Money management firm Nuveen Investments is reporting record first-quarter earnings, which were helped by a sharp rise in assets under management and investment advisory fees.

The Chicago-based company posted first-quarter net income of $43.2 million, or 44 cents a share, compared with $37.9 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. That represents a 14% improvement in earnings.

Total assets under management stood at $119 billion, up almost 18% from $109 billion a year earlier. Nuveen, which is being spun-off by parent company St. Paul Travelers, attributed the rise to $16 billion in net new inflows and $2 billion in market appreciation, among other things.

The company said investment advisory fees climbed 17% in the first quarter, compared to a year earlier.

"Double-digit revenue, earnings and asset growth this quarter were driven by strong sales momentum in managed accounts," Tim Schwertfeger, chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

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