Net inflows hit $5.2bn (£3.3bn), offsetting adverse investment performance which caused a $0.1 billion drop in AUM to leave the total at $46.7bn, the group said.
Analysts at Canaccord Genuity had forecast AUM would rise by $2bn over the quarter to $43.6bn, including $1.25bn of new money.
Analysts said that while net inflows into high-margin multi-strategy products accounted for the bulk of the new sales, there were questions about the sustainability of new business flows from private investors.
"The key question for Ashmore, in the face of possibly lower octane emerging markets debt returns this year, is the sustainability of retail fund flows," Citi said in a note.
Ashmore launched a range of retail-targeted products in February to broaden its revenue streams and diversify its client base, which has been dominated by institutions.
The group said performance fees are estimated to hit £60m for its half-year, while trading conditions are in line with management expectations.
"The group remains confident of its prospects for the current year," Ashmore said.
Ashmore shares were trading up three per cent as markets opened.
Oriel Securities upgraded Ashmore to "buy" from "hold" on Tuesday, citing strong emerging markets economic growth as supporting inflows into Ashmore's funds.