Legg Mason’s Nachtwey Says Firm Considers Reducing Funds

Legg Mason Inc. is considering reducing the 400 funds it offers and closing some of its 32 offices, said Chief Financial Officer Peter Nachtwey.

“What we’re trying to do at the organization in this new initiative, which we’re referring to internally as ‘compete to win,’ is a complete bottoms-up look at the entire organization, which we’ve never really done,” Nachtwey said today at Citigroup Inc.’s 2013 U.S. Financial Services Conference in Boston. The cuts won’t be on the scale of the streamlining plan that saved about $140 million a year, he said.

Legg Mason rose 3 percent to $29.22 at 1:08 p.m. in New York, the highest intraday price since March 2012. The shares increased 2.3 percent in the 12 months through yesterday, compared with a 24 percent advance in the 20-member Standard & Poor’s index of asset managers and custody banks. The stock has fallen about 79 percent since reaching a peak of $136.40 in February 2006.

The firm named Joseph A. Sullivan as chief executive officer last month, ending a five-month search for a leader to reverse five years of client redemptions and calm restive fund affiliates. Legg Mason, whose assets swelled to a peak of $1 trillion in 2007 as investors flocked to funds managed by top-ranked managers such as Bill Miller, slumped to $654 billion at the end of January as performance declined and investors pulled money. Since the fourth quarter of 2007, the firm has had investor withdrawals of $368 billion, most recently suffering redemptions of $7.5 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

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