ON THE MOVE-Ameriprise adds veteran Morgan Stanley team

Thu Oct 4, 2012 3:21pm EDT

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Ameriprise Financial Inc has expanded its adviser force in Massachusetts with the addition of two brokers from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.

Advisers Al Weaver and John Worcester, who managed $146 million in client assets, moved to Ameriprise last week. They generated more than $1 million in annual revenue last year at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, the brokerage formed out of the merger of Morgan Stanley's wealth business and Citigroup's Smith Barney in 2009.

"Where we are now is the way it was back in the Shearson Lehman days when the focus was the client and the discretion and authority was at the branch level," said Worcester, who started with Lehman Brothers in 1992, and through mergers worked with Citigroup and eventually Morgan Stanley.

Worcester said he and his partner Weaver made the move because of changes at Morgan Stanley following the mergers, including changes in management structure, technology and day-to-day decision-making.

"It took away the ability of brokers to really service clients (while upholding) fiduciary responsibilities," Worcester said, referring to the duty of an adviser to make investment decisions in client's best interest, rather than upsell a company's proprietary product.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

The advisers, now based out of Ameriprise's Westborough, Massachusetts office, have been a team for two decades.

Minneapolis-based Ameriprise has about 2,300 advisers in its traditional employee broker-dealer unit and about 7,500 additional advisers in its independent channel. Those advisers managed a total of about $330.8 billion in client assets under management as of the end of June.

Many of the firm's big broker recruits this year have come from big U.S. brokerages, including Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Bank of America's Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors.

The firm also recently hired another team from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Connecticut. That team managed $148 million in client assets.

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