August 22, 2012

Ameriprise Grabs Teams From Wells Fargo, LPL

The multichannel firm has been adding recruiters as its nears the 10,000-advisor mark

Ameriprise Financial (AMP) says it added two teams late last week in New Jersey and is on track for a strong recruiting season in the second half of 2012.

“We beefed up the recruiting organization at the beginning of the year by expanding the number of regional directors from 11 to 17,” said Manish Dave (left), senior vice president of advisor recruiting, in an interview with AdvisorOne on Wednesday. “Ameriprise is actively investing resources in bringing more financial advisors into both [the independent/franchisee and employee] channels.”

These efforts, says Dave, include increased marketing and spending, along with stepped-up efforts to bring more reps to Minneapolis for due diligence discussions.

“Results for 2012 so far show that Ameriprise is very successful at attracting advisors from all different segments of industry—wirehouses, independents and regional firms—given our multichannel approach and capabilities,” Dave explained.

John Lupi joined from Wells Fargo (WFC) last week with more than $100 million in client assets and several professionals who make up Client First Financial in Colts Neck, N.J., while James Marchesi & Associates came on board from LPL Financial (LPLA) with about $115 million in AUM; Marchesi and his partner do business as Mill Ridge Wealth Management.

The two advisor teams are now part of Ameriprise’s independent or franchisee channel. This channel included 7,492 advisors as of June 30, while 2,311 reps were in the employee channel. Ameriprise advisors had average fees and commissions of $97,000 in the second quarter and $195,000 for the first six months of 2012, putting them on track for yearly production of about $390,000 for 2012.

“The wirehouse and regional segments have been the largest segments for our recruiting efforts,” said Dave. “But with the changing landscape in the independent arena, this is an emerging segment for us.”

The independent broker-dealer space, he says, is seeing consolidation, increased economic pressure, regulatory issues and succession-planning challenges. “With the changing dynamics, we feel well positioned, given our unique value proposition combining independence and support with a strong nationally branded firm.”

In addition to the independent channel, the employee channel is “well positioned to take advantage of displacement in the wirehouse, ‘bankhouse’ space, as I call it. It is enjoying large levels of growth, as well,” Dave said. “Having multiple platforms is our strength, and we leave it to [advisors] to decide which platform is right for them.”

Ameriprise client assets grew 4% from a year ago to $331 billion in the second quarter, driven by strong net inflows, according to the company. Wrap assets grew 7% to $113 billion, including $2.6 billion of wrap net inflows in the quarter, a 12% increase from a year ago.

The company says it has had five consecutive quarters of increased advisor counts. It recruited 91 advisors in the quarter ended June 30 and has brought on more than 400 over the last year.

The number of financial advisors totaled 9,803 as of June 30, compared with 9,744 in the previous quarter and 9,663 a year ago.

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