Operating earnings rose to $734m (£460m), or 59 cents per share, from $667m, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected operating earnings of 57 cents per share.
The bank’s operating earnings, on which analysts and investors focus, excludes restructuring and merger costs as well as tax benefits from the year-earlier period.
Income from continuing operations declined to $690m, or 55 cents per share, from $712m, or 59 cents a share, a year earlier.
Revenue of $3.8bn was up 14 per cent from a year earlier and 10 per cent from the third quarter. That included a 16 per cent jump in fee income to $3.0bn, helped by the acquisitions of PNC’s Global Investment Servicing business and BHF Asset Servicing of Germany last year.
BNY said it had a record $25 trillion of assets under custody at the end of 2010, a 12 per cent increase from the end of 2009 and a two per cent gain over the prior quarter.
The stock, which has gained 10 per cent over the past year, got a boost in November when Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway investment firm disclosed it had bought a stake during the third quarter.
Meanwhile, BNY’s chief executive Robert Kelly said the bank was looking to buy back stock and resume dividend payments in 2011, rather than pursue more large acquisitions
He said: “We hope to be in a position where we can do dividends and buybacks again. Last year, there were some motivated sellers. I kind of view that as a one-time event.”
BNY cannot resume dividends or buybacks, suspended because of the 2008 financial crisis, without regulators’ permission