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reported 35% growth in quarterly earnings Wednesday amid higher assets under management, though the results were shy of analysts' estimate.

The New York-based asset manager, formerly called Alliance Capital, earned $227.6 million, or 78 cents a unit, in the first quarter, up from $168.5 million, or 58 cents a unit, in the year-ago period. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected a profit of 76 cents a unit.

The company, which is controlled by France's

AXA Financial

( AXA), said assets under management at March 31 were $617.58 billion, a 16% increase over a year ago due to equity market appreciation and net inflows across all distribution channels.

First-quarter net inflows were $12 billion, consisting of institutional investments inflows of $5.5 billion, retail inflows of $3.8 billion and private client inflows of $2.7 billion.

"On the most important metric, investment returns for our clients, first quarter results varied but in aggregate were good. Global and international equity services performed exceptionally well in both absolute and relative terms," said Chairman and CEO Lew Sanders in a statement. "U.S. equity returns were positive but, with few exceptions, trailed their benchmarks. Fixed income returns were held back by rising interest rates; however, relative performance was favorable in almost all key services."

AllianceBernstein units closed Wednesday at $70.80, up $1.05, or 1.5%.