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Ameriprise Financial believes that technology and training support will contribute significantly to increasing its advisor ranks.
“Our advisors are very committed. The training, coaching, and full suite of tools we provide to advisors help them build and deepen client relationships, track leads, and manage and grow their practices on our fully integrated platform,” Jim Cracchiolothe company’s chairman and chief executive, said Thursday during a fourth-quarter 2021 earnings call.
“This is driving strong advisor productivity growth, up 18% and nearly $800,000 per advisor,” he added.
Ameriprise added 86 experienced advisers in the fourth quarter of 2021 and ended the year with 10,116 advisers, a 2% year-over-year increase, according to its fourth quarter earnings report.
“Helping advisors grow their practices is a top priority while continuing to recruit experienced and productive advisors,” Cracchiolo said.
According to Cracchiolo, about 90% of the roughly 1,700 advisors who joined Ameriprise in the past five years said the company’s technology, financial planning capabilities and customer acquisition were better than at their previous companies. The findings come from a survey of Ameriprise advisers who left hookup houses and independent businesses, he said.
Quality over quantity
Ameriprise’s advisor hiring efforts will continue to seek quality over quantity, according to Cracchiolo.
“There are people who have bought networks and increased the number of advisors, and it doesn’t matter how productive they are, how they want to do business, etc. We don’t really want to play that game.” he said.
“We believe that if we can bring in quality people, help them increase their productivity,” he added. “[I]If I can increase the productivity of 10,000 advisors, and I can replenish it and grow it by 1%, 2%, 3%, I’m going to do very well and continue to deliver a very strong customer value proposition. .
Ameriprise also helps advisors familiarize themselves with potential clients. During the call, Cracchiolo highlighted an ad campaign announced Monday, dubbed “Tips Worth Talking About,” which shows customers telling family and friends how much they appreciate the relationships they have with Ameriprise advisors.
“It’s a distinct platform that shows how we help customers feel so confident in their experience that they refer Ameriprise to friends and family,” the CEO said.
Among the points highlighted in the campaign, Ameriprise advisors have a customer satisfaction rate of 4.9 out of 5.
This rating, for Cracchiolo, “makes it a brand value proposition.”
Recruiting advisors has helped Ameriprise increase its wraparound net flows, in particular, according to Cracchiolo. Overall net flows for the fourth quarter of 2021 totaled $10.5 billion, up 17% from the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the earnings report.
CEO says Ameriprise has helped its advisor recruits get more clients, up-sell, deepen client relationships using technology capabilities and a company-provided relationship management tool .
“We’re adding to that as we move forward in using AI and capabilities to look at other opportunities, segments of their book that they can focus on even more appropriately,” did he declare. “We feel good that we’ve helped them get back to a level of this activity and that’s translated into the flows you see.”
Ameriprise is also investing in digital capabilities to connect with younger customers and developing integrated programs that allow customers to move money across multiple types of wallets as well as a retirement solution designed “to maximize returns for customers and longevity revenue,” Cracchiolo added.
Acquisition of BMO
Meanwhile, the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Ameriprise Walter Berman stated on the call that Ameriprise’s acquisition of BMO Financial GroupThe Europe, Middle East and Africa asset management division has boosted the company’s business. The deal was closed in November.
During the last quarter, BMO’s commercial division added $136 billion in client assets, as well as $15 billion in net inflows and assets from primarily U.S. clients who elected to transfer retail assets and additional institutional assets at Ameriprise, according to Berman.
Ameriprise expects “a few billion more” in inflows in the first quarter of 2022 from BMO’s U.S. clients who choose to transfer assets, Cracchiolo said.
Berman said a previous target of $85 million in spend synergies from the BMO deal is “still a good guess.”
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