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Rating:Three Things to Know From Cohen and Steers' Earnings Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, April 22, 2013

Three Things to Know From Cohen and Steers' Earnings

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

On an adjusted basis, Cohen & Steers beat analyst expectations, and achieved record AUM, thanks to the markets favoring their sweet spots. It plans to continue on this growth by spending big on distribution and sticking to its guns in Asia.

But first, the basics.

If you peruse the company's earnings info and the SeekingAlpha transcript of the analyst conference, you would note that, had it not been for a one-time charge related to the launch of a closed-end fund, the company would have reported first quarter 2013 earnings per share of 44 cents, beating the 41 cents per share reported during the same period a year ago. Analysts had also expected 41 cents per share this period.

Taking into account the costs of the closed-end fund launch, the firm reported net income of $15.1 million and 34 cents per share earnings.

However, Cohen's total revenue moved up to $72.5 million, compared to $63.7 million a year ago, and its total AUM leapt nearly 10 percent from a year ago to reach $49.3 billion.

Reading the SeekingAlpha transcript, you will note three important insights regarding how Cohen did during the quarter and how it plans to follow through on this success through the rest of the year.

The three insights are as follows:

POINT 1: Cohen's Asset Specialities Are Doing Well.
POINT 2: Cohen Plans to Spend Big in Distribution.
POINT 3: Cohen Remains Committed to Japan and Asia.

Now to drill down on these points.

POINT 1: Cohen's Asset Specialities Are Doing Well.
Cohen has a very specialized focus on assets. During the conference call, chief financial officer Matt Stadler had this to say on their investment focus.

At March 31st, our U.S. real estate strategy comprised 50% of the total assets we manage, followed by global and international real estate at 23%, preferred securities at 10%, global infrastructure at 9% and large cap value at 8%.

During the conference call, co-chairman and co-chief executive Marty Coehn described the firm's successes in this way:

Itís been a very busy period for our company so far this year. Like most asset managers, we have enjoyed strong market tailwinds. Unlike some managers, nearly all of our strategies are attracting strong interest and thatís beginning to translate into good flows. This includes retail, which has Matt discussed has enjoyed very strong organic growth, but also is institutional where despite out close from some subadvisory accounts, we are seeing strong interest globally.

As we have discussed before, the asset classes that we offer are deliberately chosen for us timely. In this slow growth, low interest-rate environment that has persisted and looks like it may continued to persist, we have found that a number of trends have remained in our favor.

First is that real estate continues to be an attractive proposition, due to its relatively high yield and the ability of our companies to finance asset purchases and refinance their balance sheets at extraordinarily low interest rates. We think the investments worlds of large underestimates the power of this environment.

The REIT dividends story -- the REIT dividend growth story remains as strong as ever. For example, so far in 2013, 63 North American REITs have already raised their dividends, many by meaningful amount. I should mention that our Flagship Cohen & Steers realty shares fund is the nationís largest actively managed open-end real estate mutual fund.

Preferred securities have been our fastest-growing asset class due to their exceptional yield and their often complex structure that can make investing in individual issues somewhat tricky. Preferred securities in the past 12 months have increased to 10% of our total assets under management from 5%. We now manage the second largest actively managed open-end preferred securities mutual fund in the nation and it is barely three-years old.

Listed infrastructure, which we define do also include master limited partnerships or for above average yields that also have the potential to grow their distributions. This asset class has increased its share of our AUM to 8.5% from 7% a year ago. In addition to our recent closed-end funds, we are also seeing very strong interest from the institutional community globally and there is a strong and growing pipeline of RFPs out there, representing good potential future mandates.

POINT 2: Cohen Plans to Spend Big in Distribution.
When asked by an analyst what would be the company's biggest spends this year, Stadler said that distribution will be a big focus.

This is what he had to say on the subject:

There is a great deal on distribution. I think our popularity has probably outgrown our distribution force. And we need to service those distribution channels. We need to penetrate them a little better than we have. We think we can do that whether itís in the retirement market in the U.S. or in Asia where weíre seeing a lot of interest in all of our strategies. So we have -- I would say distribution is where most of investment spending will be.

POINT 3: Cohen Remains Committed to Japan and Asia.
Japan and Asia remain important foci for the firm. Cohen had this to say on the subject:

With respect to our business in Japan, as Bob reported last quarter, outflows have abated in U.S. real estate and are now beginning to abate in global real estate. Though not yet positive, total outflows are the lowest in over a year and there were some preliminary signs that may turn positive as Japanese investors seek both income and non-yen denominated assets.

Weíve established a very strong brand in Japan, where we have now been working for nearly 10 years. We are reinforcing our presence in Japan and adding senior professionals with the objective of broadening both our distribution and investment offerings. We are very encouraged by our prospects for asset gathering, not only in Japan but also in Greater Asia.

Read more in company's earnings info and the SeekingAlpha transcript of the analyst conference

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