals; and
general market and economic conditions.
In the past few years, stock markets have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. In the past, following periods of volatility in the overall market and the market price of a company’s securities, securities class action litigation has often been instituted against public companies. This type of litigation, if instituted against us, could result in substantial costs and a diversion of our management’s attention and resources.
An investment in our common shares is not an investment in any of our funds, and the assets and revenues of our funds are not directly available to us.
Common shareholders will not directly participate in the performance of our underlying funds, and any benefits from such performance will directly inure to investors in those funds. Our common shares are securities of Ares Management, L.P. only. While our historical consolidated financial information includes financial information, including assets and revenues, of our funds on a consolidated basis, and our future financial information will continue to consolidate certain of these funds, such assets and revenues are available to the fund and not to us except to a limited extent through management fees, performance fees, distributions and other proceeds arising from agreements with funds, as discussed in more detail in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The market price of our common shares may decline due to the large number of common shares eligible for exchange and future sale.
The market price of our common shares could decline as a result of sales of a large number of common shares in the market in the future or the perception that such sales could occur. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell common shares in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate. Subject to the lock-up restrictions described below, we may issue and sell in the future additional common shares.
As of December 31, 2017, our senior professional owners owned, indirectly, an aggregate of 117,576,663 Ares Operating Group Units. We have entered into an exchange agreement with the holders of Ares Operating Group Units so that such holders, subject to any applicable transfer and other restrictions, may up to four times each year (subject to the terms of the exchange agreement) exchange their Ares Operating Group Units for our common shares on a one-for-one basis, subject to customary conversion rate adjustments for splits, share distributions and reclassifications, or, at our option, for cash. A holder of Ares Operating Group Units must exchange one Ares Operating Group Unit in each of the three Ares Operating Group entities to effect an exchange for a common share of Ares Management, L.P. The common shares we issue upon such exchanges would be “restricted securities,” as defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act, unless we register such issuances.
Ares Owners Holdings L.P., ADIA and Alleghany (together with ADIA, the “Strategic Investors”) have the right, under certain circumstances and subject to certain restrictions, to require us to register under the Securities Act common shares delivered in exchange for Ares Operating Group Units or common shares of Ares Management, L.P. otherwise held by them. In addition, we may be required to make available shelf registration statements permitting sales of common shares into the market from time to time over an extended period. Lastly, Ares Owners Holdings L.P. and the Strategic Investors will have the ability to exercise certain piggyback registration rights in respect of common shares held by them in connection with registered offerings requested by other registration rights holders or initiated by us. See “Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence-Investor Rights Agreement.” See “Item 11. Executive Compensation-Director Compensation-Common Shares and Ares Operating Group Units.” However, transfers may occur notwithstanding such restrictions pursuant to transactions or programs approved by our general partner.
Under our 2014 Equity Incentive Plan, there are options outstanding to purchase 20,495,025 common shares and 13,751,888 restricted shares outstanding to be settled in common shares, both of which are subject to specified vesting requirements, and were granted to certain of our senior professionals. During the course of 2017, awards representing 1,621,592 common shares were forfeited and became available for issuance under the 2014 Equity Incentive Plan. As of December 31, 2017, 26,284,165 additional common shares were available for award under our 2014 Equity Incentive Plan. We have filed two registration statements and intend to file more registration statements on Form S-8 with the SEC covering the common shares issuable under our 2014 Equity Incentive Plan. Subject to vesting and contractual lock-up arrangements (including through May 1, 2019 for restricted

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shares granted in connection with our initial public offering.), upon effectiveness of the relevant registration statement on Form S-8, such common shares are freely tradable.
In addition, our partnership agreement authorizes us to issue an unlimited number of additional partnership securities and options, rights, warrants and appreciation rights relating to partnership securities for the consideration and on the terms and conditions determined by our general partner in its sole discretion without the approval of any limited partners. In accordance with the Delaware Limited Partnership Act and the provisions of our partnership agreement, we may also issue additional partnership interests that have certain designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties that are different from, and may be senior to, those applicable to our common and Series A Preferred shares. Similarly, the governing agreements of the Ares Operating Group entities authorize the direct subsidiaries of Ares Management, L.P. which are the general partners of those entities to issue an unlimited number of additional units of the Ares Operating Group entity with such designations, preferences, rights, powers and duties that are different from, and may be senior to, those applicable to the Ares Operating Group Units, and which may be exchangeable for our common shares.
We cannot assure holders of our common shares that our intended distributions will be paid each quarter or at all.
In conjunction with the Tax Election, we have adopted a distribution policy to provide a steady quarterly distribution for each calendar year that will be based on our after-tax fee related earnings. Starting in the second quarter of 2018, we intend to pay a $0.28 per common share distribution per quarter for the remainder of 2018. Our fixed distribution will be reassessed each year based upon the level and growth of our after-tax fee related earnings. The declaration, payment and determination of the amount of quarterly distributions, if any, will be at the sole discretion of our general partner, which may change our distribution policy at any time. We cannot assure our common shareholders that any distributions, whether quarterly or otherwise, can or will be paid. In making decisions regarding our quarterly distribution, our general partner considers general economic and business conditions, our strategic plans and prospects, our businesses and investment opportunities, our financial condition and operating results, working capital requirements and other anticipated cash needs, contractual restrictions and obligations, legal, tax, regulatory and other restrictions that may have implications on the payment of distributions by us to our common shareholders or by our subsidiaries to us, and such other factors as our general partner may deem relevant.
Distributions on the Series A Preferred Shares are discretionary and non-cumulative.
Distributions on the Series A Preferred Shares are discretionary and non-cumulative. Holders of our Series A Preferred Shares will only receive distributions when, as and if declared by the board of directors of our general partner. Consequently, if the board of directors of our general partner does not authorize and declare a distribution for a distribution period, holders of the Series A Preferred Shares would not be entitled to receive any distribution for such distribution period, and such unpaid distribution will not be payable in such distribution period or in later distribution periods. We will have no obligation to pay distributions for a distribution period if the board of directors of our general partner does not declare such distribution before the scheduled record date for such period, whether or not distributions are declared or paid for any subsequent distribution period with respect to the Series A Preferred Shares or any other preferred shares we may issue. This may result in holders of the Series A Preferred Shares not receiving the full amount of distributions that they expect to receive, or any distributions, and may make it more difficult to resell Series A Preferred Shares or to do so at a price that the holder finds attractive. The board of directors of our general partner may, in its sole discretion, determine to suspend distributions on the Series A Preferred Shares, which may have a material adverse effect on the market price of the Series A Preferred Shares. There can be no assurances that our operations will generate sufficient cash flows to enable us to pay distributions on the Series A Preferred Shares. Our financial and operating performance is subject to prevailing economic and industry conditions and to financial, business and other factors, some of which are beyond our control.
Risks Related to Taxation
Additional proposed changes in the U.S. and foreign taxation of businesses could adversely affect us.
HM Treasury, the OECD and other government agencies in jurisdictions where we and our affiliates invest or conduct business have maintained a focus on issues related to the taxation of businesses, including multinational entities.
In the United Kingdom, the UK Criminal Finances Act 2017 creates two new separate corporate criminal offences: failure to prevent facilitation of UK tax evasion and failure to prevent facilitation of overseas tax evasion. The scope of the new law and guidance is extremely wide and could have an impact on Ares’ global businesses. Liability can be mitigated where the relevant business has in place reasonable prevention procedures. Separately, the United Kingdom has implemented transparency legislation that will require many large businesses to publish their UK tax strategies on their websites. As part of the publication requirement, organizations must disclose information on tax risk management and governance, tax planning, tax risk appetite and their approach

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to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. These developments show that the United Kingdom is seeking to bring corporate tax matters further into the public domain. As a result, tax matters may pose an increased reputational risk to our business.
The OECD, which represents a coalition of member countries, has issued guidance through its BEPS project that contemplates changes to longstanding international tax norms that determine each country’s jurisdiction to tax cross-border international trade and profits. In June 2017, almost 70 countries (excluding the United States) formally signed the Convention. These changes in law or guidance and additional proposals for reform, if enacted by the United States or by other countries in which we or our affiliates invest or conduct business, could adversely affect our investment returns, including, for example, by eliminating certain tax treaty benefits and increasing our tax compliance costs. Whether these or other proposals will be enacted by the United States or any foreign jurisdiction and in what form is unknown, as are the ultimate consequences of any such proposed legislation.
We will be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which will reduce the amount available for distributions to holders of our common shares in respect of such investments and could adversely affect the value of our common shareholders’ investment.
Effective March 1, 2018, we have elected to be taxed as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. We could be liable for significant U.S. federal income taxes and applicable state and local taxes that would not otherwise be incurred if we were treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could reduce the amount of cash available for distributions to holders of our common shares and adversely affect the value of their investment.
In addition, the GP Mirror Units pay the same 7.00% rate per annum to us that we pay on our Series A Preferred Shares. Although income allocated in respect of distributions on the GP Mirror Units made to us is subject to tax, cash distributions to holders of Series A Preferred Shares will not be reduced on account of any income taxes owed by us.
Applicable U.S. tax law could adversely affect our ability to raise funds from certain foreign investors.
Under Sections 1471 to 1474 of the Code (such Sections, along with the Treasury Regulations promulgated thereunder, “FATCA”), a broadly defined class of foreign financial institutions are required to comply with a U.S. tax reporting regime or be subject to certain U.S. withholding taxes. The reporting obligations imposed under FATCA require foreign financial institutions to enter into agreements with the IRS to obtain and disclose information about certain account holders and investors to the IRS (or in the case of certain foreign financial institutions that are resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into an intergovernmental agreement (the “IGA”) to implement this legislation, to comply with comparable non-U.S. laws implementing the IGA). Additionally, certain non-U.S. entities that are not foreign financial institutions are required to provide certain certifications or other information regarding their U.S. beneficial ownership or be subject to certain U.S. withholding taxes under FATCA. Failure to comply with these requirements could expose us and/or our investors to a 30% withholding tax on certain U.S. payments (and beginning in 2019, a 30% withholding tax on gross proceeds from the sale of U.S. stocks and securities), and possibly limit our ability to open bank accounts and secure funding in the global capital markets. There are uncertainties regarding the implementation of FATCA and it is difficult to determine at this time what impact any future administrative guidance may have. The administrative and economic costs of compliance with FATCA may discourage some foreign investors from investing in U.S. funds, which could adversely affect our ability to raise funds from these investors or reduce the demand for our shares. Moreover, we expect to incur additional expenses related to our compliance with FATCA, which could increase our tax compliance costs generally. Other countries, such as the UK and the Cayman Islands, have implemented regimes similar to that of FATCA.
Certain U.S. holders of shares are subject to additional tax on net investment income.
U.S. holders of shares that are individuals, estates or trusts are subject to a surtax of 3.8% on “net investment income” (or undistributed “net investment income,” in the case of estates and trusts) for each taxable year, with such tax applying to the lesser of such income or the excess of such person’s adjusted gross income (with certain adjustments) over a specified amount. Net investment income includes net income from dividends and net gain attributable to the disposition of investment property. It is anticipated that dividends and net gain attributable to an investment in our shares will be included in a U.S. holder’s “net investment income” subject to this surtax.
Limitations on the amount of interest expense that we may deduct could materially increase our tax liability and negatively affect an investment in our shares.
For taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017, our deduction of net business interest expenses for each taxable year is limited generally to 30% of our “adjusted taxable income,” which is an amount that is similar to EBITDA for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2022, and similar to earnings before interest and taxes (“EBIT”) for taxable years beginning after

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January 1, 2022. Any excess business interest not allowed as a deduction in a taxable year as a result of the limitation generally will carry forward to the next year.
There is no grandfather provision for outstanding debt prior to the effective date of these rules. This is a significant change from prior law, which could increase our tax liability.




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Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments
None.

Item 2.  Properties
Our principal executive offices are located in leased office space at 2000 Avenue of the Stars, 12th Floor, Los Angeles, California. We also lease office space in Culver City, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Dubai, Frankfurt, London, Luxembourg, Paris, Stockholm, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, Sausalito, Needham, Tarrytown, and Williamsville. We do not own any real property. We consider these facilities to be suitable and adequate for the management and operation of our businesses.

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings
From time to time we are involved in various legal proceedings, lawsuits and claims incidental to the conduct of our business, some of which may be material. Our businesses are also subject to extensive regulation, which may result in regulatory proceedings against us.

Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures
None.


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PART II.
Item 5.  Market For Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters And Issuer Purchases Of Equity Securities
Market Information
Our common shares representing limited partner interests in Ares Management, L.P. are traded on the NYSE under the symbol “ARES.” Our common shares began trading on the NYSE on May 2, 2014. As a result of changing the name of our common units and preferred units to common shares and preferred shares, respectively, effective March 2, 2018 our common shares and preferred shares will officially trade with such revised names on the NYSE under our existing symbols.
The following table sets forth the high and low intra‑day sales prices per share of our common shares, for the periods indicated, as reported by the NYSE.
 
Sales Price
 
2017
 
2016
 
High
 
Low
 
High
 
Low
First Quarter
$
23.25

 
$
17.15

 
$
15.50

 
$
10.76

Second Quarter
$
19.80

 
$
17.25

 
$
15.96

 
$
12.08

Third Quarter
$
18.85

 
$
17.40

 
$
19.54

 
$
13.81

Fourth Quarter
$
20.00

 
$
18.00

 
$
19.20

 
$
14.75


The number of holders of record of our common shares as of February 15, 2018 was 2. This does not include the number of sharesholders that hold shares in “street name” through banks or broker-dealers.
The table below presents purchases made by or on behalf of Ares Management, L.P. or any “affiliated purchaser” (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act) of our common shares during each of the indicated periods. 
Period
 
Total Number of Common Shares Purchased(1)
 
Average Price Paid Per Common Shares
 
Total Number of Common Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 
Maximum Number of Common Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plan or Program
October 1 to October 31, 2017
 

 
$

 

 

November 1 to November 30, 2017
 

 
$

 

 

December 1 to December 31, 2017
 

 
$

 

 


On March 2, 2017, AREC Holdings Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (“ADIA” or “the selling shareholder”) sold 7,500,000 shares of the Company’s common shares through a public secondary offering. The Company did not receive any of the proceeds from the offering. The Company incurred approximately $0.7 million of expenses related to the secondary offering transaction. The fees related to the secondary offering were non-operating expenses and are included in other income, net in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. The selling shareholder paid the underwriting discounts and commissions and/or similar charges incurred for the sale of the common shares.

Distribution Policy for Preferred Equity
As of December 31, 2017 and 2016, the Company had 12,400,000 shares of Series A Preferred Equity (the “Preferred Equity”) outstanding. When, as and if declared by the Company’s board of directors, distributions on the Preferred Equity are paid quarterly at a rate per annum equal to 7.00%. During 2017 and 2016, we paid quarterly distributions of approximately $21.7 million and $12.2 million, respectively, to our preferred equity holders of record, and in February 2018, the board of directors of

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our general partner declared quarterly distribution of $5.4 million in respect of the fourth quarter of 2017 payable on March 31, 2018 to holders of record of preferred equity at the close of business on March 15, 2018.

Distribution Policy for Common Shares Prior to Effectiveness of Tax Election
During 2016, we paid quarterly distributions of $0.20, $0.28, $0.15 and $0.20 per common share (totaling $0.83 per common share) to record holders of common shares, or approximately $67.0 million. During 2017, we paid quarterly distributions of $0.28, $0.13, $0.31 and $0.41 per common share (totaling $1.13 per common share) to record holders of common shares, or approximately $92.6 million, and in February 2018, the board of directors of our general partner declared an additional distribution of $0.40 per common share, or approximately $33.1 million, inclusive of $0.25 per common share for the fourth of 2017 and $0.15 per common share for the first two months of the first quarter of 2018, payable on February 28, 2018 to common shareholders of record at the close of business on February 26, 2018.

We distributed to our common shareholders on a quarterly basis substantially all of Ares Management, L.P.’s share of distributable earnings, net of any applicable corporate taxes and amounts payable under the tax receivable agreement, in excess of amounts determined by our general partner to be necessary or appropriate to provide for the conduct of our businesses, to make appropriate investments in our businesses and our funds, to comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments and preferred shares or other agreements or to provide for future distributions to our common shareholders for any ensuing quarter, subject to a base quarterly distribution target range of 80% to 90% of distributable earnings. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations-Segment Analysis-Reconciliation of Certain Non‑GAAP Measures to Consolidated GAAP Financial Measures” for a reconciliation of our distributable earnings to our income before taxes presented in accordance with GAAP.
In most years, the aggregate amounts of distributions to our preferred and common shareholders did not equal our distributable earnings for that year. Our distributable earnings were only a starting point for the determination of the amount to be distributed to our common shareholders because, as noted above, in determining the amount to be distributed, we subtracted from our distributable earnings any amounts determined by our general partner to be necessary or appropriate to provide for the conduct of our businesses, to make appropriate investments in our businesses and our funds, to comply with applicable law, any of our debt instruments or other agreements or to provide for future distributions to our preferred and common shareholders for any ensuing quarter.
Distribution Policy for Common Shares Following Effectiveness of Tax Election
In conjunction with the Tax Election, we have adopted a distribution policy that will reduce volatility of the quarterly distributions and become more closely aligned with our core management fee business. We intend to provide a steady quarterly dividend for each calendar year that will be based on our after-tax fee related earnings, with future potential changes based on the level and growth of our after-tax fee related earnings. For March 2018, the first month that we are taxed as a corporation, we declared a distribution of $0.0933 per common share, reflecting one-third of a full quarter $0.28 per share distribution. Starting in the second quarter of 2018, we intend to pay a $0.28 per common share distribution per quarter for the remainder of 2018. For distributions made following the effective date of March 1, 2018, investors will now receive income reported on a Form 1099-DIV instead of a Schedule K-1.
Our fixed distribution will be reassessed each year based upon the level and growth of our after-tax fee related earnings. As fee related earnings reflect the core earnings of our business and consists of management fees less compensation and general and administrative expenses, having our recurring distribution based on this amount removes volatility from our distribution and enables investors to receive what we believe is an attractive after-tax qualifying distribution yield.
As we have historically distributed to our common shareholders substantially all of our distributable earnings, we have not retained earnings for future growth. Our new distribution policy reflects our intention to retain net performance fees. We expect to use such retained earnings for potential share repurchases and to fund future growth with the objective of accelerating our fee related earnings growth per share. However, the declaration, payment and determination of the amount of future distributions, if any, is at the sole discretion of the board of directors of our general partner, which may change our distribution policy at any time.
Under the Delaware Limited Partnership Act, Ares Management, L.P. may not make a distribution to a partner if after the distribution, all of our liabilities, other than liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interests and liabilities for which the recourse of creditors is limited to specific property of the partnership, would exceed the fair value of our assets. If we were to make such an impermissible distribution, any limited partner who received a distribution and knew at the time of the distribution that the distribution was in violation of the Delaware Limited Partnership Act would be liable to us for the amount of

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the distribution for three years from the date of such distribution. In addition, under the Credit Facility, certain subsidiaries of the Ares Operating Group are prohibited from making distributions in certain circumstances, including if an Event of Default (as defined in the Credit Facility) has occurred and is continuing.
Because Ares Management, L.P. is a holding company and has no material assets other than its indirect ownership of Ares Operating Group Units, we fund distributions by Ares Management, L.P. on the common shares, if any, in three steps:
first, we cause the Ares Operating Group entities to make distributions to their partners, including Ares Management, L.P. and its direct subsidiaries. If the Ares Operating Group entities make such distributions, the partners of the Ares Operating Group entities will be entitled to receive equivalent distributions pro rata based on their partnership units in the Ares Operating Group (except as set forth in the following paragraph);

second, we cause Ares Management, L.P.’s direct subsidiaries to distribute to Ares Management, L.P. their share of such distributions, net of any taxes and amounts payable under the tax receivable agreement by such direct subsidiaries; and

third, Ares Management, L.P. distributes such distributions to our common equityholders, net of any taxes and amounts payable under the tax receivable agreement, on a pro rata basis.

Because we and our direct subsidiaries that are corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes may be required to pay corporate income and franchise taxes and make payments under the tax receivable agreement, the amounts ultimately distributed by us to our common shareholders are expected to be generally less, on a per share basis, than the amounts distributed by the Ares Operating Group entities to their respective partners in respect of their Ares Operating Group Units.
In addition, governing agreements of the Ares Operating Group entities provide for cash distributions, which we refer to as “tax distributions,” to the partners of such entities if the general partners of the Ares Operating Group entities determine that the taxable income of the relevant Ares Operating Group entity gives rise to taxable income for its partners. Generally, these tax distributions are computed based on our estimate of the net taxable income of the relevant entity multiplied by an assumed tax rate equal to the highest effective marginal combined U.S. federal, state and local income tax rate prescribed for an individual or corporate resident in Los Angeles, California or New York, New York, whichever is higher (taking into account the non‑deductibility of certain expenses and the character of our income). The Ares Operating Group makes tax distributions only if and to the extent distributions from such entities for the relevant year were otherwise insufficient to cover such tax liabilities.
In addition, the cash flow from operations of the Ares Operating Group entities may be insufficient to enable them to make required minimum tax distributions to their partners, in which case the Ares Operating Group may have to borrow funds or sell assets, which could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and financial condition. Furthermore, by paying cash distributions rather than investing that cash in our businesses, we might risk slowing the pace of our growth, or not having a sufficient amount of cash to fund our operations, new investments or unanticipated capital expenditures, should the need arise.
Although a portion of any distributions by us to our common shareholders may include carried interest received by us, we do not intend to seek fulfillment of any contingent repayment obligation by seeking to have our common shareholders return any portion of such distributions attributable to carried interest associated with any contingent repayment obligation.
We expect any distributions made out of current or accumulated earnings and profits to U.S. individuals and certain other qualifying shareholders to constitute “qualified dividend” income that is generally taxed at a favorable lower tax rate than the ordinary income tax rate, if the requisite holding periods have been met. If the distribution exceeds current and accumulated earnings and profits, the excess is treated as a nontaxable return of capital, reducing the shareholder’s tax basis in its shares to the extent of such shareholder’s tax basis in such shares. Any remaining excess is treated as capital gain. Because entities treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes are taxed on their own taxable income, and because owners of such entities are taxed on any dividends distributed from such entities, there are two levels of potential tax upon income earned by such entities.
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Purchases of Equity Securities
None.

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Item 6.  Selected Financial Data
The following tables present selected consolidated financial information and other data of the Company and its Predecessor. The Company was formed on November 15, 2013 to serve as a holding partnership for our businesses. See “Item 1. Business—Organizational Structure.”
We derived the following selected consolidated financial data of the Company as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 and for the years ended December 31, 20172016 and 2015 from the audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. The selected consolidated financial data of the Company as of and for the year ended 2014 was derived from the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company, which are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The selected consolidated financial data as of and for the year ended December 31, 2013 was derived from the audited consolidated financial statements of the Predecessor, which are not included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The consolidated financial statements were prepared on substantially the same basis as the audited consolidated financial statements and include all adjustments that we consider necessary for a fair presentation of the Predecessor’s consolidated financial position and results of operations. The selected historical financial data is not indicative of the expected future operating results of the Company.
For the period ended December 31, 2013, non-controlling interests in Ares Operating Group entities represent equity interests and net income attributable to various minority non-control oriented strategic investment partners, including the Predecessor’s historical results. The net income attributable to controlling interests in the Predecessor, from January 1, 2014 to April 30, 2014, is presented together with net income attributable to non-controlling interests in Ares Operating Group entities within the Consolidated Statements of Operations.

The entities comprising our Consolidated Funds are not the same entities for all periods presented primarily due to the adoption of new consolidation guidance. Pursuant to revised consolidation guidance that became effective for us on January 1, 2015, we consolidated entities where we hold a controlling financial interest. The consolidation of funds during the periods generally has the effect of grossing up reported assets, liabilities and cash flow, and has no effect on net income attributable to the Company and the Predecessor. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Consolidation and Deconsolidation of Ares Funds” and “—Critical Accounting Estimates—Principles of Consolidation” and Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” to our consolidated financial statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The following selected historical consolidated financial data should be read together with “Item 1. Business—Organizational Structure,” “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”and our historical consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.

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For the Year Ended December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Predecessor)
 
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Statements of operations data
 
 
    
 
    
 
    
 
    
 
Revenues
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Management fees (includes ARCC Part I Fees of $105,467, $121,181, $121,491, $118,537 and $110,511 for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively)
$
722,419

 
$
642,068

 
$
634,399

 
$
486,477

 
$
375,572

 
Performance fees
636,674

 
517,852

 
150,615

 
91,412

 
79,800

 
Administrative, transaction and other fees
56,406

 
39,285

 
29,428

 
26,000

 
23,283

 
Total revenues
1,415,499

 
1,199,205

 
814,442

 
603,889

 
478,655

 
Expenses
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Compensation and benefits
514,109

 
447,725

 
414,454

 
456,372

 
333,902

 
Performance fee compensation
479,722

 
387,846

 
111,683

 
170,028

 
194,294

 
General, administrative and other expenses
196,730

 
159,776

 
224,798

 
166,839

 
138,464

 
Transaction support expense
275,177

 

 

 

 

 
Expenses of Consolidated Funds
39,020

 
21,073

 
18,105

 
66,800

 
135,237

 
Total expenses
1,504,758

 
1,016,420

 
769,040

 
860,039

 
801,897

 
Other income (expense)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net realized and unrealized gain on investments
67,034

 
28,251

 
17,009

 
32,128

 
8,922

 
Interest and dividend income
12,715

 
23,781

 
14,045

 
7,244

 
5,996

 
Interest expense
(21,219
)
 
(17,981
)
 
(18,949
)
 
(8,617
)
 
(9,475
)
 
Debt extinguishment expense

 

 
(11,641
)
 

 
(1,862
)
 
Other income (expense), net
19,470

 
35,650

 
21,680

 
(2,422
)
 
(200
)
 
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) on investments of Consolidated Funds
100,124

 
(2,057
)
 
(24,616
)
 
513,270

 
479,096

 
Interest and other income of Consolidated Funds
187,721

 
138,943

 
117,373

 
937,835

 
1,236,037

 
Interest expense of Consolidated Funds
(126,727
)
 
(91,452
)
 
(78,819
)
 
(666,373
)
 
(534,431
)
 
Debt extinguishment gain of Consolidated Funds

 

 

 

 
11,800

 
Total other income
239,118

 
115,135

 
36,082

 
813,065

 
1,195,883

 
Income before taxes
149,859

 
297,920


81,484


556,915


872,641


Income tax expense (benefit)
(23,052
)
 
11,019

 
19,064

 
11,253

 
59,263

 
Net income
172,911

 
286,901


62,420


545,662


813,378


Less: Net income attributable to redeemable interests in Consolidated Funds

 

 

 
2,565

 
137,924

 
Less: Net income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests in Consolidated Funds
60,818

 
3,386

 
(5,686
)
 
417,793

 
448,847

 
Less: Net income attributable to redeemable interests in Ares Operating Group entities

 
456

 
338

 
731

 
2,451

 
Less: Net income attributable to non-controlling interests in Ares Operating Group entities
35,915

 
171,251

 
48,390

 
89,585

 
224,156

 
Net income attributable to Ares Management, L.P.
76,178

 
111,808


19,378


34,988




Less: Preferred equity distributions paid
21,700

 
12,176

 

 

 

 
Net income attributable to Ares Management, L.P. common unitholders
$
54,478

 
$
99,632


$
19,378


$
34,988


$



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As of December 31,
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Predecessor)
 
 
(Dollars in thousands)
Statements of financial condition data
 
 
    
 
    
 
    
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents
$
118,929

 
$
342,861

 
$
121,483

 
$
148,858

 
$
89,802

 
Cash and cash equivalents of Consolidated Funds
556,500

 
455,280

 
159,507

 
1,314,397

 
1,638,003

 
Investments
647,335

 
468,471

 
468,287

 
174,052

 
89,438

 
Investments, at fair value, of Consolidated Funds
5,582,842

 
3,330,203

 
2,559,783

 
19,123,950

 
20,823,338

 
Total assets
8,563,522

 
5,829,712

 
4,321,408

 
21,638,992

 
23,705,384

 
Debt obligations
616,176

 
305,784

 
389,120

 
243,491

 
153,119

 
CLO loan obligations of Consolidated Funds
4,963,194

 
3,031,112

 
2,174,352

 
12,049,170

 
11,774,157

 
Consolidated Funds’ borrowings
138,198

 
55,070

 
11,734

 
777,600

 
2,070,598

 
Mezzanine debt of Consolidated Funds

 

 

 
378,365

 
323,164

 
Total liabilities
7,103,230

 
4,452,450

 
3,329,497

 
14,879,619

 
16,030,319

 
Redeemable interest in Consolidated Funds

 

 

 
1,037,450

 
1,093,770

 
Redeemable interest in Ares Operating Group entities

 

 
23,505

 
23,988

 
40,751

 
Non‑controlling interest in Consolidated Funds
528,488

 
338,035

 
323,606

 
4,950,803

 
5,847,135

 
Non‑controlling interest in Ares Operating Group entities
358,186

 
447,615

 
397,883

 
463,493

 
167,731

 
Total controlling interest in Ares Management, L.P.
274,857

 
292,851

 
246,917

 
283,639

 
525,678

 
Total equity
1,460,292

 
1,377,262

 
968,406

 
5,697,935

 
6,540,544

 
Total liabilities, redeemable interest, non‑controlling interests and equity
8,563,522

 
5,829,712

 
4,321,408

 
21,638,992

 
23,705,384

 

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Item 7.  Management’s Discussion And Analysis Of Financial Condition And Results Of Operations
Ares Management, L.P. is a Delaware limited partnership formed on November 15, 2013. Unless the context otherwise requires, references to “we,” “us,” “our,” “the Partnership” and “the Company” are intended to mean the business and operations of Ares Management, L.P. and its consolidated subsidiaries. The following discussion analyzes the financial condition and results of operations of the Partnership . “Consolidated Funds” refers collectively to certain Ares‑affiliated funds, related co‑ investment entities and certain CLOs that are required under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States (“GAAP”) to be consolidated in our consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K. Additional terms used by the Company are defined in the Glossary and throughout the Management's Discussion and Analysis in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the audited, consolidated financial statements of Ares Management, L.P. and the related notes included in this Annual Report on Form 10‑K.
Amounts and percentages presented throughout our discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations may reflect rounded results in thousands (unless otherwise indicated) and consequently, totals may not appear to sum.
Our Business
We are a leading global alternative asset manager that operates through three distinct but complementary investment groups, which are our reportable segments. In 2017, we reclassified certain expenses from OMG to our operating segments. We have presented our reportable segments for the years ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 to conform to the year ended December 31, 2017 presentation.
Our three operating segments are:
Credit Group: Our Credit Group is a leading manager of credit strategies across the non-investment grade credit universe in the U.S. and Europe, with approximately $71.7 billion of assets under management and 139 funds as of December 31, 2017. The Credit Group offers a range of credit strategies across the liquid and illiquid spectrum, including syndicated loans, high yield bonds, credit opportunities, structured credit investments and U.S. and European direct lending. The Credit Group provides solutions for traditional fixed income investors seeking to access the syndicated loans and high yield bond markets and capitalizes on opportunities across traded corporate credit. It additionally provides investors access to directly originated fixed- and floating-rate credit assets and the ability to capitalize on illiquidity premiums across the credit spectrum. The Credit Group’s syndicated loans strategy focuses on liquid, traded non-investment grade secured loans to corporate borrowers. The high yield bond strategy seeks to deliver a diversified portfolio of liquid, traded non-investment grade corporate bonds, including secured, unsecured and subordinated debt instruments. Credit opportunities is a “go anywhere” strategy seeking to capitalize on market inefficiencies and relative value opportunities across the capital structure. The structured credit strategy invests across the capital structures of syndicated collateralized loan obligation vehicles (CLOs) and in directly-originated asset-backed instruments comprised of diversified portfolios of consumer and commercial assets. We are one of the largest self-originating direct lenders to the U.S. and European middle markets, providing one-stop financing solutions for small-to-medium sized companies, which the Company believes are increasingly underserved by traditional lenders. We provide investors access to these capabilities through several vehicles, including commingled funds, separately managed accounts and a publicly traded vehicle. The Credit Group conducts its U.S. corporate lending activities primarily through ARCC, the largest business development company as of December 31, 2017, by both market capitalization and total assets. In addition, the Credit Group manages a commercial finance business that provides asset-based and cash flow loans to small and middle-market companies, as well as asset-based facilities to specialty finance companies. The Credit Group’s European direct lending platform is one of the most significant participants in the European middle-market, focusing on self-originated investments in illiquid middle-market credits.

Private Equity Group: Our Private Equity Group has approximately $24.5 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2017, broadly categorizing its investment strategies as corporate private equity, U.S. power and energy infrastructure and special situations. As of December 31, 2017, the group managed five corporate private equity commingled funds focused on North America and Europe and two focused on greater China, five commingled funds and six related co-investment vehicles focused on U.S. power and energy infrastructure and three special situations funds. In its North American and European flexible capital strategy, the Company targets opportunistic majority or shared-control investments in businesses with strong franchises and attractive growth opportunities in North America and Europe. The U.S. power and energy infrastructure strategy targets U.S. energy infrastructure-related assets across the power generation, transmission and midstream sectors, seeking attractive risk-adjusted equity returns with current cash flow and capital

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appreciation. The special situations strategy seeks to invest opportunistically across a broad spectrum of distressed or mispriced investments, including corporate debt, rescue capital, private asset-backed investments, post-reorganization securities and non-performing portfolios.

Real Estate Group: Our Real Estate Group manages comprehensive public and private equity and debt strategies, with approximately $10.2 billion of assets under management across 42 funds as of December 31, 2017. Real Estate equity strategies focus on applying hands-on value creation initiatives to mismanaged and capital-starved assets, as well as new development, ultimately selling stabilized assets back into the market. The Real Estate Group manages both a value-add strategy and an opportunistic strategy. The value-add strategy seeks to create value by buying assets at attractive valuations and through active asset management of income-producing properties across the U.S. and Western Europe. The opportunistic strategy focuses on manufacturing core assets through development, redevelopment and fixing distressed capital structures across major property types in the U.S. and Europe. The Company’s debt strategies leverage the Real Estate Group’s diverse sources of capital to directly originate and manage commercial mortgage investments on properties that range from stabilized to requiring hands-on value creation. In addition to managing private debt funds, the Real Estate Group makes debt investments through a publicly traded commercial mortgage REIT, ACRE.
The Operations Management Group (“OMG”) consists of five shared resource groups to support our operating segments by providing infrastructure and administrative support in the areas of accounting/finance, operations/information technology, business development/corporate strategy, legal/compliance and human resources. Additionally, the OMG provides services to certain of our investment companies and partnerships, which reimburse the OMG for expenses equal to the cost of services provided. The OMG’s expenses are not allocated to our three reportable segments but we consider the cost structure of the OMG when evaluating our financial performance.
The focus of our business model is to provide our investment management capabilities through various funds and products that meet the needs of a wide range of institutional and retail investors. Our revenues consist primarily of management fees and performance fees, as well as investment income and administrative expense reimbursements. Management fees are generally based on a defined percentage of average fair value of assets, total commitments, invested capital, net asset value, net investment income or par value of the investment portfolios we manage. Performance fees are based on certain specific hurdle rates as defined in the funds' applicable investment management or partnership agreements and represent either an incentive fee or carried interest. Other income (expense) represents the investment income, realized gains (losses) and unrealized appreciation (depreciation) resulting from the investments of the Company and the Consolidated Funds, as well as interest expense. We provide administrative services to certain of our affiliated funds that are presented within administrative, transaction and other fees for GAAP reporting, but are presented net of respective expenses for segment reporting purposes. We also receive transaction fees from certain affiliated funds for activities related to fund transactions, such as loan originations. In accordance with GAAP, we are required to consolidate those funds in which we hold a significant economic interest and substantive control rights. However, for segment reporting purposes, we present revenues and expenses on a combined segment basis, which shows the results of our reportable segments without giving effect to the consolidation of the funds. Accordingly, our segment revenues consist of management fees, other income, realized and unrealized performance fees, and net investment income. Our segment expenses consist of compensation and benefits, net of administrative fees, general, administrative and other expenses, net of administrative fees, as well as realized and unrealized performance fee compensation.
Trends Affecting Our Business
We believe that our disciplined investment philosophy across our three distinct but complementary investment groups contributes to the stability of our firm’s performance throughout market cycles. Additionally, as approximately 72% of our assets under management were in funds with a contractual life of three years or more and approximately 42% were in funds with a contractual life of seven years or more as of December 31, 2017, our funds have a stable base of committed capital enabling us to invest in assets with a long term focus over different points in a market cycle and to take advantage of market volatility. However, our results of operations, including the fair value of our AUM, are affected by a variety of factors, including conditions in the global financial markets and the economic and political environments, particularly in the United States and Western Europe.
December 2017 marked a modestly positive end to the year for credit markets as improving economic conditions, rising corporate earnings, accommodative monetary policy and falling inflation expectations supported investor sentiment. Despite sector specific gains experienced in November, credit spreads generally continued to tighten throughout the fourth quarter of 2017. In response to compressing yields, investors generally sought higher yielding risk assets globally. Similar to 2016, market participants were rewarded for a “risk-on” posture and as a result, the ICE BofAML High Yield Master II Index returned 7.48% for 2017, primarily driven by the CCC portion of the index which returned 10.59% during the year. The leveraged loan market experienced similar return patterns with the Credit Suisse Leveraged Loan Index delivering a 4.25% total return for the full year, led by a 7.45% return for the lower tier segment of the market. Against a backdrop of improving macroeconomic and corporate fundamentals as

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well as enthusiasm over tax reform in the U.S., equities (measured by the S&P 500 Index) continued to reach record highs throughout the year and outperformed most asset classes with a year-to-date return of 21.83%.
European markets continued to show notable stability during the fourth quarter of 2017 as improving growth prospects and increased appetite for risk in the region seemed to offset geopolitical and monetary policy concerns. As a result, the ICE BofAML European High Yield Index and the Credit Suisse Western European Leveraged Loan Index delivered strong performance for the year-to-date period, returning 6.74% and 5.32% during 2017, respectively. Economic growth in Europe showed signs of strength as gross domestic product readings consistently beat expectations and the unemployment rate dipped to lows not seen since January 2009.

Notwithstanding the potential opportunities represented by market volatility, future earnings, cash flows and distributions are affected by a range of factors, including realizations of our funds’ investments, which are subject to significant fluctuations from period to period.
In 2018, some of the considerations informing our strategic decisions include:
Our ability to fundraise and increase AUM and fee paying AUM.  During the year ended December 31, 2017, we raised $16.7 billion, both in commingled and separately managed accounts, and continued to expand our investor base, raising capital from over 65 different funds and approximately 146 institutional investors, including 78 direct institutional investors that were new to Ares. Our fundraising efforts helped drive AUM growth of approximately 11.8% for 2017. During 2018, we expect that our fundraising will come from a combination of our existing and new strategies primarily in the U.S and Europe. During the year ended December 31, 2017, we earned approximately 1.1% on our FPAUM, which was consistent with 2016. As of December 31, 2017, we also had $15.0 billion of AUM not yet earning fees, which represents approximately $164.4 million in annual potential management fee revenue. Of the $164.4 million, $126.1 million relates to $11.8 billion of AUM available for future deployment. Our pipeline of potential fees, coupled with our future fundraising opportunities, gives us the potential to increase our management fees in 2018.
Our ability to attract new capital and investors with our broad multi‑asset class product offering.  Our ability to attract new capital and investors in our funds is driven, in part, by the extent to which they continue to see the alternative asset management industry generally, and our investment products specifically, as an attractive vehicle for capital appreciation. We continually seek to create avenues to meet our investors’ evolving needs by offering an expansive range of investment funds, developing new products and creating managed accounts and other investment vehicles tailored to our investors’ goals. We continue to expand our distribution channels, seeking to meet the needs of insurance companies, as well as the needs of traditional institutional investors, such as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and endowments. If market volatility persists or increases, investors may seek absolute return strategies that seek to mitigate volatility. We offer a variety of investment strategies depending upon investors’ risk tolerance and expected returns.
Our disciplined investment approach and successful deployment of capital.  Our ability to maintain and grow our revenue base is dependent upon our ability to successfully deploy the capital that our investors have committed to our investment funds. Greater competition, high valuations, cost of credit and other general market conditions have affected and may continue to affect our ability to identify and execute attractive investments. Under our disciplined investment approach, we deploy capital only when we have sourced a suitable investment opportunity at an attractive price. During the year ended December 31, 2017, we deployed $16.4 billion of gross capital across our three investment groups compared to approximately $10.2 billion deployed in 2016. As of December 31, 2017, we had $25.1 billion of capital available for investment and we remain well-positioned to invest our assets opportunistically.
Our ability to invest capital and generate returns through market cycles.  The strength of our investment performance affects investors’ willingness to commit capital to our funds. The flexibility of the capital we are able to attract is one of the main drivers of the growth of our AUM and the management fees we earn. Current market conditions and a changing regulatory environment have created opportunities for Ares’ businesses, particularly in the Credit Group’s direct lending funds, and in the Private Equity's special situations funds, which utilize flexible investment mandates to manage portfolios through market cycles. As market conditions shift and default risk and interest rate risk come under greater focus, having the ability to move up and down the capital structure enables both our Credit and Private Equity Groups to reduce risk and enhance returns. Similarly, given our broad capabilities i