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UPDATE 1-Lazard profit jumps as asset management revenue rises

Thursday, 24 Oct 2013 | 7:45 AM ET

* Third-qtr adj profit $0.46/shr vs est $0.36

* Total AUM up 10 pct from year earlier

* Asset management revenue up 13 pct

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Investment bank Lazard Ltd reported a better-than-expected 81 percent jump in quarterly profit due mainly to higher revenue in its asset management unit, which now accounts from more than half of its business.

The firm has been trying to diversify its revenue over the last five years by trying to grow its asset management and restructuring businesses as deal flows have been weak since the financial crisis.

Asset management revenue rose 13 percent to $248.1 million from the year-ago period. The business made up for 45 percent of the revenue in the same quarter last year.

Traditionally, Lazard has been more reliant on M&A advisory revenue than its larger Wall Street rivals because it does not have underwriting or trading businesses.

The company's advisory revenue rose 6 percent to $233.8 million in the third quarter.

"In Asset Management, the diversification of our investment platforms and global client base continues to be a solid foundation for long-term growth," Chief Executive Kenneth Jacobs said in a statement.

Total assets under management as of Sept. 30 were up 10 percent at $176 billion.

The company's compensation and benefits expense was 60 percent of operating revenue, unchanged from the second quarter.

The investment bank has long been saddled with high compensation expenses, including pay awarded in prior years.

While pay is almost always the biggest expense for investment banks, Lazard typically sets aside more of its revenue for pay than rivals.

The net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $60.3 million, or 45 cents per share, in the third quarter from $33 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 46 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected Lazard to report a profit of 36 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Lazard shares closed at $37.69 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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