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Ameriprise Financial

Ameriprise Advisor Count Grows but Productivity Slips

Advisor count continued to rise at Ameriprise Financial in the second quarter although productivity notched lower due to market volatility that hurt trading, the firm said today.

Ameriprise reported 9,803 employee and franchisee advisors in its Advice & Wealth Management segment at the end of the last quarter, up 59 from the previous quarter. It was at least the fifth consecutive quarterly increase. Client assets in the segment reached $330.8 billion, up 3.7 percent year over year.

Operating net revenue in the segment was flat at $953  million year over year, although pretax income rose 3 percent to $111 million. Operating net revenue per advisor was $97,000 for the quarter, down 2 percent year over year and down from $99,000 in the preceding quarter.

“People are holding a bit more cash,” Chief Executive Jim Cracchiolo told analysts during a conference call this morning. Cash balances at Advice & Wealth Management were up $1.3 billion year over year.

 Companywide, Ameriprise had net income from continuing operations of $224 million, or 99 cents a share, on net revenues of $2.51 billion. For the comparable quarter a year earlier, the company had net income from continuing operations of $319 million, or $1.27 a share, on net revenues of $2.62 billlion.

The results were hurt by the discovery that Ameriprise had received incomplete data from a third-party service provider for securities lending activities, resulting in miscalculating the company’s tax position and reported earnings, it said. It estimated the financial impact at $40 million, or 18 cents a share. The data issue was resolved, it said.

Yet Ameriprise stock rose nearly 6 percent today, to close at $50.76 a share, on news that the company planned to buy back more stock as a result of a change to the structure of its federal savings bank subsidiary, Ameriprise Bank, that would reduce capital reserve requirements.

Ameriprise said it has successfully completed the second phase of the brokerage platform conversion for franchise advisors, and it expects to finish the project in coming months.

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