Ameriprise pushes into bank channel, plans to buy 200-adviser firm

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Ameriprise is adding a third channel through its acquisition of Investment Professionals, an independent firm with 200 advisers operating from banks and credit unions, the company announced.

Terms were not disclosed.

The move is a shift in strategy for Ameriprise, which has made few acquisitions in recent years and does not have a dedicated bank channel.

"The model we are doing with [Investment Professionals] is different and on a much larger scale," says Pat O'Connell, executive vice president of Ameriprise Advisor Group.

Ameriprise last acquisition was two years ago when the Minneapolis-based company bought JHS Advisors, an independent firm with 150 brokers and assets totaling $4.1 billion.

O'Connell declined to say if his firm's latest deal was a sign of more acquisitions to come.

"We don't want to speculate on future plans," he says. "But we have always said we are looking for the right opportunities to supplement our organic right."

Investment Professionals, founded in 1992, had assets of more than $8 billion as of the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the firm. The San Antonio, Texas-based company's advisers operate out of 140 banks and credit unions in 29 states, according to Ameriprise.

Ameriprise has nearly 10,000 independent and employee advisers as of Dec. 31, 2016. The company next reports earnings Monday after the markets close.

Jay McAnelly, CEO of Investment Professionals, will join Ameriprise and report to O’Connell.

O'Connell, who will oversee the new channel in addition to Ameriprise's employee advisers, says his firm will expand the geographic footprint of Investment Professionals' advisers.

Plus, the advisers will have access to Ameriprise's technology platform and other resources, enabling them to further grow their practices, O'Connell says.

"We think there is an opportunity to meaningfully grow this business," he says.

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