(Adds comments from Ameriprise)
By Elizabeth Dilts
NEW YORK, June 12 Independent brokerage firm
Ameriprise Financial has ramped up efforts to recruit
top financial advisers by matching the signing bonuses offered
by the biggest brokerage firms in the United States, industry
The strategy, coming as its efforts to recruit high end
brokers have lagged competitors, was announced on a call with
analysts and recruiters in the last two weeks, sources who were
on the call said.
Ameriprise declined to comment on the move.
The move raises signing bonuses to 150 percent of an
adviser's last 12 months of revenue, from 120 percent, for those
that produced $830,000 or more. It would also offer signing
bonuses of 150 percent for so-called "second quintile" brokers
who produced in $585,000 in revenue, the sources said.
Since Oct. 31, Ameriprise has attracted 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 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
Ameriprise spokesman Chris Reese said that the firm had
recruited some 77 advisers in the first quarter of 2014,
although the vast majority manage less than the $100 million run
by top-tier brokers.
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
Nigel Dally, managing director at Morgan Stanley, said
Ameriprise is "looking to get advisers from some of the
independents like LPL Financial Holdings and Raymond
James Financial, but also the wirehouses."
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.
Alois Pirker, research director at Aite Group, said top
producers are most attractive to brokerages because they are
more profitable. "The hiring strategies are very much directed
at the upper end, and Ameriprise seems to be in line with that,"
TIMING COULD BE A FACTOR
Bonuses are one part of the entire recruitment package, and
Ameriprise did not immediately disclose other details, such as
so called back-end points and what it will pay new hires who
bring at least 80 percent of their client assets with them.
The firm has mailed recruitment letters to advisers at other
firms, hinting that if they move quickly they could jump ahead
of a rule requiring them to disclose signing bonuses to clients.
The rule from the brokerage industry's self-regulator, the
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, must be approved by the
Securities and Exchange Commission. The timing for it to go into
effect is not certain.
Ameriprise's letter suggested brokers move while "deals are
Ameriprise Senior Vice President Manish Dave said the group
has "the brand, the reputation and the resources to attract
top-tier advisors and our ability to offer competitive
compensation packages sets us apart from our peers."
The Ameriprise spokesman declined to comment further on the
specifics of recruitment offers. Raymond James also declined to
comment about its recruitment efforts.
(Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; editing by Linda Stern, Chizu
Nomiyama and Cynthia Osterman)