Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. (NYSE: WDR) today reported fourth quarter income from continuing operations of $52.4 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, compared to $52.1 million, or $0.61 per diluted share, during the third quarter of 2012 and $39.4 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, during the same period last year.
As previously disclosed, in October 2012, we entered into a definitive agreement to sell the Legend group of subsidiaries (“Legend”). As a result of this transaction, which was effective January 1, 2013, Legend’s operations are classified as discontinued operations in all periods presented. Net income from Legend’s discontinued operations added $0.01 per diluted share to both the current quarter as well as the fourth quarter of 2011. Unless stated otherwise, any reference to financial statement items in this release refers to results from continuing operations.
Operating income was $83.4 million during the quarter, an increase of 5% compared to the previous quarter and 34% compared to the same period last year. Our operating margin rose to a multi-year high of 27.5%, compared to 27.2% during the previous quarter and 22.8% during the same period last year.
At $96.4 billion, assets under management marked a new quarterly high, rising 2% during the quarter and 16% compared to December 31, 2011. Each of our distribution channels experienced small outflows during the quarter for a total of $165 million firm-wide, a rate of organic decay of less than 1%.
“The uncertainty that overshadowed most of 2012 profoundly impacted investor sentiment as evidenced by the industry’s actively managed equity outflows of approximately $150 billion,” said Hank Herrmann, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc. “Despite this uncertainty, we stayed focused on executing our strategy, growing assets under management by 16% and generating $2.3 billion of net inflows. We remain committed to our principles of performance excellence and outstanding client service.”