ON THE MOVE-Ameriprise lands Wells Fargo adviser in Wisconsin

Mon Feb 4, 2013 12:44pm EST

Feb 4 (Reuters) - Ameriprise Financial Inc has bolstered its adviser force in Wisconsin with a veteran adviser and his team from Wells Fargo & Co's U.S. brokerage.

Ted Fox joined Ameriprise's independent broker division in January from Wells Fargo Advisors, where he managed $175 million in client assets and generated annual revenue of $1.2 million.

"I felt that the time was right for me to be my own boss," Fox said in an interview about his decision to become an independent adviser.

"I'm able to make my own decisions now and focus on what's best for my clients ... versus having to wonder if I need to solicit them for a mortgage, credit card or checking account," he said. "I don't have to worry about doing that here."

Fox, who has worked in the advising industry for roughly two decades, remains based in Wausau, Wisconsin, where he was based with Wells as a managing director.

Wells Fargo Advisors, owned by Wells Fargo & Co, is the third-largest U.S. brokerage, following Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch.

Wells declined to comment on Fox's departure.

CULTURAL SHIFT

Fox spent the bulk of his career with A.G. Edwards & Co. A.G. Edwards was acquired in 2007 by Wachovia, which one year later was bought by Wells.

Fox said he sought a similar culture and environment that he had experienced at A.G. Edwards, before its acquisition.

"I wanted to find a firm that I could move to that had a strong backing and brand and would be a solid franchise for me to move my whole team to," Fox said.

Fox, the senior adviser on his team, moved with fellow advisers Joel Pergolski and Karissa Smith, also formerly with Wells.

Ameriprise's independent division has about 7,500 advisers who run their own practices and function as business owners. The company also has a traditional employee broker-dealer division, which has an additional roughly 2,300 advisers across the country.

Minneapolis-based Ameriprise had $352.8 billion in total client assets under management as of the end of December - a 14 percent increase from the prior year. The company last week said its operating earnings rose 31 percent from last year, driven by strong results from its advice and wealth management business.

Ameriprise, along with other smaller regional brokerages, has had success in recruiting veteran advisers from larger bank-owned brokerages.

Many of the firm's big broker recruits in 2012 came from major U.S. brokerages including Wells Fargo Advisors, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Merrill Lynch.

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