Pzena Investment Management Inc. (PZN)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

February 09, 2011, 10:00 a.m. ET


Rich Pzena - Chairman, Co-CIO and CEO

Greg Martin - CFO


Alex Blostein - Goldman Sachs

Larry Hedden - KBW

Ken Worthington - JPMorgan

Roger Smith - Macquarie



Good morning. My name is Jeff, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time I’d like to welcome everyone to the Pzena Fourth Quarter 2010 Earnings Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers remarks there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) Thank you.

Mr. Martin, you may begin your conference.

Greg Martin

Thank you very much Jeff. Good morning. I’m Greg Martin, Chief Financial Officer of Pzena Investment Management. I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you all and thank you for joining us on our fourth quarter 2010 earnings conference call.

With me on the call is our Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Rich Pzena.

Our earnings press release contains the financial tables for the periods to be discussed. If you don’t have a copy it can be obtained in the Investor Relations section on our website at www.pzena.com. Replay of this call will be available for the next week on our website.

Before we begin I’d like to reference the standard legal disclaimer. Statements made in the presentation today may contain forward looking information about management’s plans, projections, expectations, strategic objectives, business prospects, anticipated financial results and other similar matters. A variety of factors many of which are beyond the company’s control affect the operations, performance, business strategy and result of the company and can cause actual results and experiences to differ materially from the expectations or objective expressed in these statements.

These factors include but are not limited to the factors described in the company’s reports filed with the SEC which are available on our website and on the SECs website www.sec.gov. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements which speaks only as the date on which these statements are made. The company does not undertake to update such statements to reflect the impact of circumstances or events that arise after the date these statements were made. Investors should, however, consult any further disclosure that company may make in reports filed with the SEC. In addition, please be advised that because of the prohibitions on selected disclosure of the company as a matter of policy does not disclose material that is not public information on their conference calls. If one of your questions require the disclosure of material non-public information, we will not be able to respond to it. Thank you.

Before I turn the call over to Rich, I’d like to first mention some financial highlights. We reported non-GAAP diluted EPS of $0.09 and 6 million in non-GAAP diluted net income. Revenues were 20.5 million for the quarter and our operating income was 10.9 million. We declared a year-end dividend of $0.15 per share in December 2010 in addition to the quarterly dividend of $0.03 per share declared last night. Our cash balance of 16.4 million at year-end. I’ll shed some light on our financial results in a few minutes but first I will turn the call over to Rich who discuss our review of the investing environment and how we are positioned relative to it.

Rich Pzena

Thanks Greg. Equity markets posted solid returns in the fourth quarter continuing a trend started in September as investors became more optimistic about prospects for a sustained global economic recovery. The MHCI all country world index was up 8.7% for the quarter contributing a significant portion of the index’s 12.7% return for 2010 marking a continued recovery from the deeply depressed valuations of 2009.

As prospects brightened in the U.S. and sovereign debt issues in Europe appeared contained, developed markets assumed leadership during the quarter, gaining 9% versus a respectable 7.3% return for the emerging markets index, yet for all of 2010 emerging markets returned 18.9% outpacing the 11.8% return for developed markets.

This strength has continued into 2011 with U.S. blue-chip stocks posting their biggest January gain in 14 year's. Against the backdrop of strong equity markets our portfolios have performed well with most of our strategies outperforming their benchmarks in 2010.

By the end of the fourth quarter all but one of our strategies three year records we ahead of their benchmarks, an important milestone both for our existing clients and new business prospects. Another benefit of this improving record is that we earned modest performance based fees during the fourth quarter.

As our AUM has rebounded to 15.6 billion at December 31st, and 16.1 billion at January 31st, and we have kept a close eye on expenses, our operating margins have improved to 53.2% in the fourth quarter and cash flow continues to be robust. In December the company declared a $0.15 per share year-end dividend in addition to the $0.03 per share dividend declared with our earnings release last night returning excess cash to our shareholders. We expect to continue to payout between 70% and 80% of our earnings on an annual basis borrowing any currently unforeseen funding needs or new growth initiatives.

On the product strategy front, I’m pleased to report that our emerging markets launch client which we discussed on our last call funded in November, and we've had serious expressions of interest from others about investing in this strategy.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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