A.G. Edwards Profit Up; Investment Banking Revenue Doubles

A.G. Edwards, which operates one of the largest independent U.S. brokerages, posted a 45% rise in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday as asset management fees increased and investment banking revenue more than doubled.

Net income for the St. Louis-based company for the quarter ended Feb. 28 rose to $109.2 million, or $1.44 a share, from an adjusted $75.4 million, or 99 cents, a year earlier.

Shares of the company rose on the earnings report, which was released before U.S. markets opened Thursday.

Results included a gain of 8 cents a share related to investments in several securities and commodities exchanges.

Revenue rose 17% to $865 million.

Analysts on average expected profit of $1.06 a share on revenue of $786.8 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Investment banking revenue surged 126% to $112.5 million, including increases of 93% in underwriting and 217% in management and advisory fees. The latter includes closed-end fund offerings.

Fees from asset management and services rose 18% to $335.7 million, while commission-based revenue fell 1% to $270.3 million. Trading revenue fell 5% to $53.2 million.

Total client assets rose 9% to $374 billion, despite a decline in the number of financial consultants to 6,618 from 6,824.

A.G. Edwards shares have risen 5% this year, compared with a 3% decline in the Amex Securities Broker Dealer Index.