(Photo: Ameriprise)

Executives from Ameriprise Financial Inc. today bragged about attracting advisors, rather than about efforts to reduce use of advisors, today during a conference call with Wall Street securities analysts.

James Cracchiolo, the Minneapolis-based company’s chairman, said the company has been trying to support advisors by offering advisors new digital tools, and by using an “Our Be Brilliant” advertising campaign to increase brand awareness.

“Our advisors embody our brand,” Cracchiolo said. “Ameriprise is an attractive destination for productive advisors, and recruiting is another strength.”

(Related: Annuity Issuers Size Up Benefits M&A Market)

Amerprise attracted 88 experienced advisors during the third quarter, which started July 1 and ended Sept. 30, and it also brought in another 215 advisors, in July, through the acquisition of IPI, an independent broker-dealer, Cracchiolo said.

Cracchiolo talked about advisors while going over the company’s third-quarter earnings.

The company is reporting $503 million in net income for the quarter on $3 billion in revenue, compared with $288 million in net income on $3 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2016.

For variable annuities, net cash outflow increased to $885 million, from $650 million.

Net cash outflow fell to $213 million, from $240 million, for fixed annuities.

Pretax operating earnings improved to a gain of $262 million, from a loss of $97 million, for variable annuities, and fell to $19 million, from $29 million, for fixed annuities.

Low interest rates continued to squeeze earnings at the annuity operations, but “they’re performing as we expected, given low interest rates and industry trends,” Cracchiolo said.

At the life insurance business, sales of universal life insurance and variable universal life insurance increased $72 million, from $70 million.

Cracchiolo said the insurance and annuity operations are good for the company as a whole.

“These businesses contribute to our strong client satisfaction and asset persistency,” Cracchiolo said.

One securities analyst asked about reports that some financial services distributors might be offering financial advisors large compensation packages.

Cracchiolo said Ameriprise has been paying a little extra to bring in highly productive advisors with large books of business.

Another analyst asked Cracchiolo about how Ameriprise expects to divide business between digital systems, advisors and hybrid arrangements. Cracchiolo said the company prefers to use technology to help advisors serve clients when, where and how the clients want to be served, not to use technology to try to replace advisors.

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