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Ameriprise Q4 Profits Beat Estimates on Strong Wealth Results

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Ameriprise Financial (AMP) said late Wednesday that fourth-quarter 2014 net income was $426 million, or $2.23 per share, topping estimates and beating last year’s net income of $298 million, or $1.47 per share.

Operating net revenues grew 5% from last year to $3.0 billion “driven by strong fee-based business growth from client net inflows and market appreciation,” according to the company.

“Ameriprise delivered another good quarter to complete a strong year, led by our Advice and Wealth Management business,” said Chairman and CEO Jim Cracchiolo, in a press release. “We’re bringing in significant client net inflows, growing our assets under management and increasing advisor productivity.”

Companywide assets under management and administration rose 5% year over year to $806 billion, while client assets in Advice & Wealth Management expanded 9% to $444 billion. Wrap-account assets increased 14% to $175 billion, with Q4’14 net inflows of $3.1 billion.

Average yearly fees & commissions per rep shot up 13% to $496,000 from $440,000 in 2013, and net-cash sales of financial plans were $70 million in the quarter — an increase from $60 million in the prior period and $66 million last year. For the full year, net-cash sales of financial plans totalled $251 million vs. $240 million in 2013. 

“Experienced advisor recruiting was strong in the quarter, with 73 experienced advisors moving their practices to Ameriprise,” the company said in a statement.

Total advisor headcount stands at 9,672, down slightly from 9,696 in Q3’14 and 9,716 in Q4’13. Retention in the employee channel is about 91%, while it is 95% in the franchisee channel — which includes 7,576 reps.

(In January, Ameriprise fund units Columbia Management and Threadneedle Investments announced that the two firms will rebrand as Columbia Threadneedle Investments in the first half of the year.)

— Check out 13 Best & Worst Broker-Dealers: Q3 Earnings, 2014 on ThinkAdvisor.