T. Rowe Price revenue up 30% for 4Q

Fueled by a steady recovery in the financial markets and increasing investor confidence, T. Rowe Price Group reported Thursday sharp increases in revenue and profit for last year's fourth quarter.

The Baltimore money manager had revenue of $542.6 million in the quarter - a 30 percent increase over the $415.9 million it posted in the same quarter in 2008. Net income climbed to $152.5 million, or 57 cents per share, up from $24.3 million, or 9 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter - an amount that reflected a one-time charge of $88 million related to the firm's investments in sponsored mutual funds.

Earnings beat Wall Street estimates of 55 cents a share based on a survey of 17 analysts by Bloomberg.

James A.C. Kennedy, Price's chief executive officer, said in an interview that investors are regaining their confidence in the financial markets, but their investments remain behind the peaks they saw before the recession hit and the markets hit bottom in early 2009.

"There's nothing phenomenal about the quarter other than we continued to perform well for our clients," Kennedy said. "We're not worried about the stability of the company, so we remain focused on working for the clients."

Price's revenue increase was driven by growth in its investment advisory services; clients poured $7.3 billion into its mutual funds and other products. Higher market valuations and income added $17.8 billion to Price's assets under management.

Revenue from its investment advisory services grew to $461.7 million in the quarter, up 40 percent from $329.9 million in the year-earlier period.

The company also reported full-year results, with total revenue falling to $1.87 billion, from $2.1 billion in 2008. Net income also was down for the year, with $433.6 million in profit compared with $490.8 million

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