Mercer retirement services revenues rise 1%

GLOBAL - Mercer's retirement services revenue rose one percent on an underlying basis to 350 million dollars in the first quarter, says parent company Marsh & McLennan Cos.

Mercer's total revenues in the period rose two percent on a like-for-like basis to 755 million dollars. Operating income was up seven percent at 89 million dollars.

"Mercer continued to expand revenues and profits in the quarter, led by growth in its international operations," said chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Greenberg.

MMC's Putnam Investments asset management arm, which earlier this month made a total 110 million-dollar settlement in the market-timing issue, saw its institutional assets under management fall to 70 billion dollars - from 86 billion dollars a year ago.

Putnam made a 26 million-dollar loss in the quarter, against a 103
million-dollar profit a year ago. Revenues were up four percent at 461 million dollars. "We believe the changes that Putnam is making will result in a stronger organization, and we are positive about Putnam's long-term business prospects," Greenberg said.

Putnam sold its 20% stake in Italy's Fineco Gestioni to Fineco Group earlier this month. "Putnam will continue to manage Fineco-sponsored international equity and specialty bond funds," MMC said. Putnam has also signed a letter of intent to buy and extra 30% of PanAgora Asset Management, taking its ownership to 80%.

Overall, MMC reported net income at rose to 446 million dollars from 443 million dollars a year before. Consolidated revenues rose 13% to 3.2 billion dollars.

Elsewhere, the Bank of New York said its assets under custody have risen 8.6 trillion dollars, from 6.8 trillion dollars a year ago. The bank reported first-quarter net income of 364 million dollars, up from 295 million dollars a year ago. Securities services rose five percent to 716 million dollars.

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