Updated from 5:22 p.m. EDT

Two more asset managers posted results that topped earnings estimates late Wednesday, but while Cohen & Steers ( CNS) seemed upbeat, AllianceBernstein ( AB) said that its investment returns were "disappointing" and it sees slower assets growth going forward.

AllianceBernstein said that second-quarter earnings rose to $261.1 million, or 89 cents a unit, from $198 million, or 68 cents a unit, for the same period last year. Analysts expected earnings of 82 cents a unit.

The company said that the earnings leap was due in large part to gains in assets under management, a key driver of profits at money management firms. Assets under management totaled $625.16 billion at June 30, up 21% from a year ago.

The assets were up $1 billion, or 0.2%, from March 31. However, the company was not exempt from the choppy second quarter for stocks.

"Equity markets were weak in almost all geographies... Concerns over interest rates... and most importantly over slowing economic growth took its toll, and this was before risks in the Middle East intensified," President and Chief Operating Officer Gerald Lieberman said during the company's conference call.

Management also cast AllianceBernstein's investment returns results in a negative light.

"On the most important metric, investment returns for clients, second-quarter results were disappointing," Chairman and CEO Lewis Sanders said in the earnings press release. "Although relative returns were generally satisfactory in value equities and fixed income, absolute returns were minimal. Growth and emerging market equity services produced negative results, as the market turbulence that developed in the second quarter was focused primarily in these areas of the capital markets."

On an upbeat note, he added that these conditions may have created investment opportunities in growth stocks, and that the company is seeking to take advantage of this potential.

Still, Sanders said AllianceBernstein expects slower growth in asset inflows in the period ahead. "Difficult capital market conditions are likely to weigh on retail flows and the backlog of new but unfunded institutional mandates, while still substantial, has declined from the record high levels reached earlier this year," he said.

During the conference call, Lieberman attributed slower sales to investors "reacting to difficult equity markets in the U.S. and abroad."

Asset Growth at Cohen & Steers

As for smaller money manager Cohen & Steers, overall results were weighed down by a hefty charge related to share offerings of certain closed-end funds. The manager of high-income equity portfolios, specializing in U.S. REITs, international real estate securities, utilities and large cap value stocks, reported a loss of $37.8 million, or 95 cents a share for the second quarter, compared with net income of $8.5 million, or 21 cents a share, in the previous year.

The loss includes a charge of $1.25 a share related to the prepayment of compensation agreements associated the closed-end funds. It also includes a 2-cent-a-share gain from the sale of property and equipment.

Adjusted for these items, the company's earnings were 28 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call projected a profit of 26 cents a share.

Total revenue in the quarter hit $42.1 million, up 10% from $38.3 million in the year-ago period. Analysts expected revenue of $41.4 million.

Cohen & Steers' assets under management reached a $23.2 billion at June 30, up 17% from $19.9 billion a year earlier. Moreover, the results were up 1.2% from the $23.0 billion recorded at the end of March, even as slumping stocks sent investors out of funds.

Cohen & Steers recorded net inflows of $536 million during the quarter, led by global and international real estate securities portfolios.

"We continue to see strong net inflows into our global and international portfolios, validating the decision we made to expand our institutional and retail sales forces," Robert Steers, co-chairman and co-chief executive, said in a statement.