Bank of New York Mellon Corp.'s fourth-quarter income fell 26% as the trust bank saw fee revenue sink and posted restructuring charges, though assets under management rose.
Revenue missed Street expectations as Bank of New York called the period "a challenging revenue quarter, as general uncertainty in the financial markets resulted in lower-than-normal levels of client activity."
Trust banks act as custodians and servicers for corporations and Wall Street. Financial companies in general have tried to cut costs amid revenue pressure, with traditional banks struggling to lend and investment banks struggling in a bruising market. While Bank of New York faces the same pressures, including soaring deposits that hurt margins and plunging trading revenues, it is benefiting from its clients' pain.
But the bank is facing mounting legal pressure related to claims it overcharged investors for currency trades as part of a decade-long scheme. The allegations, also aimed at rival State Street Corp., threaten to upend what has been a profitable business line for the bank. Bank of New York Mellon and State Street have both denied the claims.
For the fourth quarter, Bank of New York said fee revenue was down 6.8% from a year earlier, while it declined 4.2% from the third quarter.
Assets under management, excluding securities lending assets, totaled $1.26 trillion as of the end of the quarter, a 7.5% increase the bank said reflected net new business. Compared with the third quarter, managed assets rose 5.2% on net new business and higher equity markets.
Bank of New York Mellon reported a profit of $505 million, or 42 cents a share, down from $679 million, or 54 cents a share, a year earlier. Restructuring charges related to efficiency initiatives to improve operations, technology and corporate services reduced earnings by 6 cents a share in the latest quarter. Revenue fell 5.6% to $3.54 billion.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 53 cents a share on $3.75 billion in revenue.