(Bloomberg) -- T. Rowe Price Group Inc., the asset manager that has posted a profit every quarter since going public in 1986, said fourth-quarter earnings rose 23 percent as stock markets gained boosted assets and the fees they generate.

Net income increased to $229.9 million, or 88 cents a share, from $187.5 million, or 73 cents, a year earlier, the Baltimore-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had expected a profit of 89 cents a share, according to the average of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

“They have above-average performance and a high degree of concentration in faster-than-average growing business in 401(k)” retirement plans, Luke Montgomery, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York, said in a telephone interview before results were announced.

Chief Executive Officer James Kennedy has relied on popular retirement-oriented products and strong performance among active fund managers to attract customers. With about three-quarters of its assets in equities, T. Rowe Price has increased the money its oversees for four straight years even as U.S. mutual-fund investors have shunned stocks for bonds.

Assets rose 18 percent in 2012 to $576.8 billion, helped by a 13 percent gain by global stocks as measured by the MSCI AC World Index.

BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, said Jan. 17 its fourth-quarter net income rose 24 percent as the New York-based company attracted $47 billion in net deposits. Denver-based Janus Capital Group Inc. said Jan. 23 fourth- quarter net income fell 13 percent as clients withdrew $3.5 billion and poor performance reduced fees.

David Giroux, manager of the $13.8 billion T. Rowe Price Capital Appreciation Fund, was named research firm Morningstar Inc.’s fund manager of the year in the allocation category. The fund returned 15 percent in 2012.

T. Rowe Price’s results were announced before the start of regular U.S. trading. The shares rose 21 percent in the past year through yesterday, compared with the 30 percent gain for Standard & Poor’s 20-company index of asset managers and custody banks.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Financial Planning content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access