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Monday, February 11, 2013

Three Things to Know from Invesco’s Earnings

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Invesco [profile] had a solid 2012, and expects to ride investors' market uncertainties into an even better 2013.

During the asset manager’s recently released earnings figures as well as the transcripts of the earnings call provided by SeekingAlpha, Invesco showed that it was enjoying sales boons thanks to both investors' escalating hunger for yield, as well as their lingering fear over risk.

First, the basics. Invesco’s net revenues increased by $41.2 million (5.6 percent) to $775.9 million in the fourth quarter from $734.7 million in the third quarter 2012. The change was principally due to increases in investment management fees and performance fee revenues, according to the company.

Meanwhile, total assets under management (AUM) at December 31, 2012 were $687.7 billion (September 30, 2012: $683.0 billion), an increase of $4.7 billion during the fourth quarter. Total net inflows were $1.0 billion for the fourth quarter.

There were a lot of interesting things discussed during the earnings call transcribed by SeekingAlpha, but there were at least three powerful takeaways in the subjects of sales and distribution.

They are:

POINT #1: Investors Are Dipping Their Toes into Equities, but Remain Skittish about Volatility
POINT #2: Invesco Will Sound the Battle Charge This Year on its Capabilities in Both Areas
POINT #3: Invesco Will Continue to Expand its Armaments


Now to elaborate on each point:

POINT #1: Investors Are Dipping Their Toes into Equities, but Remain Skittish about Volatility
At different points during the conference call, Martin Flanagan, chief executive officer, president and executive director, had this to say about demand for Invesco products:
Gross sales for our U.S. retail business remained strong at $16.1 billion for the quarter. This was offset by higher levels of redemptions as we saw some tax selling and greater caution in the face of the looming fiscal cliff. In spite of this, gross sales were up 9% year-over-year. Flows into the complex were led by continued strength in traditional ETF balance risk strategies, domestic Equity and International Equity. Note, although the redemption rate rose, they remained relatively favorable to the industry of the Invesco being at 26% versus the industry at 32% in that period. Globally, the Multi-Asset suite of products continue to generate tremendous interest from clients who are attracted to the capability with the strong long-term performance. That means we brought a high level of protection in volatile markets, which we did do. We continue to see strong growth during the fourth quarter across the entire suite of capabilities with net flows of more than $3 billion during that quarter. With 1 month into the first quarter of 2013, we continue to see very strong demand for the Multi-Asset capabilities.

Though in spite of the mixed signals we saw from the market in the global economy late in the year, we are optimistic about the quarter ahead. Early signs show a global economy looming in the right direction and investors are showing renewed interest in rerisking as a way of building the returns of a long term. So maybe I'll put this into context because it seems to be sort of the broader question maybe the marketplace right now. If you look at the U.S. in the first instance in U.S. retail market for us, we continue to see strong interest in the asset allocation capabilities, as I just mentioned, and that would be consistent with this idea of people still being focused on risk. We also continued to see steady fixed income flows as, again, people still seeking yield. But really what has been quite striking in January is that the January gross sales of International Equity products for us are up 60% versus the Q4 average and maybe even more interesting is that the January growth sales of our domestic Equity capabilities are at 56% versus Q4 -- versus the Q4 average. And also, it's not unique to the United States, we continue to see growing interest in participation in our Continental European base capabilities. So again, the big health warning is January is not a year. It's not multiple years, but it is a very encouraging sign and probably something very different than what we've seen in many, many years.

POINT #2: Invesco Will Sound the Battle Charge This Year on its Capabilities in Both Areas
Flanagan described Invesco’s marketing strategy for 2013 in this way:
So the strategy is we still have to -- we're not exactly where we are with brand recognition, which we think strategically is very important now as you see. The fundamental idea is very hard to separate the asset buckets in time so we've all known from DB to DC, to DC to roll over IRAs and what we are clearly seeing and understanding is that even in the large institutions where you're managing a DB and a DC plan, they actually do care that they are associated with a money manager that is in the advice channel. That is recognized in the advice channel as their employees roll over from a DC plan into a financial advisor. So that becomes very important and that is the fundamental strategic reason why underneath it all, you need to have brand recognition.

POINT #3: Invesco Will Continue to Expand its Armaments


When Flanagan spoke on product development, he had this to say:
The pipeline is continuing to grow, which is a good sign. We are continuing to see some of the things that we have been seeing, bank loans, real estate and the like. But there are the balance risk capabilities, but you are seeing growing interest in International Equity capabilities, in particular. And so as the pipeline continues to build, the quantitative Equity capability where if you asked 3 years ago, you would have thought not just us but many people, you would not have thought that, that was a very strong capability. It's also a global capability. This is not just -- it's available globally. But also, the global capability of the Quant team is also very, very strong. So it just continues to broaden, which is a very good thing. With regard to what we continue to do as a business, it is that would be an example just where we have strong capabilities that there's global demand, you're just continuing to see greater outcomes and effectiveness of making those capabilities available around the world, the Quant team would be an example of -- it has clients not just on the continent, not just in the United Kingdom, but in the United States and Asia. Very similar to what you've seen in real estate capability, you're are also seeing at the asset allocation capability and that really continued. That is from our point of view. What we think is a competitive advantage and also gets back to some of the prior questions, that's also where you start to see scale advantages comp, right? So that's the more we can do that, the better off the clients are but better off as the business.

To learn more, read earnings figures as well as the transcripts of the earnings call provided by SeekingAlpha

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