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About the only positive thing you can easily say about AllianceBernstein Holding LP (AB) is that this limited partnership pays out a large portion of its earnings as a distribution to unitholders - not that management has any choice, given the rules that govern the taxation of limited partnerships. To be sure, AllianceBernstein doesn't immediately leap out as a great play on the investment management industry, given the company's troubles growing assets under management and maintaining a consistent payout.

Management does not seem to be kidding itself about the need to change and improve performance. Better integration between Alliance and Bernstein, as well as the addition of W.P. Stewart gives hope for better results in equity investments,...

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