(In first paragraph, deleted description of Ameriprise as a
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, June 12 Independent brokerage firm
Ameriprise Financial has ramped up efforts to win top
financial advisers by matching the signing bonuses offered by
the nation's biggest brokerage firms.
Regional independent brokerage firm Ameriprise Financial
has ramped up its efforts to win top financial advisers
by matching the signing bonuses offered by the nation's biggest
The strategy, coming at time when its efforts to recruit
high end brokers have lagged competitors, was announced on a
recent call with analysts and recruiters. It raises signing
bonuses to 150 percent of an adviser's last 12 months of
revenue, from 120 percent, for those that bring in $830,000 or
more. It would also offer signing bonuses of 150 percent for
so-called "second quintile" brokers who bring in $585,000 in
Since Oct. 31, Ameriprise has drawn just eight brokers who
had more than $100 million in assets under management in the
trailing 12 months, according to the firm's own announcements
tracked by Reuters. During that same period, regional
independent firm Raymond James hired 32 new brokers with at
least $3.2 billion in client assets under management in that
time, according to the Reuters database.
By raising minimum signing bonuses in the top group to
nearly $1.25 million from around $1 million, Ameriprise is
entering into the same recruiting arena as UBS AG America
, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America's Merrill
Lynch, and Wells Fargo.
"Ameriprise is very competitive with the big brokerages,"
said Tom Lewis, a lawyer at Stevens & Lee who advises moving
brokers. Bonuses are one part of the entire recruitment package,
and Ameriprise did not immediately disclose other details, such
as what it will pay new hires who bring at least 80 percent of
their client assets with them.
Ameriprise has worked for several months to recruit top
advisers to improve its industry cache, Lewis said.
The firm has also been mailing recruitment letters directly
to advisers at other firms, hinting that if they move quickly
they could jump ahead of a rule requiring them to disclose their
signing bonuses to their clients.
The so-called disclosure rule, from the brokerage industry's
self-regulator, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority,
must be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ameriprise's letter suggested brokers move while "deals are
Ameriprise is "looking to get advisers from some of the
independents like LPL Financial Holdings and Raymond
James Financial, but also the wirehouses," said Nigel
Dally, managing director at Morgan Stanley. LPL and Raymond
James typically have franchise-like arrangements with brokers
who remain independently employed; the big so-called wirehouse
firms tend to employ brokers as employees.
An Ameriprise spokesman declined to comment on the firm's
recruiting efforts. Raymond James declined to comment about its
The offers are being made for hires to Ameriprise's advice
and wealth management division, which consists of brokers in
both the firm's independent and employee divisions, and serves
clients with more than $1 million in investable assets.
"Since the crisis, firms are trying to work more with top
producers because they are more profitable," said Alois Pirker,
research director at Aite Group. "The hiring strategies are very
much directed at the upper end, and Ameriprise seems to be in
line with that."
(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; editing by Linda Stern and Chizu