(Bloomberg) -- Lazard Inc. posted its best first-quarter revenue on record as the investment bank jostles for position among boutiques to take advantage of the rebound in mergers and acquisitions.

The New York-headquartered firm posted adjusted net revenue of $747 million in the three months through March, up from $527 million in the same period last year, according to a statement Thursday. That cruised past analyst expectations by more than $100 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The results signal momentum for Lazard, which cut jobs last year to make space to hire more managing directors to help it push toward a target to double its revenue by 2030. The firm has struggled to grow in the past decade while peers like Evercore Inc., PJT Partners Inc. and Moelis & Co. have expanded faster.

“To the extent that the world or analysts were counting us out, we’ll come roaring to those 2030 goals,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Orszag said on a call with journalists, adding he was focused on his targets and had no issue with being seen as an “underdog”.

So far this year, Lazard has hired managing directors including a sport and media banker from LionTree, a former Citigroup Inc. banker for sovereign-wealth coverage, and two restructuring bankers. Those hiring efforts have been aided by former Citigroup investment-banking head Ray McGuire, who joined Lazard as president last year.

The bank’s jump in performance stands out as strong among its peers for the quarter. Announced deals remain relatively low as buyers and sellers gauge the impact of persistently-high interest rates and geopolitical tensions, limiting fee revenue for advisers.

On Wednesday, Evercore posted revenue that slightly missed expectations, while Moelis numbers came in roughly as predicted. Other peers are due to report in the next two weeks.

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Lazard, which has about 200 managing directors in financial advisory, is aiming to grow its managing director numbers by about 10 net hires per year in that segment. It employs nearly 3,300 people across the firm, which also has an asset-management arm.

Orszag, a former White House official and economist who took the top job at Lazard last year, also said he’ll be closely watching the outcome of the US Federal Trade Commission’s ban on non-compete clauses, which is being challenged in courts. 

Sometimes such agreements are merited, he said, because they prevent employees from being put in awkward positions when trying not to reveal proprietary information from their previous employer. 

(Updates throughout with CEO comments, additional details.)

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