UPDATE 2-Northern Trust Q4 profit falls on low rates

Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:29am EST

* Q4 profit falls 22 pct to $157.1 mln from $200.3 mln

* EPS of 64 cents misses expectations of EPS 71 cents (Adds detail on earnings, assets under management and custody)

BOSTON Jan 19 (Reuters) - Chicago trust bank Northern Trust Corp (NTRS.O) said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 22 percent, citing low interest rates.

For the three months that ended Dec. 31, the asset management and custody services company reported a profit of $157.1 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with a profit of $200.3 million, or 82 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier.

The results for the quarter benefited from an after-tax expense reduction of $12.9 million, or 5 cents per common share, tied to the reduction of a liability related to Visa Inc (V.N).

Analysts had expected Northern Trust to report a profit of 71 cents a share on revenue of $921.7 million in the most recent quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue came in at $906.4 million, down from $950.2 million a year earlier.

In a press release, Chief Executive Frederick Waddell said the company's results "have been constrained by the persistent low interest rate environment, which has had a negative impact on net interest income and trust fee levels."

More than half of the bank's revenue comes from trust, investment and servicing fees. These fell to $504.6 million in the quarter, down 8 percent from a year ago, mainly due to lower securities lending revenue, Northern Trust said.

The bank said total assets under management were $643.6 billion as of Dec. 31, down 2 percent from the quarter ended Sept. 30. Total assets under custody were $4.08 trillion as of Dec. 31, up 4 percent from the quarter ended Sept. 30. (Reporting by Ross Kerber, editing by Maureen Bavdek, Dave Zimmerman)

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