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Legg Mason's CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Let's start with Slide 3 and discuss our progress across the strategic goals we laid out last year.

As I've said many times, our success starts with our investment managers. As we'll discuss in more detail later in the presentation, performance remains strong in our team managers with 80% of marketed composite assets beating benchmarks for the critical 3-year period. Managers continue to win recognition from third parties for performance in a variety of categories. We will go into more detail in the next slide. In the institutional space, our affiliates continue to see demand in specialized areas such as, as investors search for returns. Western has branched out into the active ETF space to a sub-advisory arrangement. And in addition, Legg Mason has an application pending with the SEC to start our offerings in that segment.

We have launched a 1099 fund of hedge funds to target U.S. high net worth individuals with Permal, that we expect to gain traction later in the year. ClearBridge sees additional opportunities for MLP investment vehicles as that market expands particularly with institutions seeking yield.

At Legg Mason, we are focused on a corporate center that delivers strategic value. We've shifted resources in global distribution, providing more feet on the street and geographic reach. And we are working with our affiliates to launch new products where we see demand including 2 closed-end funds launched over the past year. And finally, we are allocating capital to benefit shareholders and strengthen our balanced portfolio. With our strong cash position, we repurchased 13.6 million shares in fiscal '12 and increase our quarterly dividend by 38% to $0.11 a share. Our SIV investment portfolio stands at nearly $400 million and represents $27 billion in assets today. And at the same time, we are more actively looking at targeted acquisitions to fill product gaps that will help to improve our asset mix inflows.

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