UPDATE 3-AllianceBernstein Q1 profit up with assets

Mon May 3, 2010 8:07pm EDT

* Q1 net income $148 million vs $37 million year-ago

* Cites higher retail and private client revenue

* Assets up with markets, but outflows continue (Adds year-ago details, analyst comment)

BOSTON, May 3 (Reuters) - New York investment manager AllianceBernstein Holding LP (AB.N) said on Monday its first-quarter profit rose four-fold from a year ago because of market gains and cost-cutting.

AllianceBernstein reported net income of $148 million for the three months ended March 31, up from $37 million for the same period in 2009.

Revenue rose along with profit as assets under management grew to $501 billion as of the end of March, up $5 billion from the end of 2009 and $90 billion more than on March 31, 2009 in the thick of the financial crisis. Markets have since recovered, and AllianceBernstein has shed hundreds of jobs since then, reducing its costs.

For owners of units in publicly traded AllianceBernstein Holding LP, the results worked out to 46 cents per unit, up from 7 cents per unit a year earlier.

The figures included a real estate sublease charge of $12 million, or 4 cents per unit.

Analysts, on average, had expected the company to earn 50 cents per unit, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, on revenue of $702 million.

Revenue for the operating company was $725 million, compared with $598 million a year earlier. The company cited higher sales in its retail and private client sales channels.

Despite the improvements, Sandler O'Neill analyst Michael Kim called the quarter mixed since clients are still withdrawing money.

The company said it had net outflows of $6.4 billion in the first quarter. The figure was 62 percent lower than the outflows it posted in the last three months of 2009, but came during a quarter in which rival fund firms posted net inflows including T Rowe Price Group (TROW.O) and Franklin Resources (BEN.N).

In a presentation to analysts the company said outflows were centered on its value and growth products, while it recorded fixed income inflows. A main driver was changes in asset allocations by insurance company clients, Chief Operating Officer David Steyn told analysts.

AllianceBernstein Holding owns just over a third of asset manager AllianceBernstein, with most of the remainder owned by France's AXA Group. (AXAF.PA)

AllianceBernstein said it had 4,276 employees as of the end of March, 10 percent fewer than the 4,761 a year earlier and down from a peak of about 5,600. Steyn said the company is doing some hiring but said the headcount would not reach 5,000 again. (Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Richard Chang)

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