Piper Jaffray Cos PJC
Q1 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 04/18/2012

Operator: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Piper Jaffray's Company Conference Call to discuss the Financial Results for the First Quarter of 2012.

During the question-and-answer session, securities industry professionals may ask questions of management. The Company has asked that I remind you statements on this call that are not historical or current facts, including statements about beliefs and expectations are forward-looking statements that involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated are identified in the Company's earnings release and reports on file with the SEC, which are available on the Company's website at, on the SEC website at

As a reminder, this call is being recorded. Now, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Andrew Duff. Mr. Duff, you may begin your conference.

Andrew S. Duff - Chairman and CEO: Good morning and thank you for joining us to review our first quarter results. In early 2012, the overall operating environment generally improved, all of the major indices rose, volatility remained low, credit spreads tightened and U.S. economic data showed continued signs of improvement. However, we believe the markets are still in a early stage of recovery as capital markets volumes remained well below historical norms. Against this more positive backdrop, we were pleased with our improved first quarter results. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 our net revenues increased 19% and excluding the goodwill impairment charge our pre-tax profit on a non-GAAP basis increased sevenfold.

Fixed income sales and trading revenues significantly improved from the difficult fourth quarter. During the quarter credit spreads tightened which benefited our strategic trading business and our new municipal opportunities bond. Also an improved municipal trading environment and new hirers in the middle market sales group contributed to the increased revenues.

During the quarter our capital raising businesses performed well. Across the platform, we had good deal execution and we gained market share. We generated solid public finance revenues for the industry (powered) by volume of senior managed negotiated issuance increased 83% compared to the first quarter of last year.

New issuances were dominated by refinancings driven by historically low yields. Our negotiated issuance increased 127% resulting in higher market share which we attribute to our expanded platform. Compared to the difficult last half of 2011 the equity financing environment also improved including for IPOs. In the U.S. there were 40 IPOs that priced in the first quarter which was the highest number since the first quarter of 2007.

IPOs were challenging to price as investors demanded steep discounts to comparables given poor IPO performance in 2011. Through March, however, IPOs have returned 32% in the aftermarket. Against an improved environment our equity financing revenues increased 38% compared to the sequential fourth quarter and all of our sectors contributed to the results.

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