Raymond James (RJF) reported net income of $67.3 million, or $0.53 a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 30, 2011,  vs. $81.7 million, or $0.65 a share, in the year-ago period and $68.9 million, or $0.54 a share, in the previous quarter. These fiscal first-quarter results met analysts’ expectations for the company, which recently said it planned to buy the Morgan Keegan brokerage operations from Regions Financial (RF).

Raymond James CEO Paul ReillyNet revenues were $782.8 million in the most recent quarter, down 4% from both the year-ago and most-recent period.  The company pointed to private client and other issues as responsible for part of the decline.

“As mentioned previously, we started the quarter with a headwind in both private client group and asset management, as wrap fee assets billed quarterly in advance were 6% lower on Oct.1 than they were July 1, said CEO Paul Reilly (left), in a press release.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to overcome that lower fee level, thus both segments trailed the previous quarter in revenues and pretax profits,” Reilly explained. “On a positive note, asset levels were significantly higher on Jan. 1, which augurs well for the March quarter for this particular business segment.”

Assets under administration on Dec. 31 were $270 billion, up 3% over last year’s first quarter and 5% over the previous quarter. Assets under management totaled $35 billion, a 5% year-over-year increase and a 9% sequential jump.


Private Client, Other Results

The number of financial advisors in the private client group was 5,356 – up by three over last December and up six from October. The majority, or 4,500, of these reps are based in the United States.

Net income from private-client operations fell 18% year over year to $49.4 million and dropped 2% from the previous quarter. Net revenue for the group, though, improved 2% from the year-ago period to $528.6 million; this represented a decline of 4% from the quarter ended Sept. 30.

The company remains upbeat about its plans to acquire Morgan Keegan, which includes roughly 1,000 employee advisors. “Although still in the early days, integration discussions have gone extremely well due to the strong cultural fit and synergies between the two organizations,” explained the CEO.

“Despite uncertain market conditions, we anticipate improving results this quarter and are confident in our long-term future,” he added. “We will continue to focus on our operating results while simultaneously preparing for the integration of Morgan Keegan.”

The company also said Raymond James Bank received approval to convert to a national bank from its current thrift status, which should take place on Feb. 1, when Raymond James Financial will become both a bank- holding company and a financial-holding company.