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Friday, July 27, 2012

WisdomTree's Earnings Pruned by Litigation Expenses

Reported by Irene Park

Net income for WisdomTree Asset Management plummeted in the second quarter as expenses from a patent infringement lawsuit and an ETF shareholder proxy chipped away at the ETF provider's profits.

The second quarter saw WisdomTree's net income down 90 percent to $0.1 million, or 0 cents per share, from $1 million, or 1 cent per share in the first quarter, and $0.7 million, or 1 cent per share, the year-prior quarter. But total revenue actually rose to $20 million from $19 million in Q1 and $17 million the same quarter the year prior.

Meanwhile, assets under management in WisdomTree's ETFs shrank slightly to $15 billion from $15.7 billion the prior quarter. But inflows fell significantly to $338,000 from $2.3 million in the prior quarter and $1.7 million the same quarter last year.

Hits to the profits came from "negative market movement" and increases in operating income to $20.3 million from $18.1 million in Q1. WisdomTree is also currently defending itself in a patent infringement lawsuit with Research Affiliated, which has cost the firm $1.6 million in liigtation-related expenses. However, $1 million will be reimbursed through the firm's insurance.

WisdomTree incurred an additional $3.2 million in expenses related to the proxy solicitation of the WisdomTree ETF shareholders.

CEO Jonathan Steinberg maintained an optimistic voice in a company press release, stressing that the "powerful performance story" offered by WisdomTree's ETFs is an "important driver for future growth."

"WisdomTree gathered $338 million predominantly in our dividend-based equity strategies in a difficult market environment where, at an industry level, net inflows were almost entirely concentrated in domestic fixed income," Steinberg said. "While this market cycle was challenging for our product set, our ability to buck the trend in equities demonstrates our strategies are differentiated and desirable."

WisdomTree shares closed at $6.44 on Thursday. 

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