Picture: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ
Picture: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ

Bengaluru/New York — BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday as it clamped down on expenses amid a rush into low-cost funds.

The New York-based group’s net income fell to $851m in the December quarter from $861m a year earlier. But earnings a share rose to $5.13 from $5.11 a year earlier as the number of shares outstanding decreased. On an adjusted basis, earnings were $5.14 a share.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $5.02 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total expenses in the quarter fell 3.5% to $1.67bn.

BlackRock’s share price, which rose 11.8% in 2016, was little changed in premarket trade.

BlackRock’s iShares exchange-traded funds business took in $49.30bn in new money in the period, down from $60.22bn a year earlier. Across all products, BlackRock attracted a net $87.76bn in long-term equity investments. Net investment in fixed-income securities totaled $25.31bn.

BlackRock ended the quarter with $5.15-trillion in assets under management, up from a year earlier when managed assets totalled $4.65-trillion.

The final quarter of 2016 included the surprise election of Donald Trump, whose campaign promises to cut taxes and regulation sparked a rally in US stocks.

But US fund managers who actively pick stocks still experienced record withdrawals as investors favoured lower-cost passive funds and ETFs.

In the September quarter, BlackRock more than doubled the cash it brought into iShares compared with the year-earlier quarter. But the company’s better-than-expected profit owed much to a favourable tax rate and income from noncore investments.

Reuters

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