Ameriprise buys Columbia

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Sep 30, 2009 1:47 pm
This is what Jim has to say. Discuss.   [Quote]Jim Cracchiolo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, announces that Ameriprise Financial has reached an agreement to acquire the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management, a subsidiary of Bank of America.

To:       All Ameriprise Financial employees and field members
From:   Jim Cracchiolo
Re:       Important company announcement

I am very pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement to acquire the long-term asset management business of Columbia Management, a subsidiary of Bank of America. This acquisition marks the latest in a number of strategic milestones we have achieved since becoming a public company four years ago. 

The Columbia Management acquisition will significantly strengthen Ameriprise Financial and transform our asset management business. As I have shared before, we have focused on opportunities that would build upon the strengths of our company. This acquisition enhances a core component of our integrated business model of distribution, protection, annuities and asset management.

With Columbia, we will significantly expand our scale, build upon our investment capabilities, achieve a more efficient cost structure and broaden our product distribution reach. In fact, once the transaction is complete, Ameriprise Financial will be home to the largest financial planning network in the country, the sixth-largest provider of both variable universal life insurance and annuities, and we will become the eighth-largest manager of long-term mutual fund assets in the U.S. We can all take pride in being part of an organization that is so healthy and strong.

We have achieved this success through our commitment to our clients and advisors, supported by our terrific corporate office team. In the wake of the very difficult market conditions of the past 18 months, few firms are in a position to make an acquisition of this size while retaining fiscal strength. Our prudent management approach, commitment to meeting client and advisor needs, and focus on execution are paying off. After the transaction closes, we will continue to maintain strong balance sheet fundamentals and preserve our company’s financial flexibility. 

The combined U.S. asset management business will bring together the best of RiverSource Investments and Columbia Management. We expect to close the transaction in the spring of 2010, after which we will manage nearly $400 billion globally. We will possess extensive investment talent and a strong record of investment performance in both equities and fixed income. This enhanced product lineup, increased capabilities and expanded wholesaling will be particularly beneficial for our advisors. As a company, our core value proposition remains the same: financial planning, delivered through our advisors, complemented by a comprehensive set of product solutions. And we will continue to invest in opportunities that will help our advisors serve client needs. 

The acquisition also includes a strategic distribution agreement providing ongoing access to clients of Bank of America-affiliated distributors, including U.S. Trust. This will further enhance our ability to meet the needs of a wide array of investors, including mass affluent, high net-worth and institutional clients.

Ted Truscott will continue to lead our U.S. asset management and annuity businesses.  Ted’s depth of knowledge of the markets, and his energy and focus on building our asset management capabilities, make him the right leader for this opportunity. Mike Jones, current president of Columbia Management, will serve as president, U.S. Asset Management; and Colin Moore, current chief investment officer at Columbia Management, will serve that role for the combined organization. Both will report to Ted.  

Our U.S. asset management business will be based primarily in Boston and will operate under the well-established Columbia Management brand. We will also maintain strong subsidiary brands, including Wanger, Acorn, Threadneedle and Seligman, as well as subadvisory relationships under the Columbia Management umbrella. The RiverSource brand will remain the brand for our insurance and annuity businesses and certain investment portfolios.

We will leverage high-performing talent across RiverSource and Columbia Management to deepen the overall breadth and depth of our retail, institutional and alternative offerings; as a result, our U.S. asset management business will operate in multiple locations, including a significant presence in Minneapolis. Threadneedle remains our international investment platform and the key driver of our international asset management strategy.

I am confident that we have the management experience to execute and realize the benefits of this transaction. We have demonstrated success in managing many challenging integrations and complex transactions, including the spin-off and separation from American Express, our Threadneedle acquisition, and our more recent acquisitions of J. & W. Seligman and H&R Block Financial Advisors in the past year. In each case, we brought together the best of each firm and have emerged as an even stronger Ameriprise.

Today, we are in an enviable position within our industry. We have the cash on hand, and the strength of our balance sheet and business model to enable us to seize opportunities. Asset management has always been a central component to our integrated model, and we have consistently invested in our investment capabilities. I am excited about the opportunity this acquisition provides Ameriprise Financial, and I look forward to the benefits it will bring to our clients, our company and our shareholders.

Thank you.


Sep 30, 2009 1:51 pm

wow great news

who gives a f*&^%?

Sep 30, 2009 2:16 pm

Columbia is a good outfit, 400b is a lot of Aum.

As long as folks continue to use managed funds, and the internal fee structure stays in place, this should help keep Ameriprise strong.

Can anything be inferred, Ameriprise management must feel the future of managed funds is bright, and not threatened by major changes in the regulation of 12b1 fees or whatever any time soon? Or are they ready to roll with any fee structure changes - perhaps much of the money is in retirement plans or institutional.    
Sep 30, 2009 2:58 pm

[quote=Shania Twain]wow great news

who gives a f*&^%?[/quote] <?: prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Whether or not its great news is what is up for discussion. Columbia's funds are used by people in almost every firm. Having it run by Ameriprise may change the way a lot of people do business. If this forum is any indication, many people hate Ameriprise so much they may quit using the funds. At the very least, Since Riversource is proprietary, Other advisors haven’t really had to deal with the company in any way. Now some firms will be working with them every day.


As for who cares, Since AMP is up 13% with three times its average volume, I would say a lot.

Sep 30, 2009 7:35 pm

I dont remember ever seeing aN Ameriprise statement from a prospect without a ton of Riversource funds. So now what happens? Will be curious to see.

Lot more proprietary funds to choose from.