GLOBAL – Total assets under management at Merrill Lynch Investment Managers have declined by seven percent to $479bn (€368.3bn) due to outflows in institutional liquidity products.

“Firmwide, assets under management totaled $479bn at the end of the first quarter of 2005, down seven percent from the year-ago quarter,” parent firm Merrill Lynch & Co. said in its first-quarter earnings report.

“Outflows were concentrated in institutional liquidity products, resulting from increases in short-term interest rates.”

It added these outflows were partially offset by net inflows of longer-term assets from increased distribution through European third-party retail channels. It said these were “higher margin”.

And it said: “Outflows in the UK institutional business continued to decline.”

MLIM's pre-tax earnings rose 18% to $127m, with revenues up three percent at $414m.

Overall, New York-based Merrill Lynch reported a three percent decline in first-quarter earnings, to $1.21bn. Revenues rose three percent to $6.2bn.

"We are very pleased with our performance in the quarter," said chairman and chief executive Stan O'Neal.

"We posted solid revenue growth over the strong performance in the previous quarter, and, despite increasingly challenging market conditions in March, we produced net earnings of more than $1bn again this quarter.”