The Equitable Companies Incorporated (NYSE: EQ) achieved record operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 1999, Edward D. Miller, President and CEO, announced today. For the period, after-tax operating earnings rose 8% to a record first quarter of $230.9 million, or $1.00 per diluted share, compared with $213.9 million, or 92 cents per diluted share, for the comparable period of 1998. "We are off to a strong start in 1999, and the momentum is carrying into the second quarter," said Mr. Miller. "The strength of our operating companies' performances continue to be driven by focused execution of our strategies and the underlying fundamental growth dynamics that are fueling demand for our diverse financial advisory services and products -- as well as creating new opportunities. "We are very excited about the progress of our developmental efforts to seize these opportunities," Mr. Miller continued. The insurance operations success in expanding distribution capacity and financial planning services, Alliance's growing distribution in Asia and European markets as well as DLJ's expansion in Europe, all continue to show strong promise. These efforts will contribute significantly to our strategic focus of enhancing our franchise value as a branded distribution company of diversified financial services." Mr. Miller said that highlights for the 1999 first quarter included: -- Total assets under management at the end of the first quarter grew to a record $366 billion, up 19% from the end of the first quarter of 1998. -- Consolidated Operating Return-on-Equity (ROE) of 17%. -- DLJ achieved an ROE of 17.8% as its financial services group more than doubled pre-tax income from the year ago period. DLJdirect, the firm's online broker, reported that assets in customer accounts grew 90% over the same period as revenues increased to $47 million from $24 million last year. -- Alliance Capital's earnings rose 42% to $98.1 million, driven by robust net sales growth in mutual funds and new institutional accounts. Net mutual fund sales grew 39% (excluding money market funds) and assets under management grew 22% to $301.4 billion. -- Insurance operations posted earnings gains of 18% as fee based revenue grew 26%. Net income, which includes net realized gains (losses) and other non-recurring items, was $221.1 million, or 96 cents per diluted share, compared to $266.6 million or $1.15 per diluted share in the 1998 period.
Record Results From Insurance & Annuity Operations The after-tax operating earnings contribution from The Equitable's insurance operations rose 18% to a quarterly record of $128.1 million, compared with $108.7 million for the opening period of 1998. Return on equity for the quarter was 14.5% as compared to 13.2% from the year ago period. "The rapid growth in financial wealth, coupled with the 'Graying of America,' have provided Equitable with tremendous opportunity," said Michael Hegarty, President and COO of Equitable Life. "As consumers' financial needs become increasingly more complex and responsibility for financial security shifts to the individual, demand continues to escalate for financial advisory services and products. Our strategic focus of providing value-added planning services throughout the consumer's financial lifecycle, plus our ability to trade access to distribution, has created a unique competitive position for Equitable." "Total sales of our life, annuity and mutual fund product lines collectively grew 11.5% for the quarter, versus a year ago, to a record $3.1 billion," Mr. Hegarty continued. "Key drivers in this increase were a 19% rise in annuity sales and 13% growth in mutual fund sales over levels for the first quarter of 1998. Total first year, or new, sales rose 17% to $2.0 billion and volume through our wholesale distribution channels -- particularly in broker-dealer outlets -- rose substantially, with sales growing by 48%. Expenses grew by 5%, which was below our stated goal of 8%. "The growth in annuity and mutual fund sales more than offset a slight decline in life insurance sales," Mr. Hegarty continued. "During the second quarter of 1999 we will introduce a new series of variable life products, and expect sales in this business to improve over the course of the year. Results of our Texas Pilot project, which includes our Asset Management Account and fee based planning initiatives, continue to validate our strategic direction."
Alliance Earnings Continue To Expand After-tax operating earnings -- before minority interests and other expenses -- at Alliance Capital Management rose to a new first quarter record of $98.1 million versus $69.0 million for the year-ago period. "Alliance continues to benefit from significant growth in assets under management and cash inflows, which produced higher management fee income," said Mr. Miller. "Net mutual fund sales increased 39% for the quarter to $6.3 billion and total assets under management increased to a record $301.4 billion, 22% higher than the level at the close of the 1998 period. Net fund sales in the U.S. market alone rose 104%. For the latest quarter, 65 new client account mandates were won, up from 46 during the comparable period of 1998." "Alliance's individual and institutional asset management businesses remain strongly positioned to benefit from long-term demographic and investment trends," Mr. Miller added. "These opportunities are also being expanded by the company's international growth."
Solid Performance from DLJ "DLJ once again is proving its ability to identify, nurture and grow new opportunities," said Mr. Miller. "Pershing and DLJdirect had a tremendous quarter, and we are beginning to see results from their European expansion." After-tax reported earnings totaled $121.7 million versus $134.2 million a year ago with an ROE of 17.8%. "The Pershing Division, a leading provider of correspondent services to the securities industry, posted a 57% increase in net revenues, and DLJdirect, the firm's on-line brokerage unit saw assets in customer accounts, and revenue increase 90%, and 96%, respectively," said Mr. Miller. "DLJdirect's pre-tax profits were $11.o million in the first quarter of 1999 versus a loss of $2.2 million last year. " "These two units are playing an increasingly strategic role in our branded distribution strategy," Mr. Miller continued. "The cooperation and progress achieved between Pershing, DLJdirect and our insurance operations to launch new products and services is very gratifying." The Equitable Companies Incorporated is one of the world's premier financial services organizations through its primary businesses: The Equitable Life Assurance Society, Alliance Capital Management, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. The Equitable is a member of the global AXA Group -- one of the world's largest insurer/asset managers, with operations in over 50 countries and assets under management exceeding $650 billion. 00 ots Original Text Service: The Equitable Companies Incorporated Internet: http://www.newsaktuell.de Contact: Media - Terrance L. Little of Equitable, 212-314-3113, or Stephanie Binet of AXA, 011-331-40-75-59-62; or Investors - Greg Wilcox, 212-314-4040, or Bob Sullivan, 212-314-5462, both of Equitable, or Pascal Thebe of AXA, 011-331-40-75-48-05