Ameriprise Financial Inc.'s fourth-quarter bottom line took a hit as it accounted for the effect of the new tax law, but the company said a lower tax rate will benefit it from now on.
The Minneapolis-based investment management firm on Wednesday reported substantial jumps in the operating performance of both its main business units, helped in part by rising stock market prices that attracted customers to invest more.
Its advice and wealth-management business, which accounts for half of its revenue, saw a 28 percent jump in operating profit. And its asset-management business, which is anchored by Columbia Threadneedle Investments and provides about one-third of revenue, had a 27 percent jump in operating profit.
The company's profit amounted to $181 million for the last three months of 2017. That's down more than 50 percent from a year ago chiefly because of a $320 million charge to account for the revaluation of deferred taxes. Not counting the charge, Ameriprise earned $502 million in the fourth quarter, up from $400 million a year ago.
Revenue was $3.16 billion, up 3 percent from $3.06 billion a year ago. Ameriprise shaved 1 percent in expenses, chiefly through lower interest and debt costs.
In a statement, James Cracchiolo, chief executive of Ameriprise, said that while the new tax law hurt the latest numbers, the company expects the "ongoing benefits" to offset that "in short order." A company statement put the offset within two years as Ameriprise settles into a new tax rate in the range of 17 percent to 19 percent, down from the 23 percent rate in the latest quarter.
"The lower corporate tax rate will increase cash-flow generation, provide additional flexibility to invest for business growth and to generate a differentiated capital return to shareholders," Cracchiolo said.
The company didn't precisely say how it would divide the tax savings between corporate investments and payouts to shareholders.
Ameriprise said net revenue per adviser, a key measurement in its advice and wealth-management business, grew 15 percent on an adjusted basis. The company added 99 advisers, growing its base to 9,896, who guided clients with $560 billion in invested assets.
In the asset-management business, the company's fund managers now oversee $495 billion in assets under management.