Earnings and revenue rose at
Marsh & McLennan
in the fourth quarter from a year ago, as a strong performance in its insurance operation helped it weather the firestorm engulfing Putnam Investments.
The company earned $378 million, or 70 cents a share, on revenue of $3.03 billion in the latest quarter, compared with $312 million, or 57 cents a share, on revenue of $2.63 billion a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of 65 cents a share.
Putnam's revenue rose 18% despite revelations that several former managers had made improper trades in their own funds several years ago, and the unit was able to report higher average assets under management compared with last year. Putnam steadily shed assets, however, as the quarter progressed, and it ended the year with $240 billion under management compared with $251 billion at the end of 2002. Mutual fund assets fell to $163 billion from $164 billion, while institutional assets under management tumbled to $77 billion from $87 billion a year ago.
Operating income at Putnam was $139 million in the quarter, a figure that includes a $24 million expense for estimated potential restitution to fund customers and compliance and legal costs. No provision was made for a previously disclosed settlement with the
Securities and Exchange Commission
since the total penalty has yet to be determined.
Revenue in Marsh's far larger risk and insurance segment rose 13% to $1.8 billion, while operating income rose 10% to $400 million. The company said demand for the services are growing with the improving economy, free trade and globalization.