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Lazard Ltd Reports Second-Quarter And First-Half 2012 Results

OPERATING EXPENSES

Compensation and Benefits

In managing compensation and benefits expense, we focus on annual awarded compensation (cash compensation and benefits plus deferred incentive compensation with respect to the applicable year, net of estimated future forfeitures). We believe annual awarded compensation reflects the actual annual compensation cost more accurately than the GAAP measure of compensation cost, which measures applicable-year cash compensation and the amortization of deferred incentive compensation principally attributable to previous years’ deferrals. We believe that by managing our business on an awarded compensation basis with a consistent deferral policy, we can better manage our compensation costs and build shareholder value over time.

For the second quarter of 2012, adjusted GAAP compensation and benefits expense 1, including related accruals, was $285 million. The corresponding adjusted GAAP compensation ratio was 62.7% for the quarter, compared to 62.0% for the full-year 2011, and 58.1% during the second quarter in 2011.

For the first half of 2012, adjusted GAAP compensation and benefits expense 1, including related accruals, was $598 million. This excludes the 2012 first-quarter charge related to staff reductions. The corresponding adjusted GAAP compensation ratio was 62.7%, compared to 62.0% for the full-year 2011, and 58.5% for the first half of 2011.

The second-quarter and first-half 2012 adjusted GAAP compensation ratios include, among other items, higher amortization expense related to 2008 deferred compensation, which had a comparatively longer, four-year vesting period. For the first half of 2012, we expensed $23 million related to the 2008 grants, or 2.4% of first-half 2012 operating revenue.

For the full year of 2012, we estimate, as of today, amortization expense of approximately $341 million versus $289 million in 2011.

The second-quarter and first-half 2012 adjusted GAAP compensation ratios assume, based on current market conditions, that the full-year awarded compensation ratio will be approximately 60%, compared to approximately 62% awarded for the full year of 2011.

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