By Ross Kerber and Tanya Agrawal
(Reuters) – Asset manager Legg Mason Inc (LM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said it will buy privately held QS Investors and merge it with two other business units, aiming to build sales to institutional clients and retail investors.
The deal announced on Tuesday marks an early expansion step by Legg Mason Chief Executive officer Joseph Sullivan, who took over last year and said he would consider acquisitions as a way to grow the Baltimore fund company.
BOSTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – As corporations draw more heat
from their investors, Abe Friedman aims to put out some fires.
His San Francisco start-up, CamberView Partners, advises
companies on how top shareholders make voting decisions and how
to frame company messages.
By Ross Kerber
(Reuters) – A deal with shareholder activists outlined by JPMorgan Chase & Co on Thursday will allow the bank to avoid another battle at its spring shareholder meeting over whether the firm should have an independent chairman.
In exchange for the withdrawal of a shareholder proposal the bank agreed to develop some type of public event on the criteria boards should use in setting up the roles of chairman and chief executive officer, shareholder activists said on Thursday.
BOSTON, Feb 20 (Reuters) – Fidelity Investments, the
second-largest U.S. mutual fund company, said on Thursday that
its fixed-income chief will lead the Boston firm’s $1.9 trillion
asset management division.
With Charles Morrison as the new president of the unit,
Fidelity is betting on an Ivy League-educated, homegrown talent
who has overseen a robust expansion of the company’s bond
BOSTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Fidelity Investments, the No. 2
U.S. mutual fund company, said on Wednesday that operating
profit rose 13 percent to $2.6 billion last year as clients
pulled less money from its funds.
Despite improved performance for some of Fidelity’s
products, the results showed the company losing ground to
competitors who focus more on index and exchange-traded funds.
BOSTON (Reuters) – Footwear maker Skechers USA Inc (SKX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) cultivates a hip and diverse image, but its all-male board of directors is insular and needs a “complete and immediate overhaul,” according to influential shareholder CtW Investment Group.
The criticism marks an early salvo in the 2014 proxy season from CtW, an adviser to union pension funds that has helped foster investor revolts at much bigger companies like JPMorgan Chase & Co and Hewlett Packard Co. CtW’s focus on Skechers shows how firms of all sizes may now be fair game for activists attuned to governance issues.
Jan 31 (Reuters) – Asset manager Legg Mason Inc on
Friday reported a profit in the year-end quarter but also gave a
mixed picture of flows to its funds, highlighting the task its
new chief executive Joseph Sullivan still faces to turn the
The results sent shares down 2 percent in morning trading to
$42.42, slightly more than other asset managers. Still, Legg
Mason has far outperformed peers over the twelve months ended
January 30, a period its shares were up 56 percent.
With $679.5 billion under management at the end of 2013 Legg
Mason remains among the largest fund firms but lost ground
during the financial crisis. The chief issue now is its ability
to attract cash from investors. For the three months ended
December 31 Legg Mason reported a net inflow of $9.9 billion,
reflecting money put into its money-market funds.
During the quarter, investors also added $700 million to its
bond funds, but withdrew $700 million from Legg Mason’s equity
products. The results came as investors are returning to stock
funds that should favor some of the company’s equity-heavy
Until Legg Mason can step up its flows, its valuation is
likely to lag peers, wrote Sandler O’Neill analyst Michael Kim
in a note to investors. He is maintaining his “Hold” rating on
Others said the company deserves more credit considering
other factors like better margins and buybacks that have reduced
the number of Legg Mason shares outstanding. “Margin Expansion,
Lower Sharecount & Flattish Flows is a Victory” was the headline
on a note to investors from International Strategy & Investment
Group analyst Glenn Schorr.
Sullivan was named Legg Mason’s chief executive in February
of 2013 and since then he has wound down or sold smaller
businesses, pushed for new products, and moved to renegotiate
financial arrangements with some of its investment units. Among
its units are the big Western Asset Management bond division
and its ClearBridge equity shop.
In an interview on Friday, Sullivan said his work is showing
results, especially compared to past quarters in which Legg
Mason reported steep outflows. “We’re clearly making progress in
our flow trajectory, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.
“It’s a significant improvement over the past year.”
For its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, Legg Mason
reported net income of $81.7 million, or 67 cents per share,
compared with a net loss of $453.9 million, or $3.45 per share,
in the same period a year ago, when it took impairment charges.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, on average,
expected earnings of 66 cents per share in the most recent
Assets under management of $679.5 billion were up from $656
billion at September 30, driven by $13.6 billion in market gains
and foreign exchange factors, and net inflows of $9.9 billion.
WASHINGTON/BOSTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama ordered on Wednesday the creation of a new government-backed retirement account for low-income workers, the myRA, that will be safe and simple, but will top out at only $15,000 per account and offer modest returns.
Unveiled by the president in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, the myRA quickly won praise from some experts as an entry point into the world of investing for millions of Americans who now save little or nothing for the future, and get only scant attention from large financial firms.
WASHINGTON/BOSTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s new “myRA” retirement savings program will be run by a private-sector money management firm chosen by the U.S. Treasury Department from a field of up to 30 firms, a senior administration official said on Wednesday.
In a competitive bidding process to begin in the next few weeks, the Treasury Department will select a firm with experience in handling Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs), the official said on a conference call with reporters.
By Ross Kerber
(Reuters) – The highest outflows in nearly a decade caught up with Janus Capital Group Inc on Thursday and drove down shares in the asset manager by 7 percent.
The Denver-based company has struggled to reverse steady withdrawals by customers moving away from its well known equity funds and wary of their mixed performance records.