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Operating profits jump 36% at Ameriprise

  • Article by: Jennifer Bjorhus
  • Star Tribune
  • October 29, 2013 - 8:54 PM

Ameriprise Financial Inc. reported a second straight quarter of double-digit profit growth, driven by strong stock market gains and an insurance and annuities accounting change it makes every third quarter.

Operating profits at the Minneapolis-based investment services company jumped 36 percent from a year ago to $392 million, or $1.91 per share, far outpacing Wall Street estimates of $1.73.

Chairman and CEO Jim Cracchiolo called it an excellent quarter.

“We are building on the momentum we’ve experienced throughout the year; wealth management is producing strong results and assets under management are up across the firm,” Cracchiolo said in a news release.

Total assets under management and administration hit $735 billion, up 8 percent from a year ago.

The company benefited from a big gain in its annuities business, mostly driven by its annual review of insurance and annuity valuation assumptions, typically done every third quarter. Operating profits in its annuities business more than doubled to $219 million compared with a year ago, when the accounting change lowered earnings in the segment.

But Ameriprise also saw continued strong gains in its asset management and advice and wealth management units. Asset growth in fee-based accounts for retail customers drove operating net revenue in advice and wealth management up 12 percent to $1.1 billion.

The company said it has relaunched its advertising campaign with actor Tommy Lee Jones.

Ameriprise markets itself as the fifth-largest branded broker-dealer. Its army of 9,761 financial advisers focuses on the affluent and mass affluent — people with $100,000 or more to invest. Operating net revenue per adviser improved 12 percent to $110,000, it said.

In contrast, the company’s long struggle with net outflows from its two big mutual fund managers Columbia and Threadneedle continues. Altogether, $4.3 billion more flowed out of the mutual funds in the third quarter than flowed in — more than double the outflows in the previous quarter and 25 percent more than year earlier.

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

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