Greenhill ( HGL) rushed out strong second-quarter earnings ahead of schedule on Sunday as the U.S. investment bank sought to calm investor fears following the departure of senior executives.

Shares in Greenhill had dropped 12% on Friday, the largest one-day fall in the company's history, following reports that a third managing director had departed to a rival.

Timothy George, one of Greenhill's longest-serving employees, is to take a job with competitor Lazard ( LAZ). His departure follows the loss last month of Simon Borrows, founder of Greenhill's European operations, to private-equity group 3i, and Alejandro Przygoda to a post at Credit Suisse ( CS).

However, people familiar with the situation played down the significance of the recent departures, arguing that the latest set of results demonstrated that the business remained robust.

Greenhill announced second-quarter revenue of $90.8 million, an increase of 9% on the same period last year. Advisory revenues of $85.6 million represented a 38% increase on the year before.

Reliant in large part on the volume of merger and acquisition deals, net income in the quarter of $21 million was up from the $17.5 million made in 2010, double the consensus prediction of analysts, and a rebound from losses in the first quarter.

The proportion of revenue paid in compensation returned to a more normal 47% of revenue, from 75% in the first three months of the year.

In February, Greenhill announced the firm would be making a shift toward paying employees a greater proportion of their pay in stock. Shares in the boutique advisory firm have declined 43% this year as financial stocks have fallen out of favor with investors.

Unlike some other so-called independent advisers that have branched out into asset management or capital markets work, Greenhill has remained focused on providing advisory services, such as advising companies on M&A deals.

While M&A activity globally is up about 26% in the first half of the year, and more than 40% in the U.S., the recovery in deal-aking has been somewhat sporadic, failing to meet some advisers' expectations for a pick-up.

After a busy first three months -- in which Greenhill advised on AT&T's ( T)$39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA -- activity slowed in the second quarter as worries about sluggish economic growth and European sovereign debt prompted financing markets to take a pause and management teams to become more cautious.

The results follow a strong start to the earnings season last week, with JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) reporting a 13 per cent jump in quarterly profits on fewer loan defaults and surprisingly resilient trading revenue, defying expectations that a litany of economic, legal and regulatory challenges would weigh heavily on US banks' results.
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