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Shares of asset manager Lazard Ltd. (LAZ - Analyst Report) climbed 1.2% after its indirect subsidiary Lazard Asset Management LLC announced the opening of an office in Dubai, UAE on Feb 4. The company has recruited senior personals, who will be responsible for catering clients in the Middle East with investment solutions.

Farah Foustok will head the Dubai office as Senior Executive Officer and will preside as Managing Director of the subsidiary unit. Further, a 5-person investment team will be headed by the director of the unit Fadi Al Said to administer the equity strategies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Frontier Markets for local as well as global clients.

The company expects to capitalize on its emerging market strategies and global research resources, thereby tapping more distribution and investment opportunities and enhancing the portfolio of emerging markets.

The latest move comes as an effort by Lazard to further strengthen its footprint in the Middle East. Notably, the company has been serving the Middle East client base since 1992. Further, back in 2008, the company opened an office in Bahrain for better handling of its operations in the region.

On Feb 5, Lazard reported fourth-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share, significantly beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 60 cents. Results benefited from a strong top-line performance, primarily aided by increase in financial advisory as well as asset management revenues. Moreover, the company’s strong capital position and higher assets under management (AUM) were the positives.

Lazard holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Some other investment management firms worth considering include Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. (APAM - Snapshot Report), Calamos Asset Management Inc. (CLMS - Snapshot Report) and Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG - Snapshot Report). All these stocks carry the same Zacks Rank as Lazard.

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