Lazard’s profits slump 50pc as assets under management fall

Michael Bow
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INVESTMENT bank Lazard reported a 50 per cent slump in second quarter profits yesterday, forcing it to look at ways of cutting costs.

The New York based asset manager and adviser reported net income had halved to $33m (£21m) from $66m a year earlier, with earnings per share down to 25 cents from 48 cents.

Last night it said costs were too high at the 164 year old institution and that it would make cuts in a bid to increase operating margins by more than ten percentage points.

Lazard chief executive Kenneth Jacobs said uncertainty over Europe and the US fiscal outlook continued to be a “headwind” for the firm. “We’re not assuming some magical recovery of times past,” he said.

Assets under management fell from $162bn to $148bn, led by a ten per cent fall in allocations to alternatives – reflecting investors shying away from esoteric asset classes for fear of market depreciation.

Restructuring operating revenue also fell 38 per cent to $30m due to less corporate restructures.

“We are confident the expense initiatives we have under way will bear fruit in 2013,” chief financial officer Matthieu Bucaille said.