earned $0.55 per diluted share at the quarter ending October 31, beating analysts' expectations of $0.52 per share.
The money manager reported assets under management of $94.3 billion at the quarter ended October 31, up five percent from $89.4 billion at the end of the third fiscal quarter. Compared to assets at the same period last year, assets were up 26 percent from $75.0 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter 2003.
Eaton Vance's asset mix remained virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, with equity fund assets totaling $36.9 billion, or 39 percent of assets. Fixed income fund assets were 19 percent of total assets, or $17.6 billion; bank loan funds were 15 percent of total assets, or $15.0 billion; money market funds were half a percent of total assets, or $389 million; and separate account assets were 26 percent, or $24.5 billion.
Strong sales in bank loan funds this quarter helped fuel the firm's five percent gain in assets from the previous quarter. Bank loan fund assets grew by 9.1 percent, equity fund assets grew by 5.4 percent, and separate account assets grew by 5.7 percent compared to the previous quarter.
Eaton Vance executives hope to continue strong sales in bank loan funds, especially on the institutional side.
"Bank loans are one of the asset classes where we think extra sales talent can help us make headway," said an executive during an earnings call.
"They've really positioned themselves in a small but profitable section of the market," said Rachel Barnard
, a Morningstar analyst covering Eaton Vance.
Although Eaton Vance has not said it is looking to acquire companies or products, "they always have their feelers out," said Barnard. The firm could benefit from an addition to its tax managed strategy, such as an international tax managed fund, added Barnard.
The company is also on the lookout, albeit "selectively," to add staff, said executives during an earnings call. The executives cited layoffs from State Street Research
(which was recently acquired by New York-based BlackRock) and other Boston-based firms that are suffering from "asset shrinkage."
The company and its subsidiaries grew headcount by 11 percent the fiscal year ended 2004. Eaton Vance added 57 workers, one-third of that in investment management, 10 in marketing, and the remainder in legal, finance, and operations, said executives during the call.
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