BlackRock (BK) reported a slight profit increase in the first quarter as it furthered plans to launch a new bond-trading platform.

Net income totaled $572 million, or $3.14 per share, up from $568 million one year ago. Revenue dipped slightly to $2.25 billion from $2.28 billion.

The investment giant continued to grow its assets under management to more than $3.68 trillion, up 5% from the end of last year.

BlackRock advisory revenue slipped to $123 million in the first quarter on lower one-time fees, but the firm said higher income from its Aladdin Trading Network offset some of the losses.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week BlackRock was launching the Aladdin platform to allow 46 clients to conduct cross trades, matching buyers and sellers of the same security and bypassing traditional broker-dealers on Wall Street such as Goldman Sachs (GS), Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital (BCS).

BlackRock made a $28 million gain on distressed credit and mortgage funds during the first quarter, relatively flat from the same period last year.

"For most of the first quarter of 2012, we saw renewed confidence in global markets driven by European stability following the European Central Bank's announced liquidity plan together with positive economic data in the U.S., leading investors to seek out macro exposures primarily through index products," said BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.