Ameriprise's recruiting efforts paying off

NEW YORK Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:07pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ameriprise Financial Inc's (AMP.N) recent success in recruiting financial advisers from its big brokerage rivals showed up in its third-quarter earnings report.

The financial-services company, which released its results after the closing bell on Wednesday, added 106 advisers to its wealth management business in the quarter ended September 30, bringing total headcount to 9,815. Headcount is up by 314 advisers year-to-date.

Many of Ameriprise's big-broker recruits this year have come from Morgan Stanley Wealth Management (MS.N), Bank of America's (BAC.N) Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo Advisors (WFC.N).

Ameriprise and other smaller brokerages have been able to leverage the fact that they did not need government bailouts during the 2008 financial crisis - a sharp contrast to the big banks where many veteran brokers are tied.

In September, for example, Ameriprise added at least two veteran Morgan Stanley broker teams that together managed roughly $300 million in client assets at the firm. Morgan Stanley had 16,829 advisers at the end of September.

Ameriprise's new recruits, along with market appreciation, helped drive an 18 percent increase in the amount of assets the company's advisers manage to $345 billion at the end of September. Net revenue per adviser rose 1 percent from a year earlier to $98,000, as inflows to fee-based accounts nearly doubled.

The company's total assets under management and administration, which includes both the wealth and asset management businesses, increased 13 percent in the third quarter to $678 billion, boosted by the strong markets.

On an operating basis, Ameriprise earned $1.32 per share in the third quarter. Analysts on average expected the company to earn $1.19 per share, excluding items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Also on Wednesday Ameriprise increased its dividend by 29 percent to 45 cents a share and announced a share buyback program of $2 billion through 2014, which comes in addition to $482 million remaining in an existing repurchase authorization.

Ameriprise shares closed at $57.07 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Jennifer Hoyt Cummings; Twitter @jenhoytcummings; Additional reporting by Ashley Lau; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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