Lazard Ltd. (LAZ)

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Lazard (LAZ)

Q2 2011 Earnings Call

July 28, 2011 10:00 am ET

Executives

Matthieu Bucaille - Chief Financial Officer, Member of Senior Management Team and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Lazard Freres Banque -Paris

Judi Mackey - Spokeswoman

Kenneth Jacobs - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Analysts

James Mitchell - Buckingham Research Group, Inc.

Guy Moszkowski - BofA Merrill Lynch

Douglas Sipkin - Ticonderoga Securities LLC

Howard Chen - Crédit Suisse AG

Christoph Kotowski - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

Daniel Harris - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Devin Ryan - Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P.

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to Lazard's Second Quarter and Half Year 2011 Earnings Conference Call. This call is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I will turn the call over to Ms. Judi Frost Mackey, Lazard's Director of Global Communications. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Judi Mackey

Good morning, and thank you for joining our conference call to review Lazard's results for the second quarter and first half of 2011. Hosting the call today are Lazard's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Jacobs; and Chief Financial Officer, Matthieu Bucaille. A replay of this call will be available on our website, beginning today after 1:00 p.m.

Today's call may contain forward-looking statements. These statements are based on our current expectations about future events and are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions. There are important factors that could cause our actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These factors include but are not limited to, those discussed in Lazard's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K. Lazard assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any of these forward-looking statements.

Investors should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. Lazard is under no duty to update any of these forward-looking statements after the date on which they are made. Today's discussion may also include certain non-GAAP financial measures. A description of these non-GAAP financial measures and their reconciliation to the comparable GAAP measures are contained in our earnings release, which has been filed with the SEC in our current report on Form 8-K.

For today's call, we will focus on highlights of our performance. The details of our earnings can be found in our press release issued this morning and in our Investor presentation, both of which are posted on our website at www.lazard.com. Ken and Matthieu will be happy to answer your questions following their remarks.

I will now turn the call over to our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ken Jacobs.

Kenneth Jacobs

Thank you for joining us this morning. Our strong first half performance, including record revenues, underscores the power of the Lazard's advice-driven, intellectual capital model. During this uneven economic recovery, companies, government bodies and investors continue to demand independent advice with a geographic perspective, deep understanding of capital structure, informed research, and knowledge of global economic conditions. Let me highlight a few points about our Financial Advisory and Asset Management businesses.

In Financial Advisory, we continue to build our M&A and Strategic Advisory pipeline, and to work on the most visible and complex advisory assignments in both the developed and the developing markets. We rank among the top firms globally in financial advisory revenues over the past 12 months. Demand for our Capital Markets advisory business is increasing, our team is advising on many of the leading equity capital structure transactions in the market today. Lazard's Restructuring business remains the clear worldwide leader. As the cycle shifts, restructuring clients are now turning to us for M&A and balance sheet advice. We continue to be retained on important government and sovereign assignments, particularly in Europe. Our global Asset Management business is diversified by client domicile, region and investment strategy. Asset Management reported record management fees and record Assets Under Management for the second quarter and the first half of the year. Our Asset Management business continues to be awarded new mandates across a broad spectrum of investment strategies around the globe. We continue to expand our investment platforms for the future.

Our Asset Management business remains focused on successfully providing superior local and global investment solutions and diversified strategies to our clients worldwide; Matthieu Bucaille will speak about those results in more detail. Over the past 6 months, we have made progress on our capital management through increases in the dividend, share buybacks and repurchasing debt. We continue to invest strategically, in both our Financial Advisory and Asset Management businesses through select hires and initiatives to grow the franchise and serve our clients worldwide. In Financial Advisory, we made senior hires in Europe, the U.S., China and South America, and in verticals, such as financial institutions, sovereign advisory, structured credit advisory, equity capital markets , and in Lazard Middle Market.

In Asset Management, we have continued to invest in our global equities and fixed-income platforms. Our strategy is simple and powerful. We compete on equal footing with firms many times our size, without undertaking the inherent risk and conflicts associated with capital. Our scale allows us to compete successfully against our largest competitors worldwide. All in all, we believe we are well positioned as we enter the second half of the year. Matthieu will now comment in more detail on our results and will highlight some of our work for clients. Thank you.

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