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Ameriprise Drawing Independent, Veteran Advisors

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Ameriprise Financial says a top-producing broker who left the firm to go independent has returned to re-join its employee channel.

“We’ve brought back a number of advisors who went independent but then lost interest in being business owners that have to take care of the real estate, staff, etc., ” said Michael Rearden, a regional vice president for Ameriprise in Florida, in a phone interview.

Greg Vandegrift, a former franchise advisor with Ameriprise, left the firm three years ago and joined LPL Financial. He recently visited an employee office in the Orlando area and asked to work for Ameriprise again.

Vandergrift has trailing-12-month sales and commissions of $800,000 and more than $70 million in assets under management, according to Ameriprise.

In early September, a team from Morgan Stanley Smith Barney asked to join Ameriprise in Florida says Rearden. The team, made up of Bill Paynter and Michael Brodsky, has trailing-12-month production of $1 million and about $120 million in assets.  

“These advisors believe they will be more valued at our firm and will have more marketing resources and staff,” Rearden said. “This is true for all advisors, even those at the lower levels.”

Wirehouse Momentum

In addition, advisors joining Ameriprise from the wirehouse firms, about 80% of recruits, and other firms will have access to training and an expanding infrastructure that is designed to support their business growth, the regional vice president explains.

Many wirehouse advisors, he adds, are being affected by mergers that have led to management, payout and administrative changes.

“We’re still in the growth mode,” Rearden said. “Plus, advisors feel that they can have an influence on us, that their feedback counts, since we are an advisor-centric company.

While recruiting at Ameriprise – and many other firms – has slowed down this year after a busy 2009, “We’ve turned on the recruiting since June and are still successful at attracting advisors who want to grow and value what Ameriprise has to offer,” he noted.

In Florida, Rearden says he expects to have recruited 50 veteran and 10 novice advisors this year through November 30. The average yearly production, or fees and commissions, of the experienced FAs is about $400,000.

As of September 30, Ameriprise had 11,608  employee and independent advisors  – a drop of 6% or 706 advisors – since last September. This means the broker-dealer is slightly smaller than LPL Financial, which has some 12,020 advisors.

Ameriprise attributed the drop in advisors primarily "to the continued departure of low-producing advisors,” it said in a press release last month.

The company has some 2,200 employee advisors and 7,500 franchise advisors operating under the Ameriprise Financial banner. Its affiliated independent broker-dealer, Securities America, has close to 1,900 advisors.


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