Ameriprise profits soar; firm boosts dividend

The Minneapolis financial services firm easily beat Wall Street’s estimates.

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Ameriprise CEO Jim Cracchiolo called it “another strong quarter.”

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Profits took another double-digit jump at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in the first quarter on fee growth and investor optimism.

The Minneapolis-based company on Monday reported operating profits of $407 million, or $2.04 per share, up 20 percent from a year earlier and beating the Wall Street consensus estimate by 16 cents a share.

Ameriprise executives will discuss the results Tuesday morning.

“Ameriprise delivered another strong quarter,” CEO Jim Cracchiolo said in a news release.

Shares were up in after-hours trading.

One of the country’s largest branded broker-dealers, Ameriprise has a battalion of financial advisers competing with the likes of Edward Jones and Raymond James for the savings of the affluent and mass affluent. Longtime Ameriprise spokesman Tommy Lee Jones popped up in a television spot during the Sochi Olympics talking retirement planning as part of Ameriprise’s new “Real Questions, Real Answers” ad campaign.

The investment services provider now manages assets of $783 billion, up 11 percent from a year earlier.

The company’s board authorized the repurchase of an additional $2.5 billion in shares, and announced a 12 percent increase in its regular quarterly dividend, raising it to 58 cents.

Ameriprise said asset growth and client activity drove its adviser productivity up 15 percent, to operating net revenue of $454,000 per adviser for the trailing 12 months.

The company is expecting a second-quarter boost from the $5.5 billion block of business its Threadneedle operation won in April from St. James’s Place, a leading U.K. wealth manager. Threadneedle will be managing St. James’s Place’s strategic managed fund.

Ameriprise’s asset management unit, which includes the Columbia and Threadneedle brands, saw operating pretax profits grow 33 percent to $183 million, despite struggling with long-running net asset outflows from the two fund lines. The company has chalked up the long-running outflows primarily to legacy relationships the two lines have.

 

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

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