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A.G. Edwards Profits Jump 50%

A.G. Edwards said quarterly earnings rose 50%, helped by rising client assets.

The company also said it received regulatory approval for offering federally insured bank deposits to clients.

A.G. Edwards said fiscal third-quarter earnings were $78 million, or $1.03 a share, up from $52 million, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had on average expected earnings of 91 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue for the quarter ended November 30 was $768 million, up from $674 million a year earlier, and above the $740.71 million forecast on average by analysts.

Client assets at the end of the third quarter were $370 billion, up 12% from a year earlier.

A.G. Edwards said it had received approval from the Office of Thrift Supervision to offer federally insured bank deposits to clients, and could begin offering the deposits in the first three months of 2007.

A.G. Edwards is one of several brokers that have sought to offer bank deposits to clients, to diversify their business and retain clients.

Some commercial companies are also looking to run their own banks. Wal-Mart Stores and Home Depot are among a handful seeking regulatory permission to run their own banks, but have said they have no plans to enter full-service banking.

A.G. Edwards shares have risen more than 35% this year, outpacing the roughly 25 percent increase in the Amex Securities Broker Dealer Index during that period.