Net income and total assets under management at Ameriprise Financial slipped in the third quarter, a result of turbulent equity markets, the company said in its latest earnings announcement.

Net income was $271 million, or $1.12 per diluted share, down about 21.7% from $346 million in third quarter 2010, the company said on Wednesday. Similarly, operating earnings were $251 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, down about 28.7% from $352 million the same period a year ago.

The Minneapolis, Minn.-based broker-dealer’s total assets under management and administration were $600 billion at the end of the third quarter, down 4% from a year ago. The company attributed the dip in AUM to the decline in equity markets and net outflows of $4.8 billion in the asset management segment.

Retail client assets in its advice and wealth management business increased by 2% year-over-year to $293 billion. This primarily reflected a growth in wrap assets, including $800 million in net inflows in the quarter.

Still, Ameriprise Financial’s Chairman and CEO Jim Cracchiolo pointed to reasons for optimism. “Our financial strength continues to enable us to return significant capital to shareholders,” Cracchiolo said in a statement. “Our excess capital position remains above $2 billion even after we accelerated our share repurchase activity, allocating $447 million for share repurchases in the quarter.”

Also, double-digit growth in management and distribution fees boosted operating net revenues to $2.5 billion, up from $2.3 billion a year ago.

Despite selling Securities America to Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services in August, with its nearly 1,800-advisor force, Ameriprise said its advisor headcount increased to 9,714, up 51 from the second quarter. Securities America has been listed under discontinued operations in earnings since the second quarter, according to a company spokesman. The increase in the number of advisors is for advisors employed directly by Ameriprise only, and does not include independent advisors who use Ameriprise’s back office services, the spokesman said.