Ameriprise Financial Improves Earnings on Lower FA Headcount

Ameriprise, which includes Securities America, now has 11,684 advisors vs. 12,508 in the same year-ago period.

Ameriprise Financial's second-quarter profit beat analysts' expectations thanks to strong performance at its advice and wealth management segment and its asset-management segment.

The company had net income of $259 million, or $0.98, compared with a profit of $95 million, or $0.41, last year.

Operating earnings stood at $1.10 vs. $0.47 cents in the same year-ago period.

Equity analysts had expected the company to earn $0.77 on $2.32 billion in sales.

Actual revenue in the last three months improved 38% to about $2.58 billion.

"Our strong financial results for the quarter reflect the strength of our diversified business," said Chairman and CEO Jim Cracchiolo in a press release."Each of our segments performed well, led by stronger earnings in Advice & Wealth Management and Asset Management. Client activity and advisor productivity continued to improve despite the ongoing volatility in the markets."

"The Columbia Management integration (following the April 30 acquisition) is on schedule and on budget," he explained in a statement. "We are focused on delivering consistent, competitive performance, retaining and growing our retail and institutional assets, and achieving our expectations for revenue growth and expense synergies.

Advice and wealth management segment earned pretax income of $85 million, compared with a loss of $3 million last year, while asset management posted a pretax profit of $56 million compared with a loss of $12 million last year.

In terms of the number of financial advisors, Ameriprise now has 11,684 vs. 12,508 in the same year-ago period.

The total number of Ameriprise-branded advisors, both employee and franchise, stands at 9,786 vs. 10,555 last year.

Securities America advisors now number 1,898 vs. 1,953 a year ago. The company named Jim Nagengast as CEO as the successor to Steve McWhorter on July 26.

Net operating sales per advisor in the latest quarter were $83,000 vs. $74,000 in the first quarter of 2010 and $63,000 in the same quarter of 2009.

Ameriprise says total client assets are $290.1 billion vs. $303.8 billion in the first quarter and $258.4 billion in 2009.

Net flows in the wrap accounts were $2.25 billion in the quarter vs. $2.51 in the first quarter and $2.76 billion in the year-ago period.

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