ON THE MOVE-Ameriprise lands Florida adviser from Morgan Stanley

Thu Feb 21, 2013 3:54pm EST

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Ameriprise Financial Inc said on Thursday it hired a veteran financial adviser in Florida from top U.S. brokerage Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, expanding the firm's adviser footprint in the region.

Chris Barley, who has worked in the advising industry for three decades, joined Ameriprise's Orlando office on Friday. He managed $170 million in client assets at Morgan Stanley and generated roughly $1 million in annual revenue last year.

Barley, who was a senior vice president at his old firm, said he was at first hesitant to make a move, having spent his entire career at the same firm since 1982.

"I was at a moment of weakness," Barley said, when Ameriprise branch manager Dylana Hopler first reached out to him about the possibility of joining the firm.

Barley, who in the past was reluctant to talk to recruiters, said he finally changed his mind after mounting frustrations with a technology conversion and cultural changes as a result of the latest merger at his old firm.

"I wanted to find a platform for my clients where I could grow and spend more time strategizing and planning," he said, rather than dealing with some of the technical difficulties he encountered.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, the largest U.S. brokerage by adviser headcount and client assets, was formed out of the merger of Morgan Stanley's wealth unit and Citigroup's Smith Barney in 2009. Barley had been a legacy Citigroup adviser.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment on Barley's departure.

Barley joined Ameriprise's traditional employee division, which has about 2,300 advisers across the country. The company also has an independent division made up of about 7,500 advisers who run their own practices and function as business owners.

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

Ameriprise also said on Thursday it hired veteran branch manager Mark Feiler, also from Morgan Stanley. Feiler, who moved to Ameriprise in early February, joined Ameriprise in the Detroit region.

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

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