Charles Schwab Corp, the discount brokerage said on Tuesday its earnings from continuing operations rose 29 percent, spurred of by a higher-than-expected number of new client sign ups.

The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday that it earned $305 million, or 26 cents per share during the first quarter of the year, up from $273 million, or 22 cents a share a year earlier.

The prior year included a 3-cent profit from U.S. Trust, which Schwab sold to Bank of America Corp. last year. The results topped the first-quarter of 2000, when a soaring stock market lifted the company to a record $284 million profit.

Net revenue rose 13 percent to $1.3 billion, while total client assets rose to $41 billion or 7 percent from a year ago to $1.4 trillion. A net of 113,000 new accounts was added during the quarter, beating analysts' estimates, bringing the total to 7.2 million active clients.

Chief Financial Officer Joe Martinetto said in a statement that new client assets and a focus on expenses helped offset a decline in short-term interest rates and equity-market valuations.

In the past, during market troubles, people have withdrawn, but we're not seeing that this time, Schwab Chief Financial Officer Joe Martinetto said.

Trading revenue surpassed analysts' estimates by 10 percent during the quarter, but accounts for less than 20 percent of Schwab's sales. Martinetto said the company would continue to emphasize asset management, rather than focusing on trades.

More than $41 billion flowed into Schwab during the first quarter, a record for any first quarter period, except for the first three months of 2000 that followed the dot-com era.

There is no denying that lower equity markets and falling rates will pressure revenues, still this quarter's results highlight the flexibility Charles Schwab has in their model to manage expenses and capital base ... in what remains a choppy market environment, Bank of America analyst Michael Hecht wrote in an investor note.