Ameriprise Adds Ex-Morgan Stanley Team

Company attracted a team of four advisors and $130 million in assets in Alabama

Ameriprise Financial recruited a four-advisor team from Morgan Stanley on Friday with about $130 million in assets under management.

The group joined an Ameriprise branch in Birmingham, Ala.; it includes Angelo Ferlisi, Randy Laird, Bill Morris and Pearson Matthews.

“This is emblematic of Ameriprise’s efforts of the past few years,” said Manish Dave, senior director and vice president of business development in a phone interview. “We are focusing and intensifying our efforts to attract financial advisors from the industry.”

In the past 24 months, Ameriprise has hired more than 800 financial advisors from the wirehouse firms, as well as from regional and independent broker-dealers, Dave says. About two-thirds or roughly 530 FAs are from Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and UBS.

The local Ameriprise branch manager who attracted the Morgan Stanley Smith Barney team is Mayo Woodward.

“We are finding some ‘wirehouse fatigue,’ ” explained Dave. “We are successful at attracting advisors who want to serve their clients … and, as our advertisement says, we are not for everybody. That said, recent recruiting activity -- though down from the ’09 highs -- is picking up … as advisors see what else is out there.”

Minneapolis-based Ameriprise, which reports its third-quarter results on Oct. 28, had 11,684 advisors as of June 30. This is down from 12,508 in the same year-ago period.

The total number of Ameriprise-branded advisors, both employee and franchise (or independent), stands at 9,786, with about 7,800 advisors affiliated with the company as independent contractors and some 2,300 employee advisors. The number of Securities America advisors is 1,898.

“Having two platforms adds an advantage to our value proposition,” Dave said, adding that the company offers veteran advisors “competitive” transition packages. “We are using various incentives to help them ramp up their business and grow.”  

Net operating sales per advisor in the latest quarter were $83,000. Ameriprise says total client assets stood at $290.1 billion vs. $303.8 billion in the first quarter and $258.4 billion in 2009.

“We are very focused on advisor growth, and we have the resources to do it,” explained Dave.

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