Ameriprise second-quarter profit surges nearly 40 percent

Ameriprise’s retail sweet spot, affluent baby boomers, headed back into the market in the second quarter, sending its earnings surging.

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Outside Ameriprise Financial headquarters in Minneapolis. Ameriprise markets itself as the fifth-largest branded broker-dealer.

Photo: David Denney, Star Tribune

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Ameriprise Financial Inc.’s operating profits surged 38.6 percent during the second quarter, largely on strong wealth management business.

The Minneapolis-based investment services company posted operating earnings Wednesday of $352 million, or $1.69 per share, handily beating the consensus Wall Street expectation of $1.62, based on a Thomson Reuters poll.

“We’re experiencing good growth in client acquisition and strong client net inflows, which are key drivers of adviser productivity gains,” Chairman and CEO Jim Cracchiolo said. “Even with the pressure of low interest rates, we’re delivering meaningful growth in profitability.”

The key driver for the strong second quarter was a 37 percent jump in pretax operating earnings in the company’s advice and wealth management segment. It was the wealth management segment’s third straight quarter of year-over-year growth of 30 percent or more, aided by stock market gains.

“The baby boomers are finally starting to put their money to work,” said Vincent Lui, a Morningstar equity analyst who follows Ameriprise. “These guys are finally starting to put their money back into the market.”

Total assets under management and administration rose 7 percent from a year ago to $703 billion. The retail client portion of that, in the advice and wealth management segment, grew 13 percent to a record $373 billion.

Ameriprise, which spun off American Express in 2005, markets itself as the fifth-largest branded broker-dealer. And its army of 9,788 financial advisers focus on the affluent and mass affluent — people with $100,000 or more to invest who are looking to navigate retirement.

Even the flow picture for Threadneedle and Columbia Management, its two big mutual fund managers, brightened. The total combined net outflow narrowed to $2.1 million, the lowest net outflow in about eight quarters. Columbia has struggled with net outflows for years and turning that around has been a key challenge for Ameriprise.

Overall, operating net revenue rose 9 percent from a year ago to $2.7 billion, largely hitting analyst expectations. Earnings also got a $30 million lift from Threadneedle’s sale of an investment in U.K. financial services company Cofunds.

 

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

 

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