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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Three Things to Know From Artisan's Earnings

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

It's been less than two months since Artisan Partners [profile] IPOed. How are they doing so far?

On Tuesday the Milwaukee-based mutual fund shop issued its first ever quarterly earnings report, this one for Q1 2013. Artisan reported adjusted earnings per share of $0.47, $0.06 lower than the analysts' estimate RTTNews. Assets under management climbed 25.1 percent year-over-year to $83.2 billion on March 31, 2013. In Artisan's earnings call, chief financial officer C.J. Daley credited the AUM jump to $6.6 billion of net client cash inflows and 10 percent in "organic growth," despite 15 percent in market depreciation.

The Milwaukee Business Journal and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also covered Artisan results.

When perusing Artisan's earnings release and the earnings call transcript on Seeking Alpha, several interesting points grabbed MFWire's attention:

POINT 1: This Was Their First Earnings Report and Earnings Call, Ever!
POINT 2: Artisan's PMs Are Generating Strong Long-Term Results
POINT 3: Colson's On the Hunt For More PMs

Now to drill down on those three points.

POINT 1: This Was Their First Earnings Report and Earnings Call, Ever!
Artisan president and CEO Eric Colson, and CFO Daley, both stressed that these are Artisan's first publicly issued results. Colson took the opportunity to educate the analysts on the call by regaling them with Artisan's history and philosophy. Robert Lee of KBW even congratulated the duo on their first earnings call.

POINT 2: Artisan's PMs Are Generating Strong Long-Term Results
Top-notch PMs delivering top-notch performance is Artisan's all about, Colson told the analysts, and he highlighted Artisan's performance success so far:
I want to talk about our investment results. As I mentioned earlier, we major investment success over a generally defined four market cycle. We focus on longer periods, because ultimately our teams invest in businesses, and business owners think about where they want to be in three, five or ten years. Owners don't run a business three months at a time. So, when we think about the performance success of our managers, we operate very similarly.

Performance data over very short time periods often reflect liquidity, noise and market preference. We think long periods tend to be a better way machine to determine success. However, end point dependency must be taken into consideration.

Our goal is to produce superior investment returns on an absolute and on a relative basis with integrity, so when we look at investment performance, we answer three questions. Have we've been faithful to a strategy stated investment philosophy and process? To us that's investing with integrity as the produce good absolute performance. Third, how does the strategies performance compare to the performance of its peers competitors and benchmark.

As of March, 31st, 11 of our 12 investment strategies had added value relative to their broad performance benchmarks over the trailing 5-year and 10-year periods and since each strategy's inception. Our strategies have good absolute performance and follow their objectives with integrity.

Slide seven further reinforces the impact of our performance philosophy across our asset base. Our teams run active portfolio with fairly high degrees of investment freedom. Each also adheres to a time-sensitive investment process, none have a process or incentives that place much value on very short timeframe, therefore the return patterns of all of our teams will be lumpy that is evidenced in our one-year returns, but each have proven the compound wall for clients and outperform the indices long-term.

As indicated by nearly 100% of the asset outdistancing the benchmarks over the five-year 10-year and since inception timeframes and this obviously translates to peer ratings, but they are highlighted of the page.
POINT 3: Colson's On the Hunt For More PMs
Marc Irizarry of Goldman Sachs asked Colson his plans for "talent acquisitions." Colson responded:
Certainly, Marc. There is no set timing that we can pinpoint and say that we are going to do one or two teams every year. Comments earlier were around the amount of information and data that's coming through the public process provided us more exposure into the marketplace, so our networks expanded. We will continue to come through those networks and we will continue to work with individuals and teams to see if they are fit with our organization, but as of today, we have a few teams that we are looking at and talking to, but no specifics on any on boarding.
Later on the call, Cynthia Mayer of Bank of America Merrill Lynch recruited to the subject of finding and acquiring talent, asking if Artisan has "anybody focused on that full time." Colson gave insight into Artisan's search process:
It is primarily comes to my desk, but we obviously have our analysts and our portfolio managers out talking to individuals and in many cases they give me names of people that impress them. Our founder Andy Ziegler is a strong founding board for ideas and if the name does come across, he would certainly pass along to myself and that new team, but new idea generation of Andy is limited. It's more of a sounding board and it's really the idea that come from a network. There's a strong group head hunters to bankers to peers that recollect ideas and bring to my desk and then we have a group that evaluates the opportunity.
See the Seeking Alpha transcript of Artisan's earnings call and the earnings release for more on how Artisan's doing. 

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