The move to Ameriprise was so fresh that the caller ID for John Lupi's office in Coltsneck, N.J., still comes up as "Wells Fargo."

"That's a little trick though to make sure the customer takes our call," Lupi said jokingly, explaining that it will be fixed soon as part of the transition. 

Last Tuesday, the advisor team of John Lupi, Richard Karpinski, and J. Richard Hernandez resigned and changed their affiliation to Ameriprise after almost nine years with Wells Fargo's independent brokerage arm, Financial Network. 

Collectively, the three advisors have approximately 90 years of experience. Lupi was formerly at Merrill Lynch before joining UBS and then ultimately Wells Fargo. Kapinski joined Wells Fargo by way of Wachovia where he was with the private client group. And Hernandez was at Morgan Stanley before moving to Wachovia and transitioning into Wells Fargo.

Since the team affiliated in 2003, they practiced under the LLC name Client First Financial and recently managed as much as $120 million among 700 relationships. According to Lupi, their team had not been shopping around for a different firm, but they felt that their goals would be better served at Ameriprise.  

"When we met the folks at Ameriprise, one of the main reasons we wanted to come over was that they have a very strong local management team to help us recruit from the competition, grow the business, and grow the brand, if you will. One of the motivating factors was to build a nice big presence here in an affluent town and for whatever reason -  and we'll leave it at that - they presented a much better opportunity with that."

Coltsneck is also coincidentally the hometown of James Cracchiolo, the chief executive of Ameriprise. Although, according to Lupi, that fact had no relation to their changing their affiliation and they have not yet met.

In addition, Ameriprise picked up the team of James Marchesi and Associates from Mill Ridge Wealth Management, a Chester, N.J.-based independent branch of LPL, where they managed more than $115 million in assets.

Overall, Ameriprise is down eight independent advisors so far this year from the end of 2011 when the firm had 7,500.

In an emailed statement, Manish Dave, senior vice president in charge of advisor recruiting, said that the firm expects 2012 to be a strong year for recruitment: "We are on track to recruit more advisor revenue and assets in 2012 than we did in 2009 which was at the height of advisor movement during the financial crisis. More than 1,600 advisors have joined Ameriprise during the past couple of years and we will continue to recruit advisors to our firm," he said.

Mason Braswell writes for On Wall Street. 







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