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Raymond James, Ameriprise Post Mixed Results in Q3

Raymond James Financial and Ameriprise Financial posted mixed results in the third quarter, amid increased spending, offset by market appreciation.

Raymond James Financial (NYSE: RJF) and Ameriprise Financial (NYSE: AMP) posted mixed results in the third quarter, with revenue increases being offset by increased expenses in their wealth management and private client groups.

Raymond James’ advisor headcount decreased by 37 advisors. CEO Paul Reilly attributed much of the decine to lower producing Morgan Keegan advisors leaving the firm. A group of about 30 advisors from the acquired firm left, averaging $136,000 in trailing 12-month production, Reilly said on a conference call Thursday morning.

At the same time, the firm reported a record level of assets under management of $43 billion and assets under administration of $390 billion.

The firm grew revenue in its private client group to $694 million, but pre-tax earnings were down 21 percent year over year to about $50 million. The company said the segment was impacted by a 3.3 percent decline in the S&P 500 in the preceding quarter, which affected advanced billings.

The firm's private client group results were also dragged down by increased expenses related to the integration of Morgan Keegan, acquired in April. Reilly said the integration has involved increased technology spending, upgrades to the back-office system, as well as the use of integration consultants. Total non-interest expenses were up 36 percent from a year ago.

The final conversion of Morgan Keegan advisors to the Raymond James platform should wrap up by February of next year, and it should take about three months after that to be operationally stable, Reilly said.

But the Morgan Keegan acquisition buoyed the company’s fiscal year 2012 results; Raymond James reported record annual net revenues for the fiscal year 2012 of $3.8 billion, a 14 percent bump from last year, and record annual net income of $295.9 million, up 6 percent from last year.   

Ameriprise also released its third quarter results Wednesday. While the company recruited 106 new financial advisors, its net headcount grew by 12 advisors sequentially. The firm’s total advisor count (which includes its employee and franchisee segments) was 9,815, up from last quarter’s 9,803.

Quarterly advisor production was relatively flat at $98,000, a 1 percent boost from the second quarter. But new advisors were three times more productive than those that left the firm, said Chief Executive Jim Cracchiolo, on the analyst call Thursday morning.

Total client assets in the firm’s advice and wealth management business grew 18 percent over last year and 4 percent sequentially to $345 billion. Cracchiolo attributed the growth to strong inflows and equity market appreciation.

The segement’s operating net revenues were up 2 percent over the year-ago quarter to $961 million. Pre-tax operating earnings increased 3 percent from a year ago to $119 million.

Like Raymond James, the firm also had expenses related to its implementation of a new brokerage platform, which is now complete. Those expenses should decline moderately in the fourth quarter, said Walter Berman, executive vice president and chief financial officer. 

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