Legg Mason may cut funds, offices: CFO
BOSTON (Reuters) - Legg Mason Inc (LM.N) may trim the number of funds it offers and offices it operates, but does not expect major cost-cutting like that begun in 2010, the asset manager's chief financial officer said on Tuesday.
The firm will provide more details of its continuing business review in coming months, CFO Pete Nachtwey said at a financial conference in Boston that was webcast.
In 2010 Legg Mason began a round of cost-cutting that saved about $140 million annually and reduced the number of employees working for its central corporate organization to 1,000 from a peak of 1,800.
The latest reviews come just after Joseph Sullivan was named Legg Mason's permanent chief executive in February. The cuts will not reach the scale of prior expense reductions but will be what Nachtwey called "singles and doubles," rather than home runs.
For instance, the company recently reduced office space to save $10 million a year, he said. Reviews of office space will continue, he said. The Baltimore-based company currently has 32 offices worldwide.
He also said the firm is reviewing the total number of funds its sells through affiliates like its Western Asset Management bond unit and its ClearBridge Advisors equity division. Combined, Legg Mason affiliates offer more than 400 funds, he said, and some may not have the scale to continue and may be merged into other funds or shut down.
Overall, the firm is looking to "decrease the complexity of our fund complex," Nachtwey said.
Legg Mason will provide more details at investor presentations it plans to hold in June, Nachtwey said.
The company's shares were up 3 percent at $29.25 in midday trading.
Legg Mason reported a loss of $454 million and continued outflows of customer cash in the quarter ended December 31.
(Reporting By Ross Kerber; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)
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