Ameriprise CEO Jim Cracciolo will soon assume more direct oversight of the firm's nearly 10,000 advisors.

Bill Williams and Pat O'Connell, heads of the firm's independent and employee advisor channels, will report directly to the CEO when Don Froude, president of Ameriprise's Personal Advisor Group, steps down at the end of March, according to SEC filings.

Ameriprise does not plan to fill Froude's role. Sources say Ameriprise has been planning the transition for the past year.

Froude, 59, who has been with Ameriprise since 2008, will remain with the firm to work on field operations and other projects. He earned about $4.5 million in direct compensation in 2013, according to the latest SEC filings.

'AMERIPRISE FAMILY'

Amerprise advisor Susan Riley-Hayes of Highpointe Wealth Advisors in Sandy Springs, Ga., says Froude helped boost the reputation of the Personal Advisor Group in the industry.

"He really introduced the Ameriprise family to the rest of the financial services world," says Riley-Hayes, who knew Froude professionally before either joined Ameriprise. "He let the world know about our family and our culture here and I'm a result of that."

Riley-Hayes also credits Froude in part with the firm's success in landing new recruits.

"I think he hired some really amazing people...that had the same type of enthusiasm and charisma and values that he did," she says. "The people who've come in are the right people for this family."

PROFITS, PRODUCTIVITY

Ameriprise has reported strong earnings in recent years due to a robust performance by the firm's wealth management division. Annual pretax profits for the division were up 34% last year, rising to $792 million for 2014 from $592 million for the year before, according to the firm's latest reports. In 2009, Ameriprise's wealth management division reported pretax profits of $45 million.

Advisor productivity at the firm has also risen. Operating net revenue per financial advisor stood at $496,000 at the end of 2014, up from $440,000 for 2013.

The firm's executive ranks are largely filled by longtime Ameriprise veterans. Cracchiolo's tenure as CEO goes back to 2000, when the firm was still part of American Express, and which he joined 1982. Meanwhile, Williams has been there since 1989 and O'Connell since 1992.

Froude is a veteran of the financial services industry. He served as head of U.S. distribution at Legg Mason, according to his profile on Ameriprise's website. He also worked at asset manager Columbia Management, Alex. Brown and Prudential.

"He's not leaving-leaving," says Riley-Hayes, "so its kinda hard to say he will be missed."

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