Executives at Clark Inc. say they are hoping changes in the business climate will help them improve on third-quarter earnings.[@@]

Clark, Barrington, Ill., is reporting $200,000 in net income for the latest quarter on $61 million in revenue, compared with $1.5 million in net income on $67 million in revenue for the third quarter of 2004.

Clark sells lobbying services, bank consulting services and executive benefits.

Executive benefits renewal revenue fell to $8.6 million during the third quarter, from $12 million for the comparable quarter in 2004, and first-year executive benefits revenue fell to $3.1 million, from $6.4 million.

The third quarter is often a weak quarter at the executive benefits practice, but the market is softer than usual, Clark executives say.

But the U.S. Treasury Department “released its long-awaited deferred compensation guidance on Sept. 29, which should positively affect implementation and funding of executive benefit plans over the long-term,” Clark Chairman Tom Wamberg says in a discussion of third-quarter results.