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Jun 18, 2012 8:04 pm

Seeking info on Ameriprise, not the proprietary insurance chop shop from 10 years ago but the most CFPs, financial planning firm they claim to be...any one have some insight?

Jun 19, 2012 11:20 am

It is the same culture as it was 10 years ago w/ just more CFPs. Limited products, services, and significant haircuts.

Aug 3, 2012 7:45 pm

firm is a sham. i actually like the fact that they exist in my city. i take loads of business from americrap

Sep 27, 2012 3:43 pm

Interned for a FA in Beverly Hills, CA my first year in college. He had $100mm aum, mostly mutual funds. I got the privilege of handling client reports. Learned the basics of finance that year. He talked very highly about Ameriprise in 2005. I on the hand, have limited experience with them. But I guess if he could have $100mm AUM, then he might be with the right company. Told me early on, if I stuck it out, he would definitely recommend me for an advisor position, train me, and share office expenses with me. He was a very nice guy. He only processed stock trades on the requests of his clients. Said flat out, “Equity investments are risky if you don’t know what you’re doing. I leave that to the mutual funds.” I still have his contact info.

I left after a year to pursue an internship at a ML’s Private Banking & Investment Group. Learned a lot more about finance; cashflow/balance sheet analysis/macro economic indicators, generally how to weed out an industry of equity investments to pick a suitable one, dividend investments, also learned a lot about debt servicing in bond markets. Was told early on, ML would not offer me a job, so I left after a year. ML doesn’t hire FAs out of their internship program. Sad thing really. But I digress.

If you have a chance at a firm similar in stature to ML, go for it. But if Ameriprise is your only opp, take it and give this business a whirl. From my experiences with two drastically different FAs, go with a smaller/indy firm if you have limited investment experience and are planning to sell mutual funds. Go with ML/MSSB if you are planning to net large accounts and actually can pick bond/equity investments. Many of ML/MSSB investors are looking for really smart finance people. Not your average joe smoe who is pushing 6% muni bonds all day. Not to mention, ML has an account minimum of $250k. Not an easy task to convince people to give you $250k.They will want to see how well your portfolio performs.

My FA at ML chose the investments herself. It wasn’t an easy task. You can’t simply read a research report written by ML’s own research analysts. You can’t simply find A rated bonds using the ML platform. You will have to compare each investment to ensure you’ve really got a safe investment. And you won’t learn that in the ML training program. That’s something finance professionals learn through working or advanced education. She recommended that I enter into a Private Wealth Management analyst position out of college to gain more exposure to choosing investments. I ended up in Market Risk because of the allure of money =(. Long story short, lost my job after two years. Then decided to try to break into the FA world. Hasn’t been easy for me these last few years. But things have picked up in the last year. I’m not really an FA so to speak but a life insurance salesperson. I’m just giving you pointers of my experiences at two vastly different firms and vastly different FAs. One was very marketing oriented and the other very finance oriented. Guess who makes more? The very finance oriented one, she managed 1.5b AUM when I was working for her. She told me in the market decline it went down to 750mm but should be up now. As a matter of fact, i’m sending her an e-mail to schedule dinner. She still serves as a mentor to me.

To sum things up. Ameriprise might be a good opp for you if you have limited investment experience and are planning to sell mutual funds to middle class investors.