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TORONTO, May 7 (Reuters) - Canadian asset manager CI Financial Corp reported a 24 percent rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday, matching expectations, as surging equity markets drove net sales and boosted assets under management.
CI, which is 37 percent owned by Bank of Nova Scotia , also raised its monthly dividend by 5.3 percent to 10 Canadian cents a share, and by mid-morning its shares were up 1.8 percent at an all-time high of C$36.45.
For the first quarter, net income rose to C$121.7 million ($111.73 million), or 43 Canadian cents a share, from C$98.5 million, or 35 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
Average assets under management reached a record high C$93.5 billion at March 31, up 19 percent from a year earlier, as net sales rose 50 percent to C$1.7 billion during the quarter.
John Aiken, an analyst with Barclays Capital, said in a note the result was in line with "deservedly heightened expectations," noting CI's strong asset growth.
Free cash flow rose to C$123.2 million from C$98.6 million a year earlier. ($1 = 1.0893 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting by Cameron French Editing by W Simon)