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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Three Things to Know From Manning's Earnings

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Manning and Napier's [profile] assets under management are still on the rise despite rough flows.

Yesterday the Fairport, New York-based mutual fund shop released its first quarter 2013 earnings results, and CEO Patrick Cunningham and chief financial officer James Mikolaichik spoke to analysts on the earnings call, for which Seeking Alpha posted the transcript.

Manning reported $0.28 earnings per share for Q1 2013, meeting analysts' expectations. Its assets under management rose seven percent year-over-year to $48.1 billion on March 31, 2013.

Several points stand out when examining Manning's results and the earnings call transcript:

POINT 1: Manning Just Finalized Its New Employee Comp Plan
POINT 2: Flows Are Still Hurting Thanks to 2011, But They're Turning Around
POINT 3: Cunningham's Investing Even More in Distribution

Now to drill down into each of those points.

POINT 1: Manning Just Finalized Its New Employee Comp Plan
Cunningham explained the move to the analysts:
I am pleased to say that we finalized our new long-term incentive plan for our employees. As you may know, sharing equity in the firm with key contributors to our growth and success has been a part of our history for many decades. Since we went public at the end of 2011, we have been working to develop a new plan that will allow us to continue offering equity to employees that make strong and lasting contributions to the firm.

In mid April, we filed our new plan with the SEC and we will be finalizing our first round of equity brands to several members of management, key employees and Board members within the new few weeks. Equity participation in the firm has long been used as a means of attracting and retaining talented professionals, and I am very excited to continue this trend through the launch of our new plan.
POINT 2: Flows Are Still Hurting Thanks to 2011, But They're Turning Around

Manning's products' performance in 2011 was rough, Cunningham said, and that's still hurting flows.
Flows for the first quarter of 2013 were generally flat and showed an improvement over last year. Specifically, we saw inflows of 2.73 billion and outflows of 2.75 billion. As we discussed at the end of last year, pervious negative flows were largely the result of our underperformance relative to benchmarks in 2011. We view 2013 as a year of transition as our improved investment turns begin to impact flows to our investment strategies.
POINT 3: Cunningham Investing Even More in Distribution

Some of the proceeds of Manning's late 2011 IPO went to expanding its distribution force, and Cunningham's not done. Sandler O'Neill analyst Michael Kim asked about Manning's distribution headcount needs, and Cunningham explained.
Regarding distribution, this is an area where we continue to I would say we're in a constant mode of looking for ways to improve, enhance and grow our distribution capabilities. So, as I mentioned in the formal remarks, we have I'll address the productivity of the more recent items, but we have three new territories, three new individuals that we expect to be on board very shortly. So we are continuing to grow our direct channel. The hires that we made last which somewhere in the early mid part of the year, somewhere a little bit later part of the year, they are starting to become productive. I can't give you specific numbers obviously but we see activity level improving as they understand how we do things and are able to communicate that to their contacts and their centers of influence. So, I'm encouraged about the quality of the new hires and I obviously believe that they're going to have a positive impact on distribution going forward.
When asked by Adam Beatty of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Cunningham clarified that this means the additions of new local wholesalers, as well two new service representatives mentioned earlier on the call.

To find out more about how Manning's doing, read the full Seeking Alpha transcript of the earnings call and the full earnings release

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