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Rating:This $538B AUM Shop's Sales Mix Diversity Is Rising Not Rated 5.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, February 14, 2019

This $538B AUM Shop's Sales Mix Diversity Is Rising

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

2018 was a tough year for asset managers, but for a certain publicly traded asset manager, only its institutional channel really took a hit.

Seth P. Bernstein
President, CEO
"Our sales mix across channels was our most diverse in years," Seth Bernstein, president and CEO of AllianceBernstein (AB [profile]), told analysts on AB's Q4 2018 earnings call yesterday morning, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. "Our full year results reflect the differentiation of our revitalized active equity platform, which attracted $10.8 billion in net new flows, and our ability to continue scaling and commercializing the business."

On the good news side for the AB team, gross sales rose 19 percent to $93.8 billion for 2018. In a year when market woes and the shift to passive continued to hit active managers, AB kept retail net flows flat, while its growing private wealth management channel had $1.9 billion in net inflows. And equity strategies brought in $10.6 billion in net inflows for the year. Operating margin clocked in at23.9 percent last, up from 21.7 percent in 2017.

"We have really spent a lot of time and effort creating a product suite that speaks to our clients," Bernstein said later in the call, in response to a question from an analyst. "We had 16 services, equity services with net flows greater than $250 million last year ... Additionally, we have been as you know, been investing in optimizing our U.S. and EMEA sales force." Yet net institutional outflows of $10 billion drove firmwide outflows of $8.1 billion for the year. Fixed income strategies suffered $18.9 billion in net outflows for the year.

Yesterday morning before the call, the AB team reported Q4 2018 diluted earnings of $0.64 per unit, in line with expectations, while Q4 2018 revenue of $804.66 million beat expectations by $90.36 million. AUM fell 6.9 percent year-over-year to $516.4 billion on December 31, 2018, though last month AUM rose 4.26 percent to $538 billion on January 31, 2019. 

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