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Life Health > Life Insurance

S%26P Adds Ameriprise To Key Stock Inde

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Some securities analysts are bearish about the near-term prospects for investments in Ameriprise Financial Inc.[@@]

American Express Company, New York, is in the process of converting Ameriprise – the old American Express Financial Advisors == into a stand-alone company by distributing Ameriprise shares to American Express shareholders.

Ameriprise, Minneapolis, will start out with a network of 10,000 “branded advisors.” Many of those advisors have strong relationships with highly affluent clients. Some other Wall Street darlings go public without having much more than a fancy Web site.

Standard & Poor’s, New York, says it will be adding Ameriprise to its flagship S&P 500 stock index. In theory, simply having a place in the index could make Ameriprise stock more attractive to some investors.

But Suneet Kamath, a life insurance analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company L.L.C., New York, notes in a report on Amerirpise that the company gets about 60% of its revenue from the sale of life insurance.

Investment-oriented financial services businesses return about 15% on equity, but life insurers typically return only about 10% on equity, Kamath writes.

Jason Zucker, a life analyst at Fox-Pitt Kelton Inc., New York, suggests in a research note that American Express shareholders’ growth-oriented investment style will lead them to sell Ameriprise shares after they get the shares from American Express.

Zucker also questions whether Ameriprise will get a big boost from being added to the S&P 500 index.

“Even if Ameriprise is added to the S&P 500 immediately, the weighting will be much lower than that of American Express, implying that index funds may trim positions in Ameriprise to reflect its lower weighting in the composite,” Zucker writes.


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