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Fetting says Legg still has work to be done

Ben Mook//Daily Record Business Writer//July 26, 2011

Fetting says Legg still has work to be done

By Ben Mook

//Daily Record Business Writer

//July 26, 2011

As part of its continuing restructuring efforts, Legg Mason Inc. said Tuesday that it had laid off 180 people, about 5 percent of its workforce, at the beginning of the month.

The staff reduction, part of an effort to save the company as much as $150 million by next year, was announced Tuesday during the Baltimore-based money manager’s annual shareholders meeting at its 2-year-old Harbor East headquarters. Just over 100 of the laid-off workers came from Legg’s technical services division, which has its campus in Owings Mills.

“We are proud of the work they did,” Chairman and CEO Mark R. Fetting said. “And we’ve worked through these tough decisions the best way we could.”

Prior to July 1, the Owings Mills facility had 238 employees. The plan is to have about 100 workers transfer to the Harbor East tower at the end of the year, well before the lease runs out on the property on Dec. 31, 2012, meaning about 37 additional Owings Mills workers will lose their jobs.

An additional 79 workers outside of Legg’s technical services division were also let go at the beginning of July

“We are right on track,” Fetting said. “There is still work to be done, and we are committed to doing it.”

Also during the meeting, shareholders were given the chance to weigh in on pay to top executives, including Fetting. The vote, an advisory one, is the first under the “say on pay” regulations implemented by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The shareholders approved the compensation package for Fetting with almost 90 percent of the vote, but agreed to revisit the matter annually, instead of opting for reviews every two or three years.

Shareholders approved Fetting’s $5.9 million compensation package that includes a $500,000 base salary and a $2.9 million cash incentive for fiscal 2011. The previous year, Fetting earned $4.61 million, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Legg Mason is scheduled to release its earnings for the quarter ending June 30 on Thursday, before the markets open. But, Fetting pointed out positive trends from the past fiscal year, including the fact 70 percent of the company’s assets under management were meeting or beating their benchmark averages.

“That is a substantial improvement that bodes well for the future,” Fetting said.

At the end of June, Legg Mason had $662.5 billion of assets under management, compared to $677.6 billion under management at the end of March. Fetting also said he was optimistic that although assets under management were still declining, the trend was reversing.

“It’s getting less and less each year,” Fetting said. “We are poised to get back into positive territory.”

Shares of Legg Mason closed Tuesday at $32.14, up 14 cents, a 0.44 percent increase.


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