2010 Q4 Earnings: Penson Posts Smaller-Than-Expected Loss

Revenue beat expectations, up 15%

Penson Worldwide Inc. released fourth-quarter 2010 earnings Thursday, revealing a net loss of $3.2 million, or $0.11 per share. Analysts predicted a loss of $0.13 per share on revenue of $76.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The company made $80 million in revenue, a 15% increase from the third quarter. 

“We are pleased to report that during the fourth quarter, revenues increased by double digit percentages in all categories,” said Philip Pendergraft, CEO, in a press release. “In addition, Penson Australia achieved profitability, business from the former Ridge correspondents outperformed expectations, and we reduced expenses in key areas. However, we will not be satisfied until we report profitable consolidated results. Based on the fourth quarter, we are headed in the right direction.”

Non-interest revenues increased 15% from the third quarter to $59.8 million; clearing and commission fees increased 13%, though technology revenues fell 11%. Growth is a result of stronger trading volume in equities, options and futures, according to the company. Net interest revenues increased 12% to $20.2 million on a 21% increase in interest-earning average daily balances.

Fourth-quarter expenses remained "virtually level," including $8 million of non-cash items. The company's cost reduction efforts led to a decline in pro-forma compensation expenses to 36% of net revenues, excluding non-operating expenses. Non-operating expenses totaled $1.8 million, and include the effects of litigation and bad debt, severance payments from cuts to the work force, and costs to prepare subsidiaries for the company's technology conversion.

As of Feb. 6, Penson Financial Services Canada Inc. was the first of Penson's subsidiaries to convert its securities processing technology to the Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. platform. Dallas-based Penson Financial Services Inc. is expected to complete its conversion by the third quarter. The company expects to reduce annual costs by between $7 million and $10 million by moving to the Broadridge platform.

Penson had a "record" 430 revenue-generating correspondents in the fourth quarter, up from 386 in the third quarter, and reported a pipeline of 30 new correspondents as of Dec. 31. The company's securities clearing operations added 42 for a total of 371.

Read about Penson's second quarter earnings.

Read AdvisorOne's 2010 Q4 earnings calendar for the financial sector for release dates and links to earnings stories.

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