NEW YORK -- Merrill Lynch's asset management business reported a 4.4% increase in management and portfolio service fees during the second quarter, according to the company's report for the quarter ended June 25.
Management fees rose 6.8% in a year-to-year comparison, to a record $1.2 billion from just more than $1 billion on June 26, 1998.
On the expense side of the equation, Merrill saw only a 3% increase in non-interest expenses during the quarter, although the figure was up nearly 12% compared with a year ago. Merrill laid off 3,400 people last fall.
The company spent $76 million on year 2000 computer solutions in the second quarter, out of a total $536 million spent on communications and technology. Communications and technology costs were up 11% from the first quarter and up 24% from a year ago.
Merrill reported record quarter net earnings of $673 million, up 22% from a year ago, reporting strong revenue in the global equity business and investment banking.
Total assets under management squeaked up slightly to $516 billion at the end of the second quarter, compared with $515 billion at the end of the quarter ended March 26. The firm reported $491 billion in total managed assets a year ago.
In other Merrill news, President and Chief Operating Officer Herbert Allison Jr. abruptly retired from the company July 12, after 28 years with the firm. The issues behind his departure remain unclear, although succession matters are believed to be at the heart of the disagreement.